Karine Joly No Comments

nina_sossenNina Sossen, Director of Social Media at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, is one of the 12 presenters of the 3rd Higher Ed Social Media Conference.

In this 3-question interview, Nina tells us how she manages social media, shares a surprising social media outcome and tackles the tough ROI question.

1) How do you manage your activity on social media?

It’s important to balance real-time on-site reporting with strategically-planned content.

When appropriate, we plan social media content in advance and balance that with live reporting.

For example, during Parents’ Weekend, we pre-schedule Tweets and Facebook posts welcoming parents to campus, sharing photos from last year’s weekend, and providing schedules and other information. And during the event, we are on the scene with live pictures and tweets and encouraging students and parents to engage with our content.

We use Tracx and native social media tools (for example Twitter Analytics) to determine the peak times of engagement for different types of content and try to reach people during the time they are known to be most engaged. For example, we know that students often check Twitter as they leave one class and head to another, so we often post during class-changing times.

With regard to Twitter in particular, being able to see as much of the global conversation about our university and our interested topics is essential. TweetDeck is an essential tool to enable us to see as much of the conversation in one place and to respond appropriately.

2) What’s the most surprising social media outcome you’ve experienced this year? What did you learn?

Perhaps not extremely surprising, since we’ve seen it before, but we’ve again been struck by how much pictures matter more than words. In a period of a week we had live social media coverage on the visit to campus of, arguably, the most powerful woman in the world, coverage of the annual faculty convocation, and an announcement related to an appearance on campus of the Dalai Lama. But the engagement level on this content was a fraction of the content in response to a single picture we posted of the campus with a story about a new ranking (not actually very impressive numbers) that listed our town as the #27 best college town in America. In fact, people were not responding as much to the new of the new ranking but just to the photo.

3) How do you approach the question of return on investment (ROI) when it comes to social media

This is an excellent question. We view social media as having three primary goals:

  1. Providing information.
  2. Promoting our brand.
  3. Creating emotional connections to the university that manifest through engagement with our social content.

For each of these, we want to reach all of our constituents: current students, prospective students, alumni, external media, legislators, faculty and staff, the local community.

Measuring this goes beyond just increasing the number of people who like our Facebook page.

We want to show that people are actually looking at our content, and engaging with it in a positive way. We track detailed engagement levels for each post and also look directly at the content to see who is consuming our content and how they are sharing it through their social networks to achieve the three primary goals.

Higher Ed Social Media Conference

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