2015 Social Media Mash-up

Duke Communicators: mark your calendar for 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 13, in Perkins Library 217.

Our first program for 2015 will highlight Duke communicators with interesting social media projects and campaigns. They’ll share their experiences and “lessons learned” in a format similar to an Ignite session. Among other topics, you’ll hear how the Fuqua School of Business is encouraging ambassadors to engage with social media, how social media advertising has benefited the Annual Fund, what Snapchat could mean for Duke Athletics and strategies from two Duke seniors who manage the @DukeStudents accounts.

This will be a content-packed hour that will provide you with great ideas to try in your own office, as well as information about Duke colleagues you can call for inspiration and advice. Please RSVP to Sakiya Lockett if you will attend.

 

Duke Launches New Tumblr: Site uses social media platform to highlight Duke experts

It’s a new website where Dan Ariely discusses the new Apple Pay system, Peter Feaver considers the threat of ISIS, Priscilla Wald asks why Americans are so scared of Ebola and Karla Holloway ponders a post-racial America.

Launched earlier this month, the Duke News Tumblr has begun sharing the views of these and other university experts with journalists and other subscribers. Duke’s Office of News & Communications (ONC) designed the site on the increasingly popular Tumblr platform with rich graphics, video clips and other material.

Other recent posts have focused on fracking, LGBT issues and climate change, as well as on less-publicized topics such as free samples at Costco or California’s plan to ban plastic bags.

tumblr
A recent post to the Duke News Tumblr

“Social media keeps growing in importance as a source for how people get their news,” said David Jarmul, associate vice president of news and communications.  “Over the past few years, we’ve shifted our strategies to keep pace on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Now Tumblr is emerging as a player, especially with journalists and young people.”

Duke’s news office remains active on other social networks – more than 240,000 people have “liked” the main Duke Facebook page – and through more conventional approaches such as news releases, research reports, op-ed articles and video stories, as well as the Duke Today website.

“We’re constantly watching our audiences and experimenting with new platforms to reach them,” Jarmul said. “We quietly started our Tumblr a few weeks ago and solicited feedback from Duke alums active in the news media. They offered some excellent suggestions, and we tweaked the site accordingly. Now we plan to reach out to more people who might enjoy the material. Tumblr just keeps getting bigger, especially on mobile devices.”

Danielle Nelson, ONC’s social media fellow, is running the site with Keith Lawrence, ONC’s executive director of news and communications, and Cara Rousseau, its social media manager.

This post was originally published on Duke Today.

YouTube Tips and Resources

If you don’t know Sonja Foust yet, you should. She’s our colleague who manages the “big” Duke YouTube channel and spends lots of time thinking about how to market Duke’s great videos. To start off the fall semester, Sonja has put together a few quick notes for you on YouTube updates.
youtube
from Sonja to Duke YouTube Channel Managers:

“UNLISTED” STATUS IN YOUTUBE

I wanted to let you know about a YouTube pro tip (which also makes my job a lot easier!): If you’re putting up a video that’s not ready for prime-time, meaning you’re not ready to have it promoted or it’s a draft video or a video meant for internal circulation only, you can upload that video with a status of “unlisted.” The unlisted status means that you can share the link and anyone will be able to view it from that link, but it won’t show up on your channel page or in subscription feeds (including mine). Then, if you decide you want to make the video public later when it’s all approved and ready to go, you can reset it to “public” and it will show up on your channel page and in the subscription feeds.
Uploading your videos this way helps me to know when your video is ready to be promoted and keeps me from picking up a link to a video that’s still a draft or still in the approval process.

DESCRIPTIONS AND TITLES

Also, once your video is ready to be promoted, please be sure you’re putting in a descriptive title and a compelling summary description. This helps your viewing audience (including me!) to know what your video is about, but it also helps your video to come up in YouTube’s search results. For more on descriptions, titles, and tags, you can check out our YouTube upload checklist here: http://styleguide.duke.edu/toolkit/video/youtube-publishing-checklist/

MORE VIDEO RESOURCES

Lastly, I want to make sure you’re aware that we offer a ton of really helpful video resources on the Video Toolkit on the Duke Style Guide, here: http://styleguide.duke.edu/toolkit/video/ You’ll find links to our graphics package, which you can use for the fly-in intro and lower thirds that you see on lots of Duke videos, and even tips on lighting and video production, as well as resources for free music beds and b-roll footage.

How to Enhance Links to Your Webpages in Social Network Shares (Hint: It’s All in the Metadata)

A media-enhanced Twitter link, powered by Twitter Card metadata in the library website.

A media-enhanced Twitter link, powered by Twitter Card metadata in the library website.

We all have great content and we love to see it tweeted, liked, pinned, tumbld, and otherwise shared in whichever social media platforms people fancy. These platforms are all getting smarter, and are increasingly doing more to find and distinguish the truly shareworthy stuff that lives at the other end of those shortened URLs.

With just a few easy additions of code to our sites, we have the power to trigger media-rich shares, including nice photos, accurate attribution, and the text snippets of our choosing. These enhanced links can stand out in a monotonous stream of social media updates, compelling readers to click (and/or re-share), and driving more traffic to our sites.

Here are just a few tips for getting webpages to play nicely when shared via social media. They all require the simple addition of a few <meta> tags in the HTML.

1.  Open Graph tags (for Facebook & More)

Have you ever linked to a webpage in a Facebook post? Facebook selects a default thumbnail image (which might be something irrelevant like a button icon) and what it thinks is a representative snippet of the content you’d like to share. But you don’t have to leave it up to chance. Facebook created the Open Graph protocol as a standard that any social platform can use to give webpage authors the power to remove the guesswork. FB looks for these tags for guidance, and other tools do as well.

2. Twitter Cards (for Twitter)

With its 140-character limit, it can be hard to tweet a link to a page and also find some free characters to attribute the source or provide a taste of the interesting content. Twitter Cards help solve that problem. In the library, we recently added Twitter Card metadata to all of our digital collections and our blogs. Almost instantly, all tweets linking to our pages were enriched, and the change even enhanced previous tweets retroactively.

3. Rich Pins (for Pinterest)

Pinterest is also on board with using page metadata to enrich shares. It currently supports distinct pins for articles, places, products, movies, and recipes.

How to Add Metadata for Social Media Optimization

You probably don’t want to manually add these <meta> tags to every individual page. But chances are, you’re using a CMS like Drupal or WordPress to manage your website, and if so, you’re in luck. These platforms have plugins and modules available that make this setup a cinch:

If you have a sites.duke.edu blog, the WordPress SEO plugin isn’t currently enabled there, but you can request the plugin through this form.

I highly recommend adding this metadata if you can. You could see big improvements in your content’s representation in social media platforms, and it requires only a few simple steps to get it going.

Happy sharing!

A Social Media Glossary

Last month, I traveled to Lenox, MA to co-present on social media in admissions with Ma’ayan Plaut at the Consortium on Financing Higher Education (COFHE) 2014 Retreat. As part of the presentation, we created a quick handout to provide a quick glimpse at social media strategy and definitions for some of the most commonly used social media terms. It’s a handy thing to keep around, especially for educating your faculty and leadership. Download the full PDF of our COFHE Handout

Included in the handout are short descriptions of popular social media platforms. What else would you like to see here?

Facebook – Currently the largest and most popular social media platform: users create profiles, post status updates and friend other users to follow their posts. Facebook is most commonly used to communicate personal information among family and friends.

Foursquare – A platform that allows users to check-in to their current location and connect with other users.

Google+: A platform where users create “Circles” of contacts in order to share posts selectively. Users post status updates in the form of text, photos, link, video, or events. Google+ is also heavily integrated with Google Hangouts, Google Chats, and YouTube profiles.

Instagram – An exclusively visual platform where users share filtered photos or short videos for followers who view and “heart” posts within a feed.

LinkedIn – A professional social network that allows users to connect to potential employers and business associates. LinkedIn profiles act as online resumes and can feature users’ skills, academic and career history, leadership roles, and more.

Pinterest – A platform where users “pin” visual content to themed “boards.” Popular content includes fashion, home decor, food and how-to’s. Users can follow other users or individual boards and can “pin” posts to their own boards.

Tumblr – A multimedia blogging platform used primarily to post pictures, short text entries, and GIFs. Users may follow others and “note” posts by “loving” or “reblogging” in their dashboard from other Tumblr users. Tumblr has been the foundation of many subcultures and communities around like-minded bloggers.

Twitter – A microblogging platform where users post short (140 characters or less), often news-related, text updates and links. Users follow each other to see their real-time tweets in a chronological timeline. Users often follow a combination of influencers and news sources along with acquaintances and friends.

Vine – A social media platform for seven-second-long videos made within a proprietary mobile application. Similarly to Twitter, users may view and “revine” videos of users they are following. Vine also tends to skew to a younger population and is popular among teenagers.

YouTube – A video-based publisher and platform where users upload original content to share with viewers and subscribers. YouTube is also commonly embedded on websites across the web.

 

Q&A on Duke University’s Google + Presence

This interview originally appeared as a CASE blog post by Janna Crabb.

As part of a series of blog posts around Google +, I talked with Cara Rousseau, manager, digital and social media strategy at Duke University, about the school’s use of the platform.

Q: Tell us a little bit about the Google + presence your department manages and related goals. Does your institution have other accounts not managed by your department?
A: Duke University has a very active Google + presence with more than 280,000 followers and more than 2.5 million views. The main Google+ page is managed by our social media team in Duke’s Office of News & Communications. Duke Athletics and Duke Men’s Basketball also manage a very strong presence on Google+, with combined followers exceeding 500,000 and almost 2 million views, respectively. Our goals for Google+ are to reach niche communities (research, science, medical, health, etc.), to optimize search results and to leverage the Hangouts On Air video streaming platform to connect our audiences.

Q: Why is your institution on Google + and how do you find it valuable? Who is your audience?
A: Duke uses Google+ primarily as a place to optimize search results and for the Hangouts On Air feature. We first started using Google + in August of 2011 when pages launched, but we were really not sure what to do with it. Then, in April 2012, Hangouts on Air launched in beta, and we decided to explore the application, holding eight video chats for prospective and admitted students in the month of April. We used venues across campus, selected based on the theme of the chat. For example, we held our chat on “Duke spirit and pride” in the Cameron Indoor Stadium, which also houses our Hall of Fame. We held our “Duke research in the world” chat at the Duke Lemur Center to show how hands-on research happens for students. By connecting admitted students to current students in spots across campus, we were able to open a window to campus culture and student life.

Because Google+ is a social layer, it spreads across other Google applications like Google search, YouTube and Google Maps. Because these platforms all talk to each other, things that are posted on Google+ (and have good engagement and reach!) also perform better across other Google products like search. This is important if you are trying to boost the visibility of a small department or if you are promoting a faculty member who doesn’t otherwise have a public presence.

We also use Google+ to reach certain communities that are more active there than in spaces like Facebook or Twitter.

We’ve found that Google + is strong in niche areas of research and science health; it’s a cerebral place so we focus less on pride and sports and more on geekier content. Because Duke is a leading research university, we have a lot of stuff to share that is interesting to those users.

Q: What are some of your Google + successes? What have you learned? Any tips for other institutions?
A:
 Hangouts On Air have been my favorite thing that we’ve done on Google+. In addition to our student web chats, we’ve also done office hours with alumni and faculty for events such as the Oscars. Christoph Guttentag, our dean of admissions, moderated a debate between two high schools in California via Hangouts On Air. Duke’s Class of 1984 held aseries of Hangouts On Air with its class for months leading up to the 30th reunion. We have even held Hangouts via mobile devices live fromBlue Devil Days, our main student recruitment events. We are really excited to keep pushing the envelope by trying new things on this platform.

Tips for using Google+:

  1. Browse the “discover” tab and find interesting things Google+ is featuring.
  2. Search communities to see if there is a community already existing for your school (hint: it probably already exists, so it’s a good idea to find out who is active there).
  3. Figure out what’s trending on Google+ and use the hashtags to share your content (as it makes sense).
  4. Try a Hangout instead of a phone call the next time you have a virtual meeting. Using the tool will help you get much more comfortable with it.
  5. Keep it visual! Google+ has more visual space in posts and cover art than Facebook does. Make sure you are posting beautiful things with captions that sizzle.

Q: How does Google + compare with Facebook at your institution?
A: Google + isn’t a replacement for Facebook; it is a very different space. We find that our audience on Facebook (and Twitter) is more interested in school pride and sports. Our engagement on Google+ tends to be lower than on Facebook, even though we have more followers on Google+ than on Facebook. However, engagement is growing, and we get an especially good response to posts when we use keywords that are “trending” and apply that trend to our content. Google+ also has a “communities” feature that is more searchable than Facebook groups.

Q: What Google + projects would you like to focus on in the future?
A: I’d like to leverage it for more departments and uses on campus. For example, we’ve started thinking about how our career center and global education departments can use Hangouts On Air for advising and information sessions. We’re also excited about continuing to explore how we can use mobile devices to host video and connect with audiences across the world.

Duke Plays 2048

2048 challengeFew things hold a captive audience for more than a few minutes in our busy media environment. That’s why the viral “2048” game stood out to me. After seeing a few hilarious examples using the 2048 game template around the web, our digital team brainstormed how we could make a Duke version.

We decided to reward those who played our version by offering prizes to whomever reached the coveted “2048” tile. We used photos from our @dukeuniversity Instagram account so when they reached the “2048” tile they could find the corresponding Instagram photo and comment on it to win. This also gave us the opportunity to show off beautiful parts of campus and the student experience to players.

The game was a big success! Not only did we have our two winners within minutes, but community members continued to play and post comments on the winning photo for days.

We knew the game was especially popular with younger audiences so we then made another customized version for admitted #Duke2018 students. We shared a link to this version via email communication from Duke’s undergraduate admissions office and saw immediate success again. Dozens of admitted students commented on the winning Instagram photo and even followed our account as a result. During Blue Devil Days (our recruiting events for admitted students) students and parents commented again and again how much fun they had playing Duke’s 2048 game. One parent even told us how her daughter saw a beautiful red bridge in on one of the game tiles that led her to search for the real bridge in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens when she visited campus! It was great to see our digital efforts pay off in real life.

We tracked over 2,400 clicks to both of the games over the course of our campaign. This was more than just a high click-through rate. It represented hours spent playing the games and getting glimpses of the Duke experience through our Instagram photos. We learned that it pays off to keep your finger on the pulse in order to latch on to larger cultural moments. By adding a Duke flavor to this one, we were able to connect to key audiences in an unexpected way.

I Can Haz Photo Contest? Boost Your Facebook Engagement with Crowd-Sourced Photos

People love seeing photos of themselves online. “Selfie” was word of the year for a reason, after all.

But if there’s one thing the Internet has taught us, it’s that as much as people love seeing themselves, they love adorable pictures of animals even more. And if you turn that into their adorable animals, well, that’s a perfect storm.

After several years of running a successful Halloween photo contest that solicited snapshots of dressed up coworkers and decorated offices, Duke’s Office of Communication Services decided to see what kind of response we’d get from organizing a pet-themed photo contest on our Facebook page in February.

Instead of finding the most creative costumes, we wanted to find “Duke’s cutest pet.”

How we did it

We promoted the contest through our Working@Duke social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) and on Duke Today, having entries submitted to us through a Qualtrics form in order to easily capture participant contact information and photo submission.

In all, we received 39 photos and tallied nearly 1,200 votes over the course of a week. Winners were determined by public vote, but we also had “judge’s choice” selections to spread the wealth of pet-themed prizes.

We asked that entries try to focus on a Duke-related connection when possible, which included shots of a turtle in “Cameron Indoor Aquarium,” a hamster sitting in a Duke hat and even a dog wearing a Blue Devil cape.

Why we did it

While the goal was to offer a fun way to engage our community, it also benefited our presence on Facebook. All voting was held on our page in the form of likes and people were allowed to share their pictures however they saw fit to drum up support.

With so many people coming to our page to vote, here are some of the stats where we saw increases from January to February:

  • 204 percent increase in monthly likes
  • 270 percent increase of views of our Facebook page
  • 306 percent increase in the number of people clicking on our content

All this was boosted because people were voting in our contest, but even after we announced our winners on Feb. 18, we saw sustained engagement with all our posts through the end of the month, whether it was related to the contest or not.

Should you consider a contest?

Since Facebook changed its terms of service to allow for these types of contests, it seems like a goldmine for potential engagement, if only because you’re creating the opportunity to show off something your fans are passionate about. In our case, their furry (or slimy) loved ones.

Once people submit photos, the heavy lifting is uploading them and their information. Since voting is done through likes on your Facebook page, the platform does the work for you.

Most important, you’re likely to see an uptick in your monthly stats and grow your Facebook fan base. In the months since the February contest, we’ve seen increased engagement to go along with our growing number of page likes.

This is a guest blog post by Bryan Roth, senior writer/producer with Duke’s Office of Communication Services.

The State of Social Media at Duke, Spring 2014

Correct Cover SM Report Spring 2014
The social media universe has seen many changes this semester. WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook for $19 billion. Snapchat usage blew up. Google+ lost its founder. Facebook changed their algorithm again and again and again …

Here at Duke, we’ve been busy over the past few months. Our social media team created a Duke-styled 2048 game. We hosted a #DukeSpring photo walk in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens, resulting in hundreds of crowd-sourced seasonal images of campus. The Office of News & Communications produced a fast-paced video guide on using social media effectively in higher education. Current students held a number of online chats using Google+ Hangouts for admitted students.

We also did some data crunching. Amanda Peralta, David Jarmul and I prepared a short report/infographic showing the state of social media here at Duke this spring. Below is a snapshot of the data our team compiled.

metrics_graph3

A quick glance at some of the aggregate numbers for all of Duke’s institutional accounts reveals a vast presence on social media.

metrics_graph2

A look at growth and engagement on the main Duke social media accounts. One of the things we are watching very closely is the explosion of engagement on Duke’s Instagram presence.

metrics_graph1From the data, it’s clear to see social media continues to grow in importance as part of Duke’s news, communications and marketing efforts. We’ll be updating this report every semester here on Duke’s social media blog to keep you informed of our social media activity and trends.

Want more? Here is a link to the full PDF.

Using Social Media Effectively in Higher Education

Do you work with social media in higher education and wonder whether you should focus on Facebook, or Twitter, or Instagram … or something else? Which investment will give you the biggest benefit? Which matches best with the content you typically produce?

A new video from Duke’s Office of News & Communications, “Using Social Media Effectively in Higher Education,” helps you think through your options.

I originally delivered this presentation at Duke’s 2014 social media mash-up a few months ago. This spring, I worked with Cara Rousseau, Carson Mataxis, James Todd, Sonja Foust and others to capture it in video format. We’ve also prepared a helpful PDF checklist that you can use as a reference.

We hope you find the video helpful. Share your thoughts on using these different social networks in the comments below!