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A Higher Education Social Media Case Study

How USC used social media analysis to generate superior performance in their largest campaign of the year (Team members: Nicole DeRuiter)

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A Higher Education Social Media Case Study

  1. 1. Report Period: April 1 - May 31, 2014 A Higher Education Social Media Case Study How USC used social media analysis to generate superior performance in their largest campaign of the year. Photo: USC
  2. 2. Executive Summary Graduation Campaign Highlights ❖ Highest engagement rate of all graduation campaigns: 58% above competitive average ❖ Single highest engagement rate of any social media account: Instagram ❖ Early content scheduling ramp-up: 12% increase in engagement College graduation is a big deal. The culmination of years of work, with considerable time and money invested. It’s the most emotionally powerful part of the school year. USC set out to develop a campaign to capture the spirit of graduation. The series of posts would promote and enrich the graduation ceremony in a way that would resonate deeply with key target audience segments -- students, parents and faculty. The messages would not only have the potential to impact the target segments, but also the friends, family, and associates of all who participate. Details Peer Institutions: 9 major US universities Networks Analyzed: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Report Period: April 1 - May 31, 2014
  3. 3. Generating engaging communication in any environment is anything but easy. The ever-shifting nature of social media platforms only adds to that challenge. To tackle that, USC explores and analyzes content from numerous data points. Content calendars and schedules, top posting themes, media type performance. Beyond their own content, they analyze their peer institutions’ performance and practices, giving them exposure and familiarity to a broad range of content types and their performance record. “We utilize Zuum to track the content of several of USC’s peer institutions to see points of communication emphasis, post activity and frequency, social campaigns, content type usage, etc.” -- Rod Yabut, Interactive Marketing Manager Understanding trends around what content themes perform best, optimal times to post, and how different media types are used across an entire industry provides a comprehensive foundation to build campaigns upon. Objective: Maximize social impact for year’s largest event
  4. 4. Solution: Expanding the emotional and calendar footprint With the significance of graduation, USC realized an opportunity to extend the narrative of the story by creating content prior to and after the graduation ceremony. This increased the campaign’s overall impact considerably. USC also moved a higher percentage of their posting to Instagram the day of graduation. This savvy alignment of a photo-driven event with a youth-oriented photo platform propelled engagement levels higher. A vital piece of the strategy was to create a content “bank” by securing graduation-related photo assets from various events prior to the ceremony, and republishing user generated content via the hashtag #USCgrad. This allowed USC to predetermine the voice and the narrative of the 2014 Commencement campaign. “The data visualization provided by Zuum also enhances the analysis we do when researching how our channels are performing vs. our peer institutions.” -- Rod Yabut, Interactive Marketing Manager Left: USC’s top post, also the most engaging post from any of the graduation campaigns. Right: USC’s posting schedule leading up to graduation, compared to a peer institution.
  5. 5. Results: A campaign that ranked at the top of the class The data presents a strong case for the impact of the USC graduation campaign. When viewed collectively or as distinct messages, performance ranks high among USC’s peer institutions. The campaign delivered high engagement, and stretched across numerous tactical fronts: Message development, content calendars, and network emphasis. That range demonstrates USC’s thorough understanding of their social media landscape. Highlights ❖ Campaign engagement to fan ratio 58% above industry average ❖ USC Instagram most engaging social media account ❖ USC Post had single highest engagement rate ❖ Expanded impact: 12% of campaign engagements were in April “USC utilizes Zuum’s influencer tracking feature to monitor “influencers” by time period, to see who is talking about USC in the social web. -- Rod Yabut, Interactive Marketing Manager Above: USC’s engagement rate, overall and by network. Below: Peer institution engagement rates, overall and by network.
  6. 6. Addendum: USC Campaign Data
  7. 7. #USCGrad: Content Overview 1: Strong campaign engagement rate of 1.47%. 2: Instagram posts have the single highest engagement rate of any network for any of the campaigns. 3: Strong lead-in to graduation compared to other schools. 4: Instagram’s portion of engagements dominated on graduation day.
  8. 8. Top Campaign Posts 1: Highest single engagement/ fan ratio of any graduation campaign post 2: Video post demonstrates the potential for rich content based on the emotional graduation theme.
  9. 9. A Higher Education Social Media Case Study Photo by USC