The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

Digital Campus Study Tour – Day 4

Digital Campus Study Tour 2013By Giovanni Sammali, Community Manager at the University of Neuchâtel.

Day #4: Assembling the Pieces of the Social Media Puzzle

In the first three days, we got all the pieces of the social media puzzle (see previous posts). The time has come to assemble them. Michael Stoner explained us how to do this in his great and clear workshop on Thursday morning at swissnex San Francisco. With several relevant examples (relevant: one of the keywords of this relevant day!), and nine lessons (ten indeed, Michael!) to succeed in social media.

Michael Stoner’s essential rule is: Focus on all your channels, don’t isolate your campaigns! Integrate all the channels and platforms you are on, from the website to print, from advertising to emails, from Facebook to Twitter for sure, but also Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram (young users are our students of tomorrow), etc. And speak to all your audiences, not just current students, but also staff, prospective students, parents.

Website as a Hub: The Master Piece of the Puzzle

To build the best social media network, we have to begin with the central piece of our online presence (not from the side, like with real puzzles): the website of our university or institution. The homepage has to be for us what the hub is for airlines : the departure point of all interconnections, the “piazza” with all the channels we can use has to be connected.

Three (or Four!) Angular Pieces for the Puzzle

Michael Stoner proposes ten lessons to be successful with social media. Here are four of them, marking angular pieces of the puzzle.

  • Everything is connected to everything. The channels we use, which must tell consistent stories, have to mutually reinforce each other. See the Apple constellation (applications, Apple Store, etc.). It’s necessary to check that all your channels are consistent and connected to each other: “The smoother and more integrated the online experience, the higher the chances for conversion at any point”.
  • Punk is not dead? Neither is the email! (sorry Mark Zuckerberg). Michael presented a case study in which it was proven that email is more effective than Facebook. Eighty percent of teenagers use email at least once a week, and check their email nearly daily on their mobile. So really don’t forget your email lists!
  • Successful campaigns begin with planning. As Eisenhower said, “plans are useless, but planning is essential”. And the goals have to be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely).
  • Focus on the channels you are on. Don’t be everywhere until you’re awesome everywhere you are!

Michael Stoner - Social Works

Nevertheless, Michael Stoner encourages us to jump on the LinkedIn University pages fast: ”You must have one. It’s a huge opportunity”. And while you create it, think about how the page can be valuable to its audience (students looking for job opportunities, etc.).

Some Other Tips “en vrac”, as It’s Said in French

  • Metrics are key. They establish the success of our work, and make it relevant for our bosses.
  • It is crucial to demonstrate the value of what we do.
  • To be successful, we need to be 100% in accordance with our audience’s expectations.
  • Social media are increasingly woven into campaigns (for example alumni engagement & brand marketing).
  • Connect with the whole audience.
  • To find what is relevant for our audience, ask them! With surveys, or face to face.
  • Key parts of any campaign or strategy is about thinking of global possibilities.
  • The strategy matters more than the platform.

Alex Shapiro – UC Hastings College of The Law: Get to Know Your Audience Before You Speak to Them

At the University of California, Hastings College of Law, Alex Shapiro gave us an exciting presentation of the dynamic, cool and very professional and successful way he built his social media puzzle. Some of his best advice is to be close to our audience: “get to know them before you speak to them on your channels”.

Alex Shapiro From UC Hastings

A very useful tool he recommended is Quintly, where he tracks competitors.

Alex is lucky to work closely with the Dean, who makes sure that colleagues inform Alex if they are planning an event or have something else coming up that could be interesting for Alex’s team.

Hey #dcsf13 guys: Are you also jealous of such a Dean? Maybe Alex can send him to us for a couple of days to meet our Deans in our universities…

Amie Wong – California Academy of Sciences: Work in a Holistic Way

We had another great meeting with Amie Wong, Digital Media Manager at California Academy of Sciences. She gave us a demonstration of how she runs the social media channels, including Google+, which is more important for them today than when it was first launched.

Amie Wong at Cal Academy


Amie also recommends a holistic approach, marrying the different platforms. But without fragmenting our social brand in unnecessary ways, as Adrian (@dasulza) tweeted.

Tweet Adrian Sulzer

And don’t forget : “The more platforms you use, the more you have to manage and the more content you have to create”. So we have to be sure it’s worthwhile and that we have enough time to manage them before we move on to a new platform.

#DCSF13’ers: A Dream Team

Last but not least, here are some more pieces for the puzzle, added by our #DSCF13’ers dream team:

  • Give your audience the chance to ask a scientist questions through one of your channels.
  • Feature external content, but add value by including a comment from one of your researchers.
  • Make the audience part of your social media puzzle, for example with a student blog, like BEAST.

And now, what’s missing?

The last goal is to define a strategy (not plans, but planning: as Michael Stoner explained). Not to put constraints, but to help us in selecting and running the right channels.

And do you know how lucky we are? That’s just what Florencia promised us for Friday. We will have a workshop with David Harris! The puzzle will be completed.

We’ll just have to play the game and rebuild it once we are back home. Can’t wait!

P.S.: this new tremendous day ended with a museum visit at the Night Life event of the California Academy of Sciences. Amazing…

Cal Academy

Cal Academy Earthquake Exhibit