The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

The New Image Campaign of the University of St.Gallen

We knew that the communications team at the University of St.Gallen was planning to focus more on creating videos, but we had no idea what was in the works. Over the last months, the team has been working hard on an image film that sent the crew as far as Singapore.

The result is “Love, Loss, and Other Lessons Learned“, a love story told over four minutes and essentially a silent movie (no translation necessary, how genious!). The big premiere of their new image video was on April 28, just in time for their annual mega event, the St. Gallen Symposium.

An image movie for a relatively small university (7,666 students in case you wonder), which is not just secretly published on their YouTube channel, but is revealed with a bang and a red carpet, has to part of something bigger. What, you ask? Well, let us tell you what else they set up for this image campaign.

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The Tweeting Professor

Professors on TwitterYou can probably divide your faculty into two groups: Those who believe in the potential of social media, and those who consider it more of a waste of their time. Do you have one or more social media believers in your faculty? Congrats if you do, since we think they can offer you some highly valuable perks.

We have identified those Swiss faculty members who use social media and included it in our quarterly research about the official social media presence of Swiss universities. Program members can find a chart with that data in their official reports due to be published this week. Read on to find the top professors on Twitter in Switzerland, but also how to utilize these social media advocates in your faculty. Continue Reading →

Meet Roger Stupf, Head of Web & Information Management at the University of Zurich

This blog post is part of a series of posts highlighting social media champions in Switzerland. We’ve previously portrayed Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen and Yan Luong, Social Media Manager at Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS). This time we have the pleasure to introduce you to Roger Stupf and his team at the University of Zurich (UZH), who manages the university’s social media presence during a one-year pilot project.

Roger Stupf, Head of Web & Information Management, in front of the University of Zurich

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What Have Swiss Universities Been up to in the Last Quarter?

Official FB Page BFHFor the second time this year, we have taken an extensive look at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and iTunes U, and evaluated the presence of Swiss universities on those channels.* Each university can download its detailed report on their private landing page.

As highlighted in the previous blog post, every Swiss university and most of the universities of applied sciences have at least one Twitter account by now. Most are present on Facebook as well, as you can see in this list of official Facebook pages.

We are excited to give you some additional insight into what’s been happening on Facebook and Twitter in this past quarter below. For the first time we have taken a closer look at Facebook posts and evaluated which posts were the most successful in terms of likes, comments, and shares.

Facebook community: Full Speed Ahead for Some

A quick glance at the number of Facebook likes of official pages reveals some impressive developments in the last quarter. Two universities made a huge leap and expanded their fan base significantly.

Likes for official Facebook pages of Swiss universities during the last 4 quarters

HSG multiplied its Facebook likes by eight, and is now totaling 7,600 likes. UNILI, Liechtenstein’s university that is also participating in our program, doubled its follower base to 2,500. These increases were not accidental. Both institutions have taken measures to increase that number in the last quarter. HSG’s social media officer, Katja Wenk, pointed out that while she is definitely very active on the university’s Facebook page and posting regularly, a lot of growth came from targeted Facebook campaigns.

UNILI’s head of communications, Herwig Dämon, also ran Facebook campaigns with paid ads that appeared on pages of selected Facebook users. The ad only showed up on the page of a user who met  a certain demographic criteria and already had a friend who liked the university’s official page. In addition, UNILI ran ads for specific programs that would take users directly to the program’s website.

UNILI also applied other methods to increase the Facebook community:

  • Internal information sessions: Explaining social media activities to the internal audience increases awareness of the channels. Employees can then spread the word beyond the campus. UNILI takes advantage of the employee and student newsletters, banners, and the university’s website to promote its social media channels. This is also a big part of the work day for HSG’s Katja Wenk, who spends a large amount of her time educating university employees, mostly upon their individual requests.
  • Introduction of channels to (new) students: UNILI directs new students to the school’s social media channels with the help of the admissions office and the international relations office. With the new semester starting any day now, it’s an ideal time to promote your school’s social media presence. Check last week’s blog post to learn about 10 ways to engage students during back to school season.
  • Integrated approach: Social media is part of an institution’s overall communications strategy. Using multiple channels when communicating an event, spreading news, or engaging with the audience is key. UNILI has started to do this more often in the last quarter, for example by tweeting about an event, writing a news story about it on the website and featuring posts on Facebook with pictures and soundbites from the happening.

We expect a lot going on for the next quarter, with many new students flooding the universities’ campuses and looking for information and ways to engage with their schools.

Facebook Posts: We Like Visuals

We evaluated every program participant’s Facebook activity in July to find out which posts created the most interest in their community. Generally, posts with a picture got the most attention. Flip through the slideshow below to see the most liked, commented, and shared posts. Can you detect a pattern?


The kind of posts that received the most feedback are very different. In some cases a picture of the campus motivated people to like it, as seen in the case of ZHAW, PHZH, and UNIFR, in other cases interviews with university employees or presidents were liked most, as seen on the pages of UNIGE, UZH, WSL, and FFHS.

Twitter: One Tweet a Day

On average, universities sent 70 tweets in the second quarter of 2012, compared to 56 tweets in the first quarter. This makes an average of 5 tweets per week, about one per working day.

Tweets in Q2 2012

UZH and ZHAW have shown the highest Follower growth on Twitter since the first quarter of 2012. UZH joined Twitter with an English and German account at the end of last year.

Followers of Official Twitter Accounts in Q2 2012

.ETH and EPFL had the biggest reach on Twitter in Q2 2012. Twitter reach is calculated by counting the amount of Twitter users who have potentially seen a tweet that was talking about that university, therefore looking at how far the tweet traveled. We have only taken into account the tweets that include the official Twitter handles.

Quick tip: There are numerous tools out there to show you the potential reach of your tweet. Check tweetreach, Klout, or Traackr to find out how many Twitter users you have reached with your tweet.

Here is an overview of the universities’ official accounts and their Twitter reach for Q2 2012:

Twitter reach of Swiss universities – Q2 2012 (Source: Radian6)


* This also includes numbers for universities of applied sciences. Our research is limited to the institutions participating in the program however. Depending on the structure and nature of the institutions, they either participate as a whole (like BFH or HSLU) or as sub schools (e.g. most of the sub schools of the university of applied sciences in Zurich participate, such as the HWZ or ZHAW).

List of institutions and abbreviations

Meet Yan Luong – Social Media Manager @ RTS

 This interview is part of a series of posts highlighting social media trailblazers in Switzerland.  Our last post in this series, featured Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen. Today, we meet Yan Luong, Social Media Manager at Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS).

As often social media friendship stories go, I met Yan through Twitter in early 2012. Shortly after his name started popping up everywhere. We followed the same people on Twitter, had some LinkedIn connections in common, and seemed to share a bad habit of tweeting at odd hours.

Many tweets later, Yan and I met in Lausanne in May 2012.  Having a coffee with somebody you’ve met on social media for the first time might sound like an awkward situation. In my experience, it is the absolute opposite. After all, you know what this person cares about (Twitter), laughs at (Facebook & Instagram), and what he/she does for a living (LinkedIn). Over a few coffees, Yan and I compared notes about our jobs, new tools we are intrigued by, who’s who in the world of social media in Switzerland, and what makes social media users in Switzerland tick.

Owner of a good sense of humor and easy disposition, Yan agreed to an improptu video interview in which he talks about his work at RTS, how he manages 55 Facebook pages, and the Swiss’ obsession with the iPhone.

More about Yan Luong.


Meet HSG’s Social Media Officer Katja Wenk

With more and more universities hiring a full-time social media expert, we think it is time to put the spotlight on these faces and give you a glimpse into their daily work. During the course of the next months, we will interview various social media officers in Switzerland in a new series of blog posts. Today we meet Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen. 

Katja Wenk, Web and Social Media Officer at the University of St. Gallen

Still impressed with the professional launch of HSG’s official social media channels at the beginning of this year, I make my way up the hill to campus to meet one of the main players in that launch: Web and Social Media Officer Katja Wenk, who started in this newly-created position at the end of last year.

It has been a few years since I last set foot on the campus when I was still a student waiting to get my master’s degree in communications. Social media was definitively not the main topic of our studies back then. We touched on the subject and our professor pointed out that this would be the next big thing in communications, but that was five years ago and social media was basically nowhere. At least in Switzerland. I hadn’t heard of Twitter and official company or university Facebook pages were extremely rare to non-existant. Needless to say, at that time, my alma mater had no intentions to join Facebook or start tweeting. Today, 27 percent of Swiss universities and universities of applied sciences have a social media manager and 42 percent intend to hire one in 2012.

So here I am, approaching the campus and getting ready to meet HSG’s first full time social media officer. I am eager to ask questions about her daily routine, barriers she is facing, or which Facebook posts get the most comments.

My knock on her office door is answered by her co-worker Markus Zinsmaier, whom I met last fall during the first social media study tour. Katja is sitting behind her desk, concentrating on her screen and my first guess would be that she probably has Hootsuite open to quickly monitor or send tweets before we sit down for coffee and a chat. A few minutes later, Katja and I make our way towards one of the coffee spots in Building A, surrounded by students who grab a quick coffee before their next class begins at 10:15am.

Increasing awareness and knowledge

“I usually start with screening all social media channels to see what has been going on,” says Katja when asked about what she does first thing in the morning. But she quickly points out that her usual position is not in front of her computer screen, ready to tweet or answer comments on Facebook.” I have a lot of meetings to explain to my colleagues what my job entails and how we intend to develop the social media strategy.” Her calendar is filling up quickly with these meetings. Most of them are initiated by her colleagues from other departments, ranging from university professors to administration officers, which is clearly an indicator of the interest in social media on the campus and the high demand for more information about the tools.

Besides making others on campus aware of the new communication tools, she also spends a fair amount of time helping them get familiar with Twitter, for example. Many are eager to start using the channel and willing to learn, but some are afraid. For that purpose, the communications team also provides a handbook for everyone working at the university about how to use social media and how to set up a presence at the university.

Integration of existing presence by departments

HSG launched their official social media presence with a Facebook page, Twitter account, and YouTube channel that give information about the university in general, but they also introduced four hubs: HSG START, HSG CAMPUS, HSG PROFESSIONAL, and HSG RESEARCH. These hubs focus on different topics, target a specific audience, and are very much organized like a portal, retweeting and reposting content created by other official pages, such as the library or a faculty. The Facebook page of HSG CAMPUS, for example, frequently shares status updates by the official Facebook page of the university’s library.

The goal in the coming months is to integrate all official university social media channels for a cohesive experience. The HSG campus store’s Facebook page, for example, which has existed since 2010, was integrated into the HSG CAMPUS hub.  It now appears in the same orange color scheme and style settings as the hub it belongs to, but it is still administrated separately.

HSG’s official Facebook page highlights the four hubs

Each hub is managed by a different individual or group of people, while Katja manages the official presence by the university and oversees the integration. She is mindful of each department’s independence, and emphasizes the fact that the integration is voluntary and that she is certainly not giving instructions to these departments. “I am more of a contact point or help desk if questions come up. But branding is obviously important and we support departments with guidelines,” she adds.

Facebook community taken by storm

Of course empowering colleagues throughout the university is a high priority for Katja Wenk, but just as important is building up a strong community around the institution on social media: “You have to get to a point where the social media community knows the university and its channels.” And the university has definitely gotten there quickly. The growth of the community around HSG since the launch of the official presence in December 2011 is almost unbelievable. In only six months, the official Facebook page has climbed to nearly 7,500 likes. Compared to some universities in the US, this number is not earth-shattering, but compared to the social media landscape in Switzerland, it is very impressive. The two Swiss institutions leading with regard to Facebook likes so far were EPFL, who launched their page in June 2010 (3,976 likes as of June 6, 2012) and EHL, who launched their presence in February 2011 (4,718 likes).

Secrets to success

When meeting the person responsible for such community growth, one has to ask for the secrets behind the success. “So what works best?” I ask Katja. She thinks for a second, but quickly names a few examples that have proven to create a lot of engagement. Just as Christina Sponselli, UC Berkeley’s director for social media pointed out a few weeks ago during our last study tour, “pretty pictures go a long way,” says Katja. Polls also get people motivated to interact, she adds. Another post that was liked by many community members was a news story about the “Best Teaching Award”, given out by the students to the most popular teacher at the university. They also ran a few Facebook campaigns to increase their reach and grow their community.

Facebook statistics for HSG’s official page

Growing the community with the right objectives in mind

But just increasing the number of Twitter followers or likes on Facebook is not Katja’s primary goal: “If that was my goal, it would be achieved rather quickly since you can acquire new followers and likes easily. It’s about building a meaningful community around the brand and we have yet to see if this new community is also our target audience.” This doesn’t mean that she is not measuring the impact of her efforts. She knows well what posts generate the most interactions and likes and uses tools such as Social Bro to analyze her Twitter community.

It’s 11am and the building is flooded with students again. Two actually interrupt our conversation to ask us if we would be willing to sign a petition. We decline and I realize it’s time to let Katja go back to her desk to tend to her community, internally and externally. I quickly take a picture of her in front of one the signs outside the building, with the tents from the recent St. Gallen Symposium in the background. The university campus has not changed much since I last visited, but the face of the university online has definitely changed from a collection of websites to a whole array of platforms on the social web.


The University of St. Gallen on Social Media

Official Facebook page
Official Twitter account
Official YouTube channel

Follow Katja on Twitter.

Building our Community: One Meeting at a Time

As we all know, communicating online is a fantastic way to keep in touch but no technology will ever replace meeting face to face. On May 16, we met in Zurich to exchange information, challenges, and ideas with other program participants. It was an intense but very productive day, and the perfect opportunity to say hi to familiar faces but also many new ones.

We thank everyone who made the trek out to Zurich and to SWISS for hosting us. In the interest of all program participants, we wanted to share some of the highlights of the meeting as well as the presentations shared that day.


Panel discussion with Berner Fachhochschule, EPFL, and University of St.Gallen. I envisioned this panel as a simple discussion, if not a conversation amongst friends, about what works and does not work at each of these schools. I purposely selected three schools that were different in size, budgets, focus, and location to show examples that participants could relate to. The three panelists shared their impressions and even personal experience about managing social media at their institutions. The resulting conclusion: there is not ONE way to implement and run social media. As Andrea Schweizer from BFH advised: “Just do it”.

Upon reflection, I realized that holding such a panel would have been impossible 12 months ago when we first met in Bern, Switzerland. This shows that our community has evolved and matured, seeing each other more as collaborators rather than competitors. Thanks to Andrea Schweizer (BFH), Markus Zinsmaier (HSG), and Michael Mitchell (EPFL) for being so open and generous with their experience.

A video of the panel below. The recording starts 5minutes into the discussion but still captures most of the exchange.

Social Media @ SWISS Air Lines. Christian Lüdi, Chief Learning Officer for SWISS Air Lines, shared his experience managing social media for the airline. What mostly resonated with us was how intense the listening component is. There’s a phrase that still echoes in my head: “Respond to your true fans not slobs.” So often we hear that we need to respond and acknowledge every single comment. However, Christian showed through SWISS’s experience handling the transition to a new logo, that as in the offline world, a lot of people just complain for the sake of it and given the known constraints of time it is imperative that the true fans are not neglected. Responses to difficult people often take a long time to be crafted. Make sure they count. For more, see his presentation below:

XING for Universities. We were really pleased to have Robert Beer, XING’s Country Manager for Switzerland and Austria, present the network and all of its possibilities. We learned a couple of new things. For example, XING is the primary business network for 4 out of 5 Swiss professionals. Check out Slide 17 for an interesting infographic on how XING can generate value for students and how universities can benefit from it.

Concurrent sessions. We held three concurrent sessions in the morning and repeated two of them in the afternoon. The idea was to allow participants to benefit from as many sessions as possible. The sessions focused on the core issues of making the case for social media, monitoring and reporting, as well as content strategy. Find below the presentations for the three sessions. We thank our speakers Kelly Hungerford from Paperli, Ferdinand Kobelt and David Schaefer from SOMEXCLOUD, and Mike Schwede for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us.
1. Making the case for social media in your institution

2. Monitoring and Reporting

3. Content Strategy with

Google Switzerland. Last but not least, Michel Benard from Google CH told us briefly how Google works with universities in Switzerland. Did you know that Google Switzerland is the largest engineering office that Google has outside of the U.S.? It has more than 700 employees from over 70 countries. As most tech companies today, Google is keen on finding the best talents and is very active in Switzerland finding and recruiting graduates from top technical universities. Details about research and scholarships opportunities in the presentation below.

In the next few weeks, look out for posts with more information about the meeting, including your feedback, and what’s next with the program.