2017: A Social Year in Review
2018 is finally here, and we’re excited for what the New Year has to offer! But, as the saying goes — you can’t move forward until you look back. 2017 saw a lot of change and growth for NAU Social.
At the start of the year, our social audience (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat) totaled 112,997.
Despite the changes in the socialsphere and social algorithms,we’ve continued to grow and now have 138,937 #NAUStrong followers — a 23% increase.
Year End Stats
Facebook: 67,339 likes (+8,665)
Instagram: 31,900 followers (+5,641)
Twitter: 34,715 followers (+6,651)
Snapchat: 5,279 followers (+3,002)
Most Engaging Platform
Instagram was our most engaging platform in 2017, with a 6.67% engagement rate, over 700,000 likes, 3,600 comments, and 3,000 post screenshots.
Snapchat saw the most measurable growth in 2017, with a 131% increase in followers (from 2,277 to 5,279).
Top Social Post
This year our top social post was, of course, our NAU Letters photo! Nothing says #LumberjackPride like a solid class photo — and sharing it. With 542 shares, this post proved that our Lumberjack community is supportive, far and wide!
Total Reach: 381,582; Total Engagements: 3,006; Total Post Clicks: 19,471; Total Shares: 305
Life at the top — our continued #1 Social Media Engagement ranking
This year we were recognized for the second year in a row for our social media engagement in higher education.
Rival IQ used their software to analyze social media posts from 338 institutions of higher education, looking at university-level account posts from June 2017 through May 2018. Up&Up then leveraged their expertise in the field of marketing for higher ed to rank effectiveness, provide deep analysis, and highlight best practices — leading to their decision of the top social media engagement rankings.
Not only did Northern Arizona University perform well — we placed at the top of the mountain (#1) for social media engagement for the second year in a row.
Best Higher Ed Administrator Using Social Media
In addition to being recognized for our engagement accomplishments, our social media strategist was also chosen for the EDU Hall of Fame “Best Higher Ed Administrator using Social Media” award.
New forms of digital communications
Technology changes every day. For NAU Social, we diligently keep up to date on new forms of technology, try out new tools, and assess whether or not various tools or platforms fit with our digital strategy and capacity.
In 2017, we continued to add to our digital portfolio — creating new Snapchat geofilters for special and Facebook frames too.
Last year was the first year our team was in the driver’s seat for social media ads. This year, we amplified our social ads even further.
From creative to copy to Ads Manager, we created and executed campaigns for EMSA, University Marketing, the Graduate College and the College of Education.
The key to our success: We continually refresh our ad creatives to avoid customer fatigue and continue to optimize to find the perfect timing to post as well.
The Organic Vibe We also use fresh and fun creatives to make our paid posts match the tone of our social posts.
Here’s a look at what we’ve accomplished —
Total # of Campaigns: 15
Total # of Ads: 112
Total Spent: $21,411.10
Link Clicks: 130,754
# of photo ads: 82
# of video ads: 30
Lending a helping hand
Our goal is simple — to tell the Lumberjack story. Through new collaborations and teaming up with regular partners, we’ve been able to showcase what makes Lumberjack life so special.
In 2017 we collaborated with over 30 departments and groups on campus, including:
University Events, NAU Career, Louie’s Cupboard First-Generation Initiatives, ROTC, Development & Alumni Engagement, Campus Dining, Green NAU, Graduate College, College of Education, University Marketing, Academic Transition Programs, NAU Reads, Campus Recreation, NAU Athletics, NAUPD, Shuttle Services, Inclusion & Multicultural Student Services, Native American Cultural Center, Academic Success Center, Veterans Success Center, ITS, NAU Art Museum, Beasley Art Gallery, NAU Musical Theater, NAU Forestry, NAU Logging Sports, NAU Center for Science Teaching and Learning
What we’ve found is that the demand for social media resources and support is immense. Our campus needs our help. We can’t be everywhere at once. Recognizing this, we brainstormed ideas to offer our expertise to our fellow Lumberjacks in a way that wouldn’t take away from our day-to-day operations.
Professional Development Day — Getting Your News Out
How to get your news out and where to go to? We partnered with NAU News and Alumni Engagement to help our audience understand all aspects of communication on our campus and the best place to go to get news out.
NAU Social Office Hours
After receiving multiple requests for meetings throughout the semester, we consolidated our social consultations to one day dedicated entirely to our Social Office Hours. This semester we met with the School of Hotel & Restaurant Management, Campus Recreation, Campus Health Services, Scholarships & Financial Aid, Academic Transition Programs, Career Services and Fraternity & Sorority Life.
In these meetings we discuss social media strategy, top tricks of the trade, and how to work together as a university team to ensure that our social coverage stays at the top.
Keeping Up with NAU Social — Newsletter to campus
With the social world quickly changing, we needed a way to share what we’ve learned with campus. Thus the start of Keeping Up With NAU Social — our monthly newsletter that looks back at what we showcased the previous month and shares the changes, trends and innovations in the social media realm. These, along with tips & tricks, help our departments stay up to date and ahead on their strategy.
Lumberjack Tip: email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll add you to our list.
2017 New Year’s Resolutions
In 2017, we set goals for our team. Let’s see how we stacked up.
Goal 1: Increase and improve our video content to make sure our messages are being seen and heard.
And yes, we did. Through focusing on video and hiring another full-time employee and a summer intern both focused on video, we were able to increase our video posts by 31% and increase our video views by 24%.
Here’s a comparison:
# of Videos: 174
# of Videos: 276
# of Videos: 92
# of Videos: 251
Goal 2: Continue to provide our “mountain hospitality” through our online interactions — answering questions, pointing people in the right direction, and placing smiles on people’s faces.
Social media engagement is a long-term effort. It takes dedication, readiness to adapt, and the ability to think about how all parties involved are affected immediately and in the future. When we think about social media engagement, it’s about creating a positive experience for our audience and always being there for them.
Whether it be a question on a post or a direct message, we communicate with our audience and guide them in the right direction. Here’s a look at what our social inbox this year:
Facebook DMs: 160+
Twitter DMs: 95+
Instagram DMs: 600+
What’s ahead in 2018
For a small team, we’ve accomplished a lot and have no intention of slowing down. In 2018 we’ll continue to work harder, better, faster, and stronger to showcase Lumberjack life and the NAU experience.
Be real, be brief, be relevant, be shareable
Without a doubt, it’s harder to get noticed in today’s social world. With Facebook’s ongoing changes to the algorithm and declining reach for businesses on Facebook — the future may appear bleak.
How do you break through the system? By being real, knowing your audience and interacting with them.
Now more than ever you need to be strategic and only put your best content out there. Posts need to relate back to your audience and evoke sentiment. Evoke sentiment — evoke conversation and shares. Be real and cultivate loyal followers. While algorithms may change, your followers will stay with you if you continue to deliver quality content and powerful messaging.
Personalization — listen, respond, personalize
Choose a university that puts you first
In our #1 social engagement ranking report, we were noted for our interaction with our audience. This has and always will be a top priority for NAU Social.
Luckily, personalization is the growing trend. In the digital world, we look for content, services, and offers tailored to specific customer needs. And watch as these personalization efforts lead to greater loyalty, increased retention, and more revenue for the players who get the formula right.
Reporting — sharing our success
Engagement and followers tell only one side of the story.
Smart social means informed decisions based on data gathered from analytics platforms and processes.
While we will continue our authentic and organic posting, we will also dive deeper into the numbers game. In 2018, we’ll up our game and show our social ROI — proving that social should be a large player in digital strategy.