NAU Social Recap: February 2017

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After a snowy start to the year, February brought with it a welcome change and moments that warmed our hearts.

February is all about spreading the love. Love for each other and also love for our school. This month, Team Social was out and about creating and sharing memories to make our audience feel the love, whether on campus or around the world.

Before we dive too deep into Valentine’s fun, here’s a look back at the social and platform updates this month.

Social Ads

The world of social is constantly changing and updating. One of the most recent updates is the new vertical format of videos in Facebook ads. While vertical videos have been unpopular in the past, times are changing.

Here are a few reasons why we’ll be experimenting with vertical video in 2017, and the benefits it will bring:

  • Our audience accesses social media on mobile devices the most (90% of Facebook’s daily active users access it via mobile, whereas 56% only access it via mobile)
  • People naturally hold their phones vertically
  • Social networks are vertical video-friendly
  • Vertical video ads convert better

In addition to vertical video on Facebook, Instagram ads now allow you to add a video as part of its carousel ads. What does this mean? More opportunities to tell a story using unique media to garner engagement and reaction.

Lastly, another Facebook Ads feature is the ability to add gifs! We’ve been trying out these new features, including the one below for our Summer term social campaign.

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Speaking of Summer Term ads, let’s take a look at how our audience has reacted to the first round of ads that ran from February 27 — March 2.

Link Clicks: 114
Reach: 10,862
Cost Per Link Click: $0.90
Total Cost: $102.84

So far, so good. Our audience is engaging and reacting to our campaigns, even after just a few days.

Valentine’s Day

When you have a mascot as handsome as Louie, you have to share the love.

Team Social had a photo shoot with Louie that resulted in a lot of love and candy for our participating Jacks, too.

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Facebook — mastering the art of the share

60,119 likes (+359), 45,281 people engaged

When it comes to measuring success on Facebook — we continue to put a premium on shares. Shares extend your network and your reach, building a stronger Lumberjack community and brand recognition and credibility.

With this in mind, we continue to think share-worthy stories first (and often times delay posts until we find that perfect piece to accompany it) and a priority on video as well.

Live videos — are here to stay

Within the video realm, we carefully plan and strategize our content in order to optimize Live Video. People spend 3x longer watching live video on Facebook compared to regular video.

Live streaming allows our audience an opportunity to connect to the happenings on our Flagstaff campus from a unique and authentic perspective. The immediacy and interactivity of live streams leave the audience excited for what is happening next, engaging them in the content. For that reason, we are preparing to take our Facebook Live to the next level with Live API (application program interface).

Live API provides flexibility and increased professional quality with live streaming to Facebook. For example, it will allow us to use our DSLR camera to broadcast, even allowing the switching between multiple camera set ups, and the addition of graphics. Think television style production for Facebook Live. High quality = higher engagement.

Live video tips

While it’s nice to have equipment, all you really need is your phone. Don’t over plan or overthink or you’ll miss timely opportunities.

  • Prepare and practice — Know what you’re going to say and test the connection to make sure it’s strong enough for the entire stream. Nothing is worse than when you lose your connection and kill your steam.

Lumberjack Tip: Ensure your signal is consistently strong. Connect to wifi and turn your phone to airplane mode to avoid disruptions. Do a test broadcast and select the audience to only yourself to see how it appears.

  • Promote and cross-promote your event in advance Cross-promote on Twitter or other social channels with the link to your broadcast. Build anticipation. Don’t forget, you can promote your live-stream after it has ended as well.
  • Engage with your audience Always start with an introduction and engage with your users. Ask them questions and don’t forget to acknowledge questions received during the broadcasts and answer them too.

Tip: Have a pinned comment ready for people who join the broadcast in midstream. You can also tag team engagement so a team member responds to audience questions while viewing the stream from another device.

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Twitter — current trends

29,681 followers (+481), 1.6M impressions, 977 mentions

When we want to get things out, and get it out fast — Twitter is our go to platform. Whether it be the commotion of a delayed snow day or the excitement of a Spring Concert announcement, Twitter posts reach our audience and get them clicking too.

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Instagram — capturing the beauty of NAU

27,251 followers (+451), 48,601 likes

This month we held NAU Social’s first #InstaNAU contest and featured the selections in the School of Communication art gallery. With over 20 students’ photography presented in the gallery, we created a space where we could showcase our Lumberjacks’ talents and highlight while also adding to our user-generated content.

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Keeping up with trends

Since the announcement of Instagram stories, we’ve been utilizing the feature to give an inside look into Lumberjack life. We provide a glimpse into daily campus happenings in a way that fits with the culture of Instagram. We strategize and plan so that even if we have the same story on Snapchat and Instagram, it’s covered in different ways — because 1) why would you want to watch something you’ve already seen before and 2) our Instagram audience is still a different audience than Snapchat and should be treated so.

This month, Instagram rolled out a new feature — Instagram albums. You can now combine up to 10 photos and video that appear in your feed as one swipeable album gallery.

We’ve already taken advantage of this feature and have used it to share our best user-generated content on #PhotoFridays and when one photo won’t do it justice — like when you have all the elements on a single day.

How can you utilize the new feature?
The album format is great for showcasing events and step by step guides. For example, Instagram albums will be incredibly useful towards the beginning of the next academic year, as we are showcasing our Lumberjacks during move-in day, the first day of classes, and family weekend!

Tips for getting started:

Choose your first image carefully. Your first image affects whether users will scroll through to see the rest. Make sure the first post is engaging and visually interesting on its own.

Use a mix of photos and videos. Adding video to the mix makes your album that much more dynamic.

Make your posts count. Include what you need and nothing more. Stay focused on the goal for each post and only add images/videos that are relevant and help to complete the story.

Use your words wisely. Remember, it’s one caption for all posts. Make sure there’s a theme and that if you’re telling a story, there’s a beginning, middle & end.

Albums & the algorithm
With most new social features, albums will work better with Instagram’s algorithmic feed. Without album posts, when users upload a string of images onto Instagram, these images may appear disjointedly in the feed, which surfaces content algorithmically instead of reverse-chronologically.

Albums have also allowed a new opportunity to insert ads at the end of a user-created carousel album. This feature allows our creatives to channel the organic and genuine style that we use with our ads.

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Snapchat — inside look

28 total stories posted, highest view count = 1.9K, highest screenshot = 236

February saw a very unique set of Snapchat coverage. From National Signing Day (NAU Football) to NAUsaidYES Day, our Lumberjacks were as spirited as ever! Here’s a quick recap:

National Signing Day (NAU Football), #FashionFriday, NAU Gymnastics Takeover, Running Buddy Program, NAU Ten Alumni Group Night, Valentines Day, Career Fair Prep: Gateway Takeover, Jacks at U of A, Stressbusters-Motivation, Favorite Class, Body Love, Shiza Shahid Campus Talk, Spring Training, Soup Tasting, & Health Promotions.

Shiza Shahid, Malala Fund co-founder and CEO, presented her story of empowering women in education.

One of the ways that we record engagement on Snapchat is the amount of screenshots we receive per story. During our Lumberjack Takeover with student Katie Witt, a Lumberjack dessert chef, her chocolate pie recipe received 236 screenshots (the highest screenshot for the month of February). What does this mean exactly? It means that our audience is actually engaging and enjoying the content that we produce and the hard work that the NAU Social team puts into planning these stories is paying off.

Katie Witt’s Snapchat Takeover — Baking Style

Medium — the Lumberjack story

Love is in the Air
976 view

Lumberjack Sweets
80 views

Spread the Lumberjack Love
172 views

A Look Ahead: Spring cleaning

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As spring break is speeding up on us sooner than we expected, it’s time to do a bit of NAU Social spring cleaning. What does that entail for us? Well, it means prepping for the second half of the semester, finishing up our projects, and being proactive about our summer action plan. Here’s a sneak peek:

  • Grabbing photos and videos while there’s still snow on the ground
  • Social videos — Parent & Family Services, Senior Tips, Graduation, Summer Term
  • Preparing our search for summer and fall interns

Until next month — Team Social

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It’s always a great day to be a Lumberjack! Join the conversation and share your #NAU story.

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