BU Social Media Communicators: Fall 2017 Meeting Recap

Editorial Calendars

Managing social media channels means being on top of a ton of key dates, campaigns and content. It’s imperative to remember to resurface old content when it’s timely (such as a video about a haunted space on campus during Halloween season), but it’s so hard to keep up.

Social Listening

What is social “listening?” It’s a data analytics tool that examines conversations about your brand happening across the web — not just on your owned social channels. Prior to its implementation, social media managers could only effectively capture a small percentage of all mentions of their brand: Those that directly @ mention us, those in comments on our pages and items that could readily be found via a rudimentary Twitter search. Social listening, however, scans hundreds of millions of online sources — social channels, the web, news, forums, blogs, video sites — to surface relevant mentions of topics of interest to you.

  • Identifying and targeting social Influencers with relevant content
  • Assisting in community-building efforts and identifying user-generated content
  • Understanding demographics and sentiment
  • Determining the full reach of our work beyond owned channels
  • Crisis detection

Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat Stories

Before we made the decision to dive into Instagram stories, we asked the following question: How would we differentiate this content from our stories on Snapchat? Ultimately, we began to view them as two distinct tools with different objectives. We wanted to capitalize on the features on which Instagram excels — discoverability, ease of uploading pre-existing content and a full array of visual tools — to tell a different story than we were telling on Snapchat.

Facebook Live & Reddit AMA’s

Recently, the PR team has been experimenting with a number of live social media tools to connect our faculty experts directly with diverse and targeted audiences.

Content Marketing

Our experiences on Facebook Live also reiterate the value in sharing content with relevant audiences. As we know from our own experiences, social media has made every organization a content-hungry business. At Boston University, we have no shortage of content related to our students, faculty, research and University as a whole. We’ve begun to look for ways in which we can broaden the reach of this content beyond our campus and the BU community.

Video on Social Media

We also spoke briefly about the changes we’ve made to our video creation and distribution strategy given changing viewing habits on social media. In early 2016, despite videos consistently ranked as the most popular type of content on social media, videos on our main social channels were falling short of our performance expectations. We looked at the data to tell us why and came to three major conclusions:

  1. Average Length Viewed: At the time, viewers were only watching 28 seconds of our videos on average. However, most videos were nearly three minutes long, meaning audiences were missing a huge amount of the content.
  2. Sound: We discovered 90–95% of our content was being viewed without sound. While adding captions was a workaround, it wasn’t necessarily enough to get people to opt-in to the content.
  3. Retention: We noticed a precipitous drop-off after videos started auto-playing in Facebook feeds. What was it about our content that wasn’t immediately capturing people’s attention?
  1. Aspect Ratio: Cropped to 1:1 rather than landscape so as to occupy more real estate in a mobile news feed. This also allows us to share any videos on Instagram without resizing issues.
  2. Sound: We made all of our videos viewable entirely without sound. The result? Now, more people watch our videos with sound. Counter-intuitive, we know. It seems that providing text overlays on the video was a key to getting audiences to opt in to the content and thus up their volume.
  3. Hook: Understanding that the first three seconds of the video were the most crucial, we set out to hook viewers with provocative beginnings that we hoped would draw them in to watch more.
  4. Length: We tried to limit all videos for social to 60 seconds or less, which often resulted in the video featuring one major takeaway. The result was actually an improvement in our average time viewed, meaning folks were opting in to the content for a greater proportion than ever before.

The Conversation

Finally, we ended the meeting with a guest speaker. Ari Fertig, Manager of University Editorial Relations at The Conversation spoke to communicators about best practices for working with the editors of his site and the benefits to both sides. The Conversation is a nonprofit news website that features articles written by academic experts. The Conversation pairs experts with professional editors to help prepare content for the general public. It’s also published under a Creative Commons license, which means content written for their site can be republished nearly anywhere — including a recent example of a republished story by a BU Dean in Time.

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BU Social Media

BU Social Media

Tips, tricks, trends, updates & news from the social media team at Boston University. Learn about our best practices and more: https://www.bu.edu/prsocial/