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Social Media at Georgia Tech ResearchStrategyAction


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Title: Social Media at Georgia Tech ResearchStrategyAction

Social Media at Georgia Tech
  • April 16, 2009

Why Do Social Media Benchmark Research?
  • Institutional pull toward social media due to
    alignment with technology brand
  • Other reputational gauges were in place
  • Prior ongoing research on traditional media
    visibility and message penetration
  • No comparable baseline on visibility, image, and
    competitive position in social media

What We Wanted to Understand
  • What is the visibility norm in social media for
    an academic institution and how does GT compare?
  • What is the tone of social media discussion
    compared to that in traditional media, and how
    does GT compare?
  • How likely are an institutions strategic
    messages to penetrate social media, and how does
    GT compare?
  • What are the best ways to tell if social media
    users are engaging with your brand, and how does
    GT compare?
  • How does traditional media influence an
    organizations social media opportunities?
  • What role should social media play in GT brand
    projection ?

Research and Findings
Katie Paine
  • Local, National, TV media included in a
    longitudinal study of earned media.
  • Selected peer institutions included
  • Sports excluded
  • All items read by member of target audience
  • Specific course blogs not included
  • External Blogs 332 Items from 50 blogs in 7
  • Internal/institutional blogs 1901 Items from 114
  • Facebook 811 items
  • YouTube 1668 items
  • Bookmarking Sites 341 items

27 Types of Discussion
  • Acknowledging receipt of information
  • Advertising something
  • Answering a question
  • Asking a question
  • Augmenting a previous post
  • Calling for action
  • Disclosing personal information
  • Distributing media
  • Expressing agreement
  • Expressing criticism
  • Expressing support
  • Expressing surprise
  • Giving a heads-up
  • Responding to criticism
  • Giving a shout-out
  • Making a joke
  • Making a suggestion
  • Making an observation
  • Offering a greeting
  • Offering an opinion
  • Putting out a wanted ad
  • Rallying support
  • Recruiting people
  • Showing dismay
  • Soliciting comments
  • Soliciting help
  • Starting a poll

  • Engaged 3 comments per post.
  • Hyper-engaged 12 comments per post.
  • After day 2 most comments are done, 14 days max.
  • Messages were communicated in 1 out of 25 blogs.

Lessons Learned
  • Engagement vs. mentions
  • Types of conversation tell you what to pay
    attention to
  • Focus on two or three types of social media that
    matter to your audience
  • Top schools stay on top via social media
  • Keep it personal, real authentic
  • Encourage individuals, not departments, to
    maintain institution blogs
  • To drive engagement, encourage personal opinions
    and anecdotes
  • Go where the interest is, dont reinvent the

Overview of Key Metrics
Peer 1 was the competitive leader in all but
YouTube, where Peer 4 and Peer 3 led. Actions
attributed to individuals were responsible for
most content, except on YouTube.
Top 5 subjects of discussion in each channel
Few subjects appear across all forms of social
media, so tailor outreach accordingly
Influence of Traditional Media
  • On average, bloggers included as many as six
    links to external content in a post, the number
    three source being traditional news media sites.
  • Links to its newsroom accounted for 26 of links
    to on blogs.
  • On Facebook, traditional news media sites were
    the source of 25 of popular items posted to
  • One third of content on social news sites was
    from traditional media sources.
  • Twice as many hard news stories were posted to
    social news sites as features.

Selected Traditional Media Outlets Among Popular
Sources of Content
BBC Boston Globe CNET CNN
EurekAlert! Google News Los Angeles Times The
New York Times
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette San Francisco Chronicle
Washington Post
Focus on Facebook
  • Less than 1 used network-level discussion
  • By September, discussion hosted by freshman
    groups decreased 99.
  • Almost 1/3 of content posted to profiles was
    related to a home institution.
  • 22 of Facebook discussion was related to the
    asking and answering of questions, second only to
    advertising (30).
  • 56 of questions went unanswered, but most were
    not related to the institution.
  • High school students accounted for 8 of all
    questions. Almost all of their queries were

Where people get the content they share on
Sources of content
Genre of content
Standard Classification of Video Content
  • Advertisement
  • Animation
  • Demonstration
  • Event/Performance
  • Fiction
  • Film
  • Home Video
  • Instructional Video
  • Interview
  • Lecture
  • Montage
  • Music Video
  • News Broadcast
  • Promotional Video
  • Sightseeing/Tour
  • Slideshow
  • Speech
  • Television Show
  • Video Log

Facebook Recommendations
  • Limit engagement with Facebook to contact with
    group officers
  • Do NOT participate in discussions on the network
    wall or discussion board
  • Provide administrators of freshman groups with
    links to online resources no later than April
  • Consider using Facebook to create with other
    specific audiences like parents, graduating
    seniors and campus leaders
  • Do not consider Facebook an appropriate vehicle
    for research discussions

Understanding Brand Ownership of Online Video
YouTube Recommendations
  • Use YouTube as a vehicle for strategic message
  • Tailor materials related to high profile
  • Prepare media infrastructure for increased
    emphasis on online video
  • Encourage faculty members to be subjects of videos

YouTube Recommendations
  • Focus on creating YouTube playlists of thematic
    content already found on the site
  • Best Subjects
  • Inventions
  • Faculty i.e. Last Lecture
  • Engineering research i.e. DARPA Urban Challenge
  • Robotics Institute of CMU
  • Humor FTRI
  • Ads, Homecoming, Robotics also did well

Focus on Social Bookmarking
  • In the event of a crisis, expect seeding from the
    local papers
  • Thursday Friday saw the greatest number of
  • GTs status as a technical institution is an
    asset in the social bookmarking environment
  • Few strategic messages appeared in social
    bookmarking sites

External Blog Recommendations
  • Consider external blogs an opportunity for
    third-party endorsements
  • Treat influential external bloggers as you would
    industry analysts or key reporters
  • Focus efforts on blogs written by more than one
    person, particularly in engineering and special
    focus areas
  • Avoid local mainstream media blogs
  • Focus on top-tier media outlets as key sources of
    content for bloggers
  • Include blogger-friendly features in the FT
    online newsroom particularly video
  • In a crisis, expect bloggers to collect
    background from personal web pages, user profiles
    and/or project sites

Focus on Institutional Blogs
  • Most blogs are written by individuals
  • The location of links played the largest role in
    driving comments
  • Technology drove the largest number of posts, but
    personal life drove comments
  • Most posts consisted of making an observation,
    most comments asked questions
  • Photographs were most frequently used multimedia
  • Institutional bloggers were significantly more
    likely to be positive toward their home
    institutions than mainstream journalists
  • Currently enrolled students wrote one in five

Recommendations for Institutional Blogs
  • Recruit faculty to blog
  • Guide message communications
  • Tailor institutional blogs to the audiences
    looking for more in-depth information
  • Encourage bloggers to be opinionated
  • Mix in personal subjects
  • Leave frequency of posting up to the discretion
    of the blogger
  • Remove abandoned blogs
  • Unify blogs with easy-to-find thematic lists of
  • Make it easy to share content from your
    institutional blogs i.e., lots of music and

Selected Safe Bets for UGM Outreach
  • Safe Bets somewhat frequent subjects that result
    in desirable, engaging discussion
  • Research that has resulted in a new, demonstrable
  • Research in engineering, computing and robotics.
  • Faculty achievements, lectures and appointments.
  • Events, especially competitions.
  • On institution-supported blogs, campus life,
    depictions of student life and admissions
  • On external blogs, expert commentaries by
    faculty, especially political commentary.

Strategy and Implementation
Kathi Wallace
Goals Our Strategy Supports
Underlying Goals/Commitments
  • GTs vision to define the technological research
    university of the 21st century includes
    leveraging innovative communications technologies
    that work
  • Overall GT communications strategy recognizes
    importance of 2-way dialogue and reaching
    constituents where they are
  • GT communications commitment is to help achieve
    the following, and to use all available tools to
    do it effectively
  • ? Strengthen institutions sense of unity
  • ? Further improve quality of student applicants
  • ? Support fundraising
  • ? Improve GT reputation

Strategy / Tactics
Strategy Phase Early Exploratory
  • Research showed merit to further social media
  • Sharing research with broad communications team
    fostered greater awareness of range of
    initiatives and better articulation
  • of collective strategy
  • Current direction best defined as Early
    Exploratory Strategy
  • Behavior still somewhat opportunistic, but
    becoming more deliberate, targeted, and
    integrated with broader communications
  • Prevailing view is relatively low investment,
    low risk

Strategy Component I
  • Active participation in multiple forums to
  • new relationship-building opportunities and
  • further assess value - EXPLORE
  • Use social media to gain GT visibility on student
    oriented topics
  • Velvet Glove approach adhere to culture of
    restraint in introducing formal institutional
    voice to external forums
  • Encourage dialogue participation by GT community
    members with legitimate associations with forums

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Tactic Example
I(A) Sponsorship of well-targeted Institute-level
blogs to increase campus community
engagement and foster information exchange
between leadership/campus
  • Permit frank, open, and moderated comments
    (authenticity, effectiveness, alternative to
    off-site postings)
  • Sponsor student admissions-related blogs to
    support recruitment
  • Cross-refer prospective students to blogs in
    marketing collateral
  • Include media team in information loop as
    preparation for managing any resulting external

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Tactic Example
I(B) Incorporation of Twitter micro blogging into
PR and crisis management plans
  • Large market for immediacy characteristic of
    Twitter communication
  • Police Department plan includes use for campus
  • Communications retweets on GT channel to
    broader audience
  • PR department uses to distribute news releases,
    event information, links to GT articles
  • Early audience includes peer schools,
    journalists, donors, students
  • 600 followers on GT News and Information channel
    in first 2 months
  • PR department also follows peer institution
    Twitter channels

Tactic Example
I(C) Development/participation in Facebook groups
that reach strategically important
  • Students Organizing for Sustainability group
  • Targets current GT students interested in
    grassroots campaigns for environmental
    sustainability (GT research thrust area)
  • Student-initiated
  • Institute provides student officer with
  • Hispanic Buzz group
  • Targets Hispanic prospective students
  • Uses university mascot as fantasy character for
  • Initiated by undergraduate admissions

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Tactic Example
I(D) Targeted use of Linked In professional
networking site to heighten alumni
engagement and support employee
recruitment goals
  • Job postings on HR group pages have produced
    employment candidates
  • Alumni Association uses on broad scale to
    increase alumni engagement and connection with
  • Efficient to use existing mass forums vs.
    building own
  • Additional targeted strategy to appeal to less
    social young alums

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Strategy Component II
II. Inclusion of social media in media outreach
to boost favorable visibility and strategic
message penetration
  • Include social media element in every media
  • Use wire services to seed content to desirable
    external blogs (PR Newswire, Eureka Alert,
  • Directly pitch to well-targeted tech-oriented and
    higher education blogs (TechCrunch, Gizmodo,
  • Create no-pitch list of bloggers who prefer no
    email story pitches
  • Rely on traditional media outlets and blogs to
    reach social bookmarking site users
  • For crisis news, prepare for content to be seeded
    to social bookmarking sites from AP and AJC

Strategy Components III and IV
III. Development of administrative policies to
support effective management of social media
  • Monitor internal/external forums for major
    misinformation or information needs that warrant
    active participation in dialogue
  • Discontinue non-active blogs after 6 months -1
    year and migrate blogs off GT web site in event
    of faculty departure

IV. Development of technical infrastructure to
support efficient use of visuals for social media
(videos, photos)
Strategy Component V
V. Formal evaluation of impact of social media
participation on GT constituent engagement /
university reputation
  • External forums include social media metrics in
    ongoing media measurement program
  • Institute-sponsored forums track viewership and
    engagement levels
  • Review how effectively individual social media
    selections are working together for impact

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