The objectives and goals we had in mind when creating this video were centered around high engagement rate and general brand awareness. But more importantly, our objective was about reaching our online students in two very direct ways: 1. By providing them with an opportunity to express who at SNHU they are thankful for and why, and 2. To demonstrate our genuine care for and commitment to these students by delivering these kind words to staff and sharing their reactions with the SNHU community.
Social media is one of the most powerful tools our organization has to connect our students who live all over the world with the people who help them achieve their degrees. This project was an excellent way to demonstrate that, despite geographical distance, the connections made through Southern New Hampshire University are very real, and truly matter.
Our strategy was based on two main executions.
The first execution was posting an image across our social channels of someone holding a white board that read "Who at SNHU are you thankful for?" inviting members of our community to submit kind words about their academic advisors, professors, and other staff members. This post alone was incredibly successful, as it was timely and relevant content (posted a few weeks before Thanksgiving) and utilized the kinds of unsolicited comments we often receive on social. By actively requesting them from our audience, engagement naturally increased.
The second execution featured a selection of these comments (who received a lot!) read on camera by the people for whom they were written. We ensured that these SNHU staff members would express genuine reactions by not informing them why they would be on camera. Upon their entering the room, we gave each staff member the opportunity to read the nice words from their student out loud. We then asked them how they felt. This strategy was emotionally effective, because it revealed those special connections between academic advisors and their students. These relationships are the heartbeat of our brand - they are genuine and important, and sometimes, they are what fuel our students to achieve their degrees and dreams.
Our video's visual strategy was particularly strong given the popularity of Jimmy Kimmel's "Mean Tweets" segment. We filmed participants in front of brick wall and had them read the comments from a mobile phone. This visual similarity was vital to our success because while it was aesthetically familiar, individuals who stopped to watch the video were surprised to see the concept flipped on its head.
We know that emotion works on social media. People like to engage with and share things that make them feel something. But the special part of our project is that it's not JUST emotion that people are connecting with. It's their own words, their own connections... and their own gratitude for people that they may never get to meet in person, but who have helped shape the person they have become.
Our initial post asking the community who they are thankful for resulted in 824 comments and reached 39,527 people with a 11.6% engagement rate on Facebook, a 7% engagement rate with 54 comments on Instagram, and a 3% engagement rate on Twitter.
The video (organic, not boosted) resulted in a 10.2% engagement rate on Facebook, reaching 36,595 people, 11,378 video views and 66 shares.
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