OU Social Media: 2014 Recap

Our year on OU social media can best and most easily be summed up and illustrated with the assistance of one word. Before I tell you what that is, you have to promise keep reading. Okay? Okay.

That word is……….ANALYTICS! 

While most people think analytics is more than slightly akin to a major snooze fest, they are one of the more fascinating parts of my job [to me]. Insightful and brutally honest, though they change, they are the constant in this job.

For the purposes of this blog post, I’ll be using Twitter analytics that our data analyst (read: magician), Eric James, built on Roambi Analytics specifically for me and OU social media. The reason I’m using only Twitter for a general “social media”  recap post is because materials discussed here re: content that was posted to Twitter was also posted to other OU social networks and those results mirror these. So overall, this is a good illustration of OU social media as a whole.

One last thing to expand on before we begin: When I meet with campus departments, college, speak at workshops, etc. I like to emphasize that building your brand is far more important than focusing on building your following. That said, for the purposes of this blog post, we will be looking at our follower growth. This is primarily because this gives us a good indication of what was happening that led these people to follow our brand.

Let’s dig in!

@UofOklahoma 2014 Twitter Follower Growth

The graph above shows our growth on Twitter. We began 2014 with 51,143 followers. As of January 6, 2015 we had 76,589 followers on Twitter. For those of you not doing the math in your head, that’s a net growth of 25,446 new followers for the year. Or 2,121 a month, 490 a week, 70 a day. Because growth isn’t necessarily that straightforward, here is an expanded view to get a better idea of big days for growth and what happened on each:

Follower Growth 5

In the first jump, actually from December 4, 2013, we were experiencing a “weather event” (“Will campus be open?” “Will campus be closed?” “I can’t believe you’re canceling class.” “I can’t believe you’re NOT canceling class.” You get the idea.) and Bedlam.

Follower Growth 3

In the second jump, from January 3, 2014, reflects OU beating Alabama in the AllState Sugar Bowl. We saw some of our highest engagement to date that day and the day after. It was an “upset” and Sooner Magic was alive and well.

@UofOklahoma Twitter Follower Activity

The next, and by far the largest spike came on January 22, 2014*, almost 4,000 people hit the “follow” button on the @UofOklahoma Twitter account. Why, you ask? On January 22, 2014, the OU campus became the scene of a “shooting.” This, of course, would later turn out to NOT be a shooting, but in the span of time from when the initial alert went out to when we were given the all clear, @UofOklahoma was a place many were visiting for updates. As you can see above, this generated more traffic than the Sugar Bowl had.

*The date on the chart is January 23. This is when engagement registered on our reports. As with Klout, there is a delay in reporting.

Follower Growth 5 - Mistake

The circled events above are actually mistakes. Eric was testing the system and those blips should not be there. Reporting reflects this and we know about it. No “big events” match up with those days so it all checks out. You’ll notice kind of a dead zone before those…..Hello, Summer! Campus kind of simmers down, people get busy, not a lot of content and it’s really a time I like to try to use for planning the upcoming year. It was steady but no major spikes – up or down.

Follower Growth 5 - Football Season

Then you see some evenly spaced spikes – this can ONLY mean one thing: Football Season. Note the bye weeks don’t see as many follows.

Follower Growth 5 - ClemsonAnd finally, that last small spike is from this year’s other bowl game. Very different outcome in that game…and very different outcome on social media. You get more followers when you win.

Follower Unfollows

With the follows come the unfollows. This is shown in the graph above. After the massive spike for the faux shooting, I expected we’d almost immediately lose many of them again. But I was wrong. They stayed. We didn’t experience a mass exodus at any point and for that I am thankful. To me this means people like what they’re seeing, the frequency is good, the quality is good and they haven’t been massively turned off by anything I’ve posted.

In conclusion, I strive for quality, consistent posts that help build our brand. They aren’t always the fun, glamorous things that are going to net us tons of followers but they are necessary. The big fish for 2014 were weather, football and crisis.

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