#BuckeyeForLife: A story of audience engagement

Editorial Jan 06, 2014 #BuckeyeForLife: A story of audience engagement

Communication specialist Lauren Boyd writes how Ohio State uses social media to gather and share #BuckeyeForLife stories.

The key to social media? Being social, listening to your audience and engaging in conversations. One of my goals for the 2013-14 year is to engage our followers—responding to #new2OSU students, thanking people for sharing their Buckeye pride photos and asking them to share their Ohio State stories. (This is not only lots of fun, it also fits the Advancement strategic goal of "broaden(ing) and deepen(ing) constituent engagement with the university.")

Because this experiment was successful, we're already asking ourselves the question: What's next?

Cue inspiration: An NPR Facebook status immediately sparked an idea for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. It was short, sweet, to the point—and most importantly, engaging! We asked, “How can Ohio State use something like this? What question can we ask that will start a conversation?” After a few tries, we found it: Why are you proud to be a #BuckeyeForLife?

Every Friday in November, we sought responses to this question on Twitter and Facebook, “In a month when we give thanks, tell us why you’re thankful to be a #BuckeyeForLife!” As expected, we received hundreds of proud Buckeye students, alumni, parents and friends expressing their gratitude toward Ohio State.

As we received responses, we compiled some of the best into a Storify, which was used on social media, in Interim President Alutto’s Thanksgiving message and as part of an osu.edu feature.

Another key to social media? Timing. Thanksgiving was a perfect time to broadcast this Storify on social media. Starting the Sunday before Thanksgiving (and throughout the entire week of Thanksgiving), we posted our Storify for people to enjoy during the week we give thanks.

The end result? A fun multimedia project that allowed us to listen to our followers, engage in meaningful conversations and share Ohio State stories in a fun, innovative and new way.

What we learned:

  • Timing is everything. We made sure to time this with Thanksgiving, when people are naturally feeling thankful.
  • Storify is a great way to gather and present user-generated content.
  • Colleges, units and departments across the university were crucial to our success. They got behind this project—sharing from their channels and asking their followers why they are thankful to be Buckeyes. This helped us gather content that speaks to Ohio State's broad reach; we shared stories of grateful students, alumni and Wexner Medical Center patients, among others.

Because this experiment was successful, we're already asking ourselves the question: What's next? We're thinking about how we can continue to use Storify to show the meaningful engagement that's happening when we use social media to interact with students, faculty/staff and alumni.

About the author

Lauren Boyd - boyd.404@osu.edu
Communication Specialist
Lauren Boyd

Lauren is an Ohio State communications grad who manages university social media accounts and leads a monthly group of social media communicators.

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