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Brain Waves Newsletter
December 2018 │ Issue 2

In this Issue

Letter from Liz

We’re new around here, so I thought you might be curious about how we approach our work. Since we believe in transparency, I’m happy to share our operating philosophy with you. At Campus Sonar, we have two guiding principles: client intimacy and product innovation.

Client intimacy is at the core of everything we do. We leverage our expertise and the efficiencies we’ve built into our research and analysis methodology to deliver customized work for every client. This is reflected in:

  • Needs assessment—A strategist works with each client to determine their top priorities and strategic goals, and begin to understand campus culture. This helps us make sure we’re finding and analyzing the right conversations, with the right analytical lens.

  • Custom analysis—When we slice and dice online data, we tag and categorize conversations in ways that are relevant to each client. When delivering the results of our analysis, we frame it in the context of client priorities we identified during the needs assessment.

  • Strategic consulting—We know our clients want actionable insights, not just data. That’s why we assign a strategist to each client to make the work of the analyst relevant and timely. One of our current clients referred to this as “white glove service.”

As we set the standard for social consumer market insights in higher education, we’re always thinking about product innovation. We know that our clients represent the next generation of higher education administrators and educators. Our commitment to product innovation is demonstrated by our use of best-in-class software, a collaborative atmosphere that encourages the exploration and adoption of new analysis techniques, and the constant development of new product offerings based on what we learn from our clients and the industry. We continually push the boundaries of social consumer insights research to be not only the best and most innovative in higher education, but within the research industry at large.

While December finds many folks thinking about baking, gift-giving, and decorating, I find myself looking ahead to 2018 and the promise of opportunity it brings. I truly think 2018 will be higher education’s “year of social listening.” In this issue of Brain Waves, you’ll see social listening tied to crisis management, monitoring for campus tech issues, reputation management, customer service in a library, and even studying innovation in the “mattress-in-a-box” industry. This is just the tip of the iceberg, and I look forward to sharing more actionable, innovative application of social listening with you in 2018.

Liz Signature

Sneak Peek: Anatomy of a Snapshot

Snapshot IconCampus Sonar’s Social Listening Snapshot provides the most comprehensive overview of social listening and analysis. We offer free and paid versions of the snapshot. The free snapshot offers a glimpse of how much of the conversation is about you, using software you may not have access to. It also provides us with a better understanding of the amount of analyst support your campus might need if you choose to use our paid services.

What is the free snapshot?

It’s five pages of social listening insights specifically relevant to your campus and includes one year of mentions. Campus Sonar searches a complete archive of more than 80 million sources, including blogs, news, forums, and social media, as well as a representative sample of Twitter mentions to compile the snapshot.

The paid snapshot includes three years of mentions and is a much deeper dive. It’s likely 15-20 pages and includes a digital dashboard with an analysis of your conversations, influencers, share of voice, and more.

What's included in the free snapshot?

  • Volume
  • Owned vs. Earned
  • Authors and Influencers

Contact us for a Free Social Listening Snapshot customized to your campus, and watch for more detail on the Anatomy of a Snapshot on in January.

What To Do in a Crisis: A Case Study

Campus Sonar Case Study--CrisisThe definition of crisis is “a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.” One of Campus Sonar’s expert services is helping you through difficult decisions with 24/7 issue monitoring. A recent university client dealt with a crisis when a former employee was implicated in a scam.

We provided the client with the scope of the online conversation and mentions—most of which they wouldn’t have been able to find without help from our software and data analysis. Analyst Amber monitored:

  • Total online conversation around the issue

  • Client-specific conversation, i.e., how much of the total conversation about the issue mentioned our client

  • Online reach of the conversation, whether the content surrounding the issue generated a lot of shares and comments or if it was contained to a few individuals or organizations

  • Mentions from key individuals or organizations in the higher education industry

Starting right after we became aware of the crisis, Amber built a query (~1,400 characters with over 500 search terms) that included relevant key words and links to news articles. She also created an online dashboard to monitor the conversation, mentions, and reach. The client had 24/7 access to this dashboard that updated in real-time—allowing them to see all of the results that pulled in from Amber’s query. She monitored the dashboard to watch for an increase in sudden mention volume or a key individual or organization covering the issue. Throughout the issue, we kept our client aware with a trend analysis (e.g., who is providing coverage or commenting on the issue, whether we expect the issue to grow or die out, top authors and sentiment, percentage of conversation that pertains to client, etc.).

What did we learn?

  • Don’t dismiss manual investigation. When Amber dove into the mentions and did some manual investigating on the individuals who commented, a handful of them were associated with the higher education world. We monitored these key individuals in case a reporter wrote an article, or a competitor responded.

  • Consider fake content. Because this issue involved citizens who are regularly in the news (veterans), part of the online conversation was driven by bots or fake right-wing accounts. Ultimately, real people interact with fake content so it still drives the conversation. This is a good takeaway and something to address in the future.

Throughout the situation we helped our client mitigate the risk and manage the crisis. Without our help, our client may have made an official response to the situation, but our analysis of the scope and volume of the conversation convinced them that this wasn’t necessary. In fact, it may have saved them from unnecessary negative attention to an issue that naturally died out on its own. If you’re looking for help with crisis management or other social listening services, contact us to learn more about how we can help.

Read Our Latest Blog Posts

Using Instagram for Social Listening by Andrew Cassel, November 15, 2017

Psst: Students Tell the Internet (Not You) Why They Drop Out by Amber Sandall, November 21, 2017

What We Really Think About Word Clouds by Liz Gross, November 29, 2017

Using Social Listening for Customer Service: A Librarian’s Journey by Susie Kirk, December 6, 2017

Exclusive Access: Opportunities for Social Listening in Higher Education

Liz and Mike Horn (University of Georgia) co-authored an article that appears in the Winter 2017 issue of the Journal of Education Advancement and Marketing. Opportunities for Social Listening in Higher Education is the first peer-reviewed article about practical applications of social listening for higher education administrators in all functional areas of the college or university.

Social listening can support and inform strategic initiatives on campus such as reputation and enrollment management, crisis communication and audience research and insight. When applied across campus, social listening becomes a vital source of intelligence to improve and achieve outcomes from brand to student engagement to fundraising efforts. 

Download the Paper

You Asked, We Answered

After a five-minute lightning talk at the AMA Higher Education conference, Liz received a follow-up question from an executive director of communications and marketing for a private university system.

Q: How can you use social listening for reputation management? Is it just so we can respond to people that have bad things to say about us?

A: Social listening for reputation management is about much more than finding and responding to individual mentions. In fact, there are often times when individual responses may not be an appropriate strategic move (i.e., when individuals exhibit troll-like behavior, or are commenting on sites that aren’t particularly friendly to organizations, like Reddit). Whether in a crisis or monitoring the sentiment related to an on-going issue, social listening can provide intelligence that informs traditional communication strategies, such as whether or not to issue a statement, what questions to answer in statements to the media, or what constituencies to focus on. It could also identify disgruntled individuals or advocates who would benefit from a phone call or email from a key executive leader.

So, don’t think about social listening as a strictly 1:1 activity (find a mention, write a response). Think about it as a way to take the pulse of your audience so you can be better informed as you conduct issue management.

Key Social Listening Resources

The 7 Ways Brands Use Social Listening Results of a study that revealed the seven issues medium and large businesses are monitoring with social listening tools.

Incorporating Reputation Risk Leaves Nothing to Chance The importance of implementing effective enterprise risk management (ERM) to increase a firm’s value and improve an organization’s efficiency.

More Americans Are Turning to Multiple Social Media Sites for News A Pew Research Center report details that a quarter of all U.S. adults get their news from two or more social media sites, up from 15% in 2013. The variable is the extent to which each site’s news users get news from other sites and which sites those are.

News Shared on Twitter Can Drive the Conversation, Study Finds A recent study finds that even a handful of stories from small news outlets have substantial power to affect the national conversation.

Poverty Is Largely Invisible Among College Students Research reveals that the main barrier to degree completion isn’t tuition, but having a place to sleep and eat at night—the most basic needs. While many colleges have started to tackle the hunger issue, having a place to live is a very real problem for many students.

The Top Higher Ed Digital Marketing Trends You Need to Know in 2017-2018 If you’re prepping your marketing content strategies for 2017–2018, check out the top nine trends that will impact marketing for colleges and universities.

Why I Social Podcast Episode 146 Dr. Liz Gross explains why she started Campus Sonar, her journey in social listening, and why she’s passionate about audience engagement and voice of customer.

See Campus Sonar

We’re staying home this month! Look for Liz at the Carnegie Conference in Orlando next month—she’ll be partnering with Josie Ahlquist of Josie and the Podcast to bring some information and insights to you live from the conference. 

Happy Holidays from Campus Sonar
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