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Brain Waves Newsletter
January 16, 2018 │ Issue 3

In this Issue

  • Director's Letter 

  • Meet Analyst Amber Sandall

  • Engaging Generation Z: Learning Voice of Customer

  • Recent Blog Posts: Influencer Marketing, NC State Social Media Strategy Hub, and More!

  • Key Social Listening Resources 

  • You Asked: What Sites Does Social Listening Cover?

  • See Campus Sonar 

  • Tell Us What You Think 

Director's Letter

I’m so excited for 2018, because I think it will be the year that higher education truly embraces social listening. Instead of talking about how campuses could be using social listening, the Campus Sonar team will show you how they actually do it. Based on our six-month pilot with five campuses and interviews with other early-adopter campuses, we have dozens of real-life examples of social listening in action to share with the industry. You’ll be learning more about case studies ranging from crisis monitoring, to brand benchmarking and audience research in this newsletter, on our blog, at conference presentations, and in our first eBook.fb-post-goes-live.jpg

To kick off the year and deliver some exclusive, snackable social listening insights, the Campus Sonar team will be “going live” February 19-23. Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for live interviews, mini-sessions, and behind-the-scenes access to the work we’re doing. I hope you’re as excited for this new year as I am!


Meet Analyst Amber Sandall


In our November issue, you met Emily Prell, now we’d like to introduce you Amber Sandall. Emily and Amber are Campus Sonar analysts who perform conversation analysis for our clients.  

Amber loves creating and optimizing social listening queries, cleaning and categorizing data, performing data analysis, and providing data-driven insights to clients through reports, dashboards, and presentations. Amber is keen on delivering social business intelligence that is targeted, actionable, and impactful. When she’s not writing Boolean queries, she’s working on her MBA or enjoying a good cup of a coffee and a new book.

What intrigues you the most about social listening?
I love being able to see patterns and trends in what people are feeling or thinking about a given topic online. Sometimes we hear that social media is causing us to be more disconnected, but in my work I see that none of us are truly alone. I enjoy being able to dig into data that illustrates not only how humans express themselves differently, but also what ties us together. 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about social listening?
Social listening is a lot more than just using a social media tool—it’s about understanding where your data is coming from and how often, and how to appropriately design a social listening research plan to capture data about what you want to learn about.

What is the most memorable vacation you’ve taken in the past?
In 2017, I hiked 500 miles in two weeks on the El Camino trail in Spain with my sister. It was hot and sometimes painful, but well worth it for the adventure, the people, the culture, and the journey.

What’s rocking your world this month?
The new year has me focused on recovering from the holidays, mentally preparing for the next few months of Wisconsin winter, and spending time with family.

What’s the last book you read?
I just finished a few that I’d recommend: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman, Bossypants by Tina Fey, and Bluescreen by Dan Wells.

What are you currently watching on Netflix?
“Friends” (for the nth time), “The Good Place,” and “Archer.”

What social media platform do you use most often?
I’m on Facebook the most, but I dabble on Twitter and Instagram.

What super power would you like to have?

What do you like about social?
That wearing my pajamas and sitting on my couch I can connect with someone halfway across the world. Think about that for a minute—across the world … instantaneously.

What's the biggest impact that social has on actual behaviors/relationships?
Social media works best when you use it proactively to foster authentic relationships with real people. It helps us focus on what and who we already agree with. It’s a fun experiment to engage with, or follow, others who think or behave differently than you to keep a fresh perspective.

Engaging Generation Z: Learning Voice of Customer


Generation Z might be one of the most unique generations that colleges serve, according to Jamie Casap's AMA Higher Ed Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education keynote. They're truly the first digital generation who have no idea what life was life was like before Google and smartphones. 

What Do We Know About Generation Z?

  • Work. As the product of the great recession, they’re worried about work. They've never seen a boom economy, and they’re concerned about securing a job. They want to do their own thing and like their work—but they don’t want to spend their career at just one or two companies.

  • World. Their world view is shaped by 9/11, terrorism, and gun violence; 75% of them believe climate change is caused by humans.

  • Higher education. They believe in higher education, but 80% say the cost is too much; 66% believe the benefits outweigh the costs.

  • Graduation and employment outcomes. They want to know what they’re going to get from the experience of higher education.

Looking to the Future

At the same time, an employment shift is taking place. Jobs aren’t being replaced by trades, they’re being replaced by robots. Work continues to shift due to technology, and roles are changing. Instead of asking students, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” We should ask them, “What problem do you want to solve?” From there, students can determine the skills, knowledge, and abilities they’ll need.  

Gen Z and Higher Education

Colleges should be at the forefront of the culture shift, recognizing that the world we live in has changed. We need iteration and innovation. Students want to go to college to do work, get hands-on experience, and get their hands dirty. They want to drive transformation—which has no endpoint. To help them succeed, Gen Z is looking for:

  • Iteration—constant testing and experimenting. Gen Z doesn't want beginning and end points; they want to know that college will get them X, Y, and Z, but they don't want that to be the end of the road. 

  • Collaboration—a critical item that emphasizes iteration. Problems are solved by asking questions, listening, growing, and influencing others. Colleges should strive to create collaborative models for learning.

  • Digital leadership. How to find and vet information, and how to convert information into intelligence and develop original thought.

Use Social Listening to Learn the Voice of Generation Z

To engage and communicate with Gen Z, we need to evolve our efforts to better reflect who they are—a diverse and open-minded generation facing serious global issues. This generation isn’t looking for a job, they’re looking for purpose. Social listening will help you get closer to understanding their priorities so you can more effectively engage them. As you build your strategy, think about:

  • What can we do to build the learning infrastructure that helps Gen Z build the knowledge, skills, and abilities to help them succeed?

  • Human skills. Robots can’t take away the human touch, which in a world of accelerated automation, will continue to be our differentiator. How can we teach our students to capitalize on this? Think of cross-program required courses.

Learn more about Generation Z from Jamie’s presentation in Envisioning the Diploma of the Future: Engaging and Educating Gen Z. Learn more about using social listening to connect with students in How to Identify Engagement Opportunities.

Recent Blog Posts: Influencer Marketing, NC State Social Media Strategy Hub, and More!

Influencers: What They Are and How to Use Them by Emily Prell, December 13, 2017

Understanding Share of Voice: Terry College of Business by Michelle Mulder, December 20, 2017

Why Higher Education Should Embrace Influencer Marketing by Liz Gross, January 3, 2018

Leading a Social Media Strategy Hub by Nicholas Love, January 10, 2018

You Asked: What Sites Does Social Listening Cover?

We’re regularly asked what sites are included in the social listening analysis we conduct for clients. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t simple, and it’s constantly changing. But we believe in data transparency, so we’ll do our best to answer this question based on today’s state.

To start, private posts and messaging apps are off-limits to all social listening software. If a user set their account or post to private, it won’t be searchable with any software. For all the remaining public posts, where the data comes from varies based on the social listening software that’s used. The most common source is Twitter, because of the volume (500 million tweets per day) and availability of data (public tweets are easily searchable). Other social networks (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, reddit, YouTube) have their quirks and may offer limited data availability based on the software and type of search used. Facebook, for example, has a pretty restricted public API (application program interface—how social listening software accesses data), which makes searching for public posts from people, pages, or groups challenging. Some sites (like LinkedIn) don’t allow any social listening software access to their site. News sites, forums, and blogs are generally well-covered by good social listening software—unless the content is behind a login or paywall. In that case, each software company or data aggregator needs to develop an agreement with each publisher to search paywalled content (it’s unclear how often this actually happens).

We can never promise to find every single mention of any topic online, but we’ll always do our best to find and analyze every bit of data available to us. We’re constantly learning more about how different social listening software indexes and searches data, and improving our research methods to make sure we provide the absolute best coverage for our clients. If you ever have questions about where specific social listening data comes from, or how we access data from specific sites, feel free to ask us.

Key Social Listening Resources

Each month the Campus Sonar staff shares what they’ve been reading, watching, and listening to that are related to social listening. If you have resources you think might be helpful, send them to

8 Digital Marketing Priorities for Higher Education in 2018 A list of digital marketing priorities for the new year that bring the industry to the next level.

Digital Skillscast Podcast: Social Media Listening in Higher Education Marketing Hear Dr. Liz Gross discuss her experience, how Campus Sonar came to be, and how 2018 needs to be the year where the value of social listening is understood.

Engaging Generation Z: Marketing to a New Brand of Company There are fundamental differences between Gen Z and millennials. One of them is their multifaceted approach to social media. Learn how they fragment and focus their social media time, sharing certain content on particular social channels.

Facebook Is Shutting Down Its API That Marketers Lean on for Research In December, Facebook closed its research tool, Audience Insight API, leaving marketers to go directly to Facebook for data instead of going through a middleman.

How Facebook Stymies Social Science Large firms like Google, Facebook, and Apple have much better data than the government—and those data are much less accessible. This new universe of private data is reshaping social-science research in ways that are badly understood.

How to Get Executive Buy-in for Social Intelligence Programs Five strong use cases to help educate your team so they fully understand how social intelligence programs can empower business decisions, increase revenue, and measure ROI.

Universities Mine Twitter to Troubleshoot Tech, Support Students How to use Twitter as a tool for university research and customer service, including best practices for setting up social media monitoring.

See Campus Sonar

Carnegie Conference / January 16-18 / Orlando
We'll be around chatting about social listening and supporting Josie Ahlquist from Josie and the Podcast.

CASE District III Conference / February 11-14 / Atlanta
Come see us at booth 124 in the exhibit hall in Atlanta, Georgia!

Campus Sonar Goes LIVE / February 19-23 / Online
Watch for live interviews, mini-sessions, and behind-the-scenes access to the work we’re doing. Plus newsletter subscribers will have early access to our new eBook!

DRIVE/ February 27-28 / Seattle
See Campus Sonar Director Dr. Liz Gross present Using Social Listening to Identify Alumni Engagement Opportunities & Influencers on February 28 at 11:10 a.m. PST.

Tell Us What You Think

Brain Waves newsletter is for you—help us shape the news we share with you. Tell us what you think, send us suggestions, and let us know what would help you do your job better. We want to know! Send your feedback to or just reply to this email.

Campus Sonar 2401 International Lane  Madison WI 53704 USA

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