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Brain Waves Newsletter

December 2020 │ Issue 38

In This Issue

Psst ... if this newsletter was forwarded to you, you can get your own here

Liz's Letter

Liz Gross, Campus Sonar CEO

Hi there,

You lost something in 2020, but the year itself wasn’t a complete loss. I know, because you’re reading this. You’re still here. You’re a survivor. Survivors have the dual responsibility of grieving loss while building our future.

There are losses that deserve to be grieved. You likely said goodbye to your grand plans for 2020 months ago. You lost community in a shared workspace, and saying hello to colleagues in the halls at a conference. You may have lost your job, seen colleagues lose theirs, or lost wages through furlough. You lost childcare or reliable school schedules. Organizations in our industry lost revenue, while expenses increased. Lives were lost this year, maybe your loved ones.

We can’t forget these losses, and must remember that others lost much more. Over 1.5 million people worldwide lost their lives to the pandemic, and over 1,000 people were shot and killed by police.

Yet, we must build our future.

I want you to take a minute today and reflect on the good that came from 2020 (specifically in relation to your work), and identify the opportunity that exists for 2021 and beyond. You were adaptable. You implemented faster than ever. You identified and fixed pain points. You tried something new. You worked from home and the organization didn’t collapse. You confronted racial injustice in your organization. Perhaps you found your voice to speak up for what matters, or walked away from a toxic situation. These are victories.

There are parts of 2020 worth planting as seeds that will blossom in 2021. 2021 will be better than 2020 because of how you, your colleagues, and the rest of us choose to proceed. As Michael Sorrell says, “Our next will be better than our now.”

What is one thing you’ll take from 2020 into a better 2021? I’d like to know. Just hit reply, or tweet me.

Liz Gross Signature

Social Listening Software Trends

Software is essential for social listening, and there are dozens of options to choose from if you don’t work with an expert partner like Campus Sonar.

Amber Sandall Research ManagerResearch Manager Amber Sandall studied The 10 Providers That Matter Most And How They Stack Up from Forrester Research and condensed it to the following trends you should be aware of.

  • Robust data. All leading software platforms are extending beyond social media data. Whether through proprietary data crawlers, partnerships, or acquisitions, the best options are providing other online data sources (like Reddit, Quora, or other public sites) or the ability to integrate data from surveys or offline sources.
  • Accessible data. Software providers are trying to make it easy for customers to use their product by adding features to make organizing and visualizing data easier, including video and image analytics. 
  • Actionable data. Software providers are striving to help users answer the question “so what?” even if they’re not expert analysts by focusing on speed to insight—that is, having the software suggest what parts of the data you should focus on. Social data is like an unopened treasure chest, and if the software can help a new user find insight, it pays off.
  • Social listening provides consumer intelligence. Most companies have adjusted their market positioning from social media-centric to a focus on the research use case and customer experience outcomes from social listening. This shouldn’t surprise long-time readers of this newsletter.
  • Many software options. The trends summarized here are from large software companies with revenue over $15 million. There are smaller, niche solutions that may not follow these trends, choosing to focus mainly on social media platforms or specific social listening use-cases.

The software this analysis named as the industry leader is what we use at Campus Sonar. We’re expert-level users, adapting and augmenting the software as needed to provide our clients with insights to inform their strategies.

Say Farewell to 2020

With a 20% Snapshot Discount

We’re happy to put 2020 behind us and before we do, we want you to get all the value you can from it. For $800, get our Basic Social Listening Snapshot (that’s a $200 discount), which gives you an overview of a year of online conversation about your campus, along with key metrics.

Use your snapshot to:

  • Provide context to your year-end reporting.
  • Start your social media strategy—we'll provide action steps to get you started.
  • Orient a new leader to campus culture/brand.
  • Take a “pulse check” to see if your reputation matches your perception.
  • Try out social listening without learning software. 
  • Search for blind spots.
  • Compare the volume and quality of data resulting from social listening researchers using enterprise-level software to whatever software you’re currently using.

Claim your 20% discount now.

20% off a social listening snapshot

Content We're Consuming

Digital Community Builders Series—Liz Gross, De’Awn N. Bunch, and Krista Boniface chatted with Dr. Josie Ahlquist on her Digital Community Builders video panel. They talked about how to celebrate and recognize our teams in meaningful ways during difficult times. Join the Higher Ed Digital Community Builders Facebook Group to watch the panel.

HESM Social Media and Mental Health—At November’s AMA Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education conference, Tony Dobies shared West Virginia University’s research on higher ed social media managers and their mental health, along with video clips from those who are in the trenches. 

The “Goodnight” TikTok Meme and Perceptions of Higher Ed Brands—A recent post from Liz Gross in Inside Higher Ed shows how a TikTok meme shapes brand perception from prospective students and parents.

The Quad (Episode 6)—Tune in to Liz Gross, Erika Fields, Anice Barbosa, and Kayla Hersperger as they chat with Eric Page of Carnegie Dartlet about balancing and prioritizing social platform presence, leveraging TikTok and/or Reddit, predictions for 2021 social media, and more.

From the Blog

This month we shared more about our new STREAM membership service, and the context we use to piece together the social listening puzzle. Read more on our blog.

Brain Waves Blog post image for Puzzling through Social Data Sources

See Us or Book Us

We hope we had a chance to see you at a virtual event this year. We’re looking forward to 2021 and seeing you virtually or in person. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

If you’re looking for an industry expert to speak at an upcoming event or lead a workshop, check out our current speakers, common topics, and pricing.

Tell Us What You Think

Brain Waves Newsletter is for you—help us shape it. Send us an email to share what you think, suggestions, or what would help you do your job better.

Someone throwing a paper airplane to a Sonarian

Campus Sonar C/O Spaces, 811 E. Washington Ave. Suite 500, Madison WI 53703 USA

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