Tunheim conducted a social media audit to help inform strategy, including specific tactics to improve efforts of individual entities within the University and create more synergy with existing centralized tools and support.

Insight

As the largest higher education institution in the state, the University of Minnesota is comprised of hundreds of schools, departments and organizations–all with vastly different audiences, objectives and communication strategies. Like most academic institutions, the University of Minnesota had a decentralized approach to online and social media communications. By 2011, the University of Minnesota found itself with an exhaustive list of 276 independent social media efforts, all associated with the University. There were no guidelines for social media practices or content use. In fact, the level of sophistication of site administrators varied greatly. This chaotic approach made it difficult for the University of Minnesota to effectively connect with audiences and spread organizational messages over the various channels. Simply put, the University’s own ingenuity created a barrier in their communications strategy.

Strategy

Tunheim gained insight into existing social media efforts at the University of Minnesota and its peer institutions through third-party research and then engaged a cross-section of departments and organizations in research of existing social media efforts to gain a comprehensive understanding of efforts underway. Tunheim created a three-pronged approach to gain insight into existing social media efforts at the University of Minnesota and its peer institutions, including a cross section of departments and organizations. The approach included the following research tactics:

  • One-on-one interviews with key social media users within the University and at peer institutions;
  • An electronic survey of site administrators at the University; and
  • A listening session with site administrators at the University.

Tunheim used the insights from schools, departments and organizations at the University of Minnesota and its peer institutions to inform actionable recommendations for improving overall social media efforts.

Results

Tunheim presented research findings to senior leadership at the University of Minnesota, along with actionable recommendations for how the University can provide resources to individual schools, departments and organizations to improve overall social media efforts. Tunheim also presented social media best practices and recommendations to help the University of Minnesota increase its online visibility and stand out among competitors. The University implemented certain recommendations from Tunheim, including the establishment of an in-depth Twitter account for University President, Eric Kaler.