Marquette University Social Media Case Study: Dissecting an A+ Social Campaign

Marquette University Social Media Case Study: Dissecting an A+ Social Campaign


Marquette University Social Media Case Study:  Dissecting an A+ Social Campaign

I would venture to say almost all colleges, if not all colleges, are on social media in one way or another. How do you gauge if one is more successful than the other? Is it driving new students? Is it engaging with current students and alumni? How about positioning an institution as a thought leader?

Collage made by Mustafa Anwar Class of 2018
Collage made by Mustafa Anwar, Class of 2018


Which college’s social media campaigns standout?

A number of colleges have embraced social media, some are doing a great job managing the conversation, while others are just sending out communications. One college in particular is worth mentioning, Marquette University, who has been dominating social media.

Marquette University

So how many social media profiles does Marquette have? “I’d estimate we have about 100 regular managers of university-affiliated social media,” Tim Cigelske, Marquette University’s Director of Social Media said. “Those are accounts centered on specific departments and are controlled by faculty, staff, or students.”
The three main goals of Marquette’s social media are: “awareness for prospective students, support for current students, and engagement among alumni,” according to Cigelske.
Cigelske and his team consider which social media platforms to choose very carefully. “Is it doing something innovative or different that can’t be easily duplicated on another medium?” he asked. “Does it have critical mass or is it growing? Is our audience there?”
Below are link to their various social media profiles.  You will quickly see how Marquette has a different strategy per network.

Let’s dig in:

For Instagram, Marquette focuses on a mixture of historic images and current student life. This helps to build the credibility by mixing past and present. They also featuring student images and graduation videos all shot from the student’s perspective, not the colleges.
For the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Marquette provided behind-the-scenes content exclusive to Instagram. The University was building on the basketball team’s momentum and taking advantage of it in their social media efforts.
On Pinterest, Marquette created a number of boards focusing on student life, the best of Marquette, and they even highlighting their college’s personality, “must love dogs”. Marquette is focusing on music, magazine iconography and their beautiful campus. They are allowing prospective students to get to know who the school is and to build a connection with students through imagery. The student is in control of the conversation by visiting these social profiles on their own time and experiencing the school on their own terms.
On Tumblr, Marquette has created a variety of blogs. One of the entries was 28 Reasons to Love Marquette. The University initially launched Tumblr as a way to connect with prospective students by going where the high school students are. Marquette wanted to get “street cred” said in an interview with Tim Cigelske. Since then, Marquette has created a variety of accounts:

On YouTube, Marquette features a variety of videos from commercials to “made for youtube videos” featuring social media tweets from students.
They used students’ own tweets in a super simple promo video on Youtube. They created this video promoting Marquette and the city of Milwaukee.

Personification: Father Marquette

On Foursquare, they created an account after the school’s namesake, “Father Marquette” he’s their official ‘explorer’. Find out why it worked. He’s a busy guy, check out Father Marquette’s other social media profiles: Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram.

Marquette University Other Social Profiles:

Marquette is also on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn, Google Plus. They are Snapchat too. Marquette even created a social hub to make it easy for prospective students and students to engage with them.

Marquette University Social Media Case Study-2Here are some takeaways:

If you can, create exclusive social media content per network. But don’t freak out, you can use the same piece of content by reformatting it and using it in a variety of different ways on other social media platforms.
Be approachable, creative and communicative. You are connecting with a younger generation of students- it’s important to truly connect with them.
See if you can empower staff and instructors/professors to contribute to your different social media profiles.
Use your student’s own tweets and social media messages about your college in your marketing. Share tweets in your printed materials, share Facebook posts in your commercials. Let your happy students tell prospective students why your college is worth enrolling in. Here is how to master the top 4 social media platforms.
Taking your social media efforts to the next level can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Tribeca Marketing Group helps colleges create and execute social media strategies.