Marquette University knows how to bridge the communication gap between an institution of higher education and the young adults who live, study and socialize on campus. The university successfully grounds its community of students, instructors and alumni with personalized, immediate content delivered through a well-oiled social media machine.
Since 2013, Marquette has been utilizing Sprout Social to optimize workflow for its 76 social profiles—that’s 44 Twitter accounts, 24 Facebook accounts, five Instagram accounts and one LinkedIn account.
From athletics to admissions, every department is represented and every profile managed under one digital roof—all while maintaining a sense of autonomy.
So how does a cross-departmental team of 32 Account Managers come together to seamlessly plan, publish and deliver consistent content in one platform?
Collaboration Without Collision
Tim Cigelske, Director of Social Media, is at the center of Marquette’s social structure. Cigelske works primarily with two other Marquette users: Multimedia Director for the College of Communication, Laura White, and Engagement Director overseeing alumni relations, Jennilee Schlinsky.
“I do a lot of task management,” Cigelske said. “I physically don’t see them a lot, but I work with them a lot through social media promotion.”
Task Assignment has made it easy for the three colleagues to stay on the same page without duplicating efforts while also directing their own teams and delivering consistent content despite not always collaborating in person.
“[Sprout] is really my line of communication with Tim,” Schlinsky said. “If he finds something in the Marquette U channel that is relevant to us, or he has a question, I’m able to easily answer that in real time.”
Likewise, White finds that assigning tasks to one another in the platform helps each team maintain a level of informed efficiency.
Sprout Social is the glue that holds our social media ecosystem together.Tim Cigelske
Director of Social Media
”It lets [Tim] know, ‘Okay, this is an important thing to Laura.’ And it lets me know, ‘Okay, I should start following this alumnus more carefully.’”
Despite the many moving parts, Marquette’s social team finds the Sprout platform easy and intuitive to use.
“One of the things that appealed to me for Sprout, and still appeals to me now, is the interface is really user-friendly,” Cigelske said. “One thing that they’ve done that’s different than a lot of software companies is if you were a Sprout user that fell asleep six years ago and just woke up today, you could still use it. There are these subtle changes that just make it more useful.”
Separate Missions, One Marquette
Sprout’s analytics and report features are also well-appointed for a diverse and dispersed social team. Marquette’s interdepartmental team has the ability to develop distinct strategic approaches that are informed by the specific metrics that matter to each—all in one centralized platform.
Prioritizing post performance, White frequently turns to the Engagement Report to influence the direction of content. Recently the team made the decision to focus alumni and success content on Facebook and Twitter, using Instagram and Snapchat to curate more student-focused content.
“The metrics on Sprout told us, ‘You really don’t have that many followers between 18 and 20 [on Twitter],’ so thanks to those metrics we discovered that we have to do a better job of reaching the students on the other channels,” White said.
Cigelske approaches goals through a more holistic lens, recognizing that social is more than an extension of marketing efforts—it’s the common thread that brings everything you do together.
“It’s old-school strategies mixed with what you can do today with communication,” Cigelske said. “What sort of real world things are you doing? How do you increase that, grow that, leverage that and measure that on the back end of social media?”
Over in the Alumni office, Schlinsky’s goal is to use Sprout to create a pipeline for future alumni. Using robust targeting features to target specific class groups with paid social content, she and her team are able to speak directly to graduating seniors and prompt them to take action on Marquette’s pages.
“We collect postgraduate information from our students and we’ll follow all of those Twitter handles for the alumni account,” Schlinsky said. “We get a lot of follows back, so that’s another good way that we engage our young alums.”
Meaningful Connections Paved By Social
With the ability to easily segment Marquette’s social audience in Sprout, each Director knows his or her efforts are always reaching the right people.
“Tailoring content to our alumni makes them, in a simple way, feel special,” Schlinsky said. “It’s a way for them to feel connected to their alma mater, which is important for us as an organization because it helps build that pipeline for leadership, volunteer and giving.”
Furthering efforts to have impactful, involved interactions with the members of its community, the @youaremarquette Instagram account and corresponding hashtag give the student body a voice, utilizing students and interns to create and share content focused on the campus experience.
“We’re always monitoring Instagram hashtags,” Cigelske said.
The #WeAreMarquette hashtag gives the team a glimpse of student life while gathering user-generated content to share with the community.
“Sprout is the glue that holds our social media ecosystem together. It’s a global view of what’s happening across campus,” Cigelske said. “I feel more in touch with what’s going on.”
Before Sprout, Cigelske and his team ran into multiple roadblocks when managing social for Marquette. They lacked centralized content, cohesive messaging, and often found themselves duplicating efforts across teams. Maintaining the status quo in social wasn’t cutting it—Marquette wanted to thrive.
Four years later, Sprout has empowered the Marquette team to use social in radically more efficient and effective ways. They can collaborate across teams, focus on creating a healthy university brand and engage with students and alumni by segmenting content delivery and creating personally relevant connections with the university’s many engaged, diverse audiences.
It’s not uncommon for higher educational institutions like Marquette to have large social management teams and a multitude of social profiles. Sprout is the premier social management platform for teams like Marquette’s to streamline workflow, collaborate in real time and turn robust social analytics reporting into meaningful insights.
Update: Instagram made changes to their Graph API in 2018, which may affect functionality mentioned above. Read here for more information