They say everything is bigger in Texas and Texas A&M University is no exception. As one of the largest public universities in the United States, Texas A&M has a massive community of students, faculty and alumni. The Aggies also have a passionate fan base that extends far beyond the borders of the Lonestar State.
The university embraces social media as a way to connect with those communities and tell the Texas A&M story far and wide.
“People take their passion for the university to the internet, so over the last several years, we’ve been able to tap into that online community and grow it,” said Krista Berend, the Director of Social Media at Texas A&M.
Sprout Social helps Texas A&M effectively manage that growth at scale, which is important when your institution has 16 academic colleges and schools, 19 NCAA sports and hundreds of departments.
“We manage five different brands outside our institutional accounts. Sprout has been great for us because we can see all of those brands’ social in one place,” said Berend.
Telling the Texas A&M story through content
Social media content is critical when it comes to telling the Texas A&M story, but more than that, it helps Berend and her team build emotional connections with their community. Like a lot of social media teams, Berend prioritizes engagement and reach for their content goals, but also carefully considers timing and the feelings of the audience before publishing to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Reddit.
“We think a lot about our content, how it’s delivered and the mindset of people when they’re receiving it so we can make a positive brand impression. We think about how our audience might feel compelled to share because the content impacted them in some way or hit them in the right spot,” said Berend.
Nearly 25% of students at Texas A&M are first-generation college students!
— Texas A&M University (@TAMU) February 8, 2021
Sprout Social’s publishing suite gives Berend and her team a platform to collaborate on content creation, discuss strategy and provide feedback all in one place. “Our student interns are incredibly active and constantly creating content. Being able to correct things, give them feedback and just talk things out all within Sprout’s platform has been great,” said Berend. “It also helps those interns feel more actively involved when they can see everything that’s going on. Those features that facilitate collaboration have been critical for us.”
Collaboration also helps Texas A&M overcome decentralization, a common challenge among higher ed institutions. “We combat decentralization by creating relationships and being a resource for other departments or teams in the Texas A&M system that are working in social,” said Berend. “Recently, for example, we got a message in Sprout about our recreational sports center. Even though the message wasn’t directed to the Texas A&M rec sports social channels, we were able to pass it along to the right people because we’ve built the relationship.”
Tagging gives content themes and topics equal playtime
Tracking content themes and performance is critical for such a massive institution, and Sprout’s Tag Report has been particularly useful for Texas A&M.
“Tagging our content has helped us ensure that our content is equally distributed across our many departments, divisions and academic colleges. Looking at the Tag Report, we can see if we’re skewing too much toward one college, sport or event versus another. Then, based on that data we can self-correct and diversify our content,” said Berend.
The importance of accessibility
Texas A&M is committed to creating engaging and diversified content, and it’s equally important that their content is accessible. Sprout’s accessibility features were a big factor in their decision to become Sprout customers.
“Creating accessible content has been a priority of our team for several years, and things like including image descriptions are just part of our workflow. With the software we were using before, we had to do all of that natively across social channels,” said Berend. “With Sprout we can do all of that within the platform, which makes our workflow so much easier. Plus, as social channels add more accessibility features, we’ve noticed that Sprout almost immediately has those in the back end for us to use.”
A big school making a big impact on social media
Texas A&M’s mission to build more engaged social communities is accomplished with Sprout’s cost-effective platform which facilitates collaboration and gives a comprehensive view of the social landscape all in one platform.
In just six months, between August 2020 and January 2021, Texas A&M earned over 131 million impressions and 8.3 million content engagements across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. And their community just keeps growing, with an average of just over 13,000 followers gained monthly. Gig ’em, Aggies!
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