Running Facebook competitions and raising brand awareness


I was lucky enough to source budget to run a social media awareness campaign last year: The IndiaLanka Innovation Challenge – the objective being to lift our awareness in key international markets, associate Edinburgh Napier University with a positive theme, and generally push back on the UK Border Agency Visa changes that sent out the message that the UK was closed.

Did it work?

Off the back of the campaign our Facebook reach has jumped from considerably from around 9,000 fans to over 32,000 today (with 19,000 likes e relating to the campaign). We received 742 enquiries about studying with us, 700 entries into the competition and over 12,000 votes. The two winners were delighted and it was also brought to the attention of the Scottish Government – with the winner Promila visiting the Scottish Parliament and meeting with Michael Russell Cabinet Secretary for Education & Lifelong Learning.

In our view, the competition was a great success and outperformed the kpis we set out to achieve – and it shows what can be achieved with social media.

An unexpected benefit is that our academic staff are now talking to University of Mysore in India about developing a partnership.

5 tips I recommend:

  1. Keep it simple – upload an image around an accessible concept.
  2. Seed it – you need to get people engaging with it and hopefully sharing it.
  3. Choose the right media –  Facebook in this case was right for the market (India and Sri Lanka).
  4. Be flexible – keep doing what works and drop anything you think is ineffective.
  5. Deal with any queries or question quickly and clearly.

Some Challenges to consider:

  1. Getting the terms and conditions right.
  2. Cheating and general skulduggery.
  3. Keeping engagement going beyond the campaign.
  4. Incomplete knowledge – learning as you go.
  5. Markets are different – the same campaign ran in the Middle East but we killed it after two weeks because of low engagement levels.

It was a great campaign to be involved with and was both fun to work on but challenging especially when engagement levels increased beyond the deliverables we had set out to achieve.

I presented about this campaign in May 2012 and the slides can be downloaded from the Case Europe website:

Running marketing competitions on Facebook

And the campaign is the main reason why Edinburgh Napier University the highest number of Facebook fans of any University in Scotland (as at July 2012).

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Grooveshark vs Universal – music legal case


The article Grooveshark Wins a Battle, But Can It Win the War? gives a very relevant insight of the challenges that new tech companies face when they threaten traditional models – in this case music.

My personal position on this is probably part of the problem. If a service appears to be legal and it’s good and it’s free then I’ll use it – and I think Grooveshark is a brilliant product and from a user perspective I much prefer it to Spotify – yes they both have adds but Grooveshark doesn’t interupt the user experience plus the user interface has a google feel to it – and you don’t have to download it – in a word simple.

Music is trying to come to terms with the opportunity that digital media offers and this case identifies that traditional control and copyright is being challenged. It would be a shame if innovative and improved ways of consuming and sharing media are stopped because of a lack of imagination or investment by those that want to maintain the status quo.

And as an aside, I’m currently listening to the Jezabels which I would never had discovered if it weren’t for services like Grooveshark.

Songs to Study to playlist on Spotify


One of the components of a recent marketing campaign we ran was Spotify advertising which asked Spotify users within a specified age range to engage with the Edinburgh Napier University and tell us what songs they study to and recommend them for our ‘Songs to Study to‘ playlist.

From a brand awareness perspective this provided substantial reach at reasonable cost and created an exceptional level of engagement – albeit light engagement it combined positive brand messages with social share-ability and engagement – which is the first time we’ve properly achieved this within the UK market and achieved significant impact with digital display (excluding Facebook) and avoided interuption.

It has certainly been an interesting experiment and has opened up thoughts on how this approach can be used in future.

And the playlist itself is actually quite good. The ‘Song to Study to‘ playlist is embedded below.

Measuring the value of Scottish Universities’ social media


There are many discussions online about the challenges of measuring the value of social media followers and many caveats from those that are brave enough to put a number on this. In my earlier blog Scottish University league table of social media I tried to measure the reach of Scottish University social media. But I’m sure to many the next logical question is: so what is it worth? 

To ascertain that properly I would need to take the time to understand what each university is trying to achieve. As that is not possible at the moment, I’m going to estimate based on analysis done by others. And I’ve restricted the calculation to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

So for Facebook, I’m basing my valuation approach on Retail Digital – the value of likes, fans and followers which suggests$3.60 or £2.35. That puts the value of the Scottish University Facebook fan base at £438k based on followers of 187k.

And according to Twitter (via PC mag) at Twitter follower is worth $2.5 or £1.63 putting the Twittersphere value at £165k for just over 100k of followers. And although I could find some discussion about the value of a LinkedIn follower there appear to have been no attempts to place a value on this.

In total, the value of Scottish Universities’ social media followers (in this limited study) is £603k.

Scottish University league table of social media


A report from KPMG ‘Going Social’ concluded that participating in social media has become a business imperative and, regardless of industry group or ownership structure, social media is rapidly moving up the boardroom agenda.

In that context, I thought it would be a useful time to look at what Scottish Universities are doing on social media – after all to many (certainly at Edinburgh Napier University where I work) social media is regarded as a primary channel to engage with students and recruit potential students in addition to inform wider stakeholders and generally market their respective universities.

So what is the current reach?

In terms of overall level of engagement, reach of Facebook is considerably greater than the other channels with total fans in excess of 187,038. Total Twitter followers is next in the list at 101,412 with LinkedIn follows at 31,620. The tables below show the level of social media follow/fan base at the beginning of July 2012 per institution.

Facebook fans:

  1. Edinburgh Napier University 32695
  2. University of Glasgow 28995
  3. University of Edinburgh 26672
  4. University of Strathclyde 16519
  5. University of Aberdeen 16085
  6. University of Dundee 13500
  7. Heriot-Watt University 12930
  8. University of Strirling 8993
  9. The Robert Gordon University 8081
  10. University of the West of Scotland 5460
  11. Glasgow Caledonian University 5103
  12. University of Abertay 4261
  13. Queen Margaret University 3857
  14. University of the Highlands and Islands 3685
  15. University of St Andrews 202
  16. Total Facebook followers: 187038

Twitter followers:

  1. University of Glasgow 17472
  2. University of Edinburgh 14539
  3. University of Aberdeen 10087
  4. University of Dundee 9053
  5. University of Strathclyde 8364
  6. St Andrews 7962
  7. Edinburgh Napier University 6628
  8. University of Abertay 5568
  9. Heriot-Watt University 4730
  10. The Robert Gordon University 3911
  11. Glasgow Caledonian University 3164
  12. University of Strirling 2718
  13. University of the West of Scotland 2177
  14. Queen Margaret University 1999
  15. University of the Highlands and Islands 1799
  16. Universities Scotland 1241
  17. Total followers on Twitter: 101412

LinkedIn follows:

  1. University of Edinburgh 6961
  2. University of Glasgow 3756
  3. University of Strathclyde 3610
  4. University of Aberdeen 2296
  5. Heriot-Watt University 2226
  6. University of St Andrews 2174
  7. University of Dundee 1942
  8. Edinburgh Napier University 1859
  9. The Robert Gordon University 1677
  10. Glasgow Caledonian University 1671
  11. University of Strirling 1020
  12. University of the West of Scotland 773
  13. University of Abertay 641
  14. University of the Highlands and Islands 613
  15. Queen Margaret University 401
  16. Total LinkedIn follows 31,620
I appreciate that this initial post only looks at cold numbers and doesn’t address discuss the strategies that underpin what universities are trying to achieve with social media nor the level of social engagement on these sites but it is a start. If the universities above wish to share more about the strategies behind their social media activity please include any relevant links via the form below.
And if there are any HigherEd social media sites missing from the list above, please share these and I will add to the list.
I’ve also made an attempt to quantify the value of Scottish Universities’ social media