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Across the United States, multiple higher education institutions have used their skills and knowledge to reach their audience by creating memorable social media tactics. Murray State and 27 other institutions from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Africa launched successful campaigns and revealed their secrets of success in the book, Social Works.
In June 2012, Michael Stoner, editor of Social Works and co-founder and president of mStoner, contacted Dana Howard, social media marketing manager at Murray State and one of the 17 authors to contribute to Social Works, to invite her to be a part of the book by discussing the social media efforts used to promote the 2011-12 successful basketball season.
Throughout Howard’s case study, she focused on identifying the key social media sites and a viral YouTube video that played a significant part in making the campaign a success. Due to the national coverage the men’s basketball team was receiving in late January 2012, Howard increased usage on current MSU social media outlets such as the Murray State Facebook page and Twitter account to interact with the Murray State fans and communicate with national media platforms such as ESPN, CBS and NBC.
Additionally, these social media outlets were used to promote the 2012 Bracket Buster game in order to bring celebrity icon, Dick Vitale, to Murray State. A few of the promotions that were effective in reaching ESPN and successfully bringing Vitale to Murray include Murray State fans changing their Facebook profile picture to a Murray State poster featuring Dick Vitale and using specific hashtags in their Twitter status updates such as #BringDickieVToMurray.
“The Dickie V promotions did not solely consist of social media, because the Murray community really strived to promote the possibility of him announcing the Bracket Buster game through every medium such as recording impersonations of Dickie V on Roundabout U and the Murray State Campus Activities Board and Student Government Association asking students sign letters to be sent to ESPN asking for Dick Vitale’s presence,” Howard said. “This marketing strategy was a community effort and really demonstrates how dedicated and united our university is in order to reach a goal.”
To continue to raise awareness of the team’s success, Howard asked two students known as Trubz ‘N’ Matlock to rap their original song about the basketball team in a professional video, which featured Murray State students, Dunker, cheerleaders, Racer Girls and the basketball team.
The video known as the “Murray State Anthem,” premiered before one of the home games, and during the halftime of this game, Howard uploaded the video on the Univeristy’s Twitter and Facebook accounts.
“In less than 24 hours, we had 10,000 hits on the video and in 10 days, more than 80,000. On Twitter, there were 1,500 mentions of the official name “Murray State Anthem,” and on Facebook, there were 400 shares,” Howard said. “In the next week, the song had been embedded and talked about on many national blogs, including Yahoo Sports, CBS Sports, SBNation, NBC Sports and USAToday.”
As soon as the “Murray State Anthem” video was released, it was being compared to other universities, and it was submitted in a contest that was included with the Giants SuperBowl Anthem. Due to this contest happening a week before the 2012 SuperBowl, Howard said, “I believe it put us in some of the top web searches at that time.”
Howard elaborates on the reason the campaign was a success and the importance of utilizing social media outlets including the University’s Pinterest and Instagram accounts, saying, “Social media is such a part of our marketing strategy because it is very affordable and it quickly reaches our targeted audience. People are accessing the Internet to learn about specific news articles and other information, so it is imperative we are online to communicate with our audience.”
Social Works is available for purchase in print, on the Kindle and in the iBookstore.