University of Minnesota
University Relations
Our Brand: How to Convey It

Our Brand: How to Convey It.

February 2010 Archives

Fortune 100 companies and social networking

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I recently reviewed how the top 70 of the Fortune 100 companies tap into social networking channels. This research was critical in shaping how University Relations approached using video on Facebook pages. What I discovered was that many posted video using the standard Facebook "Video" tab. But, more importantly, what I unearthed was a way to embed video straight from WAY COOL! The electronic communications team has been working with Facebook to have the U of M domains white listed and are getting very close to having this solution ready for prime time.

Analyzing how corporations engage their audiences via social channels is one of the many benchmarking activities the electronic communications team does. Other methods include (but are not limited to): usability testing, focus groups, auditing, peer checking, anecdotal evidence, outreach, and lots and lots of conversations with peers both within higher education as well as colleagues in corporate and non-profit.

Taking the time to see how corporations reach their stakeholders, whether B2B or B2C, is important. After all, the same folks that shop at Target may be looking to attend the University of Minnesota. Or, the buyer of oil rigs at Exxon may be considering donating to a research hospital. Understanding how some of the most esteemed organizations in the United States are rallying their communications efforts could potentially spark some innovative approaches for the U of M.

Check out my research at:

If you know of some really cool and innovative uses of social networking tools, I'd love to hear from you. Please share your recommendations.

P.S. I have also conducted some analysis specifically focused on video and higher education. Time permitting, I will be conducting more in-depth analysis.

Social Networking Icons and Profile Graphics

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Looking for some design help for your unit's profile image? Download social networking profile artwork from the Images Library. These 200-pixel square icons allow you to visually show your unit's affiliation with the University. Text space in the icon allows you to add a short title. Remember, you should always use "University of Minnesota" as part of the name of your unit's profile when there's room, or "UMN" when you need a shorter name. Here's an example of how the College of Pharmacy used the profile icon across their social networking sites to tie them together:

College of Pharmacy on Facebook
College of Pharmacy on Twitter
College of Pharmacy on YouTube

The University has also made an agreement with Komodomedia to use their pack of over 100 social networking icons. These icons can be placed on your sites to help your visitors quickly see and connect to your official social networking pages. Two sizes are available (16 pixel and 32 pixel) and the icon choices range from Facebook to Skype to Stumble Upon and everything in between. The icon pack can be downloaded here.

The next meeting of the Mass Email User Group (MEUG) is Tuesday, February 23 from 1-2:30 p.m. in Morrill Hall 238A.

At this meeting, University Relations will present and lead discussion on the creation of email newsletters or other recurring email communications, from idea to execution. 'New' email communications may be brand-new or a transition from print to electronic. We'll cover questions such as:

  • What strategies and tactics are there for converting from print to electronic?
  • Should this be in my communications plan?
  • How can I select an audience using U data sources?
  • How can I leverage tracking data for my message?
  • Am I obligated to abide by anti-spam rules, such as CAN-SPAM?
  • How can I keep costs/resources down?

This will not be a technically heavy meeting and is geared toward communicators and those who've found that their job description now includes 'communicator.'

Planning on attending remotely? You'll need a phone for the conference call and will want a computer handy for the screen share, although the main portion of the meeting will not be laden with slides. Write to if you'd like to attend remotely. No RSVP needed if you're planning to attend in person.