Marketing and Communications blog

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Here's to snap-happy parents and graduation selfies

Posted by Richard Tatnall | 0 comments
27Aug2014

Graduation is one of the most significant milestones in the life of any student and an opportunity for us as a university to give them the send-off they deserve. From a social media perspective, this means capturing the attention of graduates and saying congratulations in style. 

Awards ceremonies are fuelled by proud, snap-happy parents and graduation selfies which inevitably finds their way onto a treasure trove of social media channels. To capitalise on this appetite for visual content, a campaign celebrating student success would need to be social to the core. Enter then, the UWE Bristol Instagram frame.  A quick hat tip to Ithaca College at this point, which has previously employed this idea to showcase its scenic campus. 

Why Instagram? 

As a platform to emulate, Instagram fitted the bill perfectly and not just for its emphasis on photography. The setting of UWE’s graduation ceremonies, Bristol Cathedral and College Green, lend themselves perfectly to Instagram’s vintage filters – who doesn’t enjoy Norman, Gothic architecture through a Kelvin filter? And while the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have their lovers and haters in varying measures, Instagram holds the greatest universal respect among our primary audience meaning we were able to strike the perfect cheesey/innovative balance.

Loaded with the appropriate hashtags to maximise both reach and engagement, the frame brought a new twist to the normal graduation photography and one which nicely put UWE’s social presence front and centre.

Maximising the reach

As well as providing a means to add branding to graduation photography, the frame also enabled the conversation around the ceremonies on social media to continue well beyond the events themselves. With an average of 100 photographs from each of the four faculties’ award ceremonies, UWE Bristol’s Facebook page was well stocked with highly shareable content for the whole two weeks of graduation. 

As soon as albums were posted, graduates would start to tag themselves, friends and family in the individual photographs causing engagement with the Facebook page to snowball. Some photographs received more than 50 engagements each, while the organic reach of each faculty album broke the page record that had been set by the one before – all breaking the 20,000 impression mark.

Naturally UWE’s Instagram channel was also ultilised by hosting a selection of the best shots from each ceremony and, as with UWE’s Twitter feed, signposting audiences to the full Facebook albums.

The life of the campaign doesn’t end there however. The Instagram frame photographs have been widely used as Facebook profile pictures and Twitter avatars, giving the campaign a much longer lifespan and further extending the reach of the original albums. There’s also an outdoor advertising campaign in the pipeline which features a selection of the Instagram frame photographs to further maximise the multi-channel potential of the campaign.

The real measure of success

The greatest result of the campaign however was the reaction of the graduates and their families to being photographed with the frame. As soon as it was brought out each day, people were queuing up to use it in their photographs; experimenting with different ways to pose with it (unsurprisingly the Faculty of Arts, Creative Industries and Education scooped the originality award); and flocking to photograph their sons and daughter in full on celebratory mode. The frame was able to capture the triumphant mood of the ceremonies and truly social to the core.

One million views and counting

Posted by Neil Finlay | 0 comments
07Apr2014

In the week that the UWE Bristol YouTube channel burst through the one million views barrier I thought it’s a good time to share some interesting little facts that say big things about the power of video and why we are investing time and money in enhancing our marketing and academic video output.

Viewing figures

In the last 30 days the UWE Bristol channel has had 63,000 views across our 450 or so videos. Sounds quite impressive doesn’t it? It sounds even better when you consider that the views translate to 78,000 minutes or about 54 days viewing time. That is an incredible amount of direct engagement with individuals spending a good deal of their quality time in our company.

Global reach

This is worldwide stuff as well. In those 30 days our videos have been watched in 151 countries. The top 5 include USA, Egypt, Brazil and Hong Kong as well as the UK and all of these countries have well over 1,000 views each. We’re spreading the UWE Bristol message around the globe.

Virtual open day

On the marketing front our virtual open day suite of videos are proving successful with 25 videos clocking up nearly 60,000 views since their release. We have no way of directly attributing recruitment figures to videos but the high quality production values and the above average viewer retention signifies engaged viewers. We’re making a positive impression and increasing brand recognition at the very least.

Academic profile raising

It’s not all about big numbers either. Our Distinguish Executive Address interviews and public lectures may have views in the hundreds rather than thousands but the combined reach of these videos across the academic and business communities means that our videos are working 24 hours a day to raise the profile of UWE Bristol in a multitude of niche areas.

Keep the camera rolling

There is compelling evidence that video is an essential tool in marketing and that the audience is becoming more and more particular about what they watch. Our videos are doing a great job of promoting the University… but we need to keep raising our game. As our competitors improve their video output so must we look to keep one step ahead or pick up our pace to catch up.

Thanks must go to all our video producers across the university who I know are going the extra mile and striving to raise the standards of our homegrown output with limited resources. Your efforts are definitely worthwhile, as proven by our big hitting news video about urine power which has over 130,000 views.

There are more exciting projects in the pipeline so keep your eyes on our channel. I’m certain that the next million views will happen a lot more quickly than the first.

Virtual Open Day filming

Posted by Jo Docker | 4 comments
12Jul2013

It is a long term goal to create a virtual open day experience for prospective students and their parents. We want to showcase the many attributes that UWE has to offer. The first step is to produce campus tour films for Frenchay, Bower Ashton, and Glenside and 18 short films based on subject areas.


This suite of videos, which will cater for all our primary audiences, will be used for a number of different promotional purposes, for example they will be embedded on each departmental landing page of the University website to act as a stand-alone introduction to the department/subject area.

Things are starting to take shape

Over the last few months we have been working with a Bristol based production team on the first phase of filming for this project.

Staff in Engineering, Allied Health, Law and Education helped us to organise a set of filming days where we have interviewed academics, researchers, students and employers. We also shot a number of practical sessions to showcase teaching and learning in action.

Filming at the Faculty of Environment and Technology and Creative Industries 2013 degree shows has given us some great material which will also feed into the final subject videos.

The June Open Day gave us the perfect opportunity to shoot some footage of the general hubbub that these events attract and capture some of the fantastic activities that take place across our campuses.

The next phase of filming will begin at the start of the Autumn Term when the campuses come back to life.

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in this first phase of the project. Watch this space for more updates…

UWE Social Media

Posted by Laura Williams | 1 comment
23Jan2013

It’s been a busy few months for the digital team. With social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter topping the list of the most visited websites in the world, any organisation without a significant presence on these is missing a trick. But it’s not just a case of having a profile, it’s what you do with it which really counts. From attracting followers and fans to regularly posting interesting and informative content and engaging with other people and organisations to reputation building – the challenges, when met, reap massive rewards. So just what have we been doing?

While the main focus remains on the most popular and far-reaching sites, Facebook and Twitter, UWE also has profiles on YouTube (channel has more than 375,000 views), Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr and Storify and we keep up to date with developments to ensure we’re where the users are – which could soon see us revisiting Myspace, the pioneer of social media, which has been dying a slow death since the Facebook revolution in 2008, but which looks set for a comeback the company re-launched a new version of the site last year.

Nevertheless, Facebook is currently holding onto the social media crown and a recent survey showed that Facebook is one of the main avenues of communication UWE students use. We’ve currently got around 11,300 fans on the main UWE Bristol Facebook page (the majority of whom, unsurprisingly, are in the 18-24 age group and live in Bristol – though we do have around 300 fans in Malaysia, in Nigeria and in Italy) and last year, broke our record for the total number of likes on a single post – almost 200 on a photo gallery of frosty winter scenes on Frenchay campus. Our photos and galleries are repeatedly proving popular so this year we plan to post a monthly gallery of UWE photos.

We set ourselves a New Year Twitter target to reach 2,013 followers by 2013 and after making sure fellow staff were following us, engaging with other UWE channels and publicising our ambitious aim, we not only achieved this but exceeded it, topping 2,050 followers by January 1, 2013. This has prompted us to set other targets and we’re now keen to reach 6,000 by the end of the year. We’re currently at about 2,300. Watch this space...

Social Media channels

Facebook
Twitter
Google+
YouTube
Flickr
Pinterest

Being responsive

Posted by Matthew Owen | 1 comment
23Mar2012

We’ve been tracking our web metrics for quite a while now to see how much of our website traffic was accounted for by users accessing the site on mobile devices.

It’s no surprise that this figure has risen dramatically over the last year and so we acknowledged that we needed to respond to this trend and look at how the website met the needs of mobile users.

One of the options available was to develop a bespoke mobile optimised site which would serve content in templates specifically with mobile handsets in mind. However, in light of the range of devices we would need to account for we decided to look at how to adopt responsive web design.

Based on a fluid layout, a responsive design approach would allow our web pages to adapt to a wider range of devices and give users an experience optimised for their specific device. It’s a trend that is being adopted by many websites, but you can see some HE website examples here.

Because the UWE website uses a defined set of “page types”, we had a consistent set of designs to develop and test. This was one of the major benefits that came from rebuilding the website structure in 2011.

After testing and refinements with our talented colleagues in IT services, the new responsive pages were rolled out in February and have been well received by users. The most noticeable changes can be seen in the behaviour of the website global navigation and search function which adapt well to smaller screen resolutions (see below).

There are more innovations being developed for the website this year and I look forward to posting more about those soon.