This blog was written by Chris Kelly, associate vice president for university marketing and communication. You can follow him on Twitter at @Grillaguy1.
This is one of my favorite times of year for sports. The madness of college basketball has been reduced to the final four teams and the boys of summer are finally underway. (Even though they have to wear long sleeves and put up with 30 degree temperatures)
This year, the big surprise in the NCAA basketball tournament has to be our fellow Kansas university, Wichita State. Their run in the finals has been, well, shocking. (Yes. I’m using the same pun you’ve seen everywhere else. It just fits)
Immediately after their win on Saturday, Pittsburg State took to its Twitter feed and did something some might find surprising. We congratulated Wichita State on their win, and wished them well in the Final Four.
The tweet read simply, “From one Kansas university to another, congrats to Wichita State! Final Four bound!”
Why would we do this for, what some would consider, an in-state collegiate competitor? Was it a strategic marketing decision? Had we conducted an in-depth survey targeting potential students to discover their attitudes towards this type of message?
No. The sentence wasn’t crafted by a group of marketers; it wasn’t placed in front of a focus group or sent out to a test market.
It was … authentic.
If you want to be successful in your social media efforts, you must be authentic.
In this case, we were feeling exactly what most Kansans were at that moment, and we wanted to share it with our followers.
So what results can an authentic message deliver?
In this case, our Facebook posting was “liked” 1,521 times, shared 51 times, commented on 18 times and viewed by 24,696 people. (More than half of whom viewed it virally!)
Our tweet was retweeted 73 times to an estimated 29,000 people and favorited 39 times. It was even retweeted by the Wichita Eagle Beacon.
And it brought us new Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers. (For context, we currently have 16,219 Facebook “likes” and 4,620 Twitter followers.
Social media can be a tricky thing. Many factors will go into your messaging, but it’s important to remember that when you take all of the technology away, it’s still just a conversation.
And in the end, people want to talk with someone who’s being authentic.