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Last week was the 6th Annual BYU Golden Hashtags, an event where the best 2017-18 social media content posted from throughout the BYU campus is recognized and best practices are promoted.

Think Golden Globes, but for BYU social media.

Here's a rundown of this year's winning entries.
 

Excellence in Social Advertising: Best Campaign
BYU Graduate Studies

Details:

Graduate Studies launched nine Facebook ad campaigns, running for nine months. They retargeted their audience for each campaign, each month. They continued targeting the audiences where they were seeing results. They stopped targeting the audiences where they weren't getting results. It was a successful campaign overall, tracking a total of 200 prospects into their system.

Takeaways:

  • Advertise strategically
  • Test, evaluate, adapt and repeat

 

Excellence in Social Advertising: Going Big
BYU Independent Study

Details:

Independent Study ran a Facebook ad campaign promoting their most popular classes. They invested a lot, with a $10K total budget. They ended up getting 10K+ link clicks and 4M+ impressions.

Takeaways:

  • After you'ved tested, evaluated and adapted ... if you're getting good results, don't be afraid to go big
  • In revenue-generating endeavors, look at what your end-purchase goal is ... if you're spending $10K to promote the end-purchase of hot dogs, vs. $10K to promote the end-purchase of an online class, there are some different ROI scenarios to be considering

 

Excellence in Social Advertising: Best Event Page Promotion
BYU MOA

Details:

The Museum of Art used Facebook event pages and paid for some boosts with strategic targeting that marketed their events extremely well. Depending on the event details, the MOA could advertise the event do very speicific and unique audiences who would be able to see the details. 

Takeaways:

  • Be extremely strategic with your targeting
  • "All BYU students" should never be your target audience
  • Target influencers who may not be in your typical audience
  • You can get huge results with Facebook boosts and don't need to spend much $$$

 

Excellence in Engagement: Making it Count
LDS Philanthropies

Details:

LDS Philanthropies only has 68 followers on their BYU Annual Giving Facebook page, but that didn't prevent them from reaching 22K+ in this #GivingCougsDay post. As their most important project of the year, rather than putting a little bit of effort into a lot of posts, LDSP puts a lot of effort into one, big post. By partnering with different groups throughout campus, they got a lot of shares on this, and that really allowed this to spread.

Takeaways:

  • Make sure you're putting the majority of your time and energy and effort behind your most important content
  • Reach out (in person) for shares
  • Beware of crying wolf ... you can't be asking for shares too often

 

Excellence in Engagement: Going Back to the Well
BYU HBLL

Details:

This isn't the first time the HBLL has run with the idea, but it always seems to get them engagement, inviting their audience to share their favorite book, but only in emojis.

Takeaways:

  • Stick with what works
  • If it's working really well on one platform, see if it can be adapted to work on another platform
  • You don't have to reinvent the wheel to get engagement

 

Excellence in Engagement: Best Motivating a Following
BYU Simmons Center for Cancer Research

Details:

In one could be the biggest win in BYU social media history, the Simmons Center successfully rallied a worldwide audience to vote over and over and over again for Coach Rose in this Infiniti Challenge to win $100,000 for cancer research. They pulled it off, despite competing against bigger schools with bigger fan bases. It was a huge strategic success in how this was run.

Takeaways:

  • Have a plan
  • Rally the troops
  • Know when to push
  • Use influencers (at the right time ... spread out at different times) ... they had Donovan Mitchell tweeting about this!
  • Sometimes you surprise yourself

 

Excellence in Engagement: Most Visually-Engaging Content
BYU Magazine

Details:

BYU Magazine grabbed some attention for this Napolean Dynamite portrait made of tator tots which appeared on their cover. 

Takeaways:

  • Social media is cluttered
  • A solid visual can really help you stand out
  • Do something different
  • Take the time to make it look great

 

Excellence in Engagement: Speaking Your Audience’s Language
BYU Religious Studies

Details:

BYU Religious Studies used fire emojis and puns to lean into this description of a new book they published on Abinadi. Their followers followed suit in the comments section.

Takeaways:

  • Know how your audience talks
  • Spend a lot of time on captions ... be meticulous

 

Excellence in Engagement: Real-World Excitement Spilling into Social
BYU Law

Details:

Guest speakers at the BYU Law School had an exchange on Twitter about how good the gifted BYU chocolate milk is.

Takeaways:

  • Do stuff that is cool enough, fun enough, nice enough and different enough that positive mentions might naturally spill into social
  • Sometimes people need a nudge to post, but when it's organic, it's awesome
  • Monitor effectively so that you can find and share these types of conversations

 

Excellence in Innovation: Leveraging Your Event
BYU Admissions Services

Details:

Admissions historically had only given this fireside in person. They used time and resources very effectively to put together this high-quality productions with extremely valuable information for their audiences. It originally streamed live from the Church's CES Facebook page.

Takeaways:

  • What are your most important outside-of-social events?
  • Are there ways to integrate social into those events?
  • Facebook Live continues to be a great resource and is loved by the algorithm

 

Excellence in Innovation: Seeing a Need, Filling a Need
BYU Copyright and Licensing

Details:

BYU Copyright and Licensing created this video to show in detail the differences and similarities in a current, high-profile copyright dispute.

Takeaways:

  • What does your organization have expertise in?
  • How can you share that expertise in innovative and engaging ways?
  • How can you fill a content gap with unique content?

 

Excellence in Innovation: Best Animated GIF
BYU Marriott School

Details:

The Marriott School created this fun, well-designed GIF for St. Patricks Day.

Takeaways:

  • GIFs are good (still)
  • Creating a custom, branded GIF is even better
  • BTW ... this is also a how-to-celebrate-holidays best practice (do not just use a stock photo and say "Happy St. Patricks Day" ... if you're going to post on a holiday, find a way to make it your own and add something unique to the conversation)

 

Excellence in Innovation: Best Leveraging of a New Tool
BYU Speeches

Details:

BYU Speeches started posting weekly devotional/speeches highlights in their insta story, starting in December. They gained followers like crazy. In the first four months of 2018, they gained as many followers as they did in all of 2017. Each week, 14-24 percent of their audience views their stories.

Takeaways:

  • Use insta stories! (We're at a tipping point where story content is about to be consumed more than feed content)
  • Don't just throw anything in there ... the story feed is still algorithm-based, meaning you need engagement to continue to be shown first to your followers

 

Excellence on Instagram: Best Grid Branding
The Wheatley Institution

Details:

The Wheatley Institution uses a strategic alternation of text graphics and high-quality images to make their grid look great.

Takeaways:

  • Your Instagram content has to be differentiated
  • Aesthetics are everything on Insta

 

Excellence on Instagram: Best Behind-the-Scenes Takeover
BYU CFAC

Details:

This College of Fine Arts and Communications Insta story from a cast member of Into the Woods gave a behind-the-scenes look at the show.

Takeaways:

  • Use the story to provide your followers access
  • Show things that haven't been shown before
  • Make your followers feel like they're getting the VIP experience

 

Excellence on Instagram: Best Takeover by a College Dean in the History of Instagram
BYU CPMS

Details:

College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences dean Shane Reese took over the BYU Insta story for a day to show what a day in his life as dean of that college is like. CPMS produced a lot of high-quality video beforehand to utilize in the story on the day of. Although this may be the only Insta story takeover by a college dean in the history of Instagram, it was really, really great one.

Takeaways:

  • These day-in-the-life takeovers have been incredibly successful
  • We are always looking for more takeover ideas
  • Look for ways to partner with University Communications on these
  • Look for ways to make your leadership more accessible

 

Excellence with Influencers: Reaching New Audiences
BYU Speeches

Details:

BYU Speeches partnered with Renée Elise Goldsberry on a fascinating Q&A. Utilizing the influence of Goldsberry provided access to a whole new audience, which is also an important audience for them to continue to try to reach.

Takeaways:

  • Use influencers to find new audiences
  • Once you have a commitment, be strategic with how to best make the partnership work ... make sure it's a win-win
  • Be aware of those around your organization, or who has a touch point with your area, who has social influence

 

Excellence with Influencers: Beyond the Post
BYUtv

Details:

BYUtv put together an event for their influencers and VIPs in conjunction with their show Random Acts. They made it a fun event, with swag and plenty of opportunities to create social content.

Takeaways:

  • Have real-world interactions with your influencers
  • Build relationships
  • Give them opportunites to buy in
  • Give them natural social opportunities they'd want to share

 

Excellence in Timing: Newsjacking
BYU Magazine

Details:

BYU Magazine had a number of timely posts that did extremely well for them over the past year. Two examples include this story about fry sauce, featuring BYU folklore professor Eric Eliason and this tweet about a BYU Olympic connection no one else knew about.

Takeaways:

  • Timing can be everything
  • Pay attention to news and trends
  • Think about content you already have or that you can quickly create that would effectively add to the collective conversation
  • Don't force it ... if your content is too much of a stretch to relate to the topic, it can come across as forced and inauthentic

 

Excellence in Timing: Turning Around Content Quickly
BYU Speeches

Details:

BYU Speeches created this President Monson video that has more than 400K views. It was existing content, different from what everyone else was sharing, and it was shared at the exact right time. For the second time now, BYU Speeches has been among the very first to post about new LDS apostles being called. They got this post up, linking to a site with their addresses at BYU, within 10 minutes of the announcement being made at General Conference. BYU Speeches had 37 different potential apostles' information ready to go, including these two. 

Takeaways:

  • Great timing can often require great planning
  • Think about events that are approaching ... how can you prepare in the best ways possible to post at the best possible time(s)?

 

Excellence in Humor: Funniest Book Feature
Special Collections

Details:

You're going to just have to watch this one for the reveal.

Takeaways:

  • Look for something novel
  • Look for that element of surprise
  • Be careful with humor ... there are a lot of lines to walk
  • If you're going to try something funny, it's usually a good idea to bounce the idea off of a number of trusted colleagues first ... preferably colleagues with different senses of humor

 

Excellence in Humor: Funniest Surprise Retweet
Maxwell Institute

Details:

The Maxwell Institute's counterparts at the U retweeted them.

Takeaways:

  • Sometimes using straight visuals can be funnier than words
  • Again ... Be careful with humor ... there are a lot of lines to walk
  • Again ...If you're going to try something funny, it's usually a good idea to bounce the idea off of a number of trusted colleagues first ... preferably colleagues with different senses of humor

 

Excellence in Humor: Leveraging a Trend
BYU CFAC

Details:

This Google Arts and Culture trend was a pretty fun one.

Takeaways:

  • Pay attention to the trends ... know the context of what's funny
  • Again ... Be careful with humor ... there are a lot of lines to walk
  • Again ...If you're going to try something funny, it's usually a good idea to bounce the idea off of a number of trusted colleagues first ... preferably colleagues with different senses of humor

 

Best Crowdsourcing
BYU HBLL

Details:

In looking to promote their upcoming Milktoberfest event, the HBLL turned to their followers for help, holding a meme contest.

Takeaways:

  • This was a best-practices combination of epic proportions
  • Promoting an event through a contest is great
  • Getting user generated is great
  • Doing something funny is great
  • Providing naturally-engaging content is great
  • This also did well at speaking their audience's language
  • You've got to be carefull when calling for user-generated content ... it has to be natural and not (too) cheesy

 

Best Social Workflow
BYU Athletics

Details:

This performance by Ayo and Teo with Cosmo was a big deal. Athletics had an incredible workflow in place to put together a multi-camera, well-edited piece that they turned around incredibly fast. They did this throughout the year with their social video, especially featuring in-game highlights on Twitter.

Takeaways:

  • Being fast and being high-quality doesn't have to be mutually exclusive ... strive for both

 

Best Contests
BYU Alumni

Details:

Instead of just saying "Happy Halloween", BYU Alumni put together a contest, with giveaways their followers would love, and they produced a nice video to help promote it. The contest was formatted well. Followers didn't have to do too much or too little to enter.

Takeaways:

  • Contests need to be done well
  • Beware of (popularity) contests that will force participants to badger their friends for help
  • People get contest-fatigue easily
  • Don't be a reason why people get annoyed
  • Keep it simple
  • Make it a win-win
  • This can be an easy way to get engagement

 

Best Campaign
Kennedy Center

Details:

The Kennedy Center produced a series of four videos to promote their Global Opportunities Scholarship. The videos were well produced, spaced out well and provided unique content so followers weren't thinking they were seeing the same thing over and over.

Takeaways:

  • Be stragic with the spacing of your content
  • Find effective ways to differentiate your campaign content

 

Best Student Story Aggregation and Promotion
Ballard Center

Details:

The Ballard Center had a competition to help spread their students' stories.

Takeaways:

  • We all have student stories we're trying to share
  • How do we get those seen and not lost in the clutter?
  • A competition format can be effective
  • Look for new, inventive ways to tell stories

 

The “That Platform Makes Sense For You Award”
BYU Marriott School

Details:

The Marriott School is doing great things on LinkedIn. A big part of their success is the fact that their students might be the more likely to utilize this platform than any other students on campus.

Takeaways:

  • Does it make sense for you to be on the platforms you're on?
  • Are you where your audience is?
  • Does LinkedIn make sense for everyone?
  • Does Instagram make sense for everyone?

 

Best Teaser Content
Maxwell Institute

Details:

The Maxwell Institute has created a series of audiograms to preview their upcoming podcast episodes.

Takeaways:

  • There are a lot of lines to walk when teasing/previewing content
  • Don't give away too much
  • Don't do the vague tweet
  • Beware of the (common) over-promise, under-deliver teaser
  • Don't ever promise "A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT"
  • Use part of the end-content in the tease
  • Make it snackable
  • Give people something to legitimately be interested in

 

Best Facebook Cover Video
Wheatley Institution

Details:

The Wheatley Institution put together this great looking Facebook cover video as a very inviting and effective way to welcome users to their page.

Takeaways:

  • Design. Makes. A. Difference.
  • Put time and effort into making things look good

 

Most Epic Science Video
BYU CPMS

Details:

CPMS put together this epic video to help promote an event, featuring very strong visuals and fun music. Everyone loves cool science sights and sounds, right?

Takeaways:

  • Make. Things. Look. Good.

 

Best Content Repurposing
BYU Speeches

Details:

BYU Speeches saw this particular speech continually among their most-read on their website. They decided to put together a Mormon-Message-type video with an excerpt from it.

Takeaways:

  • Know what your very best content is
  • Find ways to repurpose that content in new and engaging ways

 

Best Leveraging of a Social Trend IRL
Maxwell Institute

Details:

Maxwell Institute guest speaker Anthea Butler tweeted about how much she loved the viral Cosmo dancing video before coming to campus. The Maxwell Institute aranged for a surpise visit from Cosmo at the lecture. It made for a fun moment.

Takeaways:

  • Pay attention to trends
  • Pay attention to what your guest speakers are tweeting
  • Make magic happen for your influencers

 

Best Social Storytelling
BYU Law

Details:

BYU Law published a story about a student who they admitted after he spent six years in prison. The story was told extremely well and ended up spreading through social and news media.

Takeaways:

  • Find good stories
  • Share good stories
  • Pitch good stories

 

Best Mission-Driven Content
BYU CFAC

Details:

CFAC produced this video of a student project that was the epitomy of inspiring learning.

Takeaways:

  • It all comes back to the mission
  • You can't hit your followers over the head with all serious mission stuff all the time, but it can't all be fluffy stuff either ... find the balance
  • Make your mission-related content your very best content ... spend the majority of your time and energy on these projects