The National University of Singapore (NUS) is ranked among the best education institutions in the world. But what happens when a global university wants to increase brand awareness levels for a particular school? That’s where social media marketing comes in. We united a diverse group of students, staff and alumni through a heartwarming video on social media, all the while growing reach and engagement levels.
Read on to find out how Happy Marketer’s social media marketing services helped the university go viral.
NUS School of Computing (NUS Computing) ranks 9th in the world for Computer Science & Information Systems (QS World University Rankings).
What does it mean to feel one with your community during a stressful time?
NUS Computing might already have a globally recognized brand name, but it needed to improve brand visibility and engagement on social channels in particular. Another challenge was to boost its brand awareness against both local and global competitors like Singapore Management University and MIT, to name a few.
Meanwhile, university exams are universally dreaded and student stress levels reach a peak every exam season. We thought - why not unite the NUS Computing community during exam time and build brand awareness simultaneously?
Our Exam Well Wishes video would be the bridge that connected our two objectives. This heartwarming video would help foster a strong community spirit among NUS Computing staff, student and alumni.
How do you create online content that is actually heartwarming?
Any social media content NUS Computing produced needed to capture the interests of its diverse community, with approximately 200 faculty staff from leading global universities and students and alumni from all corners of the world.
With exams approaching, morale was low and tensions were high among students - all of their hopes and dreams hinged on this one defining moment.
These students were buried under mountains of books and papers and in dire need of encouragement. In this case, social media acted as a uniting force.
To relieve the students’ escalating stress and increase engagement on social media, NUS Computing aimed to do two things:
- Share light-hearted content that centered on the common theme of exams
- Incorporate strong NUS Computing branding and a distinctly local flavor
How can a Facebook page reduce exam stress?
Based on our research, localized content has a higher likelihood of being shared than non-localized content. For example, the most shared Facebook posts during October-December 2015 in Singapore featured highly focused content with a local flavour (Source: Socialbakers).
We knew that the NUS Computing canteen is a frequented student hub and food is comforting during stressful exam times.
How to combine the 3 F’s: Facebook, Food and Familiarity?
Our strategy was to combine our two insights and create localized content that would unite students around a common comfort during their exams: familiar food!
We would distribute content guerilla-style on Facebook, a common source of distraction for students. (Who doesn’t sneak a peek at Facebook a few hundred times while studying?)
Why did we decide to celebrate unsung heroes?
What if we could incorporate the school’s canteen and its unsung heroes in our content - with the spirit of community bonding as the video’s focus?
That was the inspiration for the behind-the-scenes video messages from our heroes, the aunties and uncles’ who owned SoC canteen stalls. Since the SoC students see them every day and have a connection with them, our digital messages with a relevant and homegrown flavor would bring that connection to life. The canteen aunties and uncles were also the last people students would expect to star in a Facebook video. Unexpected content = more shares (at least, that was the plan!)
On November 20, 2015, our video went live on the NUS Computing Facebook page. This social media marketing campaign lasted only a day, but delivered promising results.
How do you uncover the secret behind going viral?
We hear a lot about content going viral these days, but not every piece of content has the potential to become the next big thing in the online world. In fact, only 15% of social media marketing campaigns ever go viral (Source: Millward Brown).
However, our video did manage to go viral in Singapore (and outside the island as well, but more on that later).
The Exam Well Wishes video successfully reached 116,758 Facebook users, including NUS Computing staff, students and alumni. It was also organically shared 107 times
Here are some other notable campaign metrics:
The video therefore went viral in 8 days and on a promotional budget of just S$6.48!
This message from an NUS Computing alumnus who lives outside Singapore shows the emotional resonance of a simple video. Sometimes, even a 45-second piece of content can have a strong impact. And for us, this was perhaps the most touching response to our social media marketing campaign for NUS Computing:
We hope we’ve demonstrated the simple yet striking power of social media marketing to you. It can help generate brand awareness and even leads but at its heart, social media achieves a greater objective. It unites people with diverse interests around a common goal.
For the education industry especially, social media marketing is a powerful tool. In a university as large and global as NUS, it helps create a long-lasting and wide-reaching digital footprint that could potentially attract a whole new cohort of global students.