By Audrey Wang
This post was written by a student in Dr. Aaron Dinin’s Building Global Audiences(I&E 250) class. You can learn more about their class project and why they’re blogging about it here.
This week in our Building Global Audiences class, we were tasked to come up with an actionable growth strategy for the Franklin Humanities Institute’s Health Humanities Lab. This requires looking at our goals, demographic and selecting specific media channels to figure out how to build a targeted audience.
Outlining Goals for the HHL
Every organization has a goal, and ways to achieve that goal, whether it be through email, flyers or social media. Take something like social media popularity, which might seem very arbitrary. Why did that girl become instafamous when your best friend looks just as good as her? Why did Obama’s tweet get retweeted 10 more times while you posted pretty much the same opinion yesterday? Why does Shakira have more followers than Beyonce on Twitter and Facebook, but Beyonce have more followers than Shakira on Instagram?
Just as every business or service has a character and a mission, every social media account has a goal. And more so than personal social media and your carefully curated instagram posts, social media marketing is targeted and deliberate. It involves delving into the mindset of what your audience would want to see, what media channels they use, looking at analytics, what other competitors are posting, and nailing the right timing.
“Content is king but traffic is god” – HHL has a lot of valuable content for a specific crowd. How do we make the HHL “blow up” on social media and beyond? Can we achieve this or is slow and incremental growth more realistic and effective for the organization?
Demographic & Audience Growth Channels
Looking at a popular social media figure today:
Beyonce- Wide fan base, ages 15-30, especially women, African American & diversity groups
Chosen media strategy (in terms of follower concentration):
Interestingly, this corresponds to Sprout Social’s analytics of demographics of each social media channel: While Facebook and Instagram correspond to 88% and 59% of age 18-29 users respectively, this age group only corresponds to 36% of Twitter usage. 
In contrast, looking at the HHL’s demographic in a similar way, a more academic association would require a less social media centric strategy since our audience typically spends less time on such channels and normally do not look for information through social media. This was one of the biggest takeaways that we realized throughout the course of the semester – social media is not always the only way to acquire a bigger audience. However, we included it in our media strategy because we believe it is a good way to drive traffic and initiate conversation (given HHL’s goal of becoming thought leader in the space)
HHL: narrower fan base, college students and faculty, more heavily concentrated on faculty and medical professionals, academics
Media strategy we will focus on:
- Events & Collaboration with Internal, External organizations
- Social Media
Concrete Growth Strategy
While it would be ideal to project a 5 year long term growth strategy for the HHL, we are limited by its indeterminate funding situation that would affect the status of the organization in the foreseeable future. According to HHL coordinator Thomas Johnson, the HHL was funded for 3 years and we are now in the second year of this funding. Therefore our growth strategy is focused on goals that we believe would be achievable by next year.
The lab is currently funding 10 projects, and going down the line we believe we should focus on the channels below:
Current situation: has own listserv but not actively used, not on any email list servs, name is attached to other FHI initiatives and mentioned as part of FHI activities
Goal: get onto listservs and create own content
- Events: (Goal)
Current situation: have hosted events in Trent, Carpenter Room, Smith Warehouse, Bostock, held keynote event Breath, Body and Voice in October which also featured off campus locations. There were over 200 guests registered for the conference and a speaker survey was conducted from guest speakers. The conference was mostly promoted through word of mouth and associations with other on campus associations and scholarships. Listed online but unclear how many people actively search for conferences; posted on social media but reach is limited.
- Marketing “package” that comes with each event: sending email reminders, social media marketing strategy (countdowns, shareable links instead of just reposting event flyer), creating graphic designs for flyers (clear step 1,2,3 process to follow)
- Hosting events, increased collaboration with competitors both external and internal
- Promotional campaign with Bass Connections, Career Center
- Raising money at events to fund projects
- Example: the HHL Funding of research projects provides scholars with money ranging from $750 to $3000 intended for one year of research activities
- With funding of the HHL about to expire, the lab could consider raising the same amount at events. In the past year they have had 21 events (averaging 2 each month), meaning that approximately $150 would have to be raised at each event.
- Assuming that about 30 people attend each event and that a probable goal of $5 can be raised per person, the funding needs of the HHL can be fulfilled
- Questions to ask: number and amount of people willing and likely to donate, because this will affect the goal of number of attendees for each event
- Depending on the success of this program, this would solve the HHL funding program and provide continuity
- Following social media analytics: excel sheet tracking
Facebook: 130 likes, 0-3 likes, Events: 0-5 interested; Breath,Body Voice- 137 interested
Twitter: 161 followers, 1-10 retweets, 0-1 comments
Instagram: 79 followers, ~ 3 likes per post
Preliminary template could look something like this, and depending on effectiveness could add more metrics such as frequency of posts per day, per week & month
Additionally, although a lot of analytics services are free, the HHL indicated that it would be open to allocate funds to analytics services to more effectively market itself online.
Timeline & Numbers
- Create template for newsletters
- Send out newsletters monthly
- Get onto 15 listservs
- Revamp website (new layout template, work with FHI to do this)
- Create centralized attendance system, ask where they heard about the event (so one can calculate reach and “return rate” of each channel (email, social media etc.)
- Start interviewing to assess possibility of donation program, network with potential donors
- Reach out to Duke organizations like the Medical Center, faculty, Bass Connections, Duke Engage, Duke Career Center, Pre-Health Advising for promotional collaboration
- Facebook: Increase likes to 300-500, look at analytics to see what posts are generating most reach and interaction
- Facebook Events: as Breath, Body and Voice conference demonstrated, it is possible to generate reach in terms of people interested in events
- Events “interested metric”: 30-50 per event
- Recruiting student ambassadors/ providing incentives to click interested
- Twitter: Increase following to 300-500, tweet frequency to 2-5 every two weeks instead of once a month
- Instagram: slower strategy because not entirely a fit for the goals of the HHL, Increase following to 150-250, generate content and photos instead of just event flyers, 10-20 likes per post
- Expand own listserv (exact numbers TBD)
- Revamp newsletter template
- Launch revamped website and have direct links from email, increased interaction features
- Build established framework for donation (payment systems – students FLEX, cash, deposits etc.)
- Collaboration with other institutions, cross promotion
- Joint program/events with other Duke Institutions listed above
- Facebook: Increase likes to 600-800, modify posting strategy and content according to analytics
- Events “interested metric”: 50-100 per event
- Twitter: Increase following to 600-800 (to match competitors), regular tweet frequency, 2-5 every week
- Instagram: Increase following to 300-400, 40-50 likes per post
In 5 years:
- Twitter: 2500 followers
- Facebook: 1500 followers