College President Uses Twitter to Grow University's Brand

Andy Friedman - Associate Editor, Marketing News
2015 Higher Ed Symposium
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Key Takeaways

WHAT: University of Cincinnati President engages public through Twitter.

SO WHAT: Enrollment, donations, public engagement are up dramatically.

NOW WHAT: Creating personal connections with sometimes irreverent use of social media may be counter intuitive but is nevertheless worth considering.

Donuts and Taylor Swift. This doesn't sound like the marketing strategy for a major university. And it doesn't sound like something the university's esteemed president would engage with.

But that's part of the unique, effective approach being used by University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono. He uses Twitter to connect with prospective students, faculty, alumni and partner institutions.

Some of his tweets are matter-of-fact, about routine business. Others are more whimsical, like the time he included Taylor Swift song lyrics in a tweet with the image of donuts from a popular local donut shop. That tweet got huge amounts of engagement and resulted in many new connections. "Gravitas is not what it once was," he adds.

Dr. Ono says it goes beyond that. He says it helps for a brand to have a human voice and a public face. The proof, of course, is in the analytics and other tangible results. Enrollment is up, gifts are up, on-campus student satisfaction is up and Dr. Ono's hashtag, #HottestCollegeInAmerica, is visible on t-shirts, on signs, in the local airport and on coffee mugs. He recommends all leaders of major enterprises to seriously consider adopting a similar approach on social media.

Watch this video interview in which Dr. Ono talks with the AMA's Andy Friedman.


 Interview with Dr. Santa J. Ono


Author Bio:

Andy Friedman - Associate Editor, Marketing News
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