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Using Salesforce Social Studio, Harvard saw power of social media

By looking at its social media data with Salesforce, Harvard Graduate School of Education saw more than 65% of article traffic generated through social media.

BOSTON -- In the shadow of Red Sox opening day, hundreds of Salesforce users and partners converged at Hynes Convention Center for the annual Salesforce World Tour this week.

Little news of note is typically trotted out at this event -- executives did announce the general availability of the Marketing Cloud and Google Analytics 360 integration, borne out of a partnership unveiled at Dreamforce. However, the event is more of a customer-story showcase, displaying how various brands are using Salesforce products.

One such customer was the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), which shared how Salesforce Social Studio helped the school better interact with potential students and donors on social media.

Salesforce has infiltrated roughly half of Harvard University's various departments, according to Corey Snow, Harvard's CRM strategist and solution architect. Snow, along with Matt Weber, director of digital communications at HGSE, highlighted the work HGSE has done with Salesforce Social Studio.

"We saw the power of social media and wanted to position ourselves with other education news outlets," Weber said.

'Our social media sat in a silo'

What if we could connect what we're doing on social media and harness that power to what we're doing in general at [Harvard Graduate School of Education].
Matt Weberdirector of digital communications, HGSE

Salesforce Social Studio helps brands organize and orchestrate their social media use by scheduling posts, finding insights on interaction, and delving into the analytics on which stories are reaching the broadest audience and what times are better to post.

"When we put out an article, we want to know how people get there," Weber said. "Over 65% find our content through social media."

Weber outlined the process dating back nine years, when he would log onto the HGSE Twitter account, tweet something out and feel a sense of accomplishment. That single, manual tweet grew into scheduling tweets with Hootsuite to building out a social media analytics report with Salesforce Social Studio.

"What if we could connect what we're doing on social media and harness that power to what we're doing in general at HGSE," Weber said. "Before, our social media sat in a silo. No one was being captured as leads or prospective students or donors."

Beyond just scheduling tweets and gauging the interaction, Weber and the HGSE team used Salesforce Social Studio to connect that social media data back into the university's CRM platform.

Salesforce Social Studio also allowed Weber and other admins at Harvard to take caution with the university's Twitter accounts; they could suspend scheduled or live tweets during either a local or national emergency, removing the potential of an insensitive tweet.

Creating a roadmap

The growth from manual tweets to establishing Salesforce Social Studio wasn't an overnight accomplishment. Getting everyone on the same page at the beginning of the process was challenging, according to Rob Oatman, CIO at HGSE. Oatman described substantial planning in getting the right social media strategy in-house before deploying Salesforce tools.

"We were all over the place when we started," Oatman said. "We had to get our arms around this from a technological standpoint."

Oatman outlined a two-day process, where roughly 40 members of the HGSE group and Salesforce consultancy Cervello established a strategy that would help those at HGSE see the importance of a tool like Salesforce Social Studio.

"We took two full days to build out what we're here for, what the business model should look like," Oatman said. "We created an enterprise roadmap for our department."

Salesforce Social Studio is part of Salesforce's Marketing Cloud. Pricing for Social Studio and Marketing Cloud isn't readily available; Salesforce recommends contacting the company for pricing.

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