As part of our social media strategy work, we thought it might be interesting (and instructive) to identify the top online influencers among the business school dean set. With the right balance of frequency, content, images, and conversation, these deans strategically connect with their stakeholders. They push big ideas, entertaining stories, and have a knack for sparking conversations. One thing they all have in common – they are attempting to provide value through link sharing, resource sharing, and interactive conversations. (Later, we will focus on measuring what value is actually being created. Stay tuned).
President, Thunderbird School of Global Management
Type of Tweeter: The Conversation Starter
When Angel Cabrera becomes the new President of George Mason University this summer, they will be gaining a prolific social media influencer. Angel Cabrera tweets more than any other Dean and contributes a wide variety of content to his followers. Both the volume and interesting variety of his messages keep followers very engaged.
According to Klout, a service that measures influence online, from October to December 2011, Angel Cabrera was re-tweeted over 1,900 times and was mentioned 618 times on Twitter. In December alone he received over 400 new followers and there are great reasons – he is very active on Twitter, often commenting on multiple posts a days, sharing stories, recommending books, links, and mentioning engaging in multiple personal conversations. With over 5,355 tweets and 3,114 followers, Angel Cabrera has a “true reach” – the number of people you influence, both within your immediate network and across their extended networks, of over 3000. That is an incredible amount of people. This means that over 3000 twitter users re-tweet, comment, or share the content in his posts. The top 5 topics where he is an influencer include – Education, Entrepreneurship, Business, Job Search, and Technology.
Dean, Berkeley-Haas School of Business
Type of Tweeter: The Friend/The Inspirer
We know Rich Lyons is an engaging speaker in person, and he carries his passion and diverse knowledge onto social networks. What sets Rich Lyons apart is the personal and conversational nature of his tweets – he is often telling his followers where he is, what he is doing, and who he is connecting with. Dean Lyons comes across as a guy you would want as a dinner companion. According to Klout, a service that measures influence online, from October to December 2011, Rich Lyons was re-tweeted over 1,300 times and was mentioned 188 times on Twitter. With 1,269 tweets and 3,364 followers, Rich Lyons has a “true reach” – the number of people you influence, both within your immediate network and across their extended networks, of 900. The top 5 topics where he is an influencer include – MBA, Berkeley, Academics, Internet Startups, and Digital Media.
Dean, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
Type of Tweeter: The Self-Promoter
Recently named Poet and Quant’s Business School Dean of the Year for 2011, Bob Bruner is an active and engaging tweeter. Often beginning his posts with “good read” or “interesting read,” a majority of his tweets are links to content he has recently read or his own blog posts. While his tweeting strategy doesn’t start many conversations, he appears to be a trusted source who chooses the content he shares wisely. According to Klout, a service that measures influence online, from October to December 2011, Bob Bruner was re-tweeted 602 times and was mentioned 110 times on Twitter. With 1,580 tweets and 2,146 followers, Bob Bruner has a “true reach” – the number of people you influence, both within your immediate network and across their extended networks, of 530. The top 5 topics where he is an influencer include – MBA, Internet Startups, Forbes, Social Media, and Business.
Dean, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
Type of Tweeter: The Motivator
Jim Dean is a consistent tweeter who focuses on sharing information about both UNC and his personal interests. He is a good example of a dean using social media to engage with people personally. Out of all our deans he can be labeled as the best social media motivator – he is consistently motivating his followers through sharing inspirational links, stories, and ideas. Although Jim Dean has fewer followers and is less “influential” than the other deans who made our list, it was both the tone of his messages and personal nature of his communication that got our attention.
According to Klout, a service that measures influence online, from October to December 2011, Jim Dean was re-tweeted 383 times and was mentioned 89 times on Twitter. With 1,145 tweets and 1,800 followers, Jim Dean has a “true reach” – the number of people you influence, both within your immediate network and across their extended networks, of 321. The top 5 topics where he is an influencer include – UNC, Internet Startups, Business, Agriculture, and Chapel Hill.
Takeaways from the Leaders
1. Use your own regular voice and be yourself. Social network users appreciate genuine personal reactions and responses. If you are sharing an article say why you are sharing it. You should, well, have a point.
2. Be consistent – You don’t have to tweet everyday, but it is important to maintain engagement. Make sure you recognize and respond to people who mention you. Do regular searches for @YourTwitterName to see who is talking to and about you.
3. Link to a blog or your bio page on your institution’s website.
4. Have a designed Twitter landing page that conveys your institutional affiliation. Make sure the design is coherent and represents your core brand assets.
5. Participate in conversations and contribute a wide variety of content…news articles, updates on events, and as you are comfortable some personal reactions as well. Blend self-promotion (not a crime), institutional promotion, link sharing, and personal anecdotes.
6. Use and monitor institutional hash tags and encourage their use on your campus. This helps you keep track of relevant conversations related to your institution and topics of interest. Examples: #kenanflagler, #MBA, #Thunderbird