The University of Gävle knows that a 50-page thesis will never do well on Instagram. And yet that is where their captive audience is — mixed in with a cocktail of ever-dwindling attention spans. By using Storykit, they have been able to make their research standout and reach a broader audience on social networks.
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"We want to tell people how we contribute to society and show we’re an important player. With Storykit, it’s easy to put together a video in just a few minutes. We use the tool for almost all communication."
A leading university in Sweden, The University of Gävle offers approximately 60 study programs and second-cycle programs with a focus on sustainable development. With 370 courses in various fields, including distance education, the university is committed to providing a flexible and innovative learning experience for its 17,000 students.
A complex study isn’t always easy to repackage into hard-hitting headlines to attract a wider audience, something Marie Hägg Zetterlund quickly realized when she started working in social media at the University of Gävle a few years ago.
“We want to tell people how we contribute to society and show we’re an important player. Our school sits on a lot of research with heavy messages, but it doesn’t work to put 50 pages from a thesis into the hands of the public”.
Marie’s background in journalism meant she knew combining social media and video were the right way to reach out.
When she started, Marie was the only person in the communications department who could produce video. Everyone relied on her, and it hampered the pace of production. She knew she needed a tool that allowed her whole team to produce text-driven video easily.
“And that’s how we got in touch with Storykit. One of the biggest advantages is that it’s so easy to work with; it’s no more difficult than making a PowerPoint. You add text and images, you can use pre-made templates and control your branding. With the tool, it’s easy to put together a video in just a few minutes. There’s so much content on our site that can become a video, and now anyone can do it. The researchers themselves don’t produce videos yet, but they certainly could,” says Marie.
Now they know that video works so well, the university uses Storykit for almost all communication - not just to promote research. It could be turning press releases and news into videos by picking out the crucial points – and social engagement has never been stronger.
Elsewhere in the university, the school’s student union and library also use the tool for day-to-day comms including alerting students to exam registrations or application periods.
Marie says it’s important that in her role as a communicator to build trust with the researchers about the work she does. “Not all researchers understand why their study should be posted on social media. It’s important for me and the university to explain why social media is just as important as sending out a press release.”
Turning reams of research into a short, snappy video is obviously a challenge. Compressing and simplifying research work loaded with nuance demands sensitivity and respect.
“My job is to shorten something that researchers have been working on for years, and to do that successfully requires respect for the research and the researcher. After all, I want to help that person to reach out to new audiences using short videos to tease their long work, and I have to convince them this is the right approach," Marie explains.
And it’s paying off: Marie has been contacted by researchers at the university who wanted her videos in their presentation material - and people from outside have also taken notice of her work. “People have called me after seeing our videos, which has been great fun,” Marie concludes.
When it comes to publishing research using video on social media, it’s not always about creating something spectacular – it’s about testing what works for your audience. Keeping up with the times - what’s happening here and now - is also important, says Marie.
1. Zoom in, to reel your audience in
“Scale down the information to find the most interesting and relevant stuff. It’s hard to say exactly how I do this, it’s in my backbone. But you have to try things out, and not everything has to be a success. One way to find interesting angles is to start from a current debate that engages people” – Try and find a news or pop culture connection to get eyeballs where they need to be.
2. Use great imagery
“The quality of the images is important. It’s also good to get real people into the videos - either students or researchers” – after all, people relate to people!
3. End on a call to action
“The video is a sneak peek, the aim of the work we do on social media is that those who see the video will ultimately go in and read more about the research” – Understand your purpose and provide a call to action that makes sense for their user journey.
The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.
A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!
Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
Give us a few minutes and we’ll show you just how easy life can be when you Storykit it.