How the University of Gävle uses Storykit to share academic research on social media and get results

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.

"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."

Marie Hägg Zetterlund

See how they Storykit it

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.

The Challenge

The University of Gävle needed a way to share academic research with a broad audience.

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.

They also needed a productive way that they could produce video in a small team.

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. 

The Solution

When The University of Gävle found Storykit, they could produce text-driven video quickly— as if they were working in PowerPoint.

Marie Hägg Zetterlund, University of Gävle

“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.

They realized they could use use video for almost all communication.

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.

The Results

The University of Gävle use video to boost the visibility of researchers' work on social media.

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.

Marie has been able to find what types of video work for their audience.

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.

Here are her top three tips for sharing university research on social channels:

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. 

Marie’s top 5 tips for sharing research on social media

  1. Be as specific as possible, and test different angles to see what works. Don’t forget to use relevant, high quality images!
  2. Use people (students and researchers) in your videos; that’s how the University of Gävle has won higher engagement in their videos
  3. Pick up on topics that are already being talked about and try to be relevant by publishing research that has a relation to what is happening at the moment. To do this successfully, keep on top of social trends! Researchers themselves can contact the communications department when they spot these – after all, what’s social media without the social? 
  4. Be active and engaged! As head of the university social channels, Marie wants her content to become a ‘talking point’ and for things to happen in the comments section. At the University of Gävle, they strive to spark conversations in the comments section, and they prefer the researcher to do so themselves.
  5. Find a video tool that enables productivity. Since Marie and her colleagues started using Storykit, the university has seen an increased interest in creating videos for social media.

See for yourself

Give us a few minutes and we’ll show you just how easy life can be when you Storykit it.