Earlier this year, before leaving my role at the University of Warwick, I got to tick something off my social media career bucket list; getting some students on board for a takeover!
Organising a takeover hasn’t just been a recent passion project; back in October 2014, my very first start of an academic term at Warwick, I tried to get our photography society interested in running our Instagram account for a week. It didn’t happen though – when they suggested that the best time for me to chat with them about it would be on their start of term social, I realised we were coming at things differently.
Fast forward a couple of years to October 2016 and my first meeting with the stars of this blog – Mambo 5 – and I finally had a takeover plan that might actually happen.
This seems like an ideal point to introduce you to Mambo 5. Their given names are Elizabeth and Olivia, and they are both currently in their second year at Warwick. They met in their first year when they were living in the same hall of residence and, pretty soon, had started their own YouTube channel, where they vlog about life at Warwick.
And they do it really well.
After coming across a few of their videos through social listening, I eventually decided to reach out to the vlogging duo last summer to say how much I liked their videos and see if they might like to work a bit more closely with us during the next academic year.
One enthusiastic reply later and a coffee date was set. We said hello, we chatted about video stuff and threw some ideas around – all basic stuff, but it started a relationship between Mambo 5 and University Marketing.
Over the course of that year, Warwick’s video team gave Mambo 5 some top editing tips, Mambo 5 got involved in central campus social media campaigns and, where appropriate, Warwick shared Mambo 5’s videos on official University channels.
However, one of the ideas we threw around at that first coffee and chat was about getting Mambo 5 to take over Warwick’s Instagram account for a day and showcase what a day in the life of our students is actually like…the rest of this blog tells the story of how it all went.
This bit was all very easy; once I’d established that Mambo 5 were keen to take over the account – very keen, I should add! – we simply agreed a date and I sent over a few terms and conditions that Elizabeth and Olivia agreed to. These were all pretty obvious things like no swearing, no sharing the password, only post your own material etc (if you’re reading this and would like to see the full thing, just drop me a line and I’ll share it with you).
Mambo 5 and I exchanged a few ideas via email and in person in the build up to the day itself, but I was conscious in not being too prescriptive for fear of their takeover feeling forced and unnatural.
On the day itself, I simply gave Mambo 5 the password and left them to it – sending a few encouraging emails throughout the day to check that they were ok. I also changed the bio link for Warwick’s Instagram account to Mambo 5’s YouTube channel, so they could easily refer to it during the day and hopefully gain a few new viewers.
During the day we plugged the takeover on our other channels, and then simply enjoyed watching as Mambo 5 posted, created a story and even went live for a lunchtime Q&A. Then, once it was all over, I changed the password and dug into the analytics.
Mambo 5’s posts
During their takeover, Mambo 5 shared six posts, which generated a total of 2,530 likes, 50 comments and 50,941 impressions. They reached 33,829 people.
This meant that, on average, each post generated 422 likes, 8 comments, 8,490 impressions and reached 5,638 people.
For comparison, that same term Warwick’s Instagram content averaged 2,875 likes and 30 comments per week, and its average weekly reach was 28,638.
That means that Mambo 5 reached more people in a day than the University usually did in a week, as well as generating more comments and not far off a week’s worth of likes in the 12 hours of so they were in charge of the account.
Mambo 5’s story
Elizabeth and Olivia didn’t just post photos during their takeover; they also used the Story function to share their day – you can watch a recording of it below.
Their Story did brilliantly; each slide was viewed by an average of 2,593 people. On previous stories, Warwick’s average viewing figures per slide had been 2,172 people.
This is even more impressive when you factor in that Mambo 5’s Story was 15 slides long – three times the average length of previous Stories on the account. People found their content so engaging that they kept watching.
Mambo 5 Live
On top of their posts and Story, Mambo 5 went live for around 40 minutes at lunchtime for a Q&A – the first time the University of Warwick had ever gone live on Instagram.
Viewing numbers peaked at 52 and were generally at around 45 for the duration of the session…and boy, were those viewers interested and engaged! During this 40 minute session, Mambo 5 were asked a whopping 105 questions – and did a marvellous job of answering them, talking in terms of their own experiences and being very open about ones they couldn’t help with.
These questions were also incredibly useful for the marketing team. Thanks to the speedy typing of my colleague Charlotte Gibbs, we were able to jot down all of the questions put out there during the live session and circulate them with colleagues afterwards.
There were queries about courses, campus life, accommodation, travel, employability and more. Some of them are things we already cover in our comms and marketing plans, some we don’t. However, thanks to Mambo 5’s live session, we ended up with a great idea of what information prospective students are interested in.
Mega, mega useful – just a shame that the ability to save your live session wasn’t introduced by Instagram until the week after this takeover…d’oh!
Aside from Mambo 5’s takeover clearly being a great success – I’ll say it again, their content reached more people in a day than Warwick normally got to in a whole week – there were also two glaring takeaways for me and my Marketing colleagues.
First, a student takeover is a brilliant way of adding a student voice into our corporate channels and the content they create is engaging and useful to our audiences.
Second, there is also a very clear appetite for live Q&As with our students – even when the questions being asked are already answered on our website, it’s much more effective being answered by a real student.
A word from Mambo 5
The day after their takeover, I emailed Mambo 5 a roundup of all the stats from their day, as well as the recording of their Story, in case they wanted to use it on one of their videos, and the list of questions they were asked during their Live session. They emailed back to say thanks and, I have to say, I was blown away by how appreciative they were to have an idea of how the day went and all of the insights from it.
I mean, just look at this for a nice email to receive…
You guys are absolutely amazing, you are so on it! This data is invaluable to us, and we will be sure to us it as inspiration and guidance for our next videos. It gave us a real insight into what students really want, and we appreciate that so, so, so much!
The stats that you guys recorded is out of this world and far from anything we expected -this is really exciting for us.
Oh, and, added bonus…
With having our link in your bio also increased our subscriber and views, which we passed 300 subscribers and 50,000 views in total which is absolutely crazy haha!
The story for Warwick’s Marketing team and Mambo 5 didn’t end here – the two worlds collided for an ace mini series called Take 5 with Mambo 5 that you should totally check out. Yes, I’m biased about how good it was as I worked really hard on it to make it happen before I left Warwick, but still, it is great!
Upon chatting to Mambo 5, in particular about the song from which they take their name…it turns out they were 2 when it came out.
Hideous! I feel old.