Clemson University
“Our partners are growing all over campus and across industries because of the success we’ve seen with our Social Media Listening Centers” - Barbara Weaver, Deputy Director of Cyber Infrastructure Technology Integration

Clemson University uses Salesforce to Harness the Power of Social

Located in rural South Carolina, Clemson University was recently ranked the 21st best national public university in the country, but is perhaps more commonly known for its outstanding top-25 Division I football program.

With 20,000 undergrad and graduate students, Clemson has hundreds of unofficial social media accounts with respective unofficial voices speaking on behalf of the university. During peak seasons, Clemson receives over 35,000 social mentions per week. “It’s like the wild west,” said Dr. Jason Thatcher, Director of the Social Analytics Institute. The university began addressing the issue by creating a social campus strategy under the vision of Chief Information Officer Jim Bottum, and opened its first Social Media Listening Center (SMLC) in February 2012.

While the athletic program and game days receive some of the most social attention, Clemson began its core social strategy by enhancing the undergraduate “Clemson Experience.” The school started with Admissions and began using ExactTarget Marketing Cloud’s Radian6 technology to listen, engage, and respond to social media posts from prospective students. The SMLC staffed itself with Clemson students, who could respond to the myriad of inbound social posts. “We wanted our social messages to be authentic – peer to peer,” said Thatcher. From tweets about getting accepted into Clemson to questions posted about deadlines, students began tackling responses using Radian6 and used unique hashtags to create a unified Clemson voice.

The SMLC at Clemson has also focused on integrating students and industry in research and curriculum development. “We’re closing the gap between businesses’ use of social media and academic curriculums,” said Thatcher. By partnering with academic business units and industries across the country that are looking to gain insight into social media analytics, the SMLC allows students to construct queries of data from the social web and identify new opportunities for brand management. Throughout the process, students become truly skilled social media analysts. The SMLC and Radian6 are empowering students with the intellectual tools and applied skills required to compete in competitive job markets and in the global knowledge economy.

Winning the Innovation in Education Award in 2012, Clemson saw enough demand to open a second SMLC in the fall of 2013. “Our partners are growing all over campus and across industries because of the success we’ve seen with our Social Media Listening Centers,” said Barbara Weaver, Deputy Director of Cyber Infrastructure Technology Integration. Powered by Radian6, the SMLC continues to create opportunities for strategic, operational, pedagogic and social impact across the country.

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