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How Duke University Succeeds with Social Media

Posted Under: Social Pros Podcast
Content Marketing Awards - 2022 Winner Badge - Best Podcast
Hosted By

Anna Hrach

Convince & Convert

Daniel Lemin

Convince & Convert

Erika Lovegreen

ICUC Social
About Social Pros Podcast:

Social Pros is one of the longest-running marketing podcasts in existence (10 YEARS and counting), and was recently recognized as the #1 Audio/Podcast Series by the Content Marketing Awards.

Our purpose? Making sure that we speak to real people doing real work in social media.

Listeners get inside stories and behind-the-scenes secrets about how teams at companies like Google, Reddit, Glossier, Zillow, Lyft, Oracle, and dozens more, staff, operate, and measure their social media programs.  With 500+ episodes, the Social Pros Podcast brings the humanity of social media to the forefront, while providing incredibly useful marketing strategies that listeners can immediately implement.

Thank you to our sponsor ICUC Social.

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To inquire about becoming a guest, please email Leanna Pham at

Content Marketing Award 2022 Winner

Apple Podcast Reviews:

The Social Pros podcast has quickly become a favorite in my feed! I'm consistently impressed by the engaging conversations, insightful content, and actionable ideas. I truly learn something every time I listen!

@Arlie K

This is absolutely an awesome listen for anyone in communications or social media!!


This podcast has become one of my staple weekly podcasts for learning about marketing! Love the conversations that they have and it's always enjoyable and educational!


Love the podcast - informative, in depth and spot on for any business size.


Sonja Likness, Director of Social Media & Content Strategy at Duke University (Communications Office), shares how she runs social media with numerous departments, collaborators, and over 15,600 students.

Collaborate on social How Duke University Succeeds with Social Media

Coordinating social media content across campus with a large number of departments is no easy feat. However, Sonja Likness, the Director of Social Media & Content Strategy at Duke University, has created a seamless structure that upholds the university’s reputation while still giving departments their own voice on social.
As Sonja stated in this episode of the podcast, “a part of my job is to educate, give best practices, consult when they run into trouble, and to facilitate everybody talking to each other.
Social media practitioners can learn a lot from Sonja, who effectively structures countless collaborators on campus covering a range of different topics and navigates social for a popular university with approx. 15,634 students – not to mention, juggling all of this and keeping everything aligned during a global pandemic. Hear how she does it without breaking a sweat on this fascinating episode of Social Pros.

In This Episode:

  • 04:14 – How Sonja coordinates social content across campus
  • 06:16 – How Duke University’s ‘social media working group’ works together
  • 07:26 – How audience prioritization differs across different social media platforms
  • 12:57 – Why additional governance is necessary when approaching profound topics such as COVID-19
  • 15:07 – How Duke University leverages influencers and user-generated content
  • 18:13 – How Sonja’s team are creating new video content during the pandemic
  • 20:40 – How Duke University uses highly-polished video content vs. authentic video content
  • 23:38 – The importance of social listening
  • 27:40 – Why (and how) Sonja builds relationships with key social media leads across campus
  • 32:40 – How Duke University targets graduate students with social media marketing

Quotes From This Episode:

“We don’t just monitor what people are saying about Duke University, we monitor what people are saying about issues in the news and things that are currently happening” @SonjaLikness
“A part of my job is to educate our smaller units and departments about the what kind of content they might have that we would want to pick up and amplify” @SonjaLikness


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