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How Duke University Succeeds with Social Media

Posted Under: Social Pros 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 most popular marketing podcasts in the world, and was recently named the best podcast at the Content Marketing Awards. Listen for real insight on the real people doing real work in social media. You get the inside stories and behind-the-scenes secrets about how companies like Ford, Dell, IBM, ESPN, and dozens more staff, operate, and measure their social media programs.

iTunes Reviews:

It wasn't enough that Jay Baer wrote a book, has an amazing blog and does amazing work -- he now had to add podcasting to his arsenal. Break a leg!


I started following Jay on Twitter about a year ago and have really appreciated the great content he has put out. This podcast goes above and beyond though, and really gets to the meat of what is going on in the social and digital media space. Keep up the good work @jaybaer!


This show is so good that I can't stop listening to it. Learn how to use social media and ecommerce to grow your business.


Thank you so much for providing this not only interesting show, but also fun!


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.

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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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