It’s a social media pro’s dream: Planning and distributing a post, tweet or photo that goes viral. Well, that’s what happened for the communications team at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Most of America is familiar with the legendary Ohio State rivalry against Michigan. The Wexner Medical Center communications team uses this to their advantage as a tradition every year for the Ohio State/Michigan football game. A picture of newborn babies at OSUWMC wearing adorable ‘Beat Michigan’ blankets is sent out on the hospital’s social media sites, the main platform being Facebook.
A post this golden would be hard to resist posting. But the team diligently waits until the day of the big game to share. Specifically they assume that Facebook fans would be more likely to engage with the post right before the game because by that time social media is buzzing with ‘Beat Michigan’-type posts right after Thanksgiving. The 2014 #BuckeyeBabies post for the big rivalry was the most successful that they’ve seen on The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center account.
Post clicks: 69,863
The post is still continuing to grow months later.
So, how did they make this a rockstar post? Alexis Shaw, media relations coordinator at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, explains the reasoning behind the post and their top-notch social media strategy.
“Timing definitely had a lot to do with this post’s success. Since the Ohio State vs. Michigan game is highly-anticipated every season, all OSU fans are looking for a way to show their Buckeye spirit,” Shaw said. “ I also think that, typically, everyone enjoys photos of cute babies and the fact that they were wrapped in ‘Beat Michigan’ blankets definitely made them cuter to a lot of people, even Michigan fans!”
Not only was timing important for the post but also the communications team started the tradition of the #BuckeyeBabies hashtag, which has increased popularity throughout the years.
“This hashtag is one we use with any baby-related posts and promotions, so it’s well-known and is a nice way to show that we’re welcoming these new babies into the OSU community,” Shaw said.
Tips for Creating a Viral Social Media Post
Alexis shares her tips for making this a reality for you.
- Know your audience.
“When we posted this Buckeye Baby photo, we knew our audience was mainly OSU fans that were gearing up for the big game. We knew that tying in our babies to this well-known rivalry would cause people to engage with our post.”
- Collaborate. Share content across multiple accounts to help increase engagement!
“In this case, we were able to collaborate with OSU Athletics’ social media, OSU’s social media, The College of Medicine’s social media and pretty much any OSU-related social media page. By doing this, we were able to ensure that our post would not only be seen by our audience, but also all the audiences of those that we collaborated with. This definitely gave us a big boost in numbers.”
If necessary, hold a post until it is relevant and timely. You should even plan the specific time of day.
“Knowing what time of day to post on social media is important. There’s a lot of research that has figured out what times of the day will get you the most social media engagement. I usually try to post during those time frames to maximize engagement.”
MediaSource is a media relations and content production firm that specializes in brand journalism tactics. From news media coverage to consumer video tactics, MediaSource partners with the nation’s top hospitals and corporations to get their message to targeted audiences. MediaSource is best known for delivering brand buzz by amplifying messages across both earned media and company-owned media channels.