Norfolk, Virginia’s Old Dominion University (ODU) is a leading research university with entrepreneurship initiatives that contribute nearly $2.1 billion to the economy. Its communications team uses Meltwater for outreach, monitoring, and social engagement.
Their task is formidable: service 25,000 students, administrators, and academic departments with a communications team of 21. Lacking a central platform, the team juggled multiple systems for online news, broadcasts, social listening and engagement. Tweets and mentions were overlooked or seen too late for a reply.
Although ODU was using Zignal for media monitoring, the team still relied on Google Alerts as a safety net to catch missed articles. Since competitor searches were not allowed within their Zignal subscription, they had additional keywords set up in Google Alerts to ensure peer institution news was captured.
“The clips from our previous provider weren’t reliable, as coverage was consistently missed. We still had to manually search for stories we could share,” says ODU’s Giovanna Genard.
The clips from our previous provider weren’t reliable, as coverage was consistently missed. We still had to manually search for stories we could share.Giovanna Genard Assistant VP for Strategic Communication and Marketing
Today ODU’s communications team holds monthly strategy meetings with senior executives where they use Meltwater to identify trending topics in the media they want to focus on and who will be positioned as the expert and external speaker for the university on the selected topic. Beyond contributing to trending conversations, they use the influencers database to target journalists for articles on ODU’s research, and in turn use the stories they create for fundraising.
Crisis management is supported by Smart Alerts, which allow ODU to monitor trends and social media filtered by location. Meltwater Engage lets them assign specific users to reply to specific social posts as soon as they come in, further streamlining their processes. Throughout, dashboard analytics tell them how well they’re performing with donors and the broader ODU community.
“We produce a daily newsletter we send to our president and other high-level people,” says Giovanna Genard. “We use Meltwater to inform everyone of news concerning the university.”
Our goal is to better listen to our community and know what they care about. Using Meltwater not only keeps us informed, but it allows us to interject our thought leaders into the conversations where they can make the biggest positive impact for ODU.
Monitor all media types and engage with influencers from a single platform
Increase university reach and grow brand recognition globally
Keep their community informed and engaged
“Every week we review what’s trending in the news, and then we find experts at the university who can speak on those topics and pair them with local media. We use those same trends to help us create video stories that we pitch to TV stations. And often they use our footage.” – Giovanna Genard, Assistant VP for Strategic Communication and Marketing
“During a speech on climate change, Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged ODU as an international leader. By pulling reach metrics from this mention, we were able to show our executive cabinet just how impactful this statement was for the university’s overall brand recognition.” – Giovanna Genard, Assistant VP for Strategic Communication and Marketing
“ODU received a large gift that will allow us to build a museum featuring an extensive glass art collection. This art has a unique following in the art world. We used Meltwater to find niche publications, bloggers, and reporters that target this art, and the stories they wrote made international headlines.” – Giovanna Genard, Assistant VP for Strategic Communication and Marketing