How UCLA used Buzzfeed to generate some of its highest engagement ever on social media / by Mike Takahashi

Readers have become minipublishers, using social media platforms to share information they think will entertain and enlighten their friends.
— David Carr, NY Times

Today, a large amount of traffic is driven via social media sharing. As readers have become minipublishers, content that becomes viral is often emotional and easy to understand. Enter Buzzfeed. Love them or hate them, Buzzfeed has changed the way people consume content online. Famous for lists and quizzes, it has now become a disruptive force in the online publishing industry, overtaking traditional publishers like the NY Times.

At UCLA we decided to experiment with lists on Buzzfeed. People love lists. Author Maria Konnikova explains several reasons why:

  1. The headline catches our eye in a stream of content
  2. It positions its subject within a preexisting category and classification system
  3. It spatially organizes the information
  4. It promises a story that’s finite, whose length has been quantified upfront.

Topics for our lists have ranged from 10 Signs You Are A UCLA Bruin to 8 Coolest Classes To Take At UCLA.

To date, we’ve published four articles, which have generated some of our highest engagement ever (based on the number of likes, shares and comments) on social media.

Part of our content marketing strategy has been to focus on the wealth of history and emotional connection people have to UCLA. Lists have tapped into nostalgia and pride from prospective students, current students and alumni. Comments and feedback have been overwhelmingly positive and we've been able to generate excitement and affinity for UCLA while connecting with our audiences and increasing social sharing.