Social Works book cover images


I wanted to share a progress report on our book, Social Works. [If you haven’t read the initial post, here it is.]

First, though, we need your help! Kevin Rieg, one of our designers, developed three designs for the cover of Social Works — they’re shown above. And I like them all! Please help me pick one: Take 30 seconds (tops) to respond to this survey. We’ll send one respondent a (print) copy of Social Works when it’s completed.

As far as the text is concerned, everything is coming together. The opening section of the book explores attributes of successful campaigns and focuses extensively on planning. The bulk of Social Works is made up of 25 case studies, reporting on campaigns involving 28 institutions from the US, the UK, Australia, and Africa.

Besides me, 17 authors contributed to Social Works: Andrew Careaga, Georgy Cohen, Jennifer Connally, Susan Evans, Terry Flannery, Ellen Foley, Joel Goodman, Dana Howard, Erika Knudson, Kylie Stanley Larson, Nicole O’Connell, Rebecca Salerno, Melissa Soberanes, Donna Talarico, Justin Ware, Mallory Wood, and Fran Zablocki. The entire project is being managed by Kylie Stanley Larson. [I’m learning what Kylie’s clients already know: she’s an awesome project manager.]

Here’s a brief synopsis of the case studies:

  • American University: The university launched its brand campaign, American WONK, using a website and a variety of social channels and tactics.
  • Elizabethtown College + Messiah College: The two Pennsylvania rivals developed a campaign to boost giving participation among young alumni. Focused on a traditional soccer rivalry, in the “Battle of the Blues” the colleges kept score of donors and dollars raised, with both institutions increasing their overall totals in 2011.
  • Florida State University: In its 36-hour Great Give Campaign conducted entirely online, the university raised $186,000 and gained many new donors.
  • Indiana University Alumni Association: University staff used social media to inform a redesign of the Alumni Association website, infused social media into the newly launched site, and used social channels to market and refine it.
  • Johns Hopkins University: Johns Hopkins staged a “Fantasy Reunion” campaign, based on Fantasy Football, to increase giving and participation in its real reunion, increasing registration and giving.
  • Loyola University Chicago: LUC developed an integrated social media approach to undergraduate admissions marketing; it’s now folding mobile into that mix.
  • Madison Area Technical College: In 2010, at the peak of an economic downturn, Madison College used multiple social channels to muster voter support for and pass a referendum allocating funds for campus expansion.
  • Missouri S&T: Missouri S&T used its websites and social networks to share information and manage crisis communications during a campus lockdown.
  • MIT/Cornell: To build fans and boost engagement, MIT and Cornell created a competition in which they invited alumni to respond to questions about fictional alumni at each institution, tracking likes and shares to determine the winner.
  • Murray State University: MSU took advantage of multiple social, online and offline channels to leverage their championship basketball team and gain national recognition for the university.
  • Nazareth College: To boost alumni engagement and in-person attendance at reunions, Nazareth developed a campaign in which alumni mailed each other stuffed Golden Flyer mascots, checking them in on a Google map and sharing updates and other information via social channels.
  • Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University: NMMU students staged the first flash mob in South Africa at a local shopping mall. A YouTube video went viral, resulting earned media, increased brand awareness, and more applications.
  • Oregon State University: OSU used many online and offline channels in its institution-wide branding and awareness campaign, Powered By Orange, launched in 2009.
  • Rochester Institute of Technology: RIT added student videos and created a webseries to help prospective students gain a first-hand glimpse at real life on campus.
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: RPI created Alumni Spirit Day, in which alumni wore RPI gear, and a Facebook-based photo competition to spur engagement and institutional pride.
  • Saint Michael’s College: St. Mike’s trains student ambassadors to manage broad-based social media outreach for the college through blogs and other channels.
  • Trinity International University: TIU created a game based on “Flat Stanley,” played in the real world and on Facebook, to boost yield and create a broader brand awareness.
  • Tufts University: Tufts redesigned its news website to feature its own news and share content gleaned from many sources on the social web, seeking synergies to tell more complex, nuanced stories.
  • University of Nottingham: A successful PR campaign based on a faculty blog about the UK’s 2010 election campaign resulted in major media coverage, boosted applications to the politics department, and expanded awareness of the university. The University of Melbourne adapted this campaign in the Australian election.
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison:  Uw-Madison crowdsourced content from on-campus and from its many publics to present a sense of what happens on campus in a 24-hour period.
  • University of Wisconsin-River Falls: UWRF made it easy and simple for students to share their accomplishments with their parents and friends through their social networks, resulting in significant sharing of stories about student accomplishment.
  • Vanderbilt University: To introduce a new football coach, Vanderbilt developed a social outreach strategy focused primarily on Facebook.
  • Webster University: To spur engagement with its online properties in summer, Webster developed a campaign to give away concert tickets to participants on its Foursquare, Twitter, and YouTube channels.
  • William & Mary: William & Mary used a wide variety of online and social channels to conduct its search for a new college mascot and announced the final selection online.
  • William & Mary: William & Mary’s student recruitment campaign paired an innovative print piece with a website with social features.

And let me tell you: some of these cases are epic! We can’t wait to share them with you. More details about publication and pricing in my next post.


Michael Stoner

AUTHOR - Michael Stoner

Was I born a skeptic or did I become one as I watched the hypestorm gather during the dotcom years, recede, and congeal once more as we come to terms with our online, social, mobile world? Whatever. I'm not much interested in cutting edge but what actually works for real people in the real world. Does that make me a bad person? Find me on


  • Donna Talarico

    SO excited to be part of this project. Can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

    • Michael Stoner

      Michael Stoner

      Donna, We’re really glad to have your contribution! Thank you!

  • Eric Stoller

    I can’t wait to read this!!! Seriously, I need to have a copy on my iPad, on my bookshelf, under my pillow, in the car…you get the idea 🙂

  • 2012 in Review - Crosstown Digital Communications

    […] wrote a book chapter! mStoner’s “Social Works” comes out later this year, but being asked to write a chapter for it was definitely a highlight […]

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