While scrolling through your online newsfeed, you may have noticed offbeat quizzes and posts from BuzzFeed, a global network for news and entertainment that generates six billion views each month.
Dr. Tracy Tuten decided to bring academics to BuzzFeed this semester, tasking her social media marketing students to apply what they’ve learned in class through a real-world project. Through this special assignment, student teams created original content of entertaining or informative value, socially published it on BuzzFeed, and then seeded and promoted that content using social media tactics.
The projects allowed students the freedom of choosing a topic and then targeting a specific demographic. After posting, the students in Tuten’s class analyzed data received from BuzzFeed to see how their articles fared.
One of Tuten’s student teams developed a post called “How Well Do You Know Your Fast Food Fries?” that challenged viewers to match up French fry pictures to their respective restaurants. BuzzFeed soon promoted the quiz as a “featured post,” and within 24 hours it was trending with more than 500,000 views.
Allison Creel, a senior business student from Leesburg, Va., worked with team members Kathleen O’Connor and Katie Richardson to develop the French fry quiz. She says the idea came to her after running across a quiz titled “Can You Identify a Chip By Just Looking at It?” Her team brainstormed further and agreed that a French fry quiz would likely attract a large audience.
Creel said, “Our project has proven to be much more successful than any of us had ever anticipated. We thought we would be struggling just to get the required 1,000 view-count. One of the biggest things we’ve learned is the true power of social media and the importance of identifying influencers.”
Tuten said, “It’s exciting to see students implement many of the things they are learning about and also see the data analytic side to review their results. Students oftentimes don’t realize how effective social media can be, but this project helps them experience first-hand how developing a promotion plan can be just as important as creating the content itself.”