Missouri State University
Web and New Media Blog

Redesigned Alumni Association website

Alumni website homepageThe redesigned Alumni Association website recently launched. The site was edited, restructured and received a mobile-happy makeover, making it adaptive to smartphones and tablets.

Challenges and goals

Anecdotal feedback from users prior to the redesign was that the site was hard to navigate, and that the abundance of content made if difficult to find important information.

Recognizing those challenges, the redesign was approached with the goals of organizing and prioritizing information, and reducing excess content.

Content restructure

Content on the Alumni Association website was streamlined and grouped into eight main categories:

  • Stay connected
  • Get involved
  • View news and media
  • Learn about us
  • Alumni resources
  • Missouri State resources
  • Awards and honors
  • Show your spirit

Each category now links to a separate landing page with related content.

Summary of changes

Data from before and after the redesign was used to measure progress toward the goal of reducing excess content. Results:

  • Reduced the total number of pages from 94 to 44  (53%)
  • Reduced the total number of links in the homepage navigation from 25 to 13 (48%)
  • Reduced the total number of assets from 542 to 101 assets (82%)
  • Reduced the total asset folder size from  71 MB to 15 MB  (80%)

Site credits

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Social Media Kit: Summer 2015 Commencement

Missouri State University’s summer 2015 commencement ceremonies will take place Friday, July 31, 2015 at JQH Arena.

Key details

Share your story

Help us celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates by sharing the experience on social media. If you are graduating or attending graduation to celebrate with someone, we want to hear about it.

We encourage you to join the conversation before and during commencement by posting about it on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and tagging your posts with the official hashtag: #BearGrads.

Make your post social media savvy

  • Tag the post with the official commencement hashtag: #BearGrads
  • Tag Missouri State University or @missouristate
  • Tag the post with the Springfield, Missouri hashtag: #SGF
  • If you would like to provide a link for more information on the event, please link to missouristate.edu/commencement
  • When you post to Facebook, boost your status update by sharing it with a photo or video.
  • Nothing beats a first-hand perspective. If you attend commencement, share photos from or quotes about your experience.

Visual assets


Facebook cover photos

Brand your Facebook profile or page with a custom #BearGrads photo. Click the images you like below to save the pre-cropped, full-size versions.

commencement-2015-summer-fb-cover_01 commencement-2015-summer-fb-cover_02 commencement-2015-summer-fb-cover_04 commencement-2015-summer-fb-cover_03 commencement-2015-summer-fb-cover_06 commencement-2015-summer-fb-cover_05 commencement-2014-spring-social_04-facebook commencement-2014-spring-social_01-facebook

Twitter images

Brand your Twitter profile with a custom #BearGrads photo. Click the images you like below to save the pre-cropped, full-size versions.

commencement-2015-summer-twitter-header_06 commencement-2015-summer-twitter-header_05 commencement-2015-summer-twitter-header_04 commencement-2015-summer-twitter-header_03 commencement-2015-summer-twitter-header_02 commencement-2015-summer-twitter-header_01 commencement-2014-spring-social_04-twitter_new commencement-2014-spring-social_01-twitter_new

Instagram image

Show support for #BearGrads on your Instagram page with this image.


Digital wallpapers

Add #BearGrads digital wallpaper to your desktop or phone screen.

Sample social media posts

Sample tweets

  • Congratulations to our #BearGrads! We’re proud of you!
  • Can’t make it to commencement? Watch the ceremonies live online at http://livestream.com/mostate/ #BearGrads
  • #BearGrads has a new member, and it’s my (son, daughter, friend, etc.) (@TagThePerson).
  • What’s your favorite college memory? Share using #BearGrads.
  • Graduating on Friday? Share your photos from the day using #BearGrads.
  • See what our #BearGrads have to say about commencement day: http://bit.ly/1Hlgn1C. Join the conversation with #BearGrads

Review our steps for turning a link into a tweet.

Sample Facebook posts

Facebook allows for some additional customization. This sample post provides content recommendations based on our best practice tips for optimizing link sharing on Facebook.

Link sharing

  • URL: www.tagboard.com/BearGrads/20442
  • Headline: #BearGrads on Tagboard
  • Long text content: Missouri State Bears will receive their degrees Friday, July 31. Will you be donning your cap and gown? Share your experiences using #BearGrads
  • Short text content: Get an inside look at commencement through the eyes of Missouri State University graduates.
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Free photo opportunity for faculty and staff

A Free Portrait Day will be held on July 1 in the office of photographic services. Participating in a free photo opportunity is the best way to ensure you have an up-to-date, professional headshot for use in University websites and publications.

Faculty and staff participating in a Free Portrait DayKey details

  • Who: Open to Missouri State faculty and staff
  • When: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 1
  • Where: The office of photographic services, which is located in the Meyer Alumni Center at 300 S. Jefferson, Suite 504. The Bear Line stops in front of the Morris Center (just across the street from the Meyer Alumni Center). There is also a parking garage attached to the Alumni Center; access it via McDaniel Street. Photographic services is on the fifth floor.

Streamlined photo selection process

In one change of note, you will be asked to make your photo selection on-site. The photo will then be loaded to the University directory.

This change means there is no additional effort required (once you’ve attended the Free Portrait Day). You will not need to submit your photo selection to Web and new media.

Within a few days of the event, you will receive the photo you selected via email. This photo will be yours to use for other professional purposes and platforms.

The streamlined photo selection process means you’ll receive your image in less time. It also aids marketing and communications staff in making timely updates to images in the University directory system.

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Highlights from Confab Central Conference

Confab StageIn May 2015, Lucie Amberg, Nicki Donnelson and Courtney Wendel-Stevenson traveled to the Confab Central conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The conference focused on content strategy, writing for the web, web design and technology. Keynote speakers included Jonathon Colman from Facebook, bestselling author Anne Lamott and Gerry McGovern from Customer Carewords.

You may view presentation slides and watch recordings of select sessions.

Courtney’s takeaways

  • The work we produce needs to be customer centric, rather than organization focused. Specifically, we need to work to understand our audiences and their needs, then create content that meets those needs.
  • Creating a culture of openness is crucial to creating teams that are collaborative and empathetic to their clients. Outwardly empathetic teams are characterized by their authentic desire to understand their clients’ needs. This better positions them to ask the right questions in order to uncover latent problems, for which they can deliver creative solutions.
  • Managing feedback is challenging, but knowing how to approach it can help make your work more successful. Some of Margo Stern’s tips:
    • Grounding your content in context is crucial. When you submit content for review, provide context to give reviewers a better framework of understanding. Otherwise, it’s anyone’s game.
    • Rank stakeholders. Know whose feedback is most important and revise thoughtfully.
    • When given challenging directives, ask the person: “Can you tell me more about the problem you’re trying to solve?”
    • If 85% of your work makes it, that’s pretty good. Let the last 15% go.
  • View Courtney’s #ConfabMN Twitter feed.

Nicki’s takeaways:

  • Project management takes time. If you don’t have time to plan, you don’t have time for the project.
    • Budget for it, round up, then add 20% to the total project time. This sets you up for a realistic plan for success.
    • Check out tools like TeamGantt
  • Marketing should be about differentiation.
    • What makes you better/different?
    • Talk about how that fulfills a need – hopefully in an emotional, storytelling style – to help move your audience to action.
    • Don’t feature dump.
  • Ask yourself: What is the basic group of things we can do to make a change? Start there.
    • Don’t wait until it can be done perfectly.
    • Good design today is better than great design tomorrow.
  • View Nicki’s #ConfabMN Twitter feed.

Lucie’s takeaways:

  • Watch out for the “cult of volume.” Many organizations are generating and distributing too much content, and such excessive content creates a barrier to effective content.
    • When working with clients, start by identifying what the target audience needs. Then help the client develop content that meets those needs.
    • Take a minimalist approach – which isn’t the same as simply shortening text. Minimal content is as long as necessary to meet your audience’s needs and to accomplish your purpose. But no longer.
    • Check out Marcia Riefer Johnston on Writing Tight(er)
  • Be wary of over explaining.
    • Attention spans are decreasing while competition for our audience’s attention is increasing.
    • Stay slightly ahead of your audience; otherwise you risk losing their attention.
  • View Lucie’s #ConfabMN Twitter feed.
Posted in Web and New Media | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Recap: #BearGrads 2015

The spring 2015 #BearGrads ceremonies honored 2,416 graduating students on May 15 at JQH Arena.

500 Commencement_JRS_8970

Digital promotion of #BearGrads 2015

To promote the event, Web and new media utilized a variety of communication strategies, including the development of a social media kit, live social media posts, and live streaming the ceremonies.

Social Media Kit

The #BearGrads social media kit contained a variety of tools that assisted university departments and individuals in sharing their commencement experiences. These items included:

  • Key details about the ceremonies
  • Tips for social media-savvy posts
  • Promotion of the #BearGrads hashtag
  • Shareable visual assets including video and images pre-cropped for use on Facebook and Twitter
  • Sample social media posts

Social media analytics

@MissouriState on Twitter

  • 45 new followers (114 percent increase over #BearGrads spring 2014)
  • Engagement rate of 7.5 percent (number of times users interacted with tweets divided by total impressions), down from 8.3 percent in 2014
  • 116 retweets (47 percent increase)
  • 276 favorites (114 percent increase)
  • 11 replies (83 percent increase)
  • 31 posts (24 percent decrease)
  • 70,200 impressions (43 percent increase)

MissouriStateU on Facebook

  • 96 new fans (167 percent increase)
  • Engagement rate of 9 percent (up from 7 percent)
  • 17,500 engagements (775 percent increase)
  • 16,199 average reach (277 percent increase)
  • 9,856 stories created via shares (212 percent increase)
  • 13 posts (86 percent increase)
  • 210,000 total reach (598 percent increase)

#BearGrads pages on MissouriState.edu

The most popular page was the spring 2015 commencement hub, which was viewed 7,032 times in the month leading to May 15 (11 percent decrease from 2014)

  • 34,043 total page views (38 percent decrease)
  • 25,341 unique page views (20 percent increase)
  • 69 seconds average time on pages (138 percent increase)
  • 37.19 percent bounce rate (Up from 0.81 percent)

Social media post highlights


These tweets received the two highest engagement rates of the day from the @MissouriState Twitter account. The #MSUMortarBoardMadness tweet checked in at 22.7 percent (874 engagements/3,854 impressions), while the shoes tweet nearly matched it at 22.6 percent (883/3,907).


However, Master’s degree recipient Mandy Dovin and her service dog, Sonja, won Facebook and possibly the internet on Friday. Sonja received a hood and had her name read at the 10 a.m. ceremony.

The post:

  • Received more than 2,000 likes and 225 shares
  • Reached more than than 83,000 people
  • Resulted in media calls

People love dogs. They also love good stories. This was the perfect storm.



Mandy and Sonja also received the highest levels of engagement on Instagram, clocking in at 466 likes and two comments. The second-most successful of the day was this one, featuring a graduate proudly holding up her diploma cover.

A moment of pride for #BearGrads

A photo posted by Missouri State University (@missouristate) on


People from across the campus community utilized the #BearGrads hashtag to share their commencement experiences on Tagboard. A few highlights of their posts:

Graduated today. Turn up. #BearGrads

A photo posted by Alex (@alexdonaudio) on

I’m gonna miss this place but I’d say it was a good day!! #beargrads

A photo posted by Stephen Gregory (@stephen__gregory) on


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Non-credit course offers photography tips and techniques

John WallUpgrade your photography skills this June with instructor John Wall.


Why is photography important?

BufferSocial provides several good reasons why visual content is so important:

  • Nearly half of all Internet users have reposted a photo or video they have found online.
  • Content with relevant images gets 94 percent more views than content without.
  • Tweets with images receive 150 percent more retweets.
  • Images are the No. 1 most important factor in optimal social media content.

What topics will the training cover?

  • Functions of the camera (film or digital)
  • Composition, lenses, lighting, software, flash units and other equipment
  • Tips and techniques for capturing photographs that stand out
  • Studio visit and techniques

Who should attend?

This course is recommended to hobbyists, budding journalists that need to shoot their own stories, artists and anyone else looking at improving their photographic imagery. Those developing websites, blog posts and social media content are encouraged to attend.

When is it and how do I register?

Plaster Student Union

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