The 10 most Instagrammable places on campus

Located in Midtown, a neighborhood nestled between Detroit’s downtown high rises and New Center, Wayne State University’s location provides a prime vantage point to take in the city. However, the spectacular views aren’t the only Instagrammable sights on campus. With newly renovated laboratories, century-old buildings and the designs of world famous architects, there are plenty of ’gram-worthy spots to check out. Here are 10 of our favorites.

10. Gullen Mall

What used to be part of Second Avenue was closed off in 1964 to create a more walkable campus, and in 1979 it was renamed Gullen Mall in honor of George E. Gullen, who served as president of Wayne State from 1972-1978. Now this mall is not only the busiest walkway, but is the perfect place to stop and snap a clear picture of what’s happening on campus. Whether you focus on the landmark Fisher Building to the north or bustling Second Avenue to the south, Gullen Mall has a perfect view to capture all the action on campus.

9. Linsell House

Built in 1904, the Frederick Linsell House was designed by John C. Stahl, who graduated from Central High School (aka Old Main) and later studied building and design at night school. Stahl was only 28 when he designed the house for Frederick and Rosa Linsell, and he customized it to incorporate the fine woods and Georgian style requested by residents. The house now serves as the Office of the Dean for the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts. Beautiful inside and out, this historic home is an architectural gem on campus.

8. IBio

The Integrative Biosciences Center, a $90 million facility located near TechTown, is dedicated to eliminating the many health disparities that plague the city’s residents. With 200,000 square feet of lab and clinical space, IBio fosters a collaborative approach to research. The facility, which has breathed new life to a 1927 Dalgleish Cadillac dealership designed by legendary architect Albert Kahn, features a decidedly modern aesthetic while still showcasing elements of the architect’s original design. An Insta post of this building encapsulates both the past, and the future.

7. College of Education 

Constructed in 1960, the College of Education Building is the second of four buildings on Wayne State’s campus designed by the famous architect Minoru Yamasaki. The four-story building is known for its striking pointed windows, which make for an aesthetically pleasing addition to your Instagram feed.

6. Tierney Alumni House

The Tierney Alumni House was designed by architect Louis Kemper for Col. Frank J. Hecker, a man who made his fortune in the railroad business. Over the years, the structure has been home to Smiley Brothers Music Company and a law firm, and today — thanks to the donation from WSU alumnus Thomas Tierney and wife Elizabeth Carr Tierney — it serves as Wayne State’s alumni house. From the intricate woodwork inside to the large turrets outside, this urban mansion is not to be missed.

5. Top of Parking Structure 6.

Structure 6, which is located on the corner of Putnam and Cass, might not be what first comes to mind when you think about Instagrammable spots on campus. However, insiders will tell you that if you go all the way to the top, you’ll be met with an amazing view of campus below you. This unique location provides a different angle to capture campus beauties like the Maccabees Building and Old Main.

4. 5057 Woodward (Maccabees Building) 

Another Albert Kahn design, 5057 Woodward — aka the Maccabees Building — was built in 1927. One notable early tenant of the building was the radio and TV station WXYZ, which broadcast popular radio programs such as The Lone Ranger, Challenge of the Yukon and The Green Hornet to listeners throughout North America. After WXYZ left in the late 1950s, the Maccabees Building became the headquarters for the Detroit Public Schools until Wayne State purchased the building in 2002. This historic building is certainly Instagram worthy all by itself, but the stunning views it provides of the Detroit Public Library and the Detroit Institute of Art put this location toward the top of our list.

3. Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

The College of Pharmacy was founded in 1924, and it later evolved into the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. In 2001, it officially became the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences that we know today, and in 2002 the college moved into its new facility on Mack Avenue. Lucky for us, this five-story learning and research space stretches high enough to provide a view of the downtown skyline that’s worth sharing.

2. Old Main

Old Main, the “Hogwarts” of Wayne State, was originally built in 1895 as Detroit Central High School. Warriors are likely familiar with David Mackenzie, who was the high school’s principal. During his time there, Mackenzie began to introduce post-secondary classes that started the beginning of what would become Wayne State University. Whether you post a frantic selfie of your first time getting lost in the many hallways and “changing staircases,” or if you share a magnificent shot of the Romanesque Revival architecture, Old Main is a crown jewel that will get you instant likes.

1. McGregor Memorial Conference Center

Completed in 1958, McGregor Memorial Conference Center is the first Yamasaki–designed building at Wayne State. Intended as “a structure that is in harmony with both man and its environment,” the center continues to be a place where students can relax or study on beautiful days. This incredible space is too good not to share on Instagram, making this spot No. 1 on our list!

Do you agree with these Instagrammable spots or think you know some better ones? Share your pictures of campus for Photo of the Day at

FestiFall 2018

Coming to FestiFall after Convocation? Here’s what you should know:

When and what is it?

FestiFall is Tuesday, August 28 and showcases more than 500 student organizations, campus departments and learning communities to incoming students and guests. During FestiFall, students have the opportunity to meet the dean of their college or school, eat a picnic lunch, and explore WSU’s learning communities.

Dress for the weather

It’s going to be hot!

Grab the SWAG

Most tables are giving out valuable student SWAG. Come early to get the good stuff. Don’t forget to search out the tables who are giving out bags, you’ll need them to carry all the loot!

Don’t be shy

Everyone is here to help. If you have a question, ask.

Sharing your email address or signing up for more information is not a commitment, it just starts the conversation.

Stop by the Social Media table

  • Take your Back-to-School pic
  • Grab your Social Media Challenge (if you choose to accept it)
Getting ready!

Make new friends and have fun!

That is what the day is all about!

IGTV – InstagramTV – Photos, stories and now long form video

Another place to post content on Instagram?

Yep! We went from Feeds – to – Feeds and Stories – and now we have – Feeds, Stories and Channels!

Instagram Feed example
Instagram Feed
Instagram Story Example
Instagram Story
IGTV - Channel example
IGTV – Channel









Over the weekend Instagram rolled out IGTV — a new video channel to watch longer format video. Depending on your status within Instagram you will be able to upload video from 15 seconds to an hour long, but most accounts will be limited to 10 minutes max.

Why is this important?

With 10 minutes of uninterrupted storytelling time, the big picture is now an option. Microstories are great (don’t get me wrong) but sometimes a deep dive is what you need and telling that in one long segment as opposed to eight tiny ones is a better user experience.

What’s the downside?

With this being brand new, there might not be a downside but I do have two concerns.

You now have three content areas to create for one social platform.

  • It took users awhile to check both stories and their feed, will adding a third be an issue?

  • Facebook stories have not been adopted by users, could this be similar?

Shooting in vertical

  • That means what you create for IGTV won’t work well in YouTube and vice versa. Will this be a barrier to new content?

What’s the upside?

With this being brand new, there might not be an upside…but of course, there is an upside!

What users will do with their channels and their expanded time options will be exciting! I have a million ideas in my head from “Five minutes with our Faculty” to “Trips around the City.” Just the newness of the platform will spark creativity!

How to get started

Use the Instagram app or the IGTV standalone app. Both are available for IOS and Android.



Create the Channel using your Instagram account and you can start uploading video right away!

Selfish word of caution

I repeatedly say that Instagram is my happy place. It’s not a place for politics or news; for me, it’s been about the beauty I see around me and a reminder to not only see it but to stop and enjoy it, take a picture and share it with the world. I fear that  IGTV will change this platform. Although I also thought Stories would have ruined Instagram and it didn’t. I love scrolling through stories. Most accounts create stories that are on-brand, on-message and enhance the user experience. Fingers crossed IGTV goes in the same direction.

Instagram grid
Wayne State Instagram Feed

Photo of the Day, top photos for the year 2016

It has been awesome seeing all the submissions from our community for Wayne State’s Photo of the Day. You all have done a tremendous job of capturing the beauty of our campus and the excitement of Midtown/rebirth of Detroit. The WSU Social Media team compiled a list of our personal favorites as well as top viewed images for 2016.

Editors’ picks

Top viewed

Wayne State loves bacon

It’s April Fool’s Day, 2014, the one day of the year where you can’t believe everything you see on the Internet.

The Wayne State Web team hasn’t done anything fun for April Fool’s Day in the last few years and we have a new homepage, so we *had* to do something.

One day while we were out walking on campus, taking a quick break from sitting in front of our computers all day, we started talking about an internet phenomenon re: hiding bacon.

That’s when the idea hit: we could hide Kevin Bacon on our website! After all, there are six degrees of Kevin Bacon, right? If he *is* everywhere he should also be at Wayne State.

One of our graphic designers, Dan Greco, found some stock images of the famous actor and worked them into two of the main photos we have on the homepage. We loved the results and had him work up a few more for April Fool’s Day.

The goal was to be subtle but funny. We think it worked.


The social Web beyond Facebook & Twitter – Instagram edition

Recently Wayne State was featured on College Recruiter’s list of top 10 colleges on Instagram. It got me thinking about the importance of micro communities. A lot of schools follow every new shiny thing that comes their way. That approach gets people to think they are “leading edge” but six to twelve months later, when the community or the internal resources dry up, the school is left with wasted resources that could have been used to build a more solid and engaged community.

I initially posted about our first 48 hours on Instagram as a litmus test. Since then we have been keeping up a continuous growth of followers and interactions. More importantly for us is the ability to connect with students, alumni and the community on a personal level. Looking back at the last six months on Instagram has allowed us to validate its ability to accomplish that very goal.

Our approach

We started the journey by “looking into the pond” during the first 48 hours which turned in to “getting our feet wet” during the first six months. Over the past six months we’ve kept Instagram isolated from our other social networks. This is by design and because we didn’t want to set up false expectations. The photos we posted were meant to grow the Instagram community and nothing else. If the community could stand on its own, we knew promoting it other places would only accelerate its growth.

Growth of followers vs engagement per photo

The graph above shows our growth in followers (blue) over the past six months from 0 to 1,000. The lines in green are photos we posted and their “interactions”. We consider an interaction a “like” or a comment on a photo.

Looking at the graph we were able to develop some insights about our reach. Instagram is an interaction based media, if you don’t post people don’t notice you. So keeping a constant stream of photos is important to the growth of the community (duh). The second is that we suffered from the same “shiny thing” syndrome that we were trying to avoid: lots of photos, interaction and growth initially then after three months we dropped off. Although we never dropped in followers, we didn’t grow at the rate we should have been.

The real secret to gaining Instagram followers

Since we were not promoting our account beyond the network itself, the only way to “advertise” that we were part of the community was to actually be a part of the community. This may seem like a novel concept to some but it is by far the first thing overlooked when resources are tight. “Let’s just push out content” is heard too often around meeting room tables. Our secret isn’t a secret at all, the largest factor to our follower growth didn’t come from our photos, it came from us liking, commenting and following others.

Listening and engaging when appropriate by far had the largest impact in our follower growth. We consider the photos we post as a secondary benefit to being on Instagram. Students are tagging us or geo-locating photos around campus at a rate of one every fifteen minutes. That is far more content than we could ever, or would ever, want to post.

Where we go from here

From here is the long road of supporting and interacting. That includes:

  • Integrating Instagram into our social dashboard (Socialy)
  • Promoting the community photos on Digital Signage
  • Driving more traffic to our newly launched profile page
  • Involving the campus community in our posts
  • Continuing to find those things that connect students and alumni back to campus

View Wayne State University’s profile on Instagram

Social media rules of engagement

As a university we send hundreds of messages via social media over multiple platforms every day. Just a few weeks ago I mentioned that 55 percent of all our Tweets are replies. This number is larger than our other mediums, but only because that is the nature of Twitter.

I’ve been in a few meetings recently about social media and consulting with a growing number of departments on campus who are interested in using social media to accomplish their goals. It’s unfortunate that initially most think of social media as just another medium to broadcast a message. While that is true, the real meat of social media is interacting with the community and building supporters. There is no “easy button” for that, and more importantly there are no hard and fast rules to accomplish it.

Training wheels

Most of the discussions come down to when and how to appropriately engage with people who mention the institution or their department. I want to prefix this list by mentioning that I always advocate a person use the social media platforms personally before ever trying to represent the university. Every community has their own dynamics and it’s better to use training wheels with your own account before starting to ride a two wheeler with a university account.

I’ve never documented my own “rules of engagement,” but the other day I was following up with a lot of people on Twitter and decided to write down why and how I was going about it. I did this with the hope of sharing and refining on the list so others could use it as a resource. The list below was created while interacting on Twitter, but can be adapted to any social medium.

Social media rules of engagement

  1. Don’t be creepy.
  2. No need to reply to everyone.
  3. Take a step back and read the person’s history. Do your homework.
  4. Verify. Is the person talking about Wayne State in Detroit? (Or where ever your dept is.)
  5. If someone is having a conversation, don’t interject, ever.
  6. 18 hours is too long to reply, move on.
  7. Do as much leg work as possible before replying.
  8. Don’t send the same “congratulations” message to multiple people in a row.
  9. Don’t sell.
  10. Humor goes a loooooong way.
  11. Don’t stress the small stuff.
  12. Spelling can be overlooked, grammar can’t.
  13. Follow back if and only if you can confirm they are connected to the institution.
  14. No need to “thank” anyone for following you, ever.
  15. If you pause before posting a message, delete it. Move on.
  16. Message bombing (multiple rapid posts) are the easiest way to get your messages ignored.

Do you think I left anything important out? I’d love to hear about it.

In a verified Twitter account we trust

Recently I posted a look back at five years of @waynestate on Twitter. After that post something important happened, Twitter verified our account. Verified accounts are denoted by a blue checkbox which is displayed after our account name. This is exciting for us because it shows a stamp of approval by the Twitter community.

What is Twitter Verified?

Verification is currently used to establish authenticity of identities on Twitter. The verified badge helps users discover high-quality sources of information and trust that a legitimate source is authoring the account’s Tweets.
Twitter Verified Accounts

Why is verification important to Wayne State?

Verification is important to us for a few reasons.

  • Numerous imposter accounts have crept up in the past and these accounts threaten the reputation of the university.
  • It shows that the university has a commitment and resources behind our account.
  • If an outsider interacts with our account they can rest assure they are getting an answer that is official.
  • It puts in the ranks with a select few (currently under 37,000 verified accounts out of ~140,000,000 total Twitter users).

We now have “two timelines”

Twitter recognizes that a lot of the accounts reply to a lot of people. We happen to fit in to that category with over 55% of our tweets being replies. Someone coming to our account for the first time is going to see a lot of replies without a lot of context, that isn’t helpful. To fix this we now have a “No replies” timeline that shows only our public tweets that reach all our followers. If a user wants to see all our tweets, they can simply click the “All” link.

But what about all of our other accounts that are not verified?

Since most accounts across Twitter are not verified the status is not a stamp of approval, but instead an extra stamp to ensure authenticity. The 100+ accounts (that we know of around campus) will still continue to grow in followers at the same rate as they do now. Because verification is limited to certain situations, you can be assured non-verified accounts are not looked down upon.

As a department we follow all of the accounts across campus and retweet, reply and promote them as we see positive social activity. Hopefully the verified status on our account will increase the following of the accounts we interact with, especially the university accounts.

If you’re a department who is interested in using social media, Twitter, or beyond, to represent and speak on behalf of the university, please fill out our Social Media Questionnaire. We will follow up with the next steps for training and what is required to successfully represent the university online.

A look back at 5 years of @waynestate on Twitter

This last week @waynestate celebrated its fifth anniversary on Twitter. Although we initially signed up in September 2007, we didn’t start using the account till January 2008. Twitter was the first social media existence for the university and it has treated us well. It doesn’t seem like five years is a long period of time but in those years Twitter has grown tremendously.

Six degrees of separation

The website allows anyone to enter a Twitter username and see when they signed up. It also shows who that account’s “godfather” is. Above is the chain of godfathers for the @waynestate account starting from the bottom right and going backward to the founders. It is interesting to see that the university is only six degrees separated from the founders of Twitter.

Some interesting stats since then

We are a huge fan of numbers and we try to track everything possible. For Twitter we wish we had more but we are at the mercy of external websites to track everything. The above graph is from This site tracks followers, friends, retweets, clicks, and much more. It exposes some of that data for free but you have to pay for a deeper analysis. We decided that the value being derived from the data isn’t worth the monthly fee.

As you can see, we’ve consistently gained followers over the last six months.  This is great because it shows we are continuously adding value to the community and are not just “one trick pony’s” to gain a massive amount of followers that unfollow us as soon as a campaign is over. It also gives us the ability to add resources to social media over a projected path, being stuck with a massive amount of followers overnight can put us at a disadvantage as we try to provide customer service with existing staff. Social trust is very important to us.

Click through rates

Naturally we publish a lot of information to a lot of sources, that information typically comes from an internal application we created called the “Social Dashboard”. I haven’t posted much about it publicly but if you have had the opportunity to see me speak, I’ve talked about it as our central hub for social insight and disbursement. One of the ways we track our engagement is by simple link click-throughs. We know this is just as accurate as gauging “hits” to a website, so we don’t use it for much other than trends.

Below is a graph of the number of URLs shortened since August 2008 (when the system was created) and click-throughs on those URLs. What you’ll notice is the number of click-throughs greatly outnumber the amount of clicks. To show the impact of each URL a little more clearly I added a second graph, this one being the (number of clicks/number of URLs) per month. It shows which months had the greatest impacting links vs. which months didn’t have much activity per URL.


One of my favorite people, Susan Evans, wrote a great blog post about “Brand. It’s not what you say it is. It’s what they say it is.” We’re huge believers of this therefore we record every mention of Wayne State University by a few dozen variables and rate each one on sentiment. Our dashboard allows us to flag, note and gain insights in to what the “university brand” really is by the people who are talking about and spreading it.

Below is a glimpse in to just two ends of the sentiment spectrum, positive and negative. In total we have recorded and rated almost 300,000 tweets for sentiment. A few insights in to the data behind the graph, it may look bad that there is a lot more negative comments about us than positive. How we look at it is a little different. Data shows us that the vast majority of people use social media to complain. We see every complaint as an opportunity to change a perception.

It’s about the individual

Below is an example of conversations we have every day. It shows an initial negative tweet by someone we were not initially following that went out to her 700+ followers. This obviously isn’t the impression and recommendation we want those 700+ people to hear from someone they trust. So naturally we got involved. As you can see from the conversation that although we were not able to magically change how the student thinks about the university we were able to show that we are here and care. In the grand scheme of things it’s just one conversation but for this individual it may have steered the future course of how they think about us.

Breakdown of tweet content

To give some context, below is a graph of what type of content is generated from our account. For us this is important because we have to find a balance to keep our community happy and coming back. We have found the mix below offers the best results.

Adoption across campus

Five years has brought more than a change in how central marketing communicates with the community via social media. Since early 2008 over 100 departments on campus have signed up for a Twitter account and are using it in some capacity. We have compiled a growing list of Twitter accounts from across campus.

If your department is interested in using social media on behalf of the university, we want to know. We have some resources and do one-on-one consulting to ensure your presence is successful for yourself and the university. Just let us know.

The Rule of 15 in Social Media

Social media is ever growing in popularity and many industries are jumping on board to spread their word in the digital realm. Companies rush to sign up to Google+, or Facebook, or Twitter, etc., but what’s the next step? Most are not really sure on how to best utilize this new technology and there is really no definite method available on how to keep people engaged.

I like pies.
Rule of 15 Distribution

Personally, I have been using a technique that I’ve picked up along the way called the Rule of 15. The Rule of 15 is a very formulaic approach to social media interaction. It is based on the concept that for every 15 social media mentions put out by the company, %66 percent (10) are references from outside the company, 24.44% (4) are references from the company, and 4.44% (1) is a calls-to-action reference.

A call to action is a reference that is specifically targeted to get social media followers to participate in a company event or cause. This could range from voting, to attending an event, to donations, or basically anything the company is promoting.

This method is still new, as are most social media practices, and I am personally testing it out and tracking the analytics to determine its effectiveness (i.e. tracking the amount of unique click-throughs, the amount of reposts/retweets, the amount of followers gained, and the level of participation for the call-to-action).


The concept of sending out social media mentions from outside the company is based on generating a connection with your audience. A tweet, retweet, posting, repost or mention about an event, news, ideas, etc., gets people interested on what you have to say. It could be some random reference that other people are interested in and it draws that person to you based on your common interest. The reason why a majority of the method is based on building this bond is much like getting to know a new friend. You share interests and you build a bond based on those interests.


The concept of referencing yourself lets others know more about you and your company. This is another way to build rapport. I consider this the largest leap in the method, because you are building trust with your follower. Trust is difficult to maintain and if your followers do not mesh with your thinking, you may lose them.


The final reference is the calls-to-action. Once other people feel comfortable about you, they are more likely to take part in what you are promoting. For a definitive look into Calls-to-Actions, read Corey Eridon’s article on 13 Sloppy Mistakes You’re Making With Calls-to-Action.

You have shared your interest (10), let them know who you are and what you stand for (4), and you have asked them to support your cause (1).

The trick, however, is to find the correct pacing for your audience. Bombard them with stuff and they may be turned off. Sparsely sent and you will lose their interest. The pacing will be determined by how connected your core audience is to social media. Personally, I pace myself to 15 per 5-day period. Sometimes several times a day, but no more than 15 for that time span.

I’d love to get reactions on this method and if it works for you.

Good luck and happy tweeting!