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'The Ultimate WV Road Trip' highlights West Virginia's beauty

West Virginia University, like most colleges and universities, gets a lot quieter during the summer. Our students travel home for the break, backpack through Europe or take a road trip across the country.

We decided to join them.

Ultimate WV Road Trip

The WVU social team created The Ultimate West Virginia Road Trip, which we shared in real time via Snapchat as well as throughout the summer on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, to coincide with the new West Virginia University brand rollout.

Glade Springs

The goal of the campaign was three-fold: The trip mirrored what our students do during the summer, so we created this “ultimate” trip they could follow. The trip produced content for the entire summer, showing out-of-state students what West Virginia is really like to help bust stereotypes. And the trip helped expand the University’s brand through outreach and visits with members of the University community.

In total, the team traveled through 31 (of 55) counties, showcasing key places in West Virginia, meeting with alums and members of the WVU Extension Service and handing out branded WVU merchandise.

Places visited included: Oglebay, Prickett's Fort State Park, first Capitol location, Independence Hall, Jennings Randolph Lake & Waffle Rock, Berkeley Springs baths, Cacapon, Shepherdstown, Harpers Ferry, the Appalachian Trail, Dolly Sods, Seneca Rocks, Graceland Inn, Spruce Knob, Green Bank telescope, Cass Scenic Railroad, Cranberry Glades, Pearl S. Buck, Droop Mountain, The Greenbrier, Capitol, Mothman statue, Blennerhassett Hotel & Island, New River Gorge, Babcock State Park, Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, Grandview, Summersville Lake & lighthouse, Carnifex Ferry, and the West Virginia State Wildlife Center.

On Snapchat, we showed the behind-the-scenes trip in real time by taking viewers along hikes, through towns and to monuments. The sneak peek for Snapchat friends was an added bonus, and engagement with alums in various towns we visited was a new element we didn’t anticipate. Views exceeded 4,000 daily. 

On Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, we posted photos from these places throughout the entire summer, noting the significance of the place we visited. On Instagram, likes totaled 18,777 and comments totaled 202. The average for 17 posts was 1,105 likes per post and 11.9 comments. The reach for Facebook totaled 1,143,156 with 4,073 shares; 2,807 comments; and 29,236 likes. The average reach per post was 67,000 with 240 shares; 165 comments; and 1,720 likes. Twitter statistics included 122 retweets and 341 favorites, which is about a 9.7 retweet average and a 21.1 favorite average.

On Pinterest, we created a board after all the photos had been posted as a wrap-up. The board received 8,531 impressions and 25 repins in the month of August.

The campaign proved most successful on Facebook due to its older demographic - many of whom had personal experiences with many of the places visited. Instagram and Twitter fared fairly average, with the most well-known locations receiving the most shares and likes. Pinterest pins have the most longevity and will continue to circulate and gain likes and repins for months to come. Overall feedback on the campaign was positive with prospective students noting how beautiful the state of West Virginia is and alumni sending notes of wanting to return for a visit.