Magnetar Youth Investment Academy is a non-profit dedicated to teaching financial literacy to students in the Chicago area.
In 2013, the Evanston-based hedge fund Magnetar Capital LLC launched its first annual Magnetar Academy Team Challenge, a capstone event for the financial literacy curriculum that Magnetar Academy was already proving to high schools throughout the year. In the Team Challenge, financially-minded high schoolers across Chicagoland participate in a stock trading competition while testing their financial literacy principles picked up through the Magnetar Academy curriculum. The competition grew consistently in its first four years, and for the 2017 Challenge, Magnetar brought on 3Points to bring the event’s PR to the next level.
3Points implemented a combination of earned, owned, and social media strategies to boost the program’s media exposure. While we saw success in all three areas, social media ended up being the primary PR driver, as we were able to promote our earned (such as CEO Alec Litowitz’s op-ed in Crain’s Chicago Business) and owned (numerous blog posts and case studies) content on the company’s social media channels.
In order to reach a wide audience of students, teachers, school administrators, and finance professionals, we needed to be frequently active through various social media platforms. 3Points was given full operation of Magnetar Academy’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts leading up to the event. We also created metrics to help measure the success of our social media strategy.
Upon updating account bios and images for each platform, we created separate “content pillars” to help differentiate what type of content would go on which platform(s). Further, we also developed an editorial calendar for all posts on each platform and kept it updated in real-time.
To help spark engagement, we followed schools and event sponsors on Twitter and Instagram. We also brought new ideas to the table, such as collaborating with teachers to create school profile cards and other multimedia used for event promotion. Finally, we posted live updates, photos, and videos from the event.
Upon taking over the accounts, 3Points increased social media activity exponentially for all of Magnetar’s platforms. Twitter activity averaged 39.5 posts a month upon 3Points taking over, whereas the account had averaged only 1.4 posts per month over the previous half year. Facebook averaged nearly 15 posts a month compared to less than one per month previously, and Instagram went from no activity to averaging 17 posts a month.
This increased activity, along with the quality content we published, led to more followers. Twitter followers jumped 60 percent in the three months after 3Points took over social media, while Facebook followers grew 12 percent and Instagram 177 percent.
Upon gathering these metrics, we created various reports articulating social media’s impact, designed to help improve on Magnetar’s strategy moving forward. For example, we categorized each post from each platform, then compared engagement rates to decipher which types of content excelled, and on which platform.
In the end, the event was Magnetar’s biggest Team Challenge to date, with nearly 400 participating high school students, representing 34 schools from all across the city. Additionally, more than 50 financial professionals served as coaches at the event.
Why is financial responsibility important? Because it helps you grow generational wealth that you can change your community with… Information is the key to growth, and the Challenge provides information in a healthy, competitive way.
-Che “Rhymefest” Smith, 2017 Magnetar Academy Team Challenge keynote speaker