Black and white in a sea of blue

Why print still works for the Duke University Blue Devils .

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Duke University’s social media strategy can be summed up by a 1990s photo of Billy Rae Cyrus and his mullet: Business in the front, party in the back.

It’s why the university’s Facebook account posts vignettes about business in the first part of the day and switches to more unique, human-interest stories as evening approaches.

As Leanora Minai, Duke’s executive director of communications, explains, employees engage more with the vignettes as their workday ends so they can enjoy social media in a more relaxed state from the comfort of their homes.

It’s just part of a multichannel approach that Duke takes to internal communications for its audience of 40,000 employees. Besides social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter, Duke offers an online news site as well as a traditional employee print newsletter.

A former newspaper reporter, Minai leads a team of five and often takes inspiration from her journalistic past. “We follow Duke like it’s a small city,” she explained to a crowd of 200 internal communicators that gathered for a Ragan Communications conference at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters on July 30-31.

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