This episode has been developed in partnership with the University of Virginia Career Center.
University of Virginia students interested in social media careers will gather at UVA in the Newcomb Gallery to hear from top social media managers on how they got into social media and details about what they do in their jobs. Learn more about social media manager career development, skills required, developing strategies, implementation, and some of the biggest lessons they’ve learned while cultivating audiences for top universities.
all right hello it is Thursday March 24th 2016 and this is marketing live I am your host Amy Jorgenson on today’s live broadcast we are learning about how to become a social media manager the show is being broadcasted live at the University of Virginia with students interested in social media positions and to hired professionals worldwide marketing live is part of a higher ed live network offering viewers direct access to the best and brightest minds in education live webcasts allow viewers to share knowledge and participate in discussions around the most important issues in the industry today’s live viewing experience is powered by maistro’ the premier marketing tech platform for broadcasters all episodes of marking live are free and accessible to the bit on the video archives at higher live.com and in podcast format on itunes marketing live is produced by m stoner a marketing communications firm that works with education institutions on branding strategy web design and more are you preparing for a website redesign project knowing that your usual website needs it needs an overhaul isn’t the usual problem getting started is download M stoner’s helpful 7 step checklist to get you started on the right path for successful marketing redesign I’d like to welcome all of our guests that are joining us today we have Todd Sanders the director of social media for the University of Florida hello welcome time we have Carol Russo now is that I pronounced that right no it’s care of yourself Russo I’m so sorry Kara we have her coming on the social media and digital marketing strategy from Duke welcome Kara we’re excited you’re here we have Meghan Kenson tennyson’s help me out Meghan Peniston heinessen fabulous at the associate director of marketing at st. Lawrence University we have John Lucas the executive director of University Communications at the University of Wisconsin Madison welcome hello and we have Amy grace Welles content strategy and digital strategy at the University of South Carolina how are you guys all doing today good wait well we’re very excited to have you all so I’m going to be trying to manage the script that we have that’s prepared for all of our guests the students that we have live here at the University of Virginia and any questions that you guys want to put on Twitter hashtag higher ed live so if you guys have any questions here in the room just raise your hand and I will jump in and ask them so again for those of you who are watching along if you are on Twitter use hash tag higher ed live to ask any questions and I’ll do my best to answer them as they come in so first question how did you get into being a social media manager who would you like to feel the question you started talking let’s have you taught okay when I went to school there wasn’t social media there was hardly internet and I got a degree in communication emphasis and advertising so I was a graphic designer and copywriter and then became a webmaster and then the social web came along and I thought that had lots of potential so that’s how I got in this very cool I was a lot like Todd I was actually working at Ohio University at the time that kind of Facebook pages and Twitter came out and I actually had an intern so it was actually kind of a student that started talking to me about this Facebook thing and this Twitter thing and and so I was working for the College of Fine Arts and we needed to market events to students and so we kind of jumped in on it and started the first pages for for the College of Fine Arts and and the first accounts and we just kind of you just jumped in you know we had a background in communications as well and and you know we Sui started and well I think a lot of us that are now in our 30s we didn’t that we didn’t have this when we were in undergrad so it was something that we just used the skills that we did have and we adapted very cool what about you Kara yeah so Facebook launched for like 20 colleges my senior year of college and UNC where I attended undergrad was one of those schools so you know I I was part of this weird experimentation of this like social network thing I had a live journal in college I don’t know if y’all had one of those it was like one of the first blogging sites it is now private because you know basically covered all of my exploits studied abroad in college life and at that point none of us were really thinking about censoring ourselves online so it’s it’s just kind of interesting how things have progressed but I was working for an Economic Development nonprofit in 2007 and my CEO kind of pointed to me and was like hey you’re the youngest person here to figure out this Twitter thing with community building and digital marketing and Here I am awesome what about you John very similar to Takara I was a publicist in a media relations person here didn’t really always want to write a big news release about some of the things we’d find you know on the web and you know it’s around about the time that Facebook and Twitter we’re taking off and just really similar that you know if you’re the youngest person there they just assume that you can kind of figure it out you know go over here you can do this you know you don’t seem to be causing any harm with it and then all of a sudden being snowball and kind of one thing leads to another so just a really amazing community here very cool Megan yeah I I got back to say orange I graduate in 2007 and I was a sophomore when Facebook was introduced to st. Lawrence which was cool and then I returned to st. Lawrence in 2012 to work here as a writer and the media relations and person in our office was the person who’s handling social media for us for a while and then some of her responsibilities shifted and similar to a lot of the other experiences I was the youngest in the office I had an interest in it and I think I also thought well this is my alma mater this will be really easy and they said great here you go and all of a sudden I had this cool world in front of me to sort of figure out for the university for the first time so just jump right in and you know it’s been a blast ever since so it sounds like a lot of you guys didn’t go directly it not gonna be read directly from college into being a social media manager so what would you say are some of the transferable skills those are necessary for the position that students can leverage and learn now let’s start with Kara yes I think I think one of the transferable skills that I’ve learned in social media is relationship building in especially when you work in higher ed social media everything is crazy decentralized so you’ve got we have like over 300 Facebook pages for different institutions and schools and departments like that’s not even counting all of your like student clubs and organizations that’s just like like authentic and I think she’s frozen with our institutional messaging it’s been really important for me to know you know who to call who to work with who to collaborate with on campus and that’s not just a social media thing that’s like a life thing and people who can build good relationships in the workplace are I think just by far more successful and set up for success when they can you know know who to call have those really good relationships and know how to build bridges with different and even difficult parts of where you’re working awesome so Todd what do you think about that what are some other transferrable skills I a lot of what we do is visual so I think if you’re good at photography or sketching and can put things together I coming from the advertising background that was kind of one of the things that really helped make things work playfulness always learning passion or what you’re doing but I mean there are master’s degrees in social media I don’t have one and I’m able to do this but I have a son who is going off to college and he kind of wants to do this when he grows up which I’m telling him not to do so I you know I think a communications degree is still decent whether it’s PR journalism or whatever yeah and I’d say I go that I mean I think you can always learn a platform and the platform is always going to change but I think there’s a certain level of you grounding and skill I love what Cara was saying about you know just relationships I think there’s something to be said for journalism or PR don’t obsess yourself with the technology just kind of learn how to deal with people learn how to ask questions learn how to to think I love that what about you I really agree with a lot of what they said about the community building aspect I came to I came back to st. Lawrence as a writer and so I think having these strong written skills is really important in doing a lot of what we do but also the ability to seek out stories I think one of the things I’ve learned as a social media manager is that I’m front row to learning about a lot about our community and then trying to figure out which offices can be telling that story better is that a blog post is that a news release is that something on campus that more people need to know about in a different way than just an Instagram post where a student used like a hashtag or something and so I think being able to critically think and look across social media platforms as you’re listening to all the things that your community is new and talking about you and then figuring out how else can we use that can you use that in admissions materials and alumni publications like there are so many other opportunities and so just being able to really open your eyes and go in that direction awesome what about you Amy I definitely echo the always learning part that Todd said like you know especially again none of us were taught social media in college and so these are platforms that are always changing and anybody who says that they are an expert in social media you know it’s either that is because they are always learning that they are an expert or they say they’re an expert and it’s one of those things it’s like well you know are you you know if you’re not constantly learning about these platforms you’re not going to be the expert tomorrow because they’re changing so fast and you know I came my background you know I don’t have a journalism background I have a communication studies background it’s a very theoretical background and coming from it from more of a content strategy kind of framework is you know I really come at it from understanding your audiences and a little bit of that storytelling so it’s it’s again I echo what everybody else has said but you take that and you really have to understand your audiences and understand what what it is that they’re looking for from you social media is it is more than just an info sharing it is an experience sharing part of that marketing and so it’s emotional and you have to kind of understand your audience and understand where they’re coming from and what what emotions they’re looking for from you and then kind of fit that editorial planning and fit that content in with what what they’re looking for and and you know for us at University of South Carolina you know we we had to deal with a lot of crises in 2015 and and for us a lot of our social media was just helping people get through those and understanding what they needed to know and understanding what we could tell them and help them through those types of experiences and so you know I always go back to knowing your audience and knowing you know how they fit with what you have to share awesome so going back to some of the things that Todd said it is is the advertising background and and being able to you know take really good pictures or do any of you have any graphic design experience and being able to do photography and things like that will jump onto a Todd yeah yeah and I think we all do now with i. Phones right so it’s it’s very powerful that we have access to something in our De. Palma our hand they can tell a story just as well as something you know ten years ago that cost half a million dollars did that make sense so yeah I think it’s long as you’re playing as long as you’re using these tools you can figure this stuff out it’s not that complicated what John does up in Madison it’s it’s really simple that’s for you John Bears still suck I’m waiting for the half a million dollar tool yeah no it’s good yeah definitely just played played kids so John do you have a graphic design experience I’ve got a journalism master’s degree and then I to get out of undergraduate with an American Studies degree so there’s hope for everybody in there who is a college newspaper nerd so I mean I just kind of come into this as I’ve learned everything as we’ve gone so yeah I mean I think like Todd says you know the sense of humor and sort of the ability to you know engage with people and just that kind of spirit I think a lot of ways is is important as any of these other tools that you can bring to it because I think a lot of them you can develop or you can find other people in your office or your your university that can help you with some of that yeah I think it’s less about having like a specific skillset and more about being curious about developing you know whatever is needed to get the job done and to do cool things right so I mean like I use my Photoshop Express app on my phone to do graphics we use a really cool tool called over for text overlay for Instagram photos you can just you know be curious about what you’re trying to do and and learn as you’re going along and that would be my biggest piece of advice in our field is it’s always changing so we have to be eager to just learn and do new things so all right you guys a couple of you guys mentioned tools that you’re using on your phone to be able to do graphic design and make your stuff look cooler so what tools are you using so I’m using wizard Snapseed I love that for some light photo editing on my phone what would and you mentioned what was it again Kara sorry I was muted um over ov EE are awesome app I think it’s a couple bucks but sometimes it’s free in the App Store it’s like a free app that’s offered and it lets you just put text and different font on top of graphics and it makes them look nice and pretty and professionals what about you Amy do you have any different apps that you use so all use canva backwards isn’t it good props work I’ll use that on my desktop because I am probably the least visual person you know I can I can use Instagram filters to kind of play up the photo a little bit and but I am probably the least visual person I can talk designer I can use the programs but I cannot design for anything and so I know that and so I’m always trying to learn from what others do and so if you are not a visual person you can still do this stuff just just find great examples of what other people do and try to learn from what they do and you can do it yourself exactly I’m out of the game I feel this is like the best job I ever had but on a day to day level I am chasing meetings I’m trying to solve problems and I’ve got a great you know social manager who is doing it on a daily level and I’m just trying to keep up with I feel at some level I’m sort of missing out on all the fun so what about you make I am after st.
Lawrence I worked as a graduate assistant in our Sports Information Department and so I was in charge of marketing ten different teams and I was in charge of doing their publications and all their posters and all that stuff so I was lucky enough really early on to learn Photoshop and I thought I’d ever need to use it again and so now I am able to use that in my day to day job which is helpful because I work in a really small shop and so we have a graphic design team of three people and a lot of times no we’re still a very print heavy yes and so a lot of times I’m still doing some of those really quick graphics and different things that I need for social and I absolutely agree with what Kara was saying just like the eagerness to learn and and try new things and never saying to learning a new program or app or a different idea it always keeps you in the forefront of what everyone else is doing on social awesome and Todd do you have any tools that you use on your phone for graphic design or social media like make your posts more cool no I will say our new we just knew so we just got a new social media strategist this week which you should all follow her she’s CJ Lake she just turned me on to gift creator it is an app that lets you make your own gifts on your phone and she just like fell in love with it this week so I am excited to try that very cool all right so what are some of the biggest lessons that you’ve learned while managing social media so what are like some of the differences between managing your personal social media and managing the social media of a large brand I think from the beginning it was a very different type thing it was sharing events trying to give a voice to the University on social was very intimidating but I think times have changed so the more human you can make the brand the better it is so I think if there’s one thing I’ve learned over time is that the closer to how I’m using social as a human is the closer I want the university to be using social so learning that line so it doesn’t exist what do you think Megan I think the biggest lesson that I learned was just really early on when I and then started doing social I would be really easy and what I found was that our students weren’t actually interacting with us at all on social platforms at the time that I was taking it over so having to learn like what Todd was saying about the voice but then also making sure that our content wasn’t overly Kinane like that it was authentic that it was that it was real that it that it resonated with our audience I think that was the biggest thing for us was making sure that everything we were putting out on social really resonated with the audiences who were looking at it and and so they could buy in so they would start adding their own content so we had things to really start building that community in all of those spaces that was probably the biggest thing I learned early on awesome what about you John yeah I mean I guess the one thing that I would say is just not to underestimate how much work it is you know it’s for all of us who have done it I I was joking the other day that I’ve literally let children fall playground equipment while I’m like posting a tweet or a poster you know learn to perfect pushing a stroller and tweeting and I mean it’s it’s hard I mean we all know that you got to put in the time you know almost to a 24 7 level to sort of keep up with it and really you know be dedicated to your community but it’s you gotta impress on your co workers too that you know it’s a huge commitment of time and energy and you know hopefully people have some resources out there where you can pair up with some student interns that help you monitor you know can help post but I have a lot of appreciation for people who do it here just because it’s not just as easy as oh you know push that tweet out I mean it’s it’s a commitment and it takes a lot of dedication excellent what about you care yet a Pilon so what John’s saying like I’ve found that managing my own personal presence is just exhausting after I’m looking at you know the social media accounts and brand for Duke all day long I mean I don’t even do the content management anymore but I’m watching it from a strategy perspective and it’s really important for me to have an online presence both for my career and for professional development and to be like identifiable to do things like this you know for a me to notice to call me up and ask me to do this webinar it’s important for me to have a Twitter presence in my Instagram account but sometimes it just feels like work to manage your own personal presence so there is there is a certain amount of burnout like I I you know I tell my stuff like it’s really important to find a couple weeks a year to be able to totally turn off you know your phone your accounts and to trust your colleagues that can help like balance and manage it for you because we’re we’re in a day in an age where it can totally take over your life all of this digital technology stuff and it’s like not good for your health y’all so you know as much as as much as you can if you are working in the social media field being able to have some kind of boundaries with your personal and professional accounts is really important I think what about you Amy yeah I think I think we’ve probably all experienced the burnout at some point it’s kind of an inevitable part of learning and making those boundaries for me I think the other thing that was really the eye opener is you know when something does go sour and like I said we dealt with a lot of crises in 2015 how mean people can be not that they always are but how mean people can be when they can’t see the person behind the account and you know here in South Carolina in 2015 we dealt with issues such as the removal of the Confederate flag from the Statehouse our campus happens to happens to be a block away from the Statehouse and so we were involved in that in that conversation and and that was just one thing that happened you know we had we had a natural disaster happen we had a thousand year flood on campus and you know and that and that scares people people are scared doing that like I was saying about emotions and you know you got to have somebody on your team that you can talk to when people are emotional on social media because they they can say some really mean things when they can’t see your face and it’s amazing sometimes when you can see their face on social media and they still don’t care about what they’re saying and so just know that it’s not it’s not directed at you it’s their emotions and they’re just trying to get their emotions out but definitely have a way to have a way to talk to somebody about those types of things and it’s not an everyday occurrence it’s definitely not an everyday occurrence but no matter what industry you’re going in you know you’re probably going to have some critics and so be prepared that it’s not all happy and joyful all the time so Todd out of curiosity have you seen that as well at the University of Florida like with you know sporting events and things like that if there been I mean I’ve seen some of it in the past but I would love your insight if that continues to happen you know talking trash from another school or saying negative things yeah now we see it a lot people are awesome people are assholes so what we try to do is embrace the positive and create positive things for people to share and then if we get a troll that is just totally out there Ryan who works with me does a nice little sketch up of them and we put it on a wall and we we vent but then we gotta let it go we flush the toilet on that stuff because I mean like we’re saying we don’t get any days off or John does now the rest of us don’t so it is 24/7 I just took three days off this week I worked every single day so if you do get you know you’re doing a lot of work kids guys out there you’re doing a lot of work and then if you get a troll you’re just totally like shatters everything that you’re working on it can it can be something you need to let go of quick you know deal with it do do whatever you need to do but then just forget about it but you know keep their picture on the wall for a solid month so we talked about like some of the different you know ways in which people are communicating with us so what social media platforms are you currently in charge up or have you worked with and you know how are you managing some of those so like you know one of the hardest things that I see is we had a couple of things that happen over the past year at the University of Virginia that have been a you know in the news and things like that and seeing some of the comments on Yik yak is just been shocking so what platforms are you guys looking at what platforms are you looking at but not using you know what are you guys starting off with let’s start off with a me so so as I said we got a new social media strategist who that’s kind of we haven’t had a full time person in social media for a few years now so this is a huge transition so we will be using a lot more platforms I’m excited to say I know that again her name is CJ Lake if you want to follow her on Twitter I’m giving her a shout out I know she’s super excited to get us in a snapchat because that’s one area we’ve wanted to jump into but I’ve mainly been focused on Twitter Facebook and Instagram because those are the three that I’ve had time to invest in and keep consistent we do we do Linked.In we really just post our goal is just to post weekly on Linked. In on our University page we monitor you CAC I’ve actually honestly I’ve actually posted something on Yik yak on a day where there was kind of we were having a student protest and people were starting to get a little nasty on Linked. In I posted something and signed it you of SC and just kind of reminding people of our Carolinian Creed and trying to calm things down a little bit but mostly we just monitor it and I monitor our campus story on snapchat but again there’s nothing really I can do about those but I just try to keep an eye out on them and just to see what the campus climate is so that’s kind of what we’re doing right now awesome what about you care all of the above and we also have been experimenting with periscope and Facebook live video so periscope does everyone in the audience knew what a periscope is no enlighten them okay wonderful it’s a live streaming video app that Twitter actually acquired recently and what happens is you go live with your video you take it just from like your mobile device and you can live stream and there’s a Twitter notification that goes out and says hey y’all we’re live on periscope right now from X Y & Z at Duke and we have done everything from behind the scenes for our Duke Chapel renovation a periscope for that we’ve done at in our periscope our English department read milton’s Paradise Lost for 10 hours straight and they like it was you know they handed it off to different people and we streamed that entire thing so that was kind of us just testing the boundaries of like how long can you go and we are also doing a number of like high profile speakers who are here on campus via Facebook live video so yesterday the prime minister from Estonia was on campus speaking we did a live video on Facebook with him and we had seven point nine thousand live viewers which was really cool we’re also we’re on snapchat but from a Duke students perspective we do not have a university account because I just couldn’t figure out how to make it interesting from an institutional perspective so we have students who are running our at Duke student snapchat account and then finally a space that we’re in that a lot of United States Higher Ed is not is in China so we have a presence on We. Chat which is a big like group messaging kind of like a group me or whatsapp type of thing we have a presence on Weibo which is kind of like the Twitter for China and then we also have a yuku channel which is for video uploading kind of like so we’re learning a lot about China I don’t speak Mandarin so we really rely on students to do the translation and the monitoring of those accounts still on those accounts are you posting in English are you pushing you Mandarin we do bilingual we do both English and Chinese posting and then we also do a lot of translating captions and subtitles and stuff on video into Chinese characters very cool so and I love that you brought up the the snapchat portion is like so often I feel like in higher ed and y’all can let me know if I’m way off base here that folks are like oh there’s this new tool you’ve got to use it you’ve got to implement it for your whole university and I it’s one of those things where it’s like you either do it really really well or you just do it at all because you can’t do something half assed so if you you end up like you know we started a snapchat for the Career Center at the University of Virginia it’s like who wants to look at a snapchat from the Career Center at the University of Virginia and the answer was ten people that was it and so we wanted to look at other avenues to communicate with them so I saw you shaking your head John what do you think yeah I mean in the position right now I think we’ve you know we’ve got a limited shop and so many platform to staff and I think that’s always a hard part you want to go kind of with something hot and sort of learn about it we’ve always advocated trying to pilot things let people try them out personally and see if there’s a return you know on the amount of time and energy you can put into it but it’s sort of our belief I think like everybody else is that you know you either have to own it and you know see it through or else you probably shouldn’t take it on to begin with so our Megara Todd are you guys using any other platforms that we haven’t already addressed there’s Yeti but we don’t really use it we just monitor it it’s kind of sketchy but it’s like like what snapchat was before they wanted to raise funds I guess very sketchy but and then we do a yak yak for real time to see if there’s anybody chiming in on a crisis or what’s going on just like to take the pulse and then we do a we used to do a weekly challenge where we submit things to see if we could get to the top of yak yak and we have so um we’re not on any additional channels besides the ones that everyone mentioned but I did want to say something a little bit about snapchat we are a camp so small we don’t have a campus story and so when we launched our university snapchat account in January students didn’t really know how it was used or how it worked so we got some very ping snaps for the first few weeks sent to the account everyone thinking that it was like a campus story like when they visit UVA or when they visit Florida or see their friends out at you know you know bu or BC so it was a very interesting first few weeks for us my students are helping me manage it but it’s something that I’m really excited about as a platform for colleges and universities awesome so how do you decide which new platforms are useful for students for your audience let’s jump into Todd we just play with everything I guess I got the peach after you guys got the peach app that was fun right was it being beam was a fun one beam was hilarious that worked out great no we’d try to play with everything and I got Ryan here hey Ryan come over say Heidi real quick this is the sketch artist guy he down there yeah that do so dude yeah so Ryan brings a fresh perspective he’s younger than I am I’m 43 thank you everybody who said they were in their 30s that was fun so he he’s he’s on tip you so he’s he knows things that I don’t know so we we see things we play on things and figure them out try to get there before others get there we think that social media is kind of like jumpin Islands wherever all the adults are all the kids have jumped to another island and they’re trying to figure out the resources there so what we do is either live island hopping it’s a Florida term so we we get there before the others get there figure out the lay of the land so that when they get there we don’t look like old people I like that that your assistant there has almost like kid and play hair like how don’t talking about your haircut bro yeah that’s what I think too we do kitten play what about you Meg but how do you decide what platforms you’re gonna be using for your University yeah I’m we are primarily on Facebook Twitter and Instagram but we’re also on snapchat and Linked. In listen up Cheston yeah and we’re such a small campus and I have a group of student social media team members and I know some of them are watching right now so I’m gonna give them a shout out they help keep me in know on what students are using and what they’re not seeing you know and basically what I do is like when snapchat Kimo I got on there personally to sort of figure it out for myself so I could at least have conversations with people about it and having conversations about getting on that platform for 18 months before we actually did it and so I think I think that that was a really important movement for us but the students root ones 18 months ago who were saying it’s not time yet we’re not ready the campus isn’t ready to have a university snapchat account but move through 12 to 16 months later and they said we’re absolutely I think the students would really open up and be and really embrace this opportunity and so they really keep me in tune and so anyone if you’re ever working in higher ed social media the students are a hundred percent the way to know what students aren’t using yeah we’re with your audience that’s smart I just wanted to chime in I mean in terms of you know platforms and everything I think the one thing that gets overlooked sometimes is what are you trying to get out of it and what are you trying to do there I mean it’s more than just operating on a daily basis and just kind of posting fun content but I think once you know one thing they could overlook quite a bit is how do you kind of connect a platform up to goals that you got as an institution and that’s something that you know I’ve been trying to push more for in recent years I mean it’s absolutely important to have a daily voice and presence and engage with folks but at some level you got to think of what platform you know is going to talk to your prospective audiences or you know where your alums congregating what are you trying to like do they’re at a higher level and I think that’s where students particularly can think a little bit more you know above just the basic skill level or the platform operation and kind of know the field a little bit know where some of those audiences tend to congregate and then what do you hope to achieve in those different spaces so trying to take it maybe two levels up is something that I don’t think any of us have enough kind of time and bandwidth to do awesome duh does anyone else have anything to contribute about like how you decide to use a platform so you kind of agree with what’s already been said I guess what we have to agree so we did get a great question online on Twitter and again if anyone has any questions for our panel please tweet us using hashtag higher ed live it’s from Angie Roberts and she says that it seems that you all have communication degrees of some sort yes social is learn as you go but do you think a degree in communications is important I can respond hi Angie nice to see you I’m here she’s a friend so I actually was an economics and political science double major and communications wasn’t a field that I was interested in I ended up getting my MBA in Marketing eventually but I don’t have any kind of a writing or journalism or PR background I kind of just learned by doing and I think that gets to my point earlier about just being curious and being able life learner and in these fields and always trying to grow your skill sets where you see them you know needed are enhancing what you’re doing I think John mentioned you have been a was at American history degrees American Studies a football player major so I had some pretty awesome guys as an undergraduate but I did get a journalism master’s so yeah I think you can do this work you know with a lot of different backgrounds I don’t think I would get hung up on that I think it really is like what we said earlier it’s about the kind of person you are and kind of personality and the willingness that you have to sort of be flexible and throw yourself into you know all sorts of situations awesome all right great so going back to the social media tools what tools are you guys using to manage social media do you have any tips for other folks let’s start off with Todd where do you use thing to manage social media Hoot. Suite or yeah we don’t do any of that we go natively to where we’re posting I think that if you’re doing the heavy lifting you need to get sweaty you know it I think it is easy to schedule things automations evil that’s monthly but when Ryan first got here he is using Hoot. Suite a lot and I was like well I don’t all right Tweet.
Deck he’s use the tweet deck to mount your stuff I just I don’t know I mean I just learned from the beginning how to do it like old school and I like I like the having it be more burdensome I guess because that’s just our idea I mean I don’t use Hoot.Suite for my personal self you know to schedule my stuff I don’t do it for it that’s got a flip phone yeah that’s probably the last person here to get the i. Phone I don’t know only had an i. Phone maybe two years yeah I didn’t have a cell phone before that but my kids did so that was cool okay yes you and using any type of the the platforms I mean one of the things that I like about Hoot. Suite is you get a whole bunch of analytics in there and they can tell you about you know what your audience is talking about in your geographic area and things like that so are you guys using any other tools or we use sprout social it’s a it’s a lot like Hoot. Suite it’s my bet in my back can never been here me again yeah my pro tab furrows up there so we use it it provides us of the ability to listen to a lot more so we can pull kind of brand keywords so not only can we watch our mentions and things like that but we can watch just people that mention us see within 25 miles of Columbia and we can see everything there we can see of anything that people mention our president’s name in on Twitter so it allows us to watch a lot more of the conversation we still we still post things natively but we use that a lot for our analytics and for our listening just to be able to gather everything in that one place and and know a lot more of the conversation very cool all right great so how do you guys develop some of your social media strategies how do you figure out what you’re going to be talking about and how to build some of the audiences and all that kind of good stuff Macon let’s jump into you know what’s a hard one thank you no you know I I look at the calendar year I try to break it up into chunks knowing what time of year it is so like right now for us this week was the week where our perspective students were risking our acceptance letters in the mail and so knowing that you know that’s coming up and then knowing that over the next six weeks they’re going to be making decisions you know so this is our key content and for us to be showing why we’re unique how we’re how we’re different from some of the institutions that we overlap with and so just looking for those those types of things in the schedule and I think that’s one of the good things about higher ed in some is that thing what cyclical you always have like a movement weekend you always have orientation you always have like some of those like big campus events you know we’re not a football school we’re more of a hockey school so we have big rivalries and hockey you you know we planned things around that and so keeping that sort of count and then I fill in based on you know news and other events but just knowing the ebbs and flows of a calendar year here is is really important and then just being flexible you know I get a lot of people who want to see plans and schedules for months and months out in advance and I can know some really big things that are coming up but you they’re always gonna be those big things that pop up you know in an hour and so you have to be able to be really flexible for all of that awesome what do you think John yeah I think you kind of break it up into different tracks right I mean there’s just that sort of give and take engagement that’s just because people are talking about certain things there’s a you know a certain level of content promotion that we’re doing just around although the content that comes out of our shop there’s kind of a thematic level you know where we know we want to talk about diversity your admissions or research or our value to the state and then you know then you try to overlay I think occasionally some of these bigger projects and bigger efforts on top of that so I think the thing we found is that there’s not really a tool that we’ve used yet that can accommodate all of that and you know a lot of it is kind of in the moment and it’s kind of flexible but just trying to you know get our arms around it all it’s just a constant struggle despite you know a lot of people trying to you know keep calendars and stay organized it’s I mean that’s one of the central challenges I would say the job awesome what do you think Amy so I may come at it in a slightly different way just because of my role here so as the content strategist I am actually setting a lot of the priorities not only for social media but actually for our writers and for all of the content that we’re producing and so really that plays into everything we’re doing on social but as far as social specifically goes we we try to develop or what I’ve tried to do is develop specific audiences for each platform so we know for example on Facebook we get the best engagement out of parents and alumni and so if we need a target a message on Facebook to students will actually kind of target it a little bit more to parents because what we know will happen is if we need students to hear about something and we want to post it on Facebook the parents will then tag their kids in the comments and so we know if we want students to hear about it on Facebook that’s we’ll target it to the parents and that’s how we’ll do so you know we try to make sure that we every we have a primary audience for each platform and then we use the content strategy to kind of help guide us on what are those key messages what are those key University messages that we’re trying to get across that we’re trying to push and that’s how we’ll kind of take that out that’s kind of the first step and then it goes down into the editorial planning from there what about you Kara I mean I was just totally echo with John and Amy just said we spent a lot of time thinking about right sizing content and thinking about okay so we’ve got this maybe three minute video how do you break it up into clips how do we do a 15 second for Instagram how do we upload it to Facebook because we know that video uploads perform better than a link so in addition to thinking about the channels and who’s using them and how to get them there we’re also thinking about the best way to put our stuff up there to be to be seen to be viewed to be interacted with in the most optimal way awesome and Todd anything to add uh yeah I mean we’re at a very large institution with very lofty goals but one of the goals social medium of wise or strategy is to remain relevant so that when we have to help the university with their bigger message that people still want to tune in and hear it so we you know it’s it’s not a numbers game we definitely have to grow our audience and maintain it and keep them engaged so that when the the university wide strategies need to be implemented we actually have a channel that people are paying attention to so there’s there’s lots of moving pieces awesome so and we do have a online question from one of my most favorite people dr. Liz gross she says do your senior leaders expect data slash measurement of your efforts and successes and if so what do you provide Todd do you want to jump into that sure it was I’ve been here two years almost so when I first got here I changed things up a little so I had to provide monthly reports until they were comfortable that we were moving in a positive direction and now I have a new boss so I will be generating more reports a problem with a lot of the measuring especially if you’re a one person shop we’re now two person shop so our two and a half person shop so it’s a little easier now to do this stuff but it does take away time from actually the boots on the ground doing stuff so it’s it’s depending on what your goals are if you can just show show the people that want to see those things that you’re moving in a positive direction with some analytics behind it they love pie charts and things like that awesome what about you Meghan yeah I generate a monthly report for my vice president to sort of explain why we’re doing things in a certain way to justify you know decisions in terms of you know shifts that work we might be making in terms of funding creation or strategy it’s always great to have the numbers behind you to sort of to be able to tell your story I actually took a course with Liz gross about analytics and about data and about how to make out of them so that people understand why they matter and I think that’s been the biggest thing for me is I’m really interested in all the data and it’s very valuable but then being able to to communicate that to people above you who may not even understand social media who said well what you know that posted great it got a hundred likes and said but nobody clicked the link that’s not successful for me and you know being able to it I think data in a lot of ways has really helped higher ups who may not necessarily understand the social landscape better understand the value it has to the University than it did maybe you know three or four years ago please John no I was just gonna chime in I think one of the things that we all do on a regular basis and you know I think people who are coming into this field should think about is that there is a lot of education that you know you do need to do I mean I love our senior staff and everything but the times they interact with social tends to be around really specific issues or problems you know there’s this hate graffiti that’s posted or somebody is very unhappy with us it’s less frequent that they’re sort of seeing the the organic value of you know how we post or how we engage with audiences so you know I think getting people a little bit more comfortable in the social Minds at that that level not being a just about it in any way but I find the people that I’ve worked with over time tend to be much more kind of Facebook users they put a toe into Twitter because I think they can get a lot of information but then as you you know you drop down through Instagram and you know some of the you know snapchat messaging really very little familiarity with with things like that so I think that’s on us you know to help people understand you know what the platforms are and you know what the utility is awesome so we are running very close on time so I want to ask one last question for you all if that’s okay um so what advice do you have for someone looking to become a social media manager let’s start off with Amy I would say definitely you know if you still have time in your undergrad program and you are an undergrad look for internship opportunities I’ve worked with interns for a decade now and a lot of mine have moved into roles that have given them opportunities to do social if you’re already a professional just volunteer that’s how you know in my first job I was an editorial assistant at a magazine and I volunteered to help with the web and that’s how I became you know the marketing manager for the web and it’s really just about offering up and getting involved and if you can’t get involved at work get involved with an organization that you care about in your community and just you know like everybody else has said like Todd has said like just just try these out on your own and just get in there and get some experience awesome what about you care I would say find one or two people who you want their job in five to ten years and get to know them as well as you can connect with them as well as you can and figure out how they got to where they are that’s how you know I’ve mapped out a lot of my career is just looking down the road and finding someone who’s maybe five years ahead of me and saying like okay so how did you get there what kind of education what kind of networking what kind of skills did you build and just I mean like people who are successful actually really like doing informational interviews and helping people out because they got to where they are because of someone else helping them so I would say like don’t be afraid to approach someone or ask for help awesome and John yeah people are incredibly kind and generous in this field I mean everybody that I’ve met over times you know if you’re a student and you know you go and you tweet somebody or send them an email almost everybody would give you 20 minutes I really like the idea of trying to like prove that your your ability in the field by like attaching yourself to like a community group a church a blood bank I mean there’s so many like worthy organizations that need like social media help from people that understand it so you know it’s really easy I think to find a good organization and then create a little plan for them and try to execute it I think you’re much more likely to get hired in a university or in the private sector with a little bit of that under your belt awesome thank you and what about you Meg I have to agree with a lot of what Amy and Cara said about you know interns and and whatnot I think we have a lot of students on campus who start social media accounts for clubs and organizations and so I’m like John was saying like coming up with a plan for those also I think using your personal accounts to your advantage you know you hear a lot about like digital identity and you know how to build like a personal brand on social media you know we have some students who have gotten jobs because they start an Instagram account about how much they love breakfast and they may into something where thousands and thousands of people are following it and I think that you can have a lot of fun with social media but then when you get into an interview it’s more about not necessarily talking about breakfast but how you were critically thinking about using social media to your advantage so like we have a student run the Instagram account where a different student runs it each week and I have students who say I want to go into PR and marketing and even though I have no control over their content for the week I you know I help them with some tips on how to think about it strategically whereas I don’t necessarily always have those conversations with just every student and then afterwards I encourage them to think about what they would do differently and that that’s the talking point in an interview you know you can take any opportunity on social and make it into something that would really boost yourself and boost your resume and boost your experience with any or all platforms awesome and Todd closing us out what what advice to have for folks that want to become social media managers apply to social media manager positions I mean it’s relatively new as long as you know what you’re talking about I mean people hire on personality people hire on initiative people hire on a really good interview so just apply to lots of places and get comfortable interviewing awesome very cool so I hope you all had a you guys get a lot of your questions answered fabulous I’m getting a lot of shaking heads here they’re all very happy here at the University of Virginia I’d like to thank you all for joining us today and being our guest that was fantastic and thank you to everyone and especially our program sponsors and Stoner and funnel back we love you guys so thank you for joining us today make sure to check out more shows from higher ed pros on higher live. com see you next time.