12 #hesm pros explain how they manage social media

November 2nd, 2015 Karine Joly 17 Comments

Social media is 24/7. It never stops.

It’s definitely something you HAVE TO manage as any of the 12 Higher Ed Social Media Professionals presenting at the 3rd Higher Ed Social Media Conference (available on-demand).

Higher Ed Social Media Conference

Their days are as busy as yours – ofren with an extra dose of social media. That’s why I asked them how they manage, so you can get inspired and steal a couple of ideas to make YOUR day easier to manage.

Nikki Sunstrum, Director of Social Media – University of Michigan

nikki_sunstrumThe UMSocial team is comprised of dynamic visual storytellers who are empowered to curate content and engage communities on specific networks. Their specialization allows us to ensure proper execution and strategy is implemented at all times.

My role is then allowed to focus on implementing best practice and overseeing collaboration.

We rely heavily on the internal communications tool, ‘Slack’ to keep us connected at all times and provide multiple review opportunities of collateral for maximum effect.

Chris Barrow, Social Media and Mobile Products Coordinator – New York University

chris_barrow-150x150Organization is EVERYTHING.

In order to keep everything on-task, I utilize Google Apps like Google Drive and Google Calendar to ensure I have planned my way wisely. Additionally, tools like Wunderlist allow me to keep tracks on-point even if I’m on the go.

Focusing my workload effectively is a must as it’s easy to get behind on things when you’re consulting employees around a global university.

Tiffany Broadbent Beker, Web Developer & Social Media Coordinator – William & Mary

Tiffany-Broadbent-BekerI block off 30 minutes on my calendar each morning (and ideally afternoon) and have a folder of bookmarks that I open and cycle through.

I’ll check the main Facebook and Twitter pages, common Twitter hashtags (via Hootsuite), and a bevy of Instagram hashtags as well as locations to find photos that were taken on campus but not necessarily tagged with W&M hashtags (courtesy of GramFeed).

I’ve been able to unearth a lot of great content for Instagram through these location-tagged photos and it’s a great way to see what people are capturing on campus. The main W&M accounts also follow all the accounts listed in our social media directory so I also check in the timelines on each channel for shareable content as well.

Rachel Reuben, Principal – RRC

rachel_reuben-150x150I tend to check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram each morning, and then maybe a couple of times during the day, and again in the evening.

This is a drastic shift from a few years ago, when I was far more active, especially on Twitter. I’ve long since let go the days of feeling the need to go back and read every single Facebook entry and tweet since the last time I was on the networks.

I use TweetDeck and have several private lists set up to categorize those I follow into core areas of interest for me, and which lists I visit and read will depend on the time of day and what is going on in the news. I also have several searches set up in other columns to track other key conversations and hashtags.

Lauren Boyd, Multimedia Specialist – The Ohio State University

lauren_boydI use HootSuite Enterprise to help manage both Twitter and Instagram.

Being able to schedule my posts is huge for my workflow and time management.

I also block time off on my calendar as planning and “look ahead” time to write social media content that I know I want to go out within the next few weeks.

Kate Post, Digital Media Specialist – California State University, Chico

KatePost-150x150I am the only staff person at Chico State dedicated to the University’s social channels, and it’s only about 70% of my duties. As a result, time and workload management is crucial, and I rely heavily on both tech tools and human resources.

We utilize Sprout Social to aggregate the University’s channels into a unified inbox where I can quickly review and respond to posts, assign tasks for my student intern, and email posts with questions I can’t answer directly to the appropriate stakeholder (Admissions, Academic Advising, etc.). Sprout has been crucial to helping me work more efficiently, and engage directly with our audiences on a regular basis.

On the people front, I have a 12hr/wk student intern who helps create content for all of our channels. We meet formally once a week to list upcoming events to promote, discuss blog post progress, etc., then check in daily to make sure we’re on the same page. Typically, my intern will draft Facebook and Twitter posts in Sprout for my review, and then send or schedule them.

Additionally, I rely on University resources, like the University Photographer to help supply photos for our Instagram account, our staff in the Public Affairs department for news and content tips, etc. These alliances really help make social media not just my job, but a little piece of everyone’s, and ultimately provides awesome content for our social channels.

Dominique Benjamin, Digital & Social Media Specialist – Duke University

dominique_benjamin-150x150Tools like Hootsuite make life so much easier!

Having all that I do (i.e. publishing, monitoring, analyzing) on one dashboard goes a long way toward achieving a sense of structure and routine in this crazy world that is social media.

Also, between the never-ending stream of content coming from all corners of the university and the need to keep an eye on engagement on all of our social channels, it helps to have a single place that allows me to be everywhere at once.

Tracy Payle, Director & Content Strategist – Pickle Jar Communications Ltd

tracy_playleThis is going to sound terrible, but I could not get by these days without having an incredible team to work with on everything. Because I’m no longer in-house, I have to work with multiple clients and run the business too, and I travel a lot for my work, so trying to keep on top of all social media now is troublesome without the help of a team.

I have a few tools and tricks that make life easier though:

  • An obvious one is my iPhone. I have just the right amount of notifications set up (mostly through Facebook pages app and Twitter) to manage through that. I dearly wish that it was easier to manage multiple Instagram accounts on a single device though, so that remains a frustration.
  • I’m a big fan of Tweetdeck still to help make Twitter manageable. I have multiple columns set up with some terms and hashtags and search terms that I know deliver really useful content to me (#highedweb #confab #confabedu, “’social media’ + ‘higher ed’ amongst others).
  • I like Scoop.it too as a curation tool, and have feeds set up there that also deliver useful content from a range of trusted and credible sources.
  • Within my team, we use Podio to communicate and collaborate internally, so we also use that a lot to share trends, news, interesting things that we’ve seen. We’ve also built our own content planner in there, so we use that to keep on top of content for our own social feeds and the blog. Everyone in the company has a role to play in contributing to our blog, so that means we now have a good team to draw regular content from, and we also now invest in guest posts from people within the sector who we know and respect. Our audience loves that content, and it helps us to keep the blog fresh and introduce new voices. We also write the first draft of the posts in Podio too so that everyone else can comment and add to them too if they want to. It makes content creation much more collaborative for us (and fun) and that keeps it manageable.

Nina Sossen, Director of Social Media – University of Massachusetts

nina_sossen-150x150It’s important to balance real-time on-site reporting with strategically-planned content.

When appropriate, we plan social media content in advance and balance that with live reporting.

For example, during Parents’ Weekend, we pre-schedule Tweets and Facebook posts welcoming parents to campus, sharing photos from last year’s weekend, and providing schedules and other information. And during the event, we are on the scene with live pictures and tweets and encouraging students and parents to engage with our content.

We use Tracx and native social media tools (for example Twitter Analytics) to determine the peak times of engagement for different types of content and try to reach people during the time they are known to be most engaged. For example, we know that students often check Twitter as they leave one class and head to another, so we often post during class-changing times.

With regard to Twitter in particular, being able to see as much of the global conversation about our university and our interested topics is essential. TweetDeck is an essential tool to enable us to see as much of the conversation in one place and to respond appropriately.

Chelsey Rovesti, Manager of Social Media – Point Park University

Chelsey_RovestiAlthough it sounds cliché, I really couldn’t do it without the rest of the web communications team, as well as our awesome student workers and apprentices.

The web team is fantastic at finding stories to tell on our website that I can push through social media, and our student workers are our “boots on the ground” who help give us ideas on how to reach current and future students. If you haven’t brought students in to your brainstorms yet, I highly recommend it; they bring a tremendous insider perspective.

Aside from working with my team, I use Sprout Social for day-to-day management and analytics reporting. Sprout Social’s Google analytics integration makes it easy for me to get a snapshot view of how social media is driving web traffic.

Candace Nelson, Senior Writer,University Relations/News – West Virginia University

candace_nelsonSocial media doesn’t follow the typical 9-5 workday we social media managers would love, so there are a number of strategies and tools that make the workload a bit easier.

During the workweek, I set a few times each day to check on all activity for the three major platforms I handle (Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram) – morning, afternoon and evening. I rely heavily on Sprout Social for scheduling posts, as well as our social media ambassadors to help provide content from around campus.

Robert Bochnak, Assistant Director, Alumni Marketing and Communications – Harvard Business School

robert_bochnak-150x150I follow the same protocol every day.

Each morning, the first thing I do is review social media interactions from the day before and add them to my social media tracking sheet (see below). As part of my work, I record information on all the alumni we engage with via social media so we can have a sense of how many graduates we interact with on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram during a given week or month.
Whenever an alumnus/a interacts with us his or her information is added to a spreadsheet. This “data” includes the year the alumnus/a graduated, the city and state in which he/she lives, and his/her interests as conveyed in their Twitter bios.

Once I’m done with my daily record keeping, I jump onto Twitter and start reviewing my alumni lists. To date, we have added more than 5,000 HBS alumni onto Twitter lists and each day we look for ways to engage with as many of them as possible; this outreach includes promoting the blog posts of alumni, sharing their career news, and amplifying any other personal or professional achievements. Since January 2013, this approach has helped us generate more than 25,000 unique interactions with alumni on social media. None of this would have been possible without Twitter’s list functionality. By having a centralized location where alumni Twitter handles reside, we can engage with them based on their interests each and every day.

What about YOU? How do you manage social media?

I would love to compile a few more tips from the community on this page. Please, don’t be shy and share yours by posting a comment below!

And, if you want to learn more from these great higher ed social media professionals, make sure to grab a 12-month team pass for the Higher Ed Social Media Conference (available on-demand).

17 Responses

  1. The #UNHSocial team participates in many campus events and activities, working hand-in-hand with our photo & video team, creative writers, graphic designers, and student workers to deliver engaging content and unique stories to our stakeholders. By taking advantage of tools like Basecamp, Hootsuite Enterprise, SocialBro, Box, and Google Calendar, we’re able to stay organized, making it easier to implement strategies and work on multiple campaigns. In addition, we keep our social media directory and FAQs up to date, which acts as a campus resource for social media, giving us more time to focus on the overall strategy of the university and the ability to monitor & listen to each social channel. Lastly, we make sure to block off time each day to curate and schedule social media posts and make time to work with our student interns.

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