Here is another post in our guest blog series. In this post a colleague, Kayla Patterson, talks about how she came to work in social media and the opportunities social media has afforded her. How did you build a career in social media? I often get asked how I came to work in social media, which is a valid question considering I never could have dreamt of being a social media manager as a kid! It all started during my junior year at Colorado State University when I was tasked with creating a marketing plan for my future. Inspired by the growing social media niche, I created a plan that included social media as the central aspect of my career. Little did I know, that marketing plan would actually serve as the foundation for where I am today. I began integrating social media in all my marketing projects, and started managing social media channels for friends and family. Concurrently, I landed an awesome internship with GoAbroad.com as the social media intern, where I had the fortune of helping grow GoAbroad's social media presence. That internship evolved into helping conceive GoSocial, a social media management and consulting service, in which I became a community manager for several international education organizations. I consider myself very lucky to have been given the opportunity to get real world experience in social media while I finished up my degree in marketing. Upon graduation, I accepted the position of GoMedia Coordinator, where I primarily oversee GoSocial, and our team of community managers. What opportunities has social media brought you? Because I just couldn't get enough, I also completed my senior honors thesis by creating a website and blog that was focused on social media. The goal of the site was/is to provide a resource for students to learn how to use social media to help promote themselves or a business. After being dormant for a period of time, I have recently revived SocialMediaForStudents.com with a new look, new content, and more consistent guest posts from other social media students and professionals. As a result of working on the site, as well as my own personal social media presence, I have added more opportunities to my resume, including acting as a mentor to HootSuite's Campus Ambassador program, and guest posting on blogs like Mandy's Mashups! And because I am a true social media nerd, I can't wait to get involved with whatever else social media has to offer.
How do you manage it all?
In terms of social media, management tools are my best friend! At work I'm overseeing and managing over a dozen social media presences, and at home I'm coordinating everything I do for SocialMediaForStudents.com, HootSuite, as well as the other brands I manage for family friends, all of which I wouldn't be able to manage without some handy dandy social media tools. At the top of my list is HootSuite, which is an invaluable social media dashboard, scheduler, team management tool, and report generator, among other things. I also use several tools to help curate content, including but not limited to Google Alerts, Pulse, and StumbleUpon. Beyond that, I find that keeping myself organized is the best way to stay efficient and consistent, so I actually have different browsers and calendars set up for each area of my work. For example, Chrome is all work and GoAbroad related, complete with relevant bookmarks, my Google Calendars, and saved passwords (life-saver!), whereas Safari is home to my personal email, my WordPress CMS for SocialMediaForStudents.com, and my blog's editorial calendar.
What is your favorite aspect of social media?
Results! While social media is notoriously variable, forever changing, and hard to measure, there is a kind of joy and excitement when your page or channel starts yielding engagement, growth, and results. I love hearing from my clients that they had X amount of leads from Facebook one month, or that Twitter was a top referrer for their website last quarter. The fact is that social media works as a marketing tool, and my favorite part is when people and clients accept that realization through results.
Kayla is the founder of SocialMediaForStudents.com, a site that aims to be a resource for social media students of all types to learn how to market themselves or their business through social media. She is also the GoMedia Coordinator for GoAbroad.com where she oversees a social media management and consulting service. Kayla has a passion for country music, travel, and social media, and enjoys a good chick-flick, any kind of shopping, and all kinds of dessert! Follow her on Twitter: @kaylapatt
Below is a special guest post by HootSuite Community Manager, Stephanie Wiriahardja. Stephanie runs the HootCampus Ambassador program for HootSuite which is a new initiative. Below is her post about a day in the life of a community manager for a social media management tool (among other things).
One of the questions I get asked the most as a Community Manager for a popular social media dashboard is "What's your day-to-day like?". I usually chuckle first before even attempting to put into words what exactly I do and what's my day-to-day like. Everyday is different, but there are a number of projects I oversee that involve a heavy usage of social media.
If you peek at my HootSuite dashboard, you'll see that I manage 38 different Twitter accounts, 8 Facebook Pages, 6 LinkedIn Groups, and 2 Google+ Pages. It will be such a nightmare if I had to log in and out to each one. Lucky for me, I get to use my company's product, HootSuite, to reach out to HootSuite users and promote HootSuite. Yep, it's that meta! I have actually used HootSuite for 1.5 years before I joined the team in 2011, so I didn't have to make any radical adjustments to my social media practice.
Some of my all-time favourites features are:
- Streams and tabs
- Geo-location search
Streams and tabs are the bread and butter of HootSuite and I could not imagine having to go to each account to search for something or tweet from it. I manage all 54 accounts at all times, which means I have listening streams that I organize to different tabs to help me monitor everything that is mentioned. Now that I have all my accounts connected in one dashboard, I can easily tweet or post from any of the accounts without the need to take a step back, log out, log back in, and try to remember what I wanted to tweet, or who I wanted to give a shout out to.
I must admit I am not the only one monitoring and managing all 54 accounts. I have my coworkers spread across many departments that also have access to these accounts, simply because the questions that we get from the users vary. For example, most of the mentions that our main Community team's Twitter handle, @HootClub, is about how cute our owl swags are. Once in awhile though, we get technical questions, affiliate-related, or hiring questions. Sure we can answer these, but would not it be better if we can assign someone else that is an expert in the topic to answer the question? Rather than emailing or pinging the person on chat to reply to a specific tweet, HootSuite has a built-in Assignment feature for its Pro and Enterprise users. Last year alone, I help host over 110 HootUps (similar to TweetUps, but with HootSuite as the main topic of conversation) in 43 cities, in 18 countries. Sometimes it's difficult to sift through the dozens of HootSuite mentions, but with the geo-location search, I can filter to only the mentions and conversations happening at a set location. This way, I get to tweet the people who are actually around the area of where the HootUp will be held. I also use it to give me relevant updates and insights. For example, if there's an event happening in town, I can see who's talking about it so I can create an opportunity to connect with them before the event. Serving 6+ million users worldwide is not easy, especially dealing with the different time zones. The scheduling feature on HootSuite is so helpful in making sure I tweet articles when the audience is awake and most active. This feature also helps in making sure there's always content going out, even when I am taking vacation or day off. However, don't mistaken this as your reason for not replying to any mentions. You are not a spam bot, so you have to show your followers that while you have content scheduled, you also engage with them.
So there they are, my top four favourite features of my favourite social media tool (slightly biased, but I swear I am telling the truth, only the truth, and nothing but the truth)! What sort of features do you need the most to be more efficient? Leave a comment below or tweet me at @stephawie. I'd like to hear them!
A dear friend and I in Toronto, Canada
This may be a bit dramatic, but I am convinced I would not survive before the existence of Internet connections and online communication. Granted, this has to do with perspective; of course, I would not realize I was missing such an awesome tool for information and keeping in touch if it had not existed yet. All I know is I am thankful to be alive in this current age because I am not much of a snail-mail girl.
These thoughts came to me recently as I have been in the Dominican Republic for the past two and a half months. I found myself missing my friends and family back home when I realized I have nothing to complain about. With such easy access to social media due to the ever-increasing availability of Wi-Fi, I am frequently in contact with people from home. All I have to do is scroll through Facebook and I am immediately filled-in on people’s lives. Instagram, however, has been my preferred medium because it’s fantastic to just browse through photos without the clutter of lots of text and ads that Facebook can have. (It also makes me feel like a professional photographer with all the fancy filters.)
The benefit of using social media while abroad is a two-way street, however, because friends and family can keep up with me as well. Instead of calling or emailing parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends, all of these important people in my life (plus random acquaintances and the occasional stalker) are updated on my life in one fell swoop as I post photos and status updates.
One of the greatest ways social media has impacted my abroad experiences, however, is by giving me an ability to maintain friendships that began abroad. My Facebook friends consist of people I met on various trips, and I am so glad to be able to maintain those friendships today. I can honestly say if it weren’t for social media, I would never be able to communicate with so many people I met abroad. Although they were in my life for a brief period, we can maintain a relationship thanks to the upgrade from snail-mail.
All these advancements in social media communication, however, do come with a few drawbacks: it can be way more impersonal when I am not contacting to loved ones directly, so I make an effort to call or email those exceptionally special people (consider yourselves lucky ;)) Also, constantly being connected to people from home can distract from your abroad experience if you are not careful. Especially if you are only spending a semester abroad, it is important to take advantage of every minute in this new and exciting place. Home will be there when you get back, and I can bet you that not much will have changed in four months. I met too many people as an undergrad who I believe missed out on their experience abroad by being on Skype for hours at a time every day with people from home. Doing this, unfortunately, makes you miss home way too much and keeps you from making great connections with friends abroad.
I encourage those of you planning on going abroad to set a certain time of day or week for social media use, and catch up with friends and family during that time slot only, so you can take full advantage of exploring your surroundings!
How have you seen social media while traveling help or harm you?
Are there any apps or websites that are particularly helpful for communicating while abroad?
-Kimberly, Mandy's Mashups Intern
Hi everyone! My name is Kimberly Wilson, and I am the new Mandy’s Mashups social media intern. My role here will be updating the blog, website, and Facebook page, as well as brainstorming other ways to branch out with new projects.
I am currently on track to graduate in May from Clemson University with a degree in Spanish & International Health, so the International Education aspect of Mandy’s Mashups really appealed to me. Throughout my undergraduate career, I have had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Spain to study and intern. Thanks to these experiences, I have developed a passion for travel, studying abroad, and all things international, so I am incredibly excited to merge this interest with social media.
I will be very honest and admit that I have ZERO experience using social media in a professional setting. I, like all college students these days however, have plenty
of personal experience using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, among other social media sites. What else are we supposed to do during a 90 min lecture when the next exam is weeks away??
It has been enlightening to see, however, that social media can actually be something productive and useful, not just a time-waster when putting off that ten page paper or final chemistry exam (or cheMISERY as I liked to call it).
By working as an intern with Mandy’s Mashups, I hope to continue expanding my knowledge of social media’s professional functions as well as its relation to international education. What are your first experiences with social media? Did you jump on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon from the start or did you hold out until it was only completely necessary to have an account?
Please feel free to write me with any suggestions for the website and social media channels below as a comment or through the contact
A topic that always causes people a little bit of concern when they think about social media use is using students to generate content. I wanted to address this topic in this post because I feel it is important for people to face their fears in some cases and hopefully this post will help alleviate some concerns.
Starting in the fall I employed a student, who had previously studied abroad, to be our Global Ambassador. One of the major duties of this position was to take on our social media campaigns. Rather than give her all our social media channels to work with I limited it to Facebook to start since this was the channel she has the most experience with.
I am here to tell you that our Facebook page has exploded with more interaction because of her work. We worked together to start and she came up with a theme each week to post on the page. She only works in the office about 5 hours per week so she doesn't have a huge amount of time to post. However, with the ability to schedule posts on Facebook pages, she has been able to work for only one hour per week and schedule posts for the entire week in that one hour. Some of the themes have included particular countries where we have programs, scholarships, and deadlines.
Her fellow students have loved her posts and I am able to track the interactions with Facebook insights. She also created a campaign, on her own, to increase the number of Fans we had and we were able to get 40 new fans in just a little less than a week.
Whenever I mention using a student as mentioned above some people cringe because they fear the additional work monitoring a student would entail. In all honesty I have done very little monitoring of her posts. What I did was explain to her in the beginning what I was looking for and emphasized the fact that she was representing our office and our institution and should keep that in mind when posting. That is all it took. Now, I know that not all students work out as nicely as she has but with a little guidance and some patience you can really make student work count. Her fellow students relate to her posts and we have made it seem as it is coming from our office which is a great for us.
I have posted a few screen shots of our page below.
I would love to hear what your experience has been with working with students in regards to social media. No story is too small.
Here is the latest installment in my series of guest bloggers. This is from Danielle Sleeper who is currently a graduate student seeking a career in international education. Here is how she is using social media to aid in her job search. Getting Schooled in Social Media: The International Education Job Search
Does this sound like you? Full time student, part-time intern, maybe also holding a part-time paid job, completing a thesis project, while simultaneously finishing up final credit requirements to graduate—oh wait—and then there is that little something called the job search
Well, that’s me. Hi! My name is Danielle Sleeper and I am a master’s degree candidate in the School of International Service at American University, pursuing a career in international education. I use social media on a daily basis to engage, connect with and learn more about my passion—facilitating international cross-cultural exchanges to help other communicate effectively and understand the world (personal branding statement! Will talk more about this later).
If you are a regular reader of Mandy’s Mashups, you are already aware of how platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Pinterest are changing the field of the international education. Having a handle on how to optimize these tools will not only boost your resume, but can also give you an edge in the job search itself.
Side note: I am, at this point, by no means gainfully employed full-time in the field of international education. Therefore, I am not here to teach
you how to use social media in your job search. Rather, I am here start a discussion on what I have learned or tried
using social media thus far—all of it an ongoing experiment in the job search 2.0. I look forward to your hearing more about your tips and tricks in the comment section below!
I have trouble talking about the “job search” as a standalone event in my life. In truth, it has been a year-long journey in establishing an expert presence, making connections, and building relationships along the way. And networking itself is just that—adding value to your community.
Experiment 1: Be a professional. You don’t have to have a job title to do this—in fact, being creative in how you define yourself is often more effective. I am an “intercultural specialist”. Why? It is how I can most easily explain what I do and what I believe in. In online profiles, and consistent across all social media platforms, I follow that title with my one-sentence personal branding statement and a clear photograph of my face. Some users are wary of putting “too much” information in cyberspace, but there is something to be said for under-sharing as well. Employers want to know who you are and one of the first things they will do is Google search your name
. Let them know you are a real person and materialize your passion. That said, make sure what shows up on a Google search is professional—not photos from Saturday night’s party.
Experiment 2: Engage. I dove headfirst into the Twitterverse about a year ago and never looked back. Every day, I tweet about news headlines, trends, and stories in international education. I follow just about everyone and everything related to study abroad, cross-cultural communications, diplomacy, and internationalization. Over time, I built up quite a following of international education experts and leaders. The greatest advantage to Twitter is that it levels the playing field—I love that on any given day I can start up a conversation with the director of the Fulbright Commission or communicate directly with organizations like iEARN-USA or Cultural Vistas. Moreover, I can get a better sense of the company vibe and values.
Results? I was hired as an intern for Melibee Global Education
via Twitter and communicated with Mandy’s Mashups for a long time before finally meeting Mandy in person at the Forum on Education Abroad Conference. Don’t be shy to reach out to people you don’t know—reply and message. And as soon as you can, ask for that informational interview offline. Rachael King writes a lot on the ABC Rule: “Always Be Coffee-ing,”
a practice I am trying to make a habit. For an idea of who to reach out to, look at who I am following on Twitter. Bonus: a lot of these organizations tweet about open job positions.
Experiment 3: Offer something. I am a member of many LinkedIn international education groups, and though I cannot say I do this particularly well, I try to join in on conversations and offer resources to other educators in the field. For example, someone recently posted a request for resources on reverse culture shock. Having written a very extensive literature review on this last semester, I was able to send over my bibliography and other articles I thought were valuable. Another idea is to write a guest post for an international education blogger (check one for me!).
Experiment 4: Be innovative. Everyone and their host parent are talking about Pinterest nowadays. The great thing about Pinterest, I believe, is its ability to demonstrate who you are through images. When you look at my Pinterest page, for example, you will have an immediate idea of what I am about: intercultural exchanges, travel, culture, and…er…food porn (it’s all about being the real you, right?). I recently created a resume board as a visual gallery of my accomplishments, as well as another board of organizations I would like to work for. The idea is different enough to stand out at the moment, and I regularly circulate the links to these boards on Twitter and professional LinkedIn groups for feedback. Also, I should mention that Mandy has a great upcoming webinar on this. Be sure to check out “Pinterest for International Education
” on Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 2pm EDT. I know I will be there.
Experiment 5: Just keep swimming. My experiment in Job Search 2.0 has been quite an expedition. I continue to reach out to others, join conversations, and learn more about international education--all while finishing up my degree and other things. In essence, social media has supported
my job search; it certainly is not the be-all-and-end-all. I recognize that the traditional job search is not going to change any time soon; I am still proactively writing letters of motivation, sending out resumes, putting together writing samples, conferencing, and interviewing in-person. Thank you letters are best hand written.
But social media has given me a voice I never thought I possessed. More to the point, it’s fun. Rest assured, my social media presence will remain strong even after I’ve scored my dream job in international education. Where are you in your job search? How has social media worked for you? Any other tips you can give a recent graduate?
Connect with me at http://about.me/daniellesleeper
For other tools and resources in the International Education job search, check out my new Pinterest board! http://pinterest.com/daniellesleeper/international-education-job-search/
Danielle Sleeper has made somewhat of a profession out of being a full-time student, now pursuing a Masters in International Communication at American University in Washington, DC. Her personal experience studying, working and traveling throughout East Asia changed her way of thinking, and she returned to the U.S. committed to all things related to global education and study abroad. In her spare time, she is an obsessive yogini, super-nanny, cruciverbalist and Jeopardy! enthusiast.
If you are interested in being a guest blogger please email me at email@example.com
Do you fit into any or all of these areas? Or has your use of these social media tools led to these issues? Thought my social media readers might enjoy this!
Does the title strike fear into your social media addicted heart? :)I know this concept sounds odd for someone who talks about social media but I also think that it is a necessity. I think sometimes people, myself included, have come to rely on social media so much that we cannot or will not take a step back from it and 1) appreciate why and how we use it and 2) actually talk to people in person and/or face to face. I just read this article on how tourists can put down their iPhones or Blackberries - I can completely see that happening. I know for me that for me to fully be able to disconnect from my email, social media, etc. is to literally leave the country and not be able to access my phone or internet on a regular basis. I actually have found that I am able to relax more and take a deep breath when I am not worried about missing an email, a Facebook post, or a Twitter mention.However, I will say, that when I come back to social media I feel like a year has passed since I was on it instead of a few weeks. Social media changes so rapidly and so much information is published every day it can be overwhelming to step by into the fray. Have you ever completely stepped away from social media and allowed yourself to detox from the need to constantly check your Facebook status or Twitter feeds? If you have how long have you been able to hold out? A day? A week? A month? What did you feel when you did that? How did you feel when you stepped back into the social media realm?It can be an intimidating concept to step away from all your connections and your instant access but I challenge you (or as one of my friends says "I dare you") to step away from social media from at least one week and then report back on what that experience was like and what you realized about social media when you came back to it.I think you may surprise yourself! The challenge has been laid will you take it up?P.S. Here is another group that has laid down a similar challenge.
Sorry this has taken be so long to write but my full-time job seems to have gotten in the way a little bit lately. But better late than never I suppose.
As I said in my previous blog, my next blog, this blog, would be my thoughts on social media engagement and interaction.
I want to start off my saying that I am obviously a huge fan of social media and believe that all organizations and individuals should be involved in social media in some way since it is not going away and in fact is only going to continue to grow.
H0wever, with that being said, I also think it is extremely easy to become obsessed with social media and it can easily become your life. Do you ever notice those people that even in meetings can help but check their Facebook status or Twitter feed in the middle of the meeting or post what they ate for lunch as they are eating it? I will admit that sometimes I am in this person (not the lunch part though ;). However, I am come to also realize that in some cases in-person or direct contact of some sort is much more appropriate.
Many people have asked me in the last couple of years if I think social media will replace all in-person contact. My answer to that is no. I think it is still important to have direct contact with people. What I also tell them is that social media can play a part in generating this direct contact because it creates the ability to meet people and network which then leads to these direct contacts. I can't tell you the number of people I have met because of me stepping into the social media realm that I would never have had the opportunity to meet without being on Facebook and Twitter. I will also say that it is a little strange to talk to someone for years, virtually, via Facebook and Twitter, but have never met them. But, once I do meet them, it is like I already know them due to our social media interactions.
So while I do think that social media is important and extremely useful I don't think it is taking away from or making people more impersonal. In fact, I think it is doing the opposite in that it is generating more engagement just on a different level. Social media is, however, creating the need for us to teach our students, and even ourselves, how to understand the difference between social media "speak" and real world, in-person "speak". These are two different types of "speak" that cannot always be intermingled. Basically, this world of social media has come along and created its own vernacular and when people become so entrenched in it the forget how to use real world "speak". So it is up to use to continue to educate ourselves and those around us on when each of these forms of communication are used and how to use them appropriately.
Do you agree? What are you thoughts on this?
I always find it interesting to see how others got into social media and what they have found to be most useful. Here are a few insights from a guest blogger who has found a few concepts helpful to her as she continues on her social media journey. "How does social media influence your international education job?"
As the New Media & Research Assoc. at API, social media plays an active role in my position. As many of us use social media as a main source of communication, research, etc., a significant portion of my time is dedicated to creating, managing and monitoring our online presences. "How did you get into social media?"
In 1992, I created my first e-mail address, began blogging in 2001, created a Facebook profile in 2005 and signed up for Twitter in 2007. I studied advertising with a focus in new media, creative research and strategy. During this time, I spent a year researching social media infrastructures and developed a new social media model to support our converging online/offline communication behaviors. I’ve held various internships and jobs in the field and was one of the contributing authors to The Project 100 (a collaborative book on marketing in the era of social media). I suppose you classify me as a digital native, but the truth is, I’ve always been interested in the relationship between and convergence of humans and technology! "What is one social media tool you cannot live without now?"
As there are so many social media tools with such different purposes, it really just depends on the end result I’m looking to achieve. With that said, one tool I’ve really found useful is Google Analytics. I’ve learned quite a bit about online behavior via analytics tools. "What is one thing you wish you knew about social media that would have made getting involved with it easier?"
There are a handful of insights I’ve picked up over the years. Authenticity:
Be yourself, be genuine, be transparent, be interesting, be entertaining and if you do make a mistake, acknowledge it…we’re all human! Collaborate/Connect:
How can you collaborate with people in a meaningful way? How can you make it easier for people to communicate with one another? Details:
Don’t be hasty! Though the message may be brief, take time to think through what you are saying. Before publishing, take a breather. Read. Re-read. Then click send. Measure:
There is so much to learn by monitoring analytics. Quantitative results are important but don’t forget about qualitative results! Research:
Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Digg, Skype, Blogspot, MySpace, Wordpress, Flickr, Slideshare, Ning, Flickr, Delicious. Whew! Just because it’s available doesn’t mean it should be used! Make sure to research before diving in – watching, reading, listening, collecting, and conversing. What are people saying? What are people looking for? Strategy:
Of course it’s necessary to understand the functions of new media, but it’s just as important to understand people’s motives for using these platforms. New media will come and go, but human behaviors and patterns will always be around. What do you think is social media’s biggest impact has been on international education?
The web was originally created to display static documents – more of a monologue model. However, the web has evolved into a dialog model, where social elements have been incorporated. Now, people are not just looking to “experts” for answers, but crowd sourcing their respective social networks for information.
It’s important to remember that social networks are not new. We’ve formed social circles for thousands of years. Social media merely adds an online element to our offline worlds.
With this said, I believe incorporating sociability into communication strategies has been the biggest impact social media has had on international education. Why do you continue to use social media?
As long as the relationship between technology and people continues to evolve and my curiosity remains, I’ll continue to use social media. (:
Kim Karalekas is the New Media & Research Coordinator at Academic Programs International (API), specializing in online user experience, research, brand strategy, new media & web development. Away from work, she enjoys salsa dancing, playing the violin/piano, and geocaching. To connect with Kim: @API_KimK
If you are interested in being a guest blog please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
. Happy reading!