In early June I had the pleasure of attending the first ever International Programs Marketing Conference (IPMC) sponsored by GoOverseas. I wanted to share a little of my experience at this inaugural event. First of all, I must say that this is one of the best conferences I have attended in a really long time, if not ever.
Why do I say that? One of the main reasons is that it was social media and website marketing sessions geared specifically towards international education and a conference like this has never been done before (to my knowledge). They had an amazing lineup of speakers that geared their presentations towards our field even though they could have easily done otherwise. We had the opportunity to listen to people from Moz, Google, Facebook, and Optimizely among others.
This was the first year for a conference such as this and was a trial run of sorts. I would have to say it was a huge success. I have so many new ideas that I will never have time to implement them all. I talked to several other attendees who felt the same way.
Some of the highlights were the in-depth discussions on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), A/B testing of everything from website pages to newsletters, as well as Facebook tips for pages and groups. I must say that I rarely take notes at conferences other than a few lines from meetings or sessions but, from these two days I took almost 10 pages of notes and ideas. That is how good the material was and how stimulating.
This event was very reasonable priced, much more so than any other social media, technology or even international education conference out there. They even offered an optional wine tasting pre-conference outing which was a nice relaxing way to transition between NAFSA and IPMC. It was also not a sales pitch conference even though there were a lot of great service-oriented companies. All attendees did get a virtual good bag with discounts and free trials at the end of the conference but, at no point did any of the presenters or sponsors try and push their products/services on you. You were free to learn and generate your own ideas.
A couple of notes, if I may. I wish that the conference had focused a little more on institutional offices. It was pretty heavily focused on program providers. That is fine since many of the ideas can work but, most institutional offices do not have the full time staff that are dedicated to social media and web marketing as providers, which make some of the ideas out of the reach of institutional offices. College and university international education staff can generally only make social media and web marketing a small portion of their overall job.
However, these are minor critiques for such a great experience. I would highly recommend attending this next year since they plan on offering it again. It will be interesting to see what topics will be covered at the next event. Thanks again to GoOverseas for putting on a great event and I can't wait to see what next year holds.
Mandy Reinig is the Founder and Owner of Mandy's Mashups. This company works to educate the international travel community on effective social media use. Mandy also enjoys traveling the world and sharing her travel experiences and her use of social media while traveling with others.
I am super excited to have the opportunity to attend the upcoming International Programs Marketing Conference (IPMC) which is being hosted by GoOverseas just days after the NAFSA Annual Conference in Berkeley, CA. They have an amazing schedule and excellent speakers lined up. In order to give you a better understanding of what this conference is going to be about I decided to go right to the source. Here is an interview with Mitch Gordon, CEO of GoOverseas. There are still a few spots remaining and I highly encourage you to consider attending this awesome and extremely inexpensive event.
1. What does GoOverseas do?
Go Overseas is the Yelp/Trip Advisor for programs abroad. We’re a community site for students, and others searching for a great program abroad. We have two main missions that we’re equally passionate about: 1) To help students and travelers make more educated and informed decisions when choosing a program abroad. 2) To encourage more students to study abroad. I think many students are still too intimidated to study abroad. We want them to use Go Overseas and say, “Yes, I can study abroad. If all of these other people can do it, I can too!” We want to help people get over that decision hump and actually make the decision to study abroad. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but I feel incredibly passionate about my belief that study abroad changes lives. I still think it should be a degree requirement!
Many focus on the review component of Go Overseas. We look at reviews as just a part of what we do. Our primary goal is to promote study abroad in all forms: Through great articles, alumni interviews, interviews with study abroad staff & advisors and through alumni reviews. We welcome anyone and everyone to join us in this mission!
2. How did you come up with the idea for IMPC?
Our partners were increasingly looking at us as experts and asking us to help them with all different types of marketing decisions: How to structure their website, content development, Google Analytics, A/B testing, lead tracking, etc. We thought, “Why don’t we create a conference where we can help everyone learn all at once!” More than anything else, we created the IPMC Conference as a service to our partners and the study abroad community in general. As you can see from the pricing, we’re not making money on this Conference. We’re doing it to help.
We also wanted to help organizations make more informed decisions when it comes to the ROI of their marketing dollars. There are companies that are still selling banner ads, linked listings, top of page rankings, etc. Other fields haven’t been selling advertising in that format since the early 2000s. It still happens in Study Abroad, which I think is unfortunate. We’re in a field where marketing budgets are relatively limited. Our goal is to help these organizations make better decisions with their limited marketing dollars.
3. Who should attend this conference?
Two type of people should attend the IPMC: 1) Leaders of Study Abroad & Intl Ed organizations. 2) Marketing departments. From the agenda, you can see that we’re focused on some very cutting edge topics. These skills will help marketing folks grow in their jobs, starting from the day after the conference. Leaders & executives should attend because it’s important to understand online marketing these days. Millennials make more and more of their decisions online. Students, after all, are 100% millennial. It’s important to understand how millenials think and what motivates their decision making process.
4. What are some of the highlights people can look forward to if they attend IMPC?
I’m looking forward to a lot of the speakers. Our keynote speaker, Kyle Rush, ran the online fundraising campaign for Obama, raising nearly $1B dollars. I’m incredibly excited about his talk and we’re really lucky to have him. I think attendees are going to find Kyle extremely compelling and interesting. Another highlight will be the 1-on-1 meetings. All attendees will have at least one 1-on-1 meeting with one of the speakers. This will give them the opportunity to sit down with someone at Google, MOZ, Facebook, etc. and learn directly from them.
5. How were you able to get such great speakers?
We’re lucky that we’re based in San Francisco. As a result, our network includes people at companies speaking at our Conference (Google, Facebook, Hubspot, MOZ, Optimizely, Salesforce). We worked these connections to help make the workshops and sessions as useful as possible for attendees!
6. What do you hope people will people take away from this conference?
We want the IPMC Conference to be the most workshop-oriented Conference you’ve ever attended. We’re focused on making it extremely tangible and interactive. Our goal is for attendees to learn in a very hands-on way. We want attendees to be engaged, with their laptops open, actively learning.
Mandy, I know you’ll let us know how we did when the conference is over!
Mitch Gordon, CEO, GoOverseas, @MitchGordonGo
I have come to realize that there are still many people out there that don't know how to schedule Facebook posts. This is an important tool to have at your disposal. It allows you to schedule a large number of posts so you don't have to be constantly tied to your phone or computer and your posts will automatically post even when you are on vacation.
Here is a step by step guide on how to schedule Facebook posts.
1. Create your Facebook post. Once you have completed your post click the click on the left hand side.
2. Select the day and time you would like your post to appear.
3. Finally, click the Schedule button and your post will appear in your Activity Log and will automatically post at the given time.
The job market in the 21st century has evolved to become a very competitive field. It requires that all graduates become very aggressive so as to land the lucrative job that they so desire. This requires one to network. This network has to include a wide variety of individuals from friends to family to acquaintances. The advent of social media has led to the evolution of job hunting for most graduates and other unemployed individuals through new and innovative means. Through social media, it is possible to land a lucrative job in a prestigious or even upcoming company. This post will highlight important tips that may help one utilize social media to search for a job.
1. Develop a Professional Presence
According to HR managers at SolidEssay.com, which is a college paper writing service, in order for one to look for a job online using social media, it is important that they create a professional outlook. This is vital towards influencing the kind of impression that a prospective employer has. This can be achieved by googling one’s name. The results will depict one’s outlook to a prospective employer. Depending on the results, one can alter the undesired parts and create a professional profile online. One can then go ahead to set up a profile on all the major social media sites such as LinkedIn. Furthermore, one can enhance the information that is available to the public on Facebook, Twitter ad Google+. All these are essential in putting forth a professional persona.
This is currently the largest social media site that is dedicated to the creation of a professional profile for career minded individuals. Irrespective of one’s career choice, LinkedIn is the most potent social media site where one can create a useful and effective network that will serve their career needs. Most, if not all, CEOs, Corporate Managers and recruitment agencies have a profile on LinkedIn. This serves as a good place to start for the creation of a good network.
3. Online Communities
There exist numerous online communities that are predominantly geared towards connecting employees to prospective employers. By joining these online communities, one can increase their chances of coming across a lucrative job opening in one of the hiring companies. These online communities can be in the form of Facebook fan pages for non-profit organisations, LinkedIn Groups for one’s university or a listserv for an industry’s association. Even though most choose to ignore these online communities, one can find a lucrative job opening by simply commenting on the discussions within these communities.
Twitter is undoubtedly the most used social media site in the world. It has become an important tool for most recruiting departments owing to the fact that it is cheap and readily accepted by the market. As such, most recruiting departments tweet about their job openings. In order for one to be strategically placed to find these job openings, they ought to follow these corporate organisations on Twitter so as to keep updated on the latest opportunities in that area available within the companies. However, this is not sufficient. It is important that one is actively involved in responding or tweeting to some of the discussions that they post on Twitter. This helps one build a rapport with the company as an active follower of their work.
Blogs are also an effective way to utilize social media. One can create a blog about one’s career interests, progress, educational background and even their general life philosophy. This link can then be posted on each of their social media profiles, such as on Facebook and LinkedIn. This blog will allow for any potential employer to gain a general outlook on what one is all about. It is essential that this blog be kept purely professional.
In conclusion, social media can be a very effective tool in a job hunt. It creates one’s profile online, exposing all the critical information to all the prospective employers. In order for one to effectively use social media, they need to develop a professional presence online, join LinkedIn and Twitter, create and effectively use a blog. If a graduate seeking employment utilizes the five listed strategies, then they will not only increase their chances of coming across a job listing, but they will also improve their marketability in a very competitive and relentless job market that requires one to be aggressive.
Ben is a freelance writer and blogger featuring new trends and sharing tips related to education and careers. In one of his recent articles he shares helpful tips on how to write a personal statement for graduate school.
One of the many interesting things I have noticed here in Ecuador is that many people exist without Smartphones. Most of the people I see have extremely simple, non QWERTY phones. They have what we, in the social media world, would refer to as “old school phones”.
What is also pretty amazing is that they seem pretty content with having these phones. You don’t see ad after ad on television or on billboards for the latest device or gadget either. This is not to say that some people don’t have Smartphones. I do see people with Smartphones. Many of them are business people. Most of the students I see on campus are using the simpler devices. They do have their laptops and their Ipods but use much simpler phones. Also, most phone plans are pay as you go and you add credit to your phone as you need it. I haven’t really seen many ads or even notices for monthly plans. I am sure they exist in some capacity but I haven’t seen them.
The point of describing all of this is to ask the question – Could you live in a world without your Smartphone? Could you go back to using a basic phone where you had to hit the 7 key four times to type an “S”? What would the social media world look like if we all still had these “old school devices”?
I personally think that social media would still exist if we didn’t have our Smartphones. However, I don’t think we would have some of the obsessive behavior we have now with social media. Smartphones make it possible for people to check their accounts every two seconds if they want. If you didn’t have a Smartphone, you would have to wait until you got from point A to point B before you checked your accounts and thus the constant need to check one's social media channels might not exist.
Additionally, some social media channels, such as those that require people to “check-in” from the location they are at may not exist if people didn’t have Smartphones. There wouldn’t be a way to do this, or at least do this as easily as they can now. The entire mobile app world would be obsolete as well or at the very least extremely small and certainly not the revenue generating stream it is now.
Are there other ways you can imagine your life would be affected without the use of a Smartphone? Would your job productivity be decreased or maybe even increased in some cases? Would your family life change without a Smartphone in your life; would you be more engaged?
How can you see the world of international education being changed without the use of Smartphones? Would your students be more engaged abroad? Would you and/or your program need to do less "policing" of students and their use of social media? What are your thoughts?
Please enter your comments below and let me know your thoughts on a life without a Smartphone!
P.S. I can tell you that after a week of experiencing this “old school device” that it takes forever to type a message and I get extremely frustrated in even writing the simplest messages. I will even admit to resorting back to the old text speak – b = be, 4 = for, etc.
I am currently on my yearly vacation and one of the prerequisites of my vacation is that it has to be outside of the U.S. so it makes it harder for me to have access to my email, Smartphone, computer, etc. However, one of the hardest parts for me is the first few days of social media detox that happens. Usually I still have some sort of access to wifi or internet in some capacity but, not this time so I have had to truly detox on this vacation.
Detoxing from social media is much harder than it looks. You don’t realize how truly addicted and attached you are to checking your email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. every few hours, every hour, every few minutes, etc. I even had a huge moment of panic when my homestay mother told me she didn’t have wifi or internet at all and the closest internet for me is at the university or at the center I am doing my program through. Both of which are quite a walk away and not something I can instantly access. This has literally meant I cannot be constantly connected to all my channels 24/7.
This is part of the reason I take vacations such as this is to detox from all of these things but it is not easy. I almost feel like I have to stand up and say, “Hello, my name is Mandy, and I am addicted to social media!”. At the end of the two weeks of my vacation I know the fact that I can’t instantly text someone or check my Facebook page will no longer bother me and I will wonder why it is bothering me now but for now it is a weird feeling of panic that has settled in my stomach that I am missing out on something by not being connected. Do you ever get this feeling? How do you combat it? Do you ever have to completely disconnect for an extended period to be able to reconnect later on?
The reason I do this is two-fold. One reason is that I am doing this so I prevent burnout later on. If I am constantly on these channels and never give myself a break I will burnout and will not be able to come up with fresh ideas and concepts as well as will get frustrated with the platforms and wonder why I am on them in the first place. The second reason is I think that everyone needs to be able to remember what it is like to connect with people without social media and remember how to use every day social skills that can tend to be forgotten when you are constantly on social media channels. You also remember how to look straight ahead when walking too.
This detox is a necessity for me to be able to continue to do my job as well as stay connected as a person. I have been at the point where I don’t want to connect with people and I just can’t stand another minute of connecting with people and that was because I didn’t take the time away from connecting with my everyday group of people to connect with a new and different group of people on a different level which allows me to come back and be recharged and revitalized. I know this sounds a little confusing but it really does work. It is basically stepping back and doing something different to remember why you do what you do.
So I am stepping back from my constant (almost 24/7) social media use to remind myself why I use social media and to also remind myself that I can exist without social media. Basically I don’t exist because social media does, which is an extremely important lesson to learn.
Have you done a social media detox? What were your results? Please comment on what your detox was like below!
P.S. I am really missing my GPS capable Smartphone. I only got lost three times today so I guess that is a good day!!
When I was in school, checking my Facebook page (or MySpace when it was cool) would easily get you detention. In fact, I’m pretty sure the site was blocked on school computers. Recently, however, I thought since technology and social media communication permeates the modern world, why is it not part of the education system? Although most social media sites were created primarily for personal communication, now we are seeing how they can be assets in the professional sphere. In my opinion, students should be learning how to manage these sites responsibly and use them to their advantage.
I asked my younger sisters who are in high school and middle school if they had updated the computer class curriculum since I had been there, and I was shocked to learn they are still spending the class period learning to type!
Kids these days are basically born knowing how to type and manage electronic devices so why are we wasting time teaching them how to type? With all the instant messaging, texting, and computer usage by children and young adults, they are probably typing more wpm than their teachers.
That being said, it’s about time Facebook is introduced to the classroom because it can greatly benefit the younger generation to learn how to use social media sites correctly and in a way that can potentially enhance their future professional lives. One of the reasons social media sites are so shunned in school is because of the trouble kids find themselves in by misusing them – bullying, jealousy, illegal activities, etc. can all be attributed to irresponsible posts made by individuals. If children were taught social media etiquette from the beginning, and informed of the potential consequences of abusing Facebook, I think a lot of the stigma of social media could be erased.
Also, with computer technology being such a vital part of the workplace, I think students should learn more in-depth computer skills than typing. If students learned basic programming skills and how to operate more advanced programs than Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, we would be seeing incredible technological advances in our society.
If I were to re-write computer classroom curriculum, this is what I, Kimberly, would include:
1. Classroom blog (All students would take turns posting. This can enhance those typing skills while also including creative writing, social interaction, and expanded knowledge on a certain topic)
2. Social media etiquette
- Privacy settings
- How to present yourself in a positive manner (none of those self-pictures in your bathroom mirror of you making a duck face while giving a peace sign)
- Social media in professional setting (FB business page, marketing, etc.)
3. Basic computer programming (It is such a needed skill now! Imagine if it became second nature for the young generation)
4. Website construction (Using a basic site like Word Press or Google sites, students can make their own personal site or be creative by making a site for an imaginary business)
I have no background in education, so I have no idea how this would actually play out, but I think technology education needs a kick in the pants in some schools!
Does anyone know of schools that are taking this initiative to amp up computer classes? What else would you include in these classes?
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 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!
If you are interested in being a guest blogger please email me at email@example.com.
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 form!
This blog is all about social media. I hope to offer tips, tricks, advice and more on using social media within international education and international travel.