A University Never Sleeps

A university never sleeps. And that creates nightmares for social media departments.

            When thousands of students have the ability to spend 24 hours a day together, you never know what’s going to happen in a given moment. When you add the ability to share a comment to the world in a split second, that anxiety can elevate for a person in a position in public relations.

            Social media departments are no different.

            On January 16, 2019, the Social Media Association held an event “Social Media Experts Speak: Long Island’s Higher Education Sector” at Five Towns Community College in Dix Hills. After breakfast and mingling, a panelist of social media coordinators and marketers from some of Long Island’s top colleges moderated by SMA member Mindy Wolfle (Vishnick McGovern Milizio LLP/Neptune Marketing LLC) spoke about the challenges and changing world of social media, featuring Sonia Garrido (Stony Brook University), Carley Weinstein (Hofstra University), Brian Wasson (St. Joseph’s College) and Jessica Aiello (Five Towns College).

            One of the areas all four panelists agreed upon is that there’s only so much patrolling one can do, because, at some point, sleep is necessary. From the time one falls asleep until the following morning, there are countless things that can go wrong on a college campus, and there’s no way to avoid that.

            Although it may not be as sizeable , the same could for any business. There is no way of knowing if someone is going to take to the Internet to vent or complain in the middle of the night — or something even worse. There’s only so much patrolling one can do and that’s why it’s important to stay diligent on social media activity during the day. Engaging the audience as often and quickly as possible is an excellent way to make someone feel heard.

            The panelists also offered advice for companies looking to improve social media practice and interaction.

            One of the most important subjects covered is understanding the importance of your market and the medium you are using. For example, you wouldn’t want to post the same exact message on Facebook as Instagram or Twitter, because the social media outlets are often utilized for different reasons.

Facebook, for example, emphasizes videos uploaded directly to Facebook, rather than something posted as a link. Instagram currently has a youthful demographic than Facebook, so it would be good to target a message you think plays better with younger people on Instagram.

The panelists also agreed it is important to post different messages which  cover your entire audience, without overlapping target markets in the same message. For example, it would be difficult to craft a message that plays to both an 18-year-old freshman and a 30-year alumni. So it is better to make two different messages, targeted toward each specific audience.  

            Many of the practices and methods discussed at the event had a higher education slant, while the same goes regardless of your business.

            Clients always appreciate being engaged. They want to feel heard and have the ability to speak their minds. They want to feel like they matter and messages are speaking directly to them. This is true regardless of whether they are prospective customers or potential students.

            Social media is active 24 hours a day and this won’t be changing any time soon. It  is best to learn how to use these platforms to your advantage, and in doing so, make your business both more profitable and personable.

            This way, everybody sleeps better at night.

-Owen O’Brien

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The Social Media Association empowers, informs, and inspires individuals and organizations to maximize the potential of social and digital media.