By Amanda Moline
An important player at OHIO Campus Recreation, Larrissa Keiser serves as the assistant director of marketing and communications. Her innovative efforts across multiple social media platforms launched OHIO Campus Rec as a prominent social media player that strives to serve OHIO students with up-to-date information and relevant health tips.
Q1: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?
If I could give one piece of advice to an aspiring social media professional it would be to really learn to assess any analytic data they are collecting and to be able to transcribe, educate and relate why that data is relevant to anyone in the company. Learn how valuable social media analytical data can be to an entire company—it validates their job as a social media professional, what they do, and also makes them relevant in an industry where social media platforms are changing so quickly. Many people who don’t work with social media don’t realize how easy it is to find what consumers are saying about their brand, their audience demographic and other shared interested all through social media analytical tools.
Another valuable piece of advice I would offer is to learn about generational communication. How new college graduates sends, receives, and obtains information is very different from the generations before them. Don’t assume that because you receive information digitally, that your boss is doing same. Learn to meet people halfway. It sounds simple, but I think communication beyond a computer and phone screen are very important. Learn to network and don’t be afraid to build relationships, it could launch your career in an unexpected direction.
Q2: Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?
For us, and what we do, social media is where we find our patrons and users. I think that social media is used as a direct connection or meeting point into a company, and it’s a very easy way for our user group to engage with us and vice-versa. Social media accounts can deliver a multitude of messages at little to no cost for us. It’s easy to change our messages across platforms based on analytics we’re running related to demographics and interest. Also, you can easily create digital relations connecting your brand to your consumers by engaging in topics they’re interested in. For instance, we use messages that include fit tips, meal prep and ideas, motivational sayings and humor to engage and connect with our users.
Q3: Would you explain some tools that OHIO Campus Recreation uses to plan, implement, or evaluate social media campaigns?
The main tool that OHIO Campus Recreation uses to plan, implement, or evaluate our social media campaigns is Hootsuite. Hootsuite is a free social media management system that allows us to schedule and review content as well as calculate analytic reports. Further, we use Facebook and Twitter analytic tools to directly input data into an Excel sheet that compiles all previous social media analytic data. We’ve also started using Iconosquare and Squarelovin as an analytical tool for Instagram. Iconosquare has a minimal cost, but it tells us what are consumers are engaging with, what other accounts they follow, and which of our posts they like best.
Q4: As an employer, how important are the personal social media accounts of candidates in the hiring process?
If someone applies for a social media position with Campus Recreation, I immediately search for them on social media. I don’t do it to see if they’re active users, I let their past employment, committees, and club accounts dictate that information, but I definitely search for red flags. I’ve looked up applicants before and found photos of them using drugs and talking poorly about our organization—all things that are not reflective of what we’re about and the message we’re trying to send. But I always urge my employees to use caution. Once it’s on the internet, it’s out there for everyone to see, including employers. I feel that I can get a candidate’s knowledge and experience with social media based on pointed questions in the interview. I do believe it’s ok to have personal boundaries with a culture that’s obsessed with sharing everything. I encourage my employees to detach from work, and tell them it’s okay to have a “private life” outside of work—I think that’s why I don’t harp much on having a public personal account.
Q5: What is OHIO Campus Recreation doing on social media to keep up with social media trends?
OHIO Campus Recreation is taking many actions to keep up with the social media trends. For example, we support real-time engagement, mobile functionality, and data-driven decisions. Students and community members reply on Twitter to ask many questions about facilities and programs. Having these alerts set up on our accounts allows our team to respond and engage with the person in a timely manner. In these efforts, we hope to offer the fastest response times. Further, we promote mobile functionality. Acknowledging the fact that students idolize their smartphones, we make sure that our event announcements and updates go out through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. Many college students have all four of these apps on their phone and check them often. Lastly, we base our decisions off of data. This year, we have implemented a monthly social media analytic reporting system. Seeing what worked and what did not, we can take further action to improve upon our future efforts. Having these social media reports guides our marketing plans for years to come based off of proven trends and patterns.
After interviewing Larrissa Keiser, it’s important to note that one can be a social media professional without necessarily posting frequently on personal social media accounts. In addition, just about any brand or company, even a recreation department, can have an effective social media presence as long as they recognize their target audience, use a voice tailored to this audience, and create meaningful content.