Social Media Strategist
8e132f79d305400d8b5f44c59ee34852_15_1600.jpg

Blog

Social Media marketing, strategy and professional development blog for Jon-Stephen Stansel, a social media strategist living in Austin, Texas.

The Case Against Canva

Not too long ago I was at a conference giving a presentation on social media in higher ed. About half an hour before speaking I added a slide my deck that while seeming innocent at the time, caused quite a stir. It was just something that had been on my mind and I didn’t realize how polarizing this slide would be. Half of my audience laughed and applauded and the other half squirmed uneasily in their seats. Tweets were sent with high five emojis. Frowns and whispers of disapproval were heard from the back of the room.

What could possibly cause such a divisive reaction? This phrase:

“Canva isn’t a replacement for a graphic designer.”

Read More
#HESM Pros: Jackie Vetrano

As the founder of the ConnectEDU Network and co-host of the Higher Ed Social Podcast, Jackie Vetrano has established herself as the go-to expert when it comes to podcasting in higher ed. As the Online Marketing and Social Media Manager at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jackie spends her time taking deep dives into what she refers to as “lots of charts, graphs, and data-driven decision making.” She is set to graduate from Georgetown University’s Integrated marketing Communications Master’s of Professional Studies program this summer. We recently asked Jackie about her typical daily workflow.

Read More
More Social Media Gimmicks That You Need to Stop Using

The social media marketing blogs are full of gimmicks promising to increase engagement and grow followers quickly. Most of them are bunk. There are no shortcuts in social media. Nothing can substitute for quality content and genuine engagement. It's time for some real talk. These social media hacks and tricks don't work and are making you look like an amateur. If you are using these shortcuts to create content or generate buzz, it's time to stop.

Read More
Jon-Stephen StanselComment
Connect and Create with Andrew Cassel

When he’s not working behind the scenes for local theatre productions, sampling craft beers, or making GIFs, Andrew Cassel is the social media content strategist behind the University of Alaska Fairbanks’s intensely engaging social media accounts. He approaches his work with an unparalleled enthusiasm that is absolutely contagious. I recently asked him about how he manages his day-to-day work in the world of higher ed social media.

Read More
My #HESM Goals for 2019

I’m a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Correction. I’m a big fan of achievable and specific resolutions. We all know that simply saying “lose weight” or “learn a new language” fail every time. Just ask my wife how long it is taking me to learn Chinese.

Personally, I’ve had much more success with small goals like “learn to parallel park,” “tie a bow tie,” or “make a better grilled cheese sandwich.” In fact, starting to use Twitter on a regular basis was a New Year’s Resolution for me in 2011 and it lead to a career managing social media in higher education. Who knew?

Read More
The GIF That Keeps on Giving

GIFs are the lingua franca of Twitter. They can express complex ideas and emotions that can’t fit into a Tweet, create humor and levity, or add a personal touch to a reply. In higher education, we use them constantly to congratulate students when they’ve just been accepted, share the excitement of the school year starting, or wish students luck on final exams.

However, GIFs are not without their problems.

Read More
The Anatomy of a Terrible Social Media post

As a social media manager working in higher education, I get the same request almost everyday. “Will you put this flyer on the university Facebook page?” Unless the request comes from the president’s suite, the answer is always no. Using promotional materials designed for print in the digital space is just a terrible idea. In addition, these flyers, often made in PowerPoint or Microsoft Publisher, are poorly designed to begin with. If putting up flyers around campus isn’t getting students to your events, putting the same flyers on social media isn’t going to help either. The problem is your content, not the medium.

Read More
Getting Customer Service on Social Media

Having worked as a social media manager for several years, I have handled my fair share of complaints; some reasonable, some ridiculous. For many, social media has become their go-to method for getting customer service and for good reason—it works. However, there are some tricks to getting your complaint resolved faster and with better results. Social media managers are only human, after all and not all complaints are handled equally. So here’s some advice from a social media manager who’s run accounts for several large organizations on how to get the best customer service on social media.

Read More
Snark Isn't A Strategy

You’ve seen the Tweets. You’ve read the blog posts. “You’ll Never Believe What Wendy’s Said on Twitter!” “MoonPies Shuts Down Troll in Savage Twitter Post!” Brands are going snarky on social, posting snappy and sarcastic replies to their critics on social media and attracting some major attention. And as much as I love to see trolls get smacked down, it is time for this trend to stop. This strategy might get attention in the short-term, but as a long-term social media strategy it’s risky and most-likely counterproductive. Here’s why.

Read More
The Global Reason for the Move to 280 Characters

Like most of us, I was upset by the news that Twitter is expanding the 140 character limit to 280. For years, I’ve enjoyed the brevity and cherished the crafting Tweets to have the maximum impact within the 140 character limit.However, looking at Twitter’s reasoning behind this decision, I think this is a great move. This is a decision based on data showing that Twitter users who Tweet in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese Tweet more than those who Tweet in languages that use Roman characters. Essentially, because of the pictograph character base of the written languages of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, these users can convey more information within the character limit.

Read More
"Good Enough for Social Media" Isn't Good Enough

I’ve heard it said a thousand times. “It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough for social.”

This is often said when reviewing sub-par content that has no other place to go. Or maybe it’s said after taking an out of focus photo on the fly at an event before Tweeting it out to thousands of uninterested followers. The sad fact is a lot of people think that there is a low bar for content posted to social media. However, this is far from the truth as social media has matured and the quality of content from brands and media outlets has increased rapidly and dramatically. Blurry cell phone photos and shaky videos no longer cut it.

Social media is the voice of your brand, so why would you settle for anything less than excellent?

Read More
Social Media Shouldn't Be An Entry-Level Position

If I told you that I had a job where I spoke to thousands of people everyday, handled crisis management, customer service, paid advertising, content strategy, and long list of other duties, you’d assume I was pretty high up in my organization, right? You’d ask my title expecting something high-level and when I said social media manager your perception would change. “Oh, I bet you have a lot of fun! Are you just starting with the company?” This is a sad fact of life for many social media managers and something the profession needs to overcome. Social media has matured and with it, so has the position of social media manager. However, it is often seen by most organizations as an entry-level position at best. 

Read More
Six Social Media Marketing Gimmicks That Need to End Now

The social media marketing blogs are full of gimmicks promising to increase engagement and grow followers quickly. Most of them are bunk. There are no shortcuts in social media. Nothing can substitute for quality content and genuine engagement. It's time for some real talk. These social media hacks and tricks don't work and are making you look like an amateur. If you are using these shortcuts to create content or generate buzz, it's time to stop.

Read More
Five Tips for New Social Media Managers

Only other social media managers understand the life of a social media manager. You need a like-minded group that you can talk to, ask questions to, and provide support when the trolls get to be overwhelming. Find other social media managers in your field on Twitter and interact with them. Participate in a Twitter chat, ask questions of those you think are doing well, and give back to the community when you can. I also recommend joining a professional organization and attending conferences when you can. A strong community of support is vital.

Read More
Keeping a Social Media Ace Up Your Sleeve

As much as we try to plan ahead, anything can happen in social media and social media managers need to be ready to post at a moment’s notice. This can range from breaking news, a crisis situation, or a trending hashtag you want to make the most of. In these situations, crafting quality images to accompany the post may not always be easy. It takes skill and preparation to be able to act upon the unexpected. Here are few ways you can keep an ace up your sleeve and be ready with social media ready images whenever the need strikes.

Read More
Required Reading for Social Media Managers

As social media changes and evolves on an almost daily basis, any book written on the topic is destined to be woefully outdated the moment it finally makes it into print. However, some concepts are evergreen and the following books have greatly influenced me and helped me to become a better social media manager. While these are just a few of the books on my social media bookshelf, these are a few that I continually return to. In fact, I've read every book on this list multiple times and picked up something new with each reading.

Read More
Social Media "Guru" is Not a Compliment

Listen, I know you mean it as a compliment and are trying to be nice when you call me a social media “guru.” And while I appreciate the gesture, the terms “guru,” “rock star,” “ninja,” etc are hurtful to my profession; a profession I work very hard at and in which I sometimes struggle to be taken seriously.

Read More
Can You Post This to the Facebook Page?

“Could you please post this flyer to the Facebook page? Thanks.” It’s a request we get almost every day and almost always the answer if “no.” As a social media manager saying no to request like these can be one of the most difficult parts of our job. We want to be helpful and accommodating, but it is also our job to protect the organizations social media accounts and insure that the content posted is of the best quality, reflects well on our organization, and aligns with our social media strategy. Still, it is never easy to say no and it can sometimes result in conflict. From the standpoint of the person making the request, their post is important, needs to be shared, and after all, what’s so hard about posting something to the company’s social media accounts? It’s just Facebook, right?

Read More
What Social Media Superhero are You?

Being a social media manager requires a wide array of skills. You must have focus, understand and absorb a constant stream of information, predict future trends, be on call 24/7, handle crisis situations...basically you have to have super powers. As we gear up for the onslaught of superhero movies the summer blockbuster season would bring, I thought it would be fun to ask, "What social media superhero are you?" Here are a few options:

Read More
Spotting Talent: Social Media Pro or Poser?

There are a lot of folks out claiming to be social media experts and not a lot of them are truly qualified. Simply being on social media does not make one an expert. So when hiring a social media manager, how do you separate the pros from the posers? Having been on several social media hiring committees and being the subject of several interviews myself, here a few questions I find helpful in searching for true social media professionals. 

Read More