Social Media Strategist
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Blog

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

Posts tagged casesmc
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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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"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?

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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:

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Stop Using Acronyms and Jargon and Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Confession: I work closely to help market campus programs, but when asked what the acronyms that make up their names stand for, I couldn’t tell you. In addition, higher ed is filled with terms jargon that baffle me…and I have Master’s in English.

And I am a high ed lifer. I’m committed to the field. I haven’t just drunk the Kool-aid of higher ed, I’ve chugged it. So believe me when I tell you that in higher ed, we have a problem with unnecessary acronyms and jargon. Okay, I don’t want to call anyone out specifically. So here are some examples I’ve made up. But, trust me. They aren’t that far off from ones I’ve actually seen.

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Snapchat Doesn’t Care About Your Branding Standards…and That’s Okay.

So, you’ve spent hours creating a Snapchat Geofilter for your school. You’ve made sure it fits all of your branding guidelines, gotten approval from your creative director, maybe even shown it to a few higher-ups at the university who’ve heard that Snapchat is the “in” thing right now. You carefully write up a description, map out your geofence, and holding your breath you submit the filter to Snapchat. A few days later, you get the dreaded rejection email. But no big deal right? Snapchat rejects filters all the time. You’ll make some changes and try again. But then you see it. There’s a new filter on your campus. You didn’t design it…you don’t know who did. The colors are off, the typeface isn’t one of those on your approved list. It’s not a bad filter, it’s just not quite right. How did Snapchat approve this filter but not yours?

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