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 social media management
Comments Deleted: Social Media Commenting Policy

Even when facing extreme criticism, blocking users and deleting comments is seldom a good idea. More often than not, it’s counter-productive. Criticism is par for the course when it comes to social media, but there are some cases such as spam and abuse where deletion and blocking are important tools to a social media manager. It is still to be decided what limitations public institutions have when blocking followers on social media accounts and the debate will probably continue for some time.

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Defending Mr. Peanut

Recently Vice News published an article entitled “I Was Banned From Twitter for Threatening to Kill Mr. Peanut. In it, the author, fledgling Chicago comedian Luke Taylor, details his experience in “systematically harassing the peanut man for about four months.” This harassment included death threats such as “I want a bullet in your brain” and “I will fly anywhere in the world to kill you. Just name the place.” Taylor claims that this was all in the name of online performance art and that he only attacked the “character of Mr. Peanut, never the corporation or the human beings behind the account.”

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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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.

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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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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?

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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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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. 

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Farewell YikYak: The Devil You Know

I first heard about YikYak from the very social media saavy university police department when I was working at the University of Central Arkansas. Since then, it became a part of my daily tasks to check into YikYak for possible threats and other issues that might occur on campus. I cringed every time I opened it, knowing that I was about to read some pretty vile stuff. So when I heard last week that the anonymous location based social network so popular on college campuses was going away for good, I was surprised to find myself a bit sad to see it go. Despite all that was horrible about it, it did have its advantages.

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Instagram Stories Deserve Their Own Content.

When Instagram released their “Stories” feature there was quite an uproar of thievery followed by a sigh of praise. Yes, Instagram totally ripped off Snapchat, but they also made it their own and made it better.

For social media marketers, it can be frustrating when a new feature like this is released. It’s another thing you have to create content for in order to stay competitive. You can hardly blame social media marketers when they simply choose to import their Snapchat story over to Instagram and have two identical stories in two different social networks. After all, a lot of your Instagram audience doesn’t follow you on Snapchat. Right?

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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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