The demand for social media experts is quickly increasing for organizations, locally and globally. The Brian Lamb School of Communication (Lamb School) is no exception. In 2013 during Marifran Mattson’s first semester as Interim Head of the Lamb School, Mattson immediately recognized the need to improve the Lamb School’s social media presence, identifying social media as a necessary communication outlet. “Social media is an effective way to reach all of the Lamb School’s target audiences including students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and prospective students,” Mattson said. As a result, Mattson, along with the Lamb School Leadership Team, created a Social Media Coordinator position.
Shortly after, Leslie Morehouse was appointed Social Media Coordinator for the Lamb School. Below, Morehouse shares details about her position for the Lamb School and gives advice for those pursuing a social media career path.
Tell us about your background.
Actually, I am an alumna of the Brian Lamb School of Communication, so my life has really come full circle. I graduated with a degree in General Communication, but I was interested in a career in public relations. I am originally from Milwaukee and moved back there after graduation to work at a classic rock radio station doing promotions.
How did you get to where you are today?
Honestly, I’ve been jumping around a lot since I graduated in 2010, but all of my jobs have been involved in public relations. I tried hard to gain a lot of experience with different organizations and get a good idea of what I was passionate about. My last position was working as a consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as a public relations assistant. I was responsible for their website content and really enjoyed it.
What are your job responsibilities as Social Media Coordinator?
For the Lamb School, I create content and manage all of the social media sites. I attend campus events, host meet-and-greets with visiting alumni and take a lot of photos. I also edit this publication, The Communicator. Additionally, I write the script for Lamb School Noticings, our bi-weekly video news program.
What type of content do you cover?
Which social media platforms are used? Everything! Events, call-outs, awards, student achievements, alumni updates and so much more. I use Facebook and Twitter daily and add updates two or three times throughout the day. We also use LinkedIn, Google+, Vine and Instagram. Each platform has a distinct audience and it’s important to reach out to each one with a different voice and objective.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
I really love when I post an accomplishment of one of our students or faculty members, and people really respond to it and share their congratulations. Being able to bring attention to someone’s success is a lot of fun.
What are the benefits of social media for a company or organization?
There are so many. Social media, at its core, is a communication channel like an email or text. Every customer interaction you have on social media is an opportunity to develop a relationship with your patrons.
What advice do you have for undergraduate students interested in pursuing social media oriented careers?
I think social media is an element in every marketing or public relations job today, but it is so much more than being great on Instagram or active on Twitter. You have to be able to understand data and promotional strategies and write for your audience. You cannot be afraid to fail, the only way to know if something works is to try it, and it may bomb. You cannot be afraid of that! Be prepared for people who have big opinions on the way you are marketing the organization. Listen to what they have to say. You don’t have to use it, but if you do, make sure it coincides with the message of your social media campaign.
Interview by Courtney Smith