Rebecca Stapley, Assistant Director, Multimedia & PR at Nazareth College, is one of the 12 presenters of the 5th Higher Ed Social Media Conference.
In this 4-question interview, Rebecca tells us about managing social media demands, a learning outcome, the role of video in social media strategy and chimes in on Snapchat.
1) How do you manage the demands on your time and focus inherent to social?
The struggle is certainly real for me in this area, but I try to lean on my habits, organizational systems and boundaries. Several things work for me.
- Batch processing email and smaller tasks at specific times of the day.
- Knowing when I do my best thinking/productive work and then blocking that time out on my calendar, shutting my door, closing out unneeded tabs/distractions, so I can get to it. I also make an intentional effort to single task, rather than multi-task and to break things down into really small doable chunks when needed.
- Another practice I have adopted this year is blocking off Friday’s for “non-essential” meeting requests that come outside of our MarComm dept.
I also think that understanding big picture priorities and giving myself permission to re-arrange accordingly has been huge in creating the space I need to be creative and thrive in my job. I’m a huge believer in planning time to be “offline.” It is so refreshing and essential to get away in the mountains with no cell service on the occasional weekend – with plenty of advance notice and a backup, of course.
The way I start my day has a huge impact on my well being and energy. Each morning I rise early and spend some time without my phone to enjoy my coffee, silence, and the company of my ginger cat before diving into the digital flow. My morning rituals help ground me, and I definitely don’t feel as flexible and focused without them!
2) What is the most useful thing for your social media work you’ve learned over the past 12 months?
The most useful thing has been to use Google calendar with my “social media team” of 15 students to share and manage blogging deadlines, events and meeting invitations. I already used google to organize my professional and personal life, but I had an aha moment when I started to use it with my student team. Another thing I love is Trello. It’s a great tool and place to brain dump post/content ideas without losing them in my ever-growing sea of post-its (I seriously need to buy 3M stock at this point). I have seen some amazing examples of Trello being used as a content calendar tool as well. However, I am not there just yet (and welcome any more tips and ideas if you have made it work!)
3) What role does video play in the social media strategy of your school?
Video is an important focus of our social strategy. We are still learning about it and growing it. Social video has a life of its own. Social video is such a departure from the traditional almost documentary-style videos that we’re used to in higher ed. Social video needs to be wicked short, instantly engaging, visually cohesive, captioned and it’s constantly changing! To make it even more tricky, there are video nuances and preferences within the same platform (Instagram stories vs. feed, FB feed vs. Live). Another thing I’ve been emphasizing lately is the practice of uploading raw video files straight to our social platforms rather than via YouTube or Vimeo for better reach and engagement. I think the biggest challenge is communicating to help facilitate the mindshift from video as a whole to video for social media with specific goals, purposes and platforms in mind from the very beginning.
Our most successful video was this move-in day video.
4) Snapchat is still somehow controversial in higher ed. Do you think schools should invest time and resources on this platform?
This is a really interesting topic. Snapchat certainly has a large degree of followers that fit right into our primary audience (hello, high school students!), but at the end of the day it all comes down to results and resources. In our case, we had a brief soiree into Snapchat, but ultimately shut it down in the wake of Instagram stories, and the drain of resources we were feeling for very little impact and results that we were seeing from Snapchat. We decided instead to shift our focus and become an early adopter of Instagram stories and within 6 months of launching IG stories, our Instagram audience had grown by 30%. Not to say that this was the only cause for our growth, but it was definitely a factor. For us, we already had a large instagram presence/audience and were excited to enhance their experience with stories. By shutting down Snapchat, we have been able to focus more of our resources on stories content (even paid ads), takeovers, and exploring new ways to approach vertical video. For us it really came down to resources (time, energy) and being realistic about the scale and scope that we could achieve with each platform and how they aligned with our overall goals.
A day in the life of a higher ed social media pro: Rebecca Stapley
Are you a fan of social media takeovers by students or alums?
Rebecca Stapley took over Higher Ed Experts’ Instagram account for a day on October 31, 2017 as part of the Higher Ed Social Media Conference Speakers Takeovers where your higher ed social media colleagues share a day in their life.
A conference focusing on higher ed social media?
The Higher Ed Social Media Conference is a must-attend event for higher ed social media professionals and teams looking for new ideas and best practices.
Read below what a few of your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Social Media Conference say about the experience.