The Marketing Club trudged through the rain to meet tonight. Future Oregon State star alums right there! twitter.com/oregonstateuni…
— Oregon State(@oregonstateuniv) November 21, 2012
“So if you get a tweet at 2 a.m., would you respond?”
Colin Huber, social media writer for Oregon State University, took a moment thinking about the question, posed by a member of the OSU Marketing Club.
“Well, yeah,” Huber said, eliciting a few stunned looks from the crowd.
Colin, Kegan Sims, user experience specialist at OSU, and myself, Chris Hagan, communication and storyteller at the College of Business, met with the club at their weekly meeting Nov. 20 to talk about social media, how we approach it in our day-to-day and how we got the position we currently have.
This is going to be a bit different from most of what I post on this blog. Mainly I write about other people but since I took part in this particular story (and it felt a little rude to try and takes notes as a speaker), you’re going to get some first-person summarizing.
The three of us answered questions for almost an hour, and while I’m not sure how much the club got from our rambling, I wanted to throw out a few things that came up a lot.
-We got a few questions about how we keep up with the ever-changing landscape of social media. I always tell people that to really stay on top of trends it can’t be something you do 9-5 and then turn off. It has to be a part of your routine, which is what led to the question to Colin about answering messages at odd times.
Colin runs the twitter and Facebook accounts for OSU, meaning he gets tons of questions about the university, often from high school students interested in coming to OSU. He said while he may not always be checking the accounts (say, if he’s actually asleep) if he comes across a question he’ll take the time to respond in the moment. Little things like that can go a long way to project the kind of caring, responsive identity OSU wants to be known for.
Of course, Kegan jumped in to point out that keeping up doesn’t mean being on every social network, but knowing enough to decide whether or not it fits into your organization’s or even your personal brand development goals. You may not need a Pinterest page, but you need to know enough to say why not.
-We all talked about being careful what you post, on your account but especially any brand accounts you run. Kegan said it’s a lot of pressure, but also a lot of fun having that much riding on each post.
He and Colin mentioned how it can be tempting to respond to people bashing OSU on social media (Colin said football season and Civil War week are hardest), but most of the time its best to just let it go. You’re not going to convince someone like that to love OSU, and you may harm the univeristy’s image by feeding the trolls.
My advice is always imagine everything you post will be seen by your parents and your boss. The Internet has a great memory, and there’s always a way to find that post you thought was private or deleted. Once you put something online, you can never take it back.
-Being flexible was a big key, not only in the daily schedule but what you learn and the opportunities you decide to follow.
Each of us got degrees in different fields, and Kegan was the only one to study marketing as a major. Colin and I both worked at newspapers before moving to marketing, and none of us went through school thinking social media would be our main focus.
Internships were key, introducing us to the right people at the right time (my final internship led directly to my first job, and Kegan interned at OSU). Kegan mentioned we were all lucky to get where we are, which is true, but also true in any job search. A lot is random, but being open to trying new things and meeting new people is key.
Kegan also mentioned how important it is to pick up new skills. Want to work with social media? Well, it’s probably good to know how to shoot photos and videos, at least a little bit (I can say from experience it’s the same thing if you want to work in newspaper or television news).
Overall it was a fun experience. We got great questions and we could tell OSU has a great group of future marketers in this class.