By Erica Stonehill, PR Intern at the Ohio University Division of Student Affairs
Managing the social media accounts of a university division can be intimidating at times. Not only am I representing Ohio University through each tweet I program or photo I upload to Instagram, but there are at the very least 3,600 people seeing those posts. That leaves a lot of room for error and even more room for criticism. But a large audience is what every aspiring social media manager dreams of, so I welcome each challenge my position brings because the reward is often much larger.
I have been the public relations intern for the Ohio University Division of Student Affairs (DOSA) since August. In this role I manage the division’s Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. My main tasks are to create and program content, track analytics and monitor the activity of other university accounts. Coming into this position I had essentially no experience in analytics, but it has quickly become one of my favorite parts of the job. There is something very satisfying in seeing how many people clicked on a tweet or how many people beyond your own following saw a specific post.
I use a combination of programs to track the division’s analytics. For Facebook and Twitter, I primarily use Hootsuite analytics; but recently both of these platforms have developed their own tracking software. Now, you can track your personal content directly from your account which is pretty impressive. Instagram, however, doesn’t have a specific way to track posts. I had to experiment when I first took over the position in order to find what would work best for us. There are a variety of different programs, some of which may work better for different people or purposes. I have found that Iconosquare is easy to navigate and very visual. Often times you will be presenting these analytic reports to clients or supervisors that don’t work with or understand social media as well as you do. In these cases, people are very drawn to visuals. Iconosquare provides colorful graphs and snapshots for the different statistics, as well as engagement optimization tools. Not to mention it’s a free service!
In addition to these everyday tasks I am required to execute, I am also given the opportunity to brainstorm creatively and propose campaigns or contests to implement on our platforms. For example, throughout the week of Homecoming, DOSA highlighted an OHIO alumnus from within the division on both our Instagram and Facebook each day. I collaborated with our photographer, and we posted a photo, as well as a memory or story from each person’s time at OU. We called this campaign Bobcats of Athens. Our goal was to gain more followers and engagement on Instagram because our account was only launched last year, therefore it had the smallest following of our platforms.
The campaign ran for six days, and in that time we gained 38 followers on Instagram and 57 likes on Facebook. As a whole, the campaign received 985 likes on Facebook and 155 likes on Instagram. In total, Bobcats of Athens produced 43,161 impressions over both platforms. This is an example of why I enjoy tracking analytics. It was, and still is, incredible to see those numbers and know that I crafted the Bobcats of Athens campaign from scratch and worked with other members of our team to implement it.
Through my internship with DOSA, I am given creative license to brainstorm, collaborate and implement almost anything I can dream up, while also having the opportunity to release that content to a large-scale audience and watch it grow. I’ve been able to teach myself new skills that will ultimately make me more marketable when I begin applying for summer internships and jobs later on in my career. While there are certain restrictions and fears that come with managing the social media accounts of a university division, the benefits are second to none.