Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
September 26, 2012
by Shannon C. Kelly
It's the end of September, and all of us in career services have passed a major milestone: surviving the first month of school. Yet, the academic year is still in its early stages, and we have a lot of work ahead to help thousands of students and alumni with their own career milestones.
We must balance the demands of students on campus and our "other duties as needed." For those of you whose "other duties" include social media management, like myself, this balancing act can only be accomplished with the help of some critical tools.
I'd like to offer a quick refresher on these tools for those of us emerging from September survival mode:
- Social Media Tip #1: Extend HootSuite's effectiveness—HootSuite continues to get better with age and there is one particularly useful update: Hootlet. This tiny button (an owl icon on the toolbar; see first image below) allows you to share a website with a simple click to automatically shorten the link and capture the website title (see second image below). A very handy tool, indeed.
Now, you can auto schedule and let HootSuite pick when your message is sent out to optimize its reach (see third image below). It's possible to adjust the message's time, especially if you want to keep a particular post in line with other messages of the day. I have already found this update to be extremely useful when colleagues send me articles or I come across resources worth sharing on other platforms.
- Social Media Tip #2: Develop a content calendar—If you have more than one social media account to manage, HootSuite can help with the execution and a content calendar can help with strategy. In fact, I would say a content calendar is essential for a solid communication strategy.
You need to plan ahead to engage all your students and alumni on various social media platforms. This is also true when interacting with departments across your institution. Think of major events and programs you have already confirmed, and create themed weeks or months from there.
Creating a content calendar can also help you identify gaps in programming or set dates for those in the development stage, especially if you are not sure where to fit them in during the semester.
Right now is a good time to create a content calendar if you do not have one already in place or to double check the existing calendar to make sure any recently confirmed programs are included. Google Calendar is one of many handy tools to manage a content calendar, and the one I turn to for my own system. It's free, it's online, it can be shared and, best of all, it's color-coded.
Using different colors for different accounts will help you see your social media presence in a whole new way. It provides a bird's-eye view of your programming and their respective promotions through these online tools, all of which have become so vital to our profession.
Our campuses come alive every September; there is an excitement, and sometimes a tangible stress level as a result, in the air. The demands that undergraduates, graduates, and alumni bring this time of year can pose a challenge for career services professionals, especially those who incorporate social media management into their existing duties.
A content calendar and HootSuite, especially the Hootlet extension, are critical tools to ensure all your messages across these platforms are dynamic and on target.
Shannon C. Kelly is an associate director at career services at the University of Pennsylvania. You can follow her on twitter at @shannonckelly or www.socialatedu.com.