Spotlight for Career Services Professionals, November 16, 2011
by Gary Alan Miller
Many career centers need to address how to best manage their participation in various social media platforms.
If you’re relatively new to social media, you may not realize that tools exist to help you post more effectively and on a timeline that works best for reaching your audience. From expensive enterprise-quality programs to free/”freemium” programs, a social media management system (SMMS) is something you should consider if you’re ready to move out of experimentation mode and into something more formal, measurable, and sustainable.
Social media management tools are in abundance on the web. A simple search will produce a volume of results like “33 Social Media Management Tools” and “List of Social Media Management Systems.” But, it will require some analysis and advance goal setting to determine which tool is the best fit for you.
To get you thinking, here are five sample functions that many of these tools provide:
- Schedule posts/tweets for specific future dates and times
- Post to multiple platforms at once (i.e. Twitter and Facebook simultaneously)
- Monitor mentions of specific keywords, phrases, users, or lists
- Share social media responsibilities across several staff members
- Measure and analyze clicks to posted links
Kevin Grubb, assistant director with Villanova University’s career center, notes that his use of a SMMS has made it much easier to share responsibilities.
“Our social media team of five can each log in to our account and post information or pictures relevant to their area of the office, including student events, employer info sessions, and office happenings,” he says.
Megan Wolleben of Bucknell University states bluntly, “I could not do my job” without a social media management system.
She says the ability to schedule the distribution of content in advance is her favorite feature.
“On days when I'm really motivated and creative, I can plan ahead and feel a little less overwhelmed,” Wolleben continues. “Or if I know a big week of events is coming up, I can just set them up and not worry about it. I like how I can schedule posts to just one of the linked social network profiles, all, or just a few; that way I can use a different voice for Twitter and Facebook.”
Ashley Boney, career center assistant director at American University, says using a SMMS allows her office “to stay connected to students, schools, and other campus groups more easily. If you happen to be a campus group/school that has multiple networks, it's a great consolidation tool as well.”
Each social media management system has unique aspects and quirks. As such, experimenting is your best starting point.
“I’ve heard good things about a variety of platforms, so my suggestion would be to do some browsing and find the one you like the most,” says Dena Ogden from the University of California, Irvine. “I ended up not liking a platform that’s pretty popular and finding one that I think is more intuitive. It’s all about preference.”
Gary Alan Miller is the assistant director for social media and innovation at university career services at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. You can follow him on twitter at @garyalanmiller.