Getting Social: A Case Study on Social Media Professionals

This case study follows social media professionals and amateurs: Nichole Seguin, associate community manager of Leo Burnett; Melissa Tilley, president of the Oakland University (OU) social media Street Team; Colleen Campbell, digital public relations manager for (OU).

As of 2016, around 2.3 billion people are active social media users. With this large margin of the population actively using social media, it is a growing trend for businesses and organizations to use social media to gain attention and traffic on their sites.

Some sites survive by being funny, some put important information in their tweets and posts, and others just have loyal fan followings. It is the duty of the social media professional to monitor traffic and to analyze trends with what gains followers and attention and what doesn’t.

Nichole Seguin

An OU grad, Nichole Seguin is in charge of posting on all social media platforms for Leo Burnett, a Detroit ad agency and engaging with their audience.

“I spend a lot of time working with agency partners and our clients creating, planning, and executing our social strategy, whether that’s by creating an analytics report, developing real-time content for a trending hashtag, strategizing how to best optimize our content, or working in advance to develop social ideas for on-site activations,” says Seguin.

According to Seguin, one of the hardest parts of social media is how fast-paced it is and how much it changes–but she and her company stay in communication with representatives at Facebook and Twitter to stay current with the sites.

Because Leo Burnett is focused on the auto industry, it is extremely important for the advertising of the vehicles to connect with the audience; 87 percent of of consumers heavily research for their upcoming car purchase, so advertising is imperative.

Seguin says that the most effective way for their company to create traffic on the site is by “posting quality content consistently…also, by creating a two-way conversation by engaging with our fans.”

Melissa Tilley

President of the street team, Melissa Tilley on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at OU.
President of the street team, Melissa Tilley on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at OU.

Melissa Tilley is a student at OU, an intern for university communications and marketing, and the president of the social media street team at OU and her work in social media primarily focuses on snapchat. Tilley thinks that the special thing about Snapchat is that it is easy for students to understand and it makes it easier to connect with the students.

“It’s a really easy and basically free way to connect with the students that are already using it,” says Tilley about Snapchat.

Snapchat has grown in video view count–7 billion views per day, in close competition with Facebook–meaning it is being heavily used and should be considered by most organizations. Tilley says that although you are not able to completely know the analytics of who you are reaching on Snapchat, you can interact in real time with the audiences you are reaching and that is what Snapchat is best for.

“I definitely think that I will work on [social media] in some capacity,” says Tilley, who plans on pursuing content marketing after graduation; social media is a large part of that, so it is likely that in a content marketing career, Tilley would be working in social media in some way.

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Colleen Campbell, Melissa Tilley, and the social media street team pulled an April Fool’s Day 2016 prank through social media–many students fell for it.

Colleen Campbell

All of the social media that occurs for OU is monitored and managed by Colleen Campbell–this includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.

On a day to day basis in her job, Campbell monitors OU specific conversations happening online and works with the departments on campus to ensure that social media is being utilized for their events.  Campbell also works with Melissa Tilley and the OU street team on larger social media events. Keeping up with the constantly morphing field of social media can be a challenge for a social media professional.

“There’s a lot of challenging aspects of social media particularly just keeping up with trends…staying current, there’s a new social media app every day. The demographics change from day to day and who’s on what and what people like to see and what works what doesn’t,” says Campbell.

Campbell says that she thinks as social media grows to more audience, the profession is also growing and becoming more of a recognized profession.

Social Media

“You can potentially reach millions of people through social media essentially unpaid,” says Colleen Campbell about the benefits of marketing through social media.

Social media is an important and generally inexpensive way to reach a large audience, this is why is so important to hire professionals to monitor it.

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In doing two surveys, one on Twitter reaching mostly college and high school age people and the other on Survey Monkey reaching a larger demographic, I noticed some trends in social media. Most people followed none to a few professional accounts on Twitter and mostly no professional accounts on Snapchat; as these sites expand and evolve the ratio of people following professional sites with also expand. Twitter is constantly growing so professional social media accounts are bound to grow as well.

Twitter and other social media accounts can be used to promote websites, articles, events, and other aspects of businesses and organizations and it is up to the social media professionals to monitor and advocate for these things on the sites.

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