by Elicia Gibson
I had the privilege to interview Ms. Larrissa Keiser, the Marketing Director for Ohio University Campus Recreation. Ms. Keiser and her small team, comprised mostly of students, run most of the media for Campus Recreation. They combine all nine Campus Recreation divisions, such as Ping Center, Bird Arena, and the Aquatics Center, into one social media presence. Campus Recreation is her passion and something she liked sharing with people around her. Upon interviewing Ms. Keiser, I quickly noticed how knowledgeable about social media she was. EG will stand for the interviewer, myself, and LK stands for the interviewee, Ms. Keiser.
EG: Why do you think social media is important to building consumer engagement?
LK: Today, it’s our main form of communication. Social media is critical to consumer engagement, because it’s how we get feedback and assessments on what we’re doing right/wrong, consumer perceptions, and behavioral trends. It’s how we learn our consumers expectations, likes and dislikes, and how we can grow our brand and business. It’s also “free” advertising. If you’re gaining engagement, you’re gaining promotion. Word of mouth has always been a major part of doing business, now it’s just on a much larger, digital scale.
Consumers may not always realize that there are platforms and programs that allow us to seek out those who show interest related to our brand and allow us to connect or seek them out. We can receive information and feedback without directly asking for it. Today, people get just as excited (or upset) about a shout out or retweet on social media as they use to get about a celebrity autograph. Our operation is small enough that it allows us to reach out to individuals and connect them to our business, this in turn increasing engagement.
EG: What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?
LK: It varies. I read a lot of articles and research peer institutions. I have in interest in recreation and sports, so I follow various institutions or athletic teams to see what they’re doing. Another major component is working with my staff to talk about industry trends. Our students on campus are both our target audience and employees, so it’s very beneficial to talk with them and see how they get their information as well as their likes and dislikes. For example, a student put together a list of Snapchat accounts that she felt would be most relatable and had attainable campaigns for Campus Rec. The accounts ranged from Universities and Colleges, to talk show hosts, and retail companies. It gave us new perspectives and ideas on how to reach and interact with our consumers.
EG: What issues do you face when using social media to promote Campus Recreation?
LK: Students are so inundated with friends, businesses and organizations on social media trying to pull their attention, that I feel they become indifferent and begin to dismiss the message or information we’re dispersing to them. You have to continue to be creative in your message and delivery. Balancing obnoxiousness and engagement can be a delicate. We want our drive our consumers to interact with our physical business, and we want them to be excited about our programs, but we don’t want to be a nuisance. We want to give them just enough to be interested. Also, the sheer number of social media outlets becomes hectic. We have limited resources and staffing to run our social media accounts, so trying to keep all of our social media outlets up to date and constant can be a challenge.
EG: How often do you update/use social media as a business and why?
LK: We use social media often because that’s the quickest connection to our students. We update out twitter accounts several times a day and Facebook once a day or several times a week. Some of our other platforms are more sporadic, depending on an event or campaign. From our main campus recreation accounts, we feel it’s important to assist all programs and facilities in supporting students and informing them about different events and activities, so we feel it’s important to update often. However, I stress to our sub-accounts that if they don’t update regularly and often, they become irreverent and an unreliable source of information.
EG: Which is your most popular social media outlet and why do you think that is?
LK: We currently use Twitter as our main social media outlet. We’ve used this the most, because this is where we’ve had our biggest following and engagement. Much of our student population uses it, so we have to go to our students. Twitter also links to Vine and shows the video in the body of the tweet, much like Instagram use to do, so it’s like doubling on our social media outlets in one locations. We hit two audiences with one post.
EG: What is one piece of advice you would give to a budding social media specialist?
LK: Follow a social media account outside of the industry you have interest in, it’s always interesting to have a different perspective. Be eager to learn and try new things. The life span of a tweet or post is so short that you can take risks and try something new. With that said—it’s also usually there forever, so be cautious of the way and tone in which you deliver a message. If you represent an organization or company, and say something that can be misconstrued, it can quickly be re-tweeted and screenshot, and stay on the internet forever. We hear about this in the media all too often.
On the flipside, learn to detach. Today, social media can become so consuming that we forget a world exists beyond the screen of our phone or laptop. Figure out your personal values and recognize if and when they require you to disconnect.
From talking to Ms. Keiser, it’s clear to see that social media is a big part of a Marketing Director’s job. It connects a company with the customers in an easy way that is more personal than other means of communication. She also shows how important it is to keep up with your social media. Your customers have needs everyday that need to be addressed as soon as possible, and social media can be used to address those needs. Social media is becoming a huge part of every company’s operations and Ohio University’s is in good hands with Ms. Keiser.