Ohio University Strategic Social Media

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Category: Interviews (page 2 of 4)

Cory Gregory’s Social Media Gainz

By: Riley Carlton


Last summer I had the pleasure of doing a social media and digital marketing internship under Cory Gregory, the co-founder and former executive vice president of MusclePharm. The experience throughout my internship was completely invaluable. To be in a position to learn from the self-made fitness and business professional was unreal.

Cory, who was once a coal miner, ultimately traded in his hard hat in order to pursue his dream in the fitness industry. Along his journey of personal training, body building shows, and power lifting competitions, Cory somehow found the time to become a social media and digital marketing mastermind. Throughout his ventures with MusclePharm, Cory acquired more than 690,000 followers on Twitter, and 200,000 followers on Instagram. He intrigues his followers with his #SquatEveryday training programs and constant motivational content. Besides his unique social media content, it is Cory’s overall approach to social media that has built a loyal following. As much as I tried to be a sponge during my internship to absorb Cory’s knowledge bombs, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to gain more insight on his social media and digital marketing methods.


Picture retrieved from Google Images


Riley Carlton (RC): What originally drew you to social media and digital marketing? Because it seems like you were way ahead of everyone else in the fitness industry.

Cory Gregory (CG): It’s kind of interesting. So there’s a lot of people that have a way bigger following than I do, it we have different intentions. My intentions were all for creating consumer loyalty for the business. So the way I got in to social media is kind of a funny story. I was sitting at this UFC event with Tapout president, Dan “Punkass” Caldwell, and I asked him what is your advice to me as I move forward with MP? He asked if I was on social media, and at the time I was just on Facebook and wasn’t doing much with it. So Punkass says, “Look one thing I did really well was embedded myself in the brand. You’re already gonna be the face of the brand, so I’d get so ridiculously tight to the brand so that you get get the customer no matter what happens within the company.” So I went home that night and signed up for Twitter.

RC: Why do you think social media is important in building consumer engagement?

CG: The concept for me, started with this company called Beverly International. Now they were way before the whole social media thing, but what I loved about them, was I could call down there and they would just answer any questions I had about diet plans or whatever it was. So between them and Bill Phillips, I used to think if Bill Phillips had Twitter when I was your age, and I Tweeted at him with a supplement question and he responded with an answer, but then maybe added a workout I could try, I would Bill Phillip’s supplement for the rest of my life. It’s all about the loyalty you create over time. So ultimately my concept became leading with value before I ever ask the consumer to buy anything.

Twitter literally flew out to have a meeting with my office because we were spending no money with them and all my guys were just killing it. So Twitter was like, “what’s your marketing plan, like how are you guys doing this so successfully?” And my answer was, listen…….They tweet at me and I Tweet them back….

RC: “I’ve been seeing this phrase “brand activation” come up during the launch of your new marketing firm, Activ8. Can you talk a little about the role of social media in brand activation?

CG: So what Activ8 does is, take a business or team or whatever the brand may be, and we tell them exactly what their message to consumers needs to be on social media, advertising, clothing, ect.., or how to utilize their sponsored athletes better. So basically we take the brand, dive in to all of their social media platforms, and then determine what social media plan they should use, what the artwork and design should look like, and then either they can implement these plans, or they can pay us to do it for them. So social media plays a huge part in activating a brand.

RC: So from your experience and recent work with Activ8, how much have you relied on consumer research and data to develop social media plans?

CG: So that’s one of the biggest things we’ve talked about as far as choosing what is the very best platform to reach the consumer. So at MP surprisingly we never ran any analytics. But that was my wheelhouse. Fitness is my hobby, it’s my passion, it was my job. However now with Activ8, the consumer research is essential because we have to determine what is and what isn’t working on their social media. So then after the research, we’ll have a base to measure the progress. We’ll also be using the research to measure their website analytics.

RC: What do you think the most important upcoming trend in social media is?

 CG: So first, my opinion is that Snapchat, which is obviously huge with your age group and just in general will be a big trend for a while. And second, the common denominator for everybody that is a single figure in fitness that makes a lot of money is YouTube. YouTube has basically become a TV network for people. If I could go back and do it all over again, I would’ve started putting myself on YouTube a lot earlier, because that’s the ticket. I can’t see it changing anytime soon.

RC: So I’ll wrap it up with this question here, what advice do you have for an aspiring social media professional?

CG: I would say, and it’s hard to find, but you need to find someone who is already doing social media really well and learn from them. So that, and you have to basically have your own editorial calendar. You need a blog, and you need to run all of your social media like you are your own business. It doesn’t have to be super cheesy, but it’s practice. And then also, check out different brands that you like and seeing how they go about doing social media and just take some notes on it for the future. So you just have to be more intentional about checking out brands and studying outside the classroom because you’ll gain a lot of knowledge in the real world as well.

All in all, this interview with Cory provided me with great insights. The most important insight I gained was the importance of staying engaged with consumers and actually taking the time to respond. The next insight was the trend of video content. Consumers love videos and graphics. The last insight I gained was the importance and benefit of developing your personal brand.

You know the most interesting man from the Dos Equis commericals? Well that’s basically Cory Gregory when it comes to the fitness industry. I highly encourage you to check out his life story, because it’s really something special.

Ohio Auditor’s Social Media: A Public Service

Interview with Carrie Bartunek, Director of Communications for Ohio Auditor Dave Yost

By Lincoln Rinehart

Social media use in politics has been all the buzz lately with the national election, so I decided to take a closer look at how state and local governments take advantage of the digital universe. Carrie Bartunek is the communications director at the Ohio Auditor’s office where she manages several social media accounts for the office and State Auditor Dave Yost. According to the Ohio Auditor’s website Bartunek has a long history working in media, including working on the administration for former Columbus Mayor Dana G. “Buck” Rinehart, serving as spokesperson for the Columbus Division of Police and communications director at Hilliard City School District.

The Auditor’s office currently operates a Facebook page, Twitter page, YouTube channel and Instagram account – all, Bartunek explains, serve different purposes for the office.



Source: twitter.com/carriebartunek


Q: How does the State Auditor’s office utilize social media? What platforms do you use the most?

A: Bartunek stated that the Auditor’s office uses Twitter most frequently to notify citizens of Audits being released or about important events that the Auditor will be attending. They also use Facebook and YouTube for more detailed content, and are considering adopting Periscope for use at conferences and other events.


Q: Why do you think social media is important to build citizen engagement?

A: “Twitter is important for us to reach people because many reporters are using it to pick up stories,” Bartunek said. “In our world we think the most important social media is Twitter.” Bartunek explained that social media (Twitter especially) helps people become aware of auditing as a public service, and also serves as a platform to provide quick and easy access to public records.


Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring social media professionals?

A: “Don’t let any post go without having at least two sets of eyes on it. Also think about the audience for each platform.” Bartunek emphasized the importance of being timely and relevant and reaching the audience at times they are likely to be using social media.


Q: What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?

A: Bartunek said the Auditor’s office social media feeds are usually populated with news media accounts, other government entities and politicians. “Media might break news on something we need to know about or be involved with.”


Q: How do you use the responses you get from citizens on social media (if at all)?

A: “We don’t get too many people responding to our content,” Bartunek said. “Most people come to our pages just for information.”


This interview provides an interesting insight to how government entities may use social media, and how their social media practices differ from those working for a commercial brand. Social media platforms at the Ohio Auditor’s office are used mostly to keep citizens informed and educated about auditing services. Rather than attempting to harbor consumers and hope for increased sales numbers, the State Auditor’s social media profiles offer a public service by allowing quick and easy access to public records.



Tony Caporale: Social Media Creates A Two-Way Conversation

by: Sophia Borghese


Tony Caporale is the founder and CEO of Twinbear, a small social media management agency in Atlanta, Georgia. Caporale’s start to working in social media began when he was the touring & production manager for rock band, Collective Soul. When 2004 came around, social media was limited to MySpace. But MySpace was the perfect way to actually see how Collective Soul fans were reacting to the bands and musicians they were listening too.

Moving forward, Caporale saw that both bands and brands have fans who want to connect with and define what they love. It was 2009 when he realized that he could have the same conversation with food consumers as he did with music listeners, then on Facebook pretty much exclusively. Now, his full-time job is working on platforms for Golden Corral — a restaurant many know, today, as the “Best Buffet in the USA.

Since I am quite passionate about Golden Corral, not just for the food but also the brand, I thought it would be interesting to interview Caporale to learn more about GC social. Here is what he told me:

Sophia Borghese: You mentioned that social media a full time job, how time should a new social media professional expect to spend on their new job?
Tony Caporale: This is hard to answer with a simple amount of time. As there are several roles which could define a social media professional… But if you are assigned to be an accounts manager, which defines most entry level opportunities, you will probably be assigned to cover more than one account. This person should plan on spending a good amount of time in front of a computer screen… The good news? It can be done remotely more and more. So you wouldn’t necessarily be stuck behind a desk all day.
SB: What companies/organizations do are think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?  Why?
TC: There are a lot of great examples out there of companies “doing it right”. Because my company focuses primarily in the food-service industry, we see a variety of strategies. And each could be judged as successful in very different ways. I guess it would be important to define “doing it right”… For me, it means when a company creates great meaningful content that has organic positive performance with a premium falling under “engagement”. When a brand can establish a voice and communicate with it’s customers and online users in a way that builds trust and loyalty, they’re doing it right. Oreos, Little Caesars Pizza, Golden Corral, Taco Bell are a few I would say are in this category.


SB: Can you tell me more about some of GC’s hardcore fans?

TC: Think NASCAR. The true GC fan visits the restaurant more than 70 times per year. They are our mavens. They are our advocates and ambassadors online. When someone says something negative, they fire back highlighting their great experiences. They truly believe that because they’re a fan, the company is grateful and more successful as a result of their loyalty.

SB: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?

TC: I think the most important trend is user generated content. Because everyone has the ability to “produce” content, we will continue to see a rise in what they produce and how businesses will incorporate that in their advertising and social media content. It is important because it’s viewed as authentic.

SB: What’s the best formula for strong social media creative?

TC: Make sure that everything you create is meaningful to someone.

Caporale and I spoke by phone and emailed each other, so I really got to learn a lot about the social media industry. The coolest thing, I’d say, I learned when we spoked was that he believed that Facebook would be last one standing in the end. I personally don’t use Facebook, quite the way I did when I first discovered it. But I cannot wait to see what kinds of things Facebook comes up with to get my generation engaged, once more.


Another thing he told me about social media work, I found was insightful, was that working in this field is not suited for those who just love selfies. It’s really a full-time job, and often times, people take on once platform and spend their whole days working on it. Even though posting takes seconds, “doing it right,” takes up all the time in ones career. You’re not only posting things, you’re running analytics and you’ve gotta be darn creative too. It’s not enough to love Instagram or Facebook, it means having a two-way conversation with your “people (a.k.a. fans)” everyday.

Young Entrepreneur Shama Hyder Gives Us A Look Into Her Genius Mind

By Madison Chelminski

Shama Hyder is the CEO of her own company, a best selling author, and TV and web personality,  all at the age of 30. Shama started company, Zen Marketing Group – an award winning web marketing and digital PR firm, when she was 22 years old. Since then she has spoke on multiple stages, been named the “Zen Master of Marketing” by Entrepreneur Magazine, and has even been honored by the White House and The United Nations as one of the top 100 young entrepreneurs in the country. As you can see, her resume is anything but average. Shama has a 37,000 person following on her Twitter account, and uses it to connect with them daily. When it came to finding someone who was proficient with social media, I felt there was no other option than to interview Shama, considering her successes.

Madison Chelminski (Q1): Why do you think social media is important to build customer engagement?

Shama Hyder- Retrieved from LinkedIn account

Shama Hyder: That’s where the customers are! Customer expectations have changed. They expect a company to be listening when they speak on Twitter, or when they leave a comment on Facebook.

MC (Q2): What do you think is the most upcoming trend in social media? and why is that trend important?

SH: Live streaming. Video is Huge. The closet thing we have to face to face communication!

MC (Q3): What social media platform is most vital for you and your company? Why?

SH: I love Twitter. It was a way of letting people connect almost instantly.

MC (Q4): Have you faced any social media challenges or fails?

SH:The challenge is to stand out in a noisy world.  And, you do have to experiment a bit to get the right tone!

MC (Q5): What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

SH: Always keep learning. This field changes too much not to have a love of learning.

Unfortunately, since Shama is so busying traveling, the interview had to take place via email and was relatively short. I would have loved to sit down with her and pick her brain. She is smart about this industry, and knows how quickly things can change. She knows where the customers are and what they want, hence her “Master of Marketing” title. I am fascinated and inspired that not only is she so successful at 30 years old, but that she is  a woman proving herself in the business world, and she is doing it right.

Advice and Wisdom from OU’s Jennifer Bowie

By: Jacob Paul

Jennifer Bowie is the executive director of development, advancement communication and marketing at Ohio University. Before earning her master’s degree and beginning her career in higher education at Ohio University in 1999, she worked in healthcare Deaconess Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio in the field of healthcare communications. Jennifer is a professor at Ohio University and also a two-time Ohio University graduate, having earned her bachelor’s of science degree in journalism in 1994 and her master’s of science in communication in 1999. 

Portrait of Jennifer Bowie

Jennifer Bowie (photo retrieved from LinkedIn account)

I decided to interview Jennifer after taking her strategic communications writing class and seeing how passionate and knowledgeable she is about the communications industry.

Jacob Paul – What people/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends?

Jennifer Bowie –

I follow a couple specific nonprofit marketing blogs, one of them is called Kivi’s. On Mashable, I follow Reagan’s PR daily. I also follow another PR weekly, but I can’t remember where it comes from. And then I have two email newsletters I subscribe to that have to do with social media and new media and they’re leadership on social media and then leadership and non-profit or something like that, and those come to me about once a week with just different topics about what’s going to be new on twitter and what companies are using that space really well and that sort of thing.

JP – What do you think is the like most important, or one of the most important upcoming trends in social media, and why do you think it’s important?

JB – what we’re finding, what’s the most important to us in the non-profit space is the continuing trend toward engagement, and that it’s not just about people clicking “like”, but it’s about people commenting on your posts and sharing your posts. For example if for Ohio University we had a contest around Valentines Day that was “your ohio love story” so we weren’t just saying “Ohio’s a place where you fell in love,” we invited people to tell “your ohio love story” so there was a reason for them to respond. We’re also finding that the more multimedia the content is, the more likelihood you have of getting that kind of engagement. That’s involved for us more of a move towards video, and even though we were already very heavily weighted in photography, we’re now even more focused on visual content.

JP – I understand you worked with The Promise Lives campaign. Can you describe some ways your organization used social media to promote the campaign?

 JB – We didn’t do a lot of overt social media work around the campaign. We used twitter primarily to share good news and information about the university so, mostly in the twitter space we were sharing our stories as we put them up in compass or on our website about student scholarship recipients or about donors and pushing that story out. We were just consistently trying to keep it top of mind that “hey, we happen to be in a campaign and here’s all these great stories.” We shared essentially what we sort of call “engagement reminders” through twitter and just a little bit through Facebook so our audience there was invited to be part of the campaign. We did so more often as we wound it down in the last year, but we don’t really engage in specific fundraising on social media. What we do is provide information and news just to keep it top of mind, more informational. So we shared video content that was, you know, people saying thank you, and on the front of the campaign we shared some video content that had to do with the different priority areas but not explicit “make a gift now” because in social media, for us so far anyway, it’s not a place where people really want to interact that way.

JP – Do any social media sites stand out as being the most effective for engaging with alumni and building awareness?

For our alumni population in general we have the largest engagement happening on Facebook. In terms of the number of people who like and follow our pages and share our content, we have the greatest engagement there, and some of that has to do with our population and the age of our population and that, more and more of our graduates who are in their 40s or older are engaging there on facebook. But we know that more and more of our grads in our 20s are not, and they’re finding us on Instagram.

JP – What is one of piece of advice you’d give to an aspiring social media professional?

JB – I think what I’ve learned over the last three years in the social media space is that, though it’s true in communication fields in general that you have to stay on top of best practices and trends, that it is even more critical in the social media space. You have to not allow yourself to be distracted by the new shiney thing happening in social but to keep watching your own analytics and your own needs and instincts in the social space and keep an eye on the best practices because they change constantly. The targets seem to always be moving and once we think “oh we’ve got a good handle on this” Facebook changes the algorithm and you’ve got to start all over anyway. So it’s even more essential than in more “traditional” communication fields that you stay informed and on top of not only what you’re doing, but what else is happening in the space.

* * *

Jennifer lead the marketing and communication effort for the $450 million The Promise Lives Campaign and is responsible for all marketing and communication related to fundraising at Ohio University. After interviewing Jennifer, I realized how important it is to stay on top of trends in the social media and communication industries and to learn from as many different sources as possible. I also learned the importance of encouraging conversation and interaction to build engagement and generate good impressions on social media.

Interview: How USTA Twirled Its Way into Social Media with Anna Dolan

By: Kelsey Crowley

Before my time at Ohio University, I was a competitive baton twirler for 13 years for a private team around my hometown. We would travel, not only around the State of Ohio to compete, but also all around the country. Baton, honestly, was most of my life outside of school. I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though. The girls on my team were my second family. Being a part of USTA, the United States Twirling Association, gave me the opportunity to travel around the country while growing up and to make friends from all over the place from different teams. It gave me opportunities that most kids ages 5-18 would not have had.  Those 13 years of competing were some of the best and I’m truly thankful for them all. Before we get any further, never watched a baton routine before? Here is a video of the USA World Team at the World Championships in 2010 in which they won the Bronze.

Video courtesy of bbrandle2 on youtube.com

During my last couple of years competing with USTA, social media became a more prominent way to stay connected to all of the people my teammates and I had met from all around the country and simply enough, each other. Instagram was just becoming popular, Twitter, Facebook, you name it. Those social media platforms did not always exist and USTA was not always a part of them. Anna Dolan, the Director of Communications for USTA took time out of her day to answer some questions about USTA’s social media presence and more.


Kelsey Crowley (Q1): What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

Anna Dolan (A1): Read everything you can about social media use and be aware of current best practices, but within the bounds of appropriateness and good taste, don’t be afraid to try new things. As social media evolves, so will our strategies and techniques. As with any new medium, we “learn as we go!”


KC (Q2): What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?  Why?

AD (A2): There are different companies “doing it right” for different reasons. Starbucks is often noted as a company that is a social media success because of its presence across multiple platforms; its quick response to customer inquiries via social media and marketing magic. I mean, I don’t even drink coffee, but I certainly knew when Pumpkin Spice Latte was going to hit stores and how excited customers were for its arrival!

My favorite example of social media success is the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! It was truly amazing to watch individuals and groups all across the country douse themselves in ice water and challenge others to do the same. (Yes, I did it, my kids did it, hundreds of people we know did it!)  And it wasn’t just a viral success, it was a financial success too. The national ALS Association reported that the campaign brought in $115 million in 2014. Compare that with $23.5 million in 2013.


KC (Q3): Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?

AD (A3): Social media has become nearly ubiquitous. It can reach people anywhere, anytime, and they can reach back anywhere, anytime. That presents unique challenges (consumer complaint – must respond immediately – can multiply exponentially) and opportunities (incredibly cost-effective way to reach current and new audiences).


KC (Q4): When did USTA start using social media more regularly? Have you seen a difference as far as engagement goes in the twirling community because of this?

AD (A4): USTA started using Facebook in 2009 and Twitter in 2014. As a small, non-profit organization, we are always looking for cost-effective ways to reach our members and the broader twirling community. I was initially surprised to discover how very connected the twirling community is and what a useful tool social media has proven to be for our organization. In particular, it has helped us connect with twirlers/parents/coaches/other twirling supporters who are not necessarily USTA members (who we can reach through email, unlike non-members.) It has been a great way to share information about the sport of baton twirling in general and our organization in particular, with the broader twirling community. It has also allowed us to connect with other, related, but not twirling-specific organizations, such as College Marching, and extend our reach even further.


KC (Q5): Describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by your organization and why you feel it was successful?

AD (A5): Our most successful campaign was not a campaign at all, but rather an opportunity to capitalize on an spontaneous event. In September of 2013, Today Show hosts Kathy Lee and Hoda created a firestorm of sorts by stating that baton twirling was not really a “talent” after a twirler made the top 10 in the Miss America Pageant. Our organization was contacted by the show’s producers and we were able to have a very talented, articulate twirler appear on the Today Show the next day. We were able to share that info with the broader twirling community, which gave our organization additional credibility and brought the broader twirling community together. In my report to our Board of Directors, I summarized the effect of this event:

Facilitating the appearance of Ellissa Johnson Eby on the Today Show on September 17, 2013. The average daily viewership of the Today Show during the week of September 9, 2013 (most recent available), was 4.659 million people, according to TV Newser .Though viewership of the fourth hour of the Today Show when Ellissa appeared is likely lower, it is still significant. In addition, social media coverage of Ellissa’s appearance was tremendous. The tease posted on USTA’s Facebook page on Sept. 16 received 10,012 views, and the Today Show segment posted on our page on Sept. 17 received 10,000 views. It also received significant attention on the Fans of Football Twirling Facebook page, and others shared the posts on their walls as well. THIS WAS PRICELESS PUBLICITY.

Typically, our most successful campaigns are around our National Championships, when people go to our Facebook page for timely updates and photos. Here is a summary of our social media results from our 2015 National Championships.

Did daily Tweets and Facebook posts throughout Nationals week, which got incredible attention. We still have a small number of followers (297) on Twitter, but as the Facebook statistics below show, between July 7 and 13, we increased our “Weekly Total Reach” to 58,277 people, an increase of 281.5%. We also got 229 new “Likes” during Nationals.

July 7-13               PREVIOUS WEEK         TREND

Total Page Likes           4,400                4,208                            4.6%


New Likes                     229                   32                                 615.6%


Weekly Total Reach       58,277              15,277                          281.5%


People Engaged           11,896              2,942                            304.4%


KC (Q6): Is there anything you would like to everyone to know about USTA’s social media presence that has not already been asked so far?

AD (A6): We know there is far more we can do with social media and we look forward to continuing to develop our social media presence!

As any organization or company knows, gaining a following on social media is always a working progress. If done strategically and creatively, companies can thrive. USTA, while still a little new to the social media world, has seen an immense amount of progress over the last couple of years, shown by the statistics that Anna provided above. It was great to see the increasing engagement they have been receiving and how they know when this, statistically, is going to happen, like when they have the National Championships every summer. With the other kinds of popular platforms out there, only time will tell what other “tricks” USTA will whip out when it comes to their social media presence. I look forward to continuing to watch their success on all platforms.

City of Dublin’s Lindsay Weisenauer gives insight into social media

By: Alexandria Schell

After working 10 years in the television news business, Lindsay Weisenauer joined the City of Dublin Community Relations Department in 2014 as the Senior Public Information Officer. She is responsible for relaying news and information regarding police, transportation, engineering, parks, public works, and finance to the Dublin community. She uses various social media platforms throughout each day to communicate alerts and information from the City.

I chose to interview Weisenauer after interning with her for three months in the Community Relations Department for the City of Dublin in the summer of 2015. Quickly, it became clear that social media was a large portion of her daily routine at Dublin. In my opinion, Dublin has the strongest social media presence out of all the cities in the Columbus area. Weisenauer is extremely knowledgeable and was an easy choice to interview.


Photo courtesy of the City of Dublin

AS: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

LW: Create a network of communication professionals and stay in constant contact with them to see what platforms they are using, how they’re using them and how it’s working. It’s important to stay on top of changing trends, but to approach each platform differently. Knowing what’s working for other professionals helps you develop that understanding. 

AS: What companies/organizations do you think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?  Why?

LW: Since I work in the public sector, I keep an eye out for other public organizations. Two that I think are doing it right are Gilbert, Arizona. They have a strong and strategic presence on Twitter, but also embrace new and up-and-coming platforms, such as Periscope in a bold way. I also watch Mountain View, CA police. They have a great presence on Twitter and Facebook, which is a mix of informative messaging and “personality” posts – things such as pictures that really show the PD more as “people” instead of an entity.  

AS: Describe a recent successful social media campaign conducted by your organization and why you feel it was successful?

LW: We recently did a social media campaign to help raise awareness about upcoming job opportunities with our Recreation Services departments. The campaign included multiple platforms, with content directed specifically for each platform. For example, we created a Flipagram and posted it on Facebook. We did pay a small fee to boost the post, and it reached 18.4K Facebook users.

AS: What type of consumer research do you conduct before planning a social media campaign?

LW: We contract with a marketing company, MJ2, for this reason. They keep us informed on cutting edge techniques and trends. They help us maximize our campaigns based on their consumer research. We also use analytics so we have a strong sense of what has worked in the past.   

AS: How do you know when a social media campaign is considered a failure? What steps do you take to prevent it from reoccurring?

LW: It’s easy to tell when a campaign falls flat, based on analytics and lack of engagement. We look at everything from time of day that we posted to what types of images were used. We evaluate these campaigns and try not to repeat the same pattern the next time around, but it can be hard to know if it will or will not work. We have to stay on top of the social media algorithms (especially Facebook). If we really want something to stick, a small paid boosted post always seems to work really well. 

AS: At Dublin, which social media platform receives the most engagement? Why do you think that is?

LW: Facebook definitely has the most engagement, just because that’s the platform most of our residents are using. But Twitter is really good for certain things, especially road closures and traffic alerts, because they get re-tweeted a lot by local media, traffic reporters and residents.

Several key insights were brought to my attention throughout this interview. The public sector is no different from the private. Social media is a crucial and useful tool, even for those representing the government. Facebook seems to always be the main source of communication for any organization, but other platforms, such as Periscope, may soon reach that level, especially for public organizations, such as the City of Dublin. Analytics are always a great resource before and after conducting a social media campaign. Lastly, always keep your eyes open as a social media professional. Platforms and trends are constantly changing and one should never stop learning to avoid being left behind.

The Man, The Myth, The Legend: An Interview with Rob Mixer

By Garrett Smith

Rob Mixer is the current Digital and Social Media Manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, where he creates, produces and oversees all official Blue Jackets social media content. Since joining the Blue Jackets social media team in 2012
, Mixer has been essential in the growth of the team’s social media presence, increasing their total followers from 50,000 to over 250,000.

I recently had the honor of meeting Rob when he came to speak to our Social Media class at Ohio University. Considering Rob is also a fellow Bobcat and social media enthusiast, I thought it would be most appropriate to get his insights and opinions on the industry.

Garrett Smith: Would you explain some tools that you use to plan, implement, or evaluate social media campaigns?

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 2.44.13 PMRob Mixer: The tools we use depend on the expectations of the specific partner involved. For example, if the goal is data capturing and UGC content, we will use a tool called Offerpop, which specializes in socially-driven contests, promotions and engagement campaigns. Offerpop collects social data from users who participate in contests and provides us with most everything we’d need to know. We also use a vendor called Phizzle, which powers our text-messaging and in-arena social media content capturing.

GS: What companies/organizations do think are “doing it right” when it comes to social media?  Why?

RM: The definition of “doing it right” is wide-ranging and varies based on your audience, your goals, and your growth. One brand that stands out among its peers is Taco Bell; Taco Bell was really the first brand to accept that a) most of its customers are some variation/combination of drunk, are late night eaters, or don’t want to spend a lot of money to eat. The company embraced its place in the fast food industry and revolutionized its brand using Snapchat. Snapchat is where Taco Bell’s target demographic lives, converses and interacts — so Taco Bell kicked the door open and commanded the room.

GS: What are a couple do’s and dont’s in the social media industry?

RM: One of my major “do’s” is to forge an identity and stick to it. It will shape the success of your brand in the digital space. One of my “don’ts” is to avoid campaigns and activations that make your brand appear disingenuous. Know your place, know your voice.

GS: In your opinion what is the most effective way of achieving the best brand engagement and why?

RM: Humanization of a brand that may seem the opposite (for example, a product or service) is a significant factor in engagement. Look at DiGiornio Pizza on Twitter; would you ever expect a frozen pizza brand to have an engaging, funny and absolutely weird social media voice and presence? That’s the niche they’ve carved for themselves and now, an argument could be made that their Twitter account is at the forefront of their brand (and has probably sold them more pizzas than ever before).

GS: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

RM: Commit yourself to being a learner. Your biggest mistake would be entering the working world with this notion that you have it figured out, or you know more than your superiors (even if you actually do). There is too much information to ignore — most of it quite helpful — that can make you better at your job and give you a road map to being successful in the industry.

It was a rewarding and eye opening experience getting to interview an industry professional like Mixer. One of my biggest takeaways from this interview was realizing that to be a truly successful social media professional you have to always be conscious of your audience and be ready and willing to make the appropriate changes to attract brand engagement. Mixer sums it up best when he said, “Know your place, know your voice.”

Abbey Swihart, the Social Media Queen, Shares Her Success In Social Media Marketing

By: Abbey Saddler

Abbey Swihart is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University, receiving her degree in Communication Analysis and Practice with a focus on terrorism communication and politics and minor in Arabic. Abbey is a fashionista and shares her style through blogs and Instagram accounts. She also runs social media accounts for multiple companies. Abbey works for Capital Energy Ohio as their Director of Marketing.


Credit: Abigail Swihart’s Facebook account

Q: Briefly describe a typical day on the job

Swihart: 8 am – Get to work and check our google analytics to track website traffic. I find patterns of traffic based on our current public pricing, digital advertisements and radio ads. Different sources of traffic mean different channels of advertisement are benefiting us or hurting us. 10 am – Check email, follow up with our radio sales team at 97.1 the fan. I receive an excel file of all the spots we have ran on the radio for the last two weeks. I add this information into my marketing analytics excel file to track overall trends. 1pm –  Create direct mailers and matching online/social media content that is used together for marketing campaigns. 2:30pm – Meet with vendor, select promotional products from vendors for company events. 3:30pm – Check our social media accounts to make sure our future posts are clean and ready to go. Check scheduling manager (If this then that, IFTTT.com) to make sure all channels are ready to post. Add a couple of Facebook posts that will be scheduled for next month (we work a month ahead of time right now). More pressing, time sensitive social media posts are added in when necessary.

Q: How did you prepare for you career? (Experience, education, mentoring, internships, etc.)

Swihart: Worked part time with the company before graduation, moved into a full time role after graduation. Interned with multiple companies as a marketing specialist and promotional events coordinator.

Q: What do you like best about your job?

Swihart: Variety. Everyday there are new marketing trends appearing and it is fun to take those trends and coordinate them with my company in the energy industry.

Q: How do you network?

Swihart: Networking events, energy conferences, marketing conferences, networking groups, Facebook networking groups, colleague referrals, LinkedIn messaging.

Q: What companies/organizations do you follow to stay up-to-date on social media trends and why?

Swihart: I subscribe to a newsletter that sends me trends and patterns that I look at. Some social media trends are not relevant to our industry because we specifically target only home owners. A lot of the new social media trends take a while to hit older generations (ie. Home owners). Usually the teens/early generations are the early adapters and out of those trends, only so many make it to the older generations. I do like to read up on it and stay up to date though.

Q: Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?

Swihart: Social media is so important for brands in this market for a couple of reasons…. Building brand awareness is important for reputation and trust in the customer. CONISISTENT Social content is important because it shows the customer that there are regular posts from this business which lets them know that they are consistent and can be trusted. Also, it allows the brand/business to build an image of their own ie. We want to look like a customer service friendly, energy efficient, green company with competitive rates. Social media also is important because it allows the brand to directly interact with customers that may or may not have won over yet. Responses to customer service issues, engaging on consumer’s accounts, responding to comments on the brands own accounts are all ways that interaction plays an important role in terms of building consumer engagement. In an opposite view, this can really hurt a company. I would not buy a shirt from a company with 3 followers on twitter and no posts. I want to buy a shirt from a company that looks big, even if they look bigger than they really are.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

Swihart: Creativity sets you apart. Everyone in your major will go through the same course list and have the same curriculum. Learning new trends, reading from marketing professionals and researching the competition are all good ways to set yourself apart from your classmates, but companies want more than that, because anyone can do that. Companies want to see what you personally have to offer and what ideas you can come up with. For ex, one thing that helped me set myself apart was my creativity with the current budget and reaching a specific target market. We did not have a lot of money to send out direct mailers to a specific community, so I created a Facebook advertisement that was geo-located and added a gift card prize for people who shared it. All of a sudden we only spent like $45 dollars on Facebook and $50 for the gift card and it hit almost 10,000 homes. We could not have afforded to send direct mailers to 10,000 homes but we could afford that facebook ad. It worked so well that we did it two more times and saw that our website traffic had a 33% increase from facebook. Little ideas like that with major impact is what can help set you apart

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Rising Wear & Co

Very useful information for students like me who are aspiring careers in social media. If you would like to see her work for yourself I encourage you to follow her social media accounts! You can find her on her personal Instagram account, clothing line account Risingwear & Co,  Capital Energy, Title Boxing Club where she runs the accounts for Polaris, New Albany, Henderson Road, and Hilliard locations.

Words of Social Media Wisdom From Nicole E. Spears

by Mira Kuhar


I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Spears, a 2014 graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. She is currently residing in NYC and working remotely for Geben Communication, a PR firm located in Columbus, OH. Her official title is “Social Media Manager,” and she works closely with Fortune 500 clients to provide them with social media strategy, content curation, community management, reporting and evaluation.

I was a Scripps PRSSA member with Nicole through my freshman and sophomore years of college, and I truly look up to her as a leader and as a PR professional. She is a large part of the reason I got so involved in the organization and sit on the executive board to this day.

I asked her a few questions about social media because I truly believe that she is a social media powerhouse and that she could provide awesome insight on the industry:

MK: Why do you think social media is important to build consumer engagement?

NS: Social media presents an opportunity for large scale two-way communication. In the past impressions and awareness cut it – but when every marketer dreams of engagement, social media is the ultimate catalyst.

MK: What do you think is the most important upcoming trend in social media and why is that trend important?

NS: In the past week we’ve seen Facebook scale “likes” to “reactions” and Snapchat present customizable geofilters. Platforms are increasingly moving toward hyper-individualization. Whether or not these features will fulfill their hype is TBD, but the trend is important because it shows us that users are increasingly invested in their digital identity. A topic much more impactful…and IMO exciting…than a one-off platform update!

MK: How important is it to find your brand’s voice when you’re running a company’s social media outlets? 

NS: Discovering and mastering a brand’s authentic social voice is a top priority for every community manager. A seamless persona can cross platforms, print media, even product copy while remaining cohesive and approachable. 

MK: In what ways do you use analytics in your daily work and how can an undergraduate get experience with them?

Analytics allow us to evaluate our social media strategy and, when necessary, adjust our approach accordingly. Sometimes that process happens in one day, sometimes it can take months.

Getting hands-on with the free social media evaluation tools out there is key to finding your fit in the industry. Pick a brand – be it your own personal brand, a local nonprofit you could offer advise to, or a national brand you’ve always admired – and take a deep dive look at their social presence acorss platforms. Start with trials from tools like SumoRank, Keyhole, Hashtracking, Quintly and Sumall. (Side note: if taking this on for “fun” sounds anything BUT fun to you, then you probably won’t enjoy the day-to-day in a social media strategy position.)

MK: What’s one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring social media professional?

Form a point of view and stand by it. There are no experts in social media, but there are countless thought leaders. If you think Snapchat is the future of B2C social, tell everyone. Read about it. Write about it. Talk about it. Not only will your passion show, but you’ll learn a lot more that way.

Through hearing Nicole’s opinions and seeing her point-of-view on many different social media-related topics, I gained insight about the industry and what it may entail when I get a job here in the next few months. Seeing the importance of analytics, being able to identify the recent trends and truly understand that social media marketing is a two-way conversation are just some of the most important things to be aware of when working in the industry. Interviewing Nicole helped shape my views and confirm that this industry is definitely the right one for me!

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