Local Professionals Talk Social Media with Loyola students
Tonight five panelists sat down with Loyola students to discuss what the professional social media landscape looks like today. In an event entitled
How Do You Fit? Piecing Together Communication Careers, these local professionals talked about a topic that budding communications professionals want to know about: social media.
The five panelists (pictured from left to right) were:
- Melissa Niksic Marketing Communication Specialist, LUC Enrollment Management Marketing
- Doc Kane President, Roscommons
- Erika Bye Director of Digital Media at Schafer Condon Carter
- Zachary Morrison Director of Operations, John Hancock Observatory
- Katherine Sands Account Director, Reynolds Communication Group
- (Moderator) Alexandra Kassel
Though the panelists had different opinions about which popular platform might render the optimal results, they did agree on many topics. For starters, the panelists agreed that companies need to partake in the e-conversation about them that is already taking place; they need to be active in social media.
Everyone also seemed to agree that one of the most important qualities a social media practitioner can have is the ability to quantify social mediaâ€™s role (and thus their own) in a company. This data is immensely valuable to any company, and will likely decide how they proceed when it comes to online efforts.
One apparently universal challenge is the desire to have a voice in the social media but needing to jump through a lot of hoops to (successfully) do so. Many companies need to cross red tape and conduct thorough research before any digital media campaign can begin. Then, they need to work to announce their presence and gain an audience, which is no easy feat for smaller organizations. Once that begins, companies should be prepared for occasional negative feedback from their audience. Bye said that this kind of feedback is unavoidable and that companies should â€œinviteâ€ it so that they may address it or at least be aware of concerns their public has about the brand.
New social media platforms seem to pop up and gain momentum overnight. There is a lot of speculation about what the next â€œitâ€ platform will be and what it will offer the e-community. â€œPeople hardly read anything anymore,â€ said Kane, He underlined the role of video in the future of social media. This prediction is supported by data that shows a steady growth in online video consumption.
So what advice did these professionals have for these college students? Several panelists impressed upon the college students the importance of the fundamentals: Bye suggested refining PowerPoint and Excel skills. Kane highlighted the importance of reaching out to potential employers via old-school channels: pick up a phone and call or write a real letter. Niksic advised that students keep up with technology by reading blogs and magazines. Morrison recommended that students to adjust their expectations and realize that they may not get a job in social media right off the bat. Sands warned students not to speed through assignments once they are hired, because their employer will be looking for quality work from them.
Tonightâ€™s event was part of a series of panel discussions hosted by IABC and Loyola University Chicagoâ€™s School of Communication. Tomorrow nightâ€™s journalism panel (6:00-7:00pm room 211 at the Corboy Law Center) concludes the Communication Career Week panel discussions. A special thanks to all five panelists for taking the time to talk to us and share their valuable insights.