Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Branding the Dept at Simmons College

I've been working on developing new connections for the Communications department at Simmons College. For years I have been working on the website, but in the past two years I have expanded my work into social media coverage. I began this project this summer, and have to say facebook, twitter, blogging... it all looks different from the business side of things.

It was three years ago that someone first introduced me to the practical side of Twitter. I was at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System National Conference listening to a panel of on-air radio personalities talk about Show Prep. They described twitter as a instant connection to their listeners that is rewarding to both parties. For the listeners, they can know that the DJs are seeing their reactions in real time- an assurance that no other medium can quite match. For the DJs, the possibilities were numerous.

One radio host described how much of his comedy material came from tweets sent to him minutes before his show began. "What's the worst 'morning commute' faux pas you've committed?" prompted dozens of responses and made for ten minutes of hilarious entertainment and interactivity at its most advanced. Another DJ described how she follows most major news programs, newspapers, magazines, and the individual reporters in her local area. She can scan the tweets, click through to the articles, and, again, instantly connect to RIGHT NOW news stories that her listeners care about.

After this persuasive and hugely helpful presentation, I created a twitter account, felt my way around the program, and sat back to watch. I think my years of being a casual twitter user has done the most to prepare me for social media work. I watched social media campaigns unfold. I follow a man who tweets constantly and often was intrigued enough to click through the links on his concise, fascinating tweets. I saw how he linked me to his blog that simply provided previews of articles- and links to the full text on their home sites. His twitter account and blog were middle men between the interesting content and the people who would read it. And he'd managed to get more than a million followers. I could almost hear the advertising $$$ rolling in.

The social media that I've created is in development. My goal is to make the facebook page, linkedin page, and blog a unique resource for our students and alums. A known place where they can network, find internships, events, and new ideas in communications. Working with other faculty in the department, I have been considering the key attributes to promote when writing about the department. Here is the flowchart that I just designed. This is a work in progress, a new project. Fun too.

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