Guest Blog: Tips for Students with a Passion for Social Media

By: Amy Cabanas, Matteo Fialdini, Kathrin Hanke, Andrew McClure and Jacqueline Williams
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Sarah Dalton works as both a Marketing professor at UMSL, where she graduated with her MBA in digital marketing, as well as in the marketing field. She describes herself as organized and creative, and is an active user across social media platforms, as well as, a blogger on her personal blog www.socialseconds.com.

When Sarah found out about the opening for a social media professor, she took the opportunity to spread her passion about social media to UMSL students. Sarah is excited to be contributing to the UMSL Digital Marketing Conference which will be held on April 21, 2016. We caught up with Sarah to ask her about her career, her love for social media, and her thoughts on St. Louis’ growing digital marketing scene.

Check out the interview below!

1. Do you feel UMSL’s digital marketing MBA program helped in preparation for your current job and teaching?
I don’t think I would be anywhere without my Digital Marketing Certificate. Those classes really took me to another level. When I went to school we didn’t have those classes in undergrad. So, they really rounded out my marketing education and taught me things like blogging, digital marketing, digital strategies, measurement of digital media and of course more social media. Without those subjects I don’t think I would be where I am today.

2. Where do you see St. Louis going in the digital marketing scene, and how does UMSL fit into that?
We are in the Midwest so we might not always be in all the trends like they are on the east and west coast, but I think we are definitely getting much closer. With all the great people around, it’s so easy to collaborate on ideas and with local agencies. I see the digital scene getting stronger and stronger in St. Louis, and UMSL could not be doing any better. You don’t see these kinds of classes at other schools. As UMSL continues to grow these programs and add classes, the UMSL digital marketing students will continue to be a step ahead!

3. You have your own blog, http://www.socialseconds.com. Do you think having a personal blog is essential for social and digital marketers?
Yes, I think a blog is a great way to spread the word about what you think about social. Even if you don’t necessarily know what to say, you could talk about things you see other people do, provide recaps, or blog about guest speakers. It’s a great place to showcase your writing style and what you care about in social media. If you are too afraid to start a blog or don’t think you have the time to maintain it, you can always publish on LinkedIn Pulse.

Sarah also shared some other interesting thoughts and advice with us marketing students. “Having your own blog really shows companies that you know how to build a WordPress site, that you understand content, and that you have written a few blogs. It’s just a really easy way to showcase yourself,” Sarah said.

Sarah also often references her own marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk, author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook – “Gary started from the bottom and built up his social media enterprise into what it is today,” said Sarah.

Lastly, Sarah highly recommends marketing students get involved with the AMA St. Louis-The American Marketing Association, and attend the UMSL Digital Marketing conference on April 21, 2016. “MDMC16 will be a full day event of all things digital marketing. People come in from all over the country to speak to us. It’s a better value than any other conference I can think of,” she said. “And it is FREE for UMSL students (but unfortunately now sold out)!”

Follow Sarah on Twitter: Sdaltonstl

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Guest Post: Tips From Your Future Social Media Managers

By: Nicole Atencio, Amy Cabanas, Minji Choi, Matteo Fialdini, Kathrin Hanke, Tira Wilkerson and Jacqueline Williams

We are halfway through our immersion into Social Media Marketing For Business this semester. So far, we have covered content marketing, the impact of blogging on social, Hootsuite as a social manager’s tool, and in-depth discussions of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and the Emerging Networks (Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Google+) for business use.

Here are our top takeaways from our social studies thus far:

There is a huge difference between “curating” and” creating” content. Curated content is information generated from other sources (like sharing Forbes or Mashable articles), whereas created content is derived from the creators own resources (like infographics, whitepapers, blog posts, shareable art).

Understand Jabs vs. Right Hooks. Is a company trying to sell their product, or just making you aware of information you might be interested in? A “Jab” is content that makes customers laugh, think or play a game, but does not give a strong selling impression. “Right hooks” are content pieces that typically include call-to-actions (CTAs) that lead to actual purchasing.

Use the 4-1-1 Content Rule. This rule states that for every 4 informative content pieces you have, you should have 1 hard and 1 soft sell. The hard-sell provides a strong call-to- action (CTA), and the soft-sell subtly incorporates the brand in the message.

Be attentive. Look for events, causes and shows coming up in order to create content about something other than your business. Be mindful of your account, and make sure you are posting and commenting on a regular schedule. Not having any current activity will lead your followers/customers to believe you are not serious about your business.

Organic reach is estimated to be 2.6% for Facebook pages. With organic reach declining, it is important for businesses to use paid reach. Paid ads are not free, but allow the content to be targeted to non-followers.

Hootsuite is the best social tool you may have never heard of. Hootsuite is a great creation that can assist you in planning and scheduling the posting of your future posts for all your social media channels. Another great free tool is www.canva.com for creating beautiful social media images and graphics.

Align your brand’s social channels. Across the board, you want all your social media channels to incorporate the same logo, descriptions, and messaging, but with the flavor of the channel. The same goes for your personal pages – use the same headshot and handles whenever possible.

All businesses should be on LinkedIn. This social network provides you with credibility, a large network of professionals, sales opportunities, and a marketing platform for your business. There are a multitude of options for ads as well. Sponsored Updates will go to a wider audience than page followers, Dark Posts are ads seen on non-follower newsfeeds (but not in the company timeline) and Sponsored InMails allow you to send a targeted message that appears in a LinkedIn user’s inbox.

Everyone can be a publisher on LinkedIn Pulse. Pulse is a great opportunity to publish relevant articles or blog-like posts without necessarily having to own a separate blog. Pulse can be helpful in increasing LinkedIn followers and inbound site links.

Instagram is key in today’s market. It’s important to remember a few things before posting for your company. Don’t use stock photos – photos should be taken as native because you are going to reach the younger generations who are expecting that. Moreover, use descriptive hashtags in excess as the method to reach the most people looking to discover your brand or business category.

Understand the proper use of pictures. It’s important to make sure that you don’t use pictures from someone else without their permission. It’s best to take or create your own pictures to post on social media than using Google or other search engines.

Use Twitter hashtags. Hashtags tag tweets by topic and make it easier for others with similar interest to find your tweets. Also, hashtags help social media marketers promote and track social campaigns.

What else should we know? What do you wish your entry-level social and content employees were stronger at?

Up next: we’re putting this all together in a social strategy and analyzing for social ROI!