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Q&A

Social media and higher ed

By KARINE JOLY

Reprinted from Higher Ed Experts

Published November 3, 2017

Jacob Schupbach, social media specialist in University Communications, is one of the 12 presenters of the Fifth Higher Ed Social Media Conference taking place Nov. 29.

In this interview, Schupbach talks about managing social media demands, a learning outcome, the role of video in social media strategy and chimes in on Snapchat.

How do you manage the demands on your time and focus inherent to social?

JS: My team of interns can tell you that I run on two things: a very carefully curated Google calendar and Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I would say that the ability to remain flexible and adaptable under any circumstance is also very useful. At any time, you need to be able to pivot from customer service, to graphic design, to photography, to copywriting, and so on and so forth. It’s certainly no easy task, but it’s the name of the game in social.

I place complete trust in my team and they never cease to amaze me with what they can do. I manage a team of six assisting with content creation and analytics. Starting on day one, each student has full access to all of our social channels. This trust gives them the confidence that they can help manage our channels effectively and efficiently. Social media shouldn’t be a solo job. Our diverse and creative team elevates our content day in and day out.

What is the most useful thing for your social media work you’ve learned over the past 12 months?

JS: Implementing the social media management tool, Sprinklr, at my school has been challenging, but also extremely rewarding.

We are able to quickly and efficiently monitor our social media landscape across the board, pull and decipher meaningful analytics, and plan our content all in a single, multi-purpose platform.

Staying in touch with the campus community has also been a big lesson for me. After graduating in May 2017, I was concerned I wouldn’t be as connected to the campus vibe as I was as a student. However, I have challenged myself to interact with the campus as much as I can. Whether that means speaking to the marketing club, giving a guest lecture to a class, or even just going on a run through campus after work, staying in tune with the university is imperative to building an authentic and engaging narrative on social.

What roles does video play in the social media strategy of your school?

JS: We are still in the process of fully building out our video strategy, but it is one of our main priorities at this time. First and foremost, we are dedicated to building a strategy that is accessible.

This means building out best practices for closed captioning, and creating work that is easily viewable and, of course, shareable. As we continue to build out our strategy, we are mixing together a fair share of live and shot video to engage with our social media community.

Snapchat is still somehow controversial in higher ed. Do you think schools should invest time and resources on this platform?

JS: Our Snapchat channel is dedicated to our students, and the main strategy behind the account is to help build a campus community that is proud to call itself the UB Bulls.

We know for a fact that students want to be involved in our social media efforts. Whenever my team works with students, the students have limitless passion and take pride in having their chance to shine on our social channels. We host takeovers, give behind-the-scenes access to events and have even wrangled a lively group story of a huge number of Bulls in a group story affectionately named ‘“he Horns Up Herd.”

Snapchat has also given us our fair share of magic moments. From study abroad trips across the world to an organic call from our students to start posting hundreds of pet pictures to help lift spirits during a hectic midterm week, Snapchat has delivered. I believe this platform has certainly changed our campus community for the better.