Who isn’t up to date on their social media?

So we follow social media. This is not news. We find ourselves scrolling through Twitter and Instagram, checking up on trending hashtags, clicking on links from Facebook. It’s enjoyable. We get serious gratification from sharing our content, racking up replies and retweets, and from being the most efficient source of news out there. So how does one make a career out of this?

The Man Behind The Account

Mike O’Neill is the Social Media Strategist for Ithaca College, So he is the face behind all of the college’s online accounts. With the help of his street team, a group of 15 or so students, he covers events campus-wide. If you’re a member of the IC community, you’ve seen these posts, you know the people who help publish them, and most importantly you engage with them.

Students astounded by @ithacacollege's comical interactions.

Students astounded by @ithacacollege’s comical interactions.

They see everything.

Social Media Off-Campus

On the business end, for the past 20 years, Ithaca-based Communiqué Design and Marketing, Inc. has specialized in promoting businesses and coordinating marketing campaigns that work for them.

“You may not use the same recipe for every client,” said Social Media Director Kitty Gifford, “so you really have to take that into account and help them integrate that into all of their communications and marketing efforts.”

From there she expects the client to take ownership of their platforms and start rolling out content themselves, as well as conversing with their audience and providing useful information that can be easily accessed. One of Communiqué’s biggest and most recent clients is the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. Gifford uses #travel as an example of  where a conversation has already started, but it’s easy for passengers and airport staff to interject.

She encourages that it’s an investment for businesses to take on social media, and that it will help them tremendously if they handle it correctly. If they don’t maintain their presence, the social media director will not have been doing their job. If they’re not doing their job, then the business pays them to do nothing.

In addition to the airport, Communiqué has helped to launch social media sites for Cayuga Medical Center, MaineSource Food and Party Warehouse, wineries across the Finger Lakes Region.

Both IC and Communiqué cater to their audiences and make the most of what social media has to offer. They pick the outlets that work for them – ones that make sense – and utilize them to efficiently represent their brand.

“Instagram is one that I love personally,” said O’Neill, “And I also think it’s very engaging.” Considering that the account has 3100 followers, I would say so.

They roll out content nearly every day, and also showcase student life with #HowISeeIC, the college’s version of #TakeoverTuesday. Students enjoy seeing campus through the eyes of another. This past week Arthas, a 5-month old guide dog in training, took over Instagram, and garnered a tremendous amount of attention. Comments and favorites are still coming in on pictures of the pup going to class, pumping iron in the fitness center, taking a bath and more. The hint is to find something that the audience likes and wants and then roll with it.

We could all take a lesson from O’Neill and Gifford, and use our brands to build a network suitable for us. Whether it be budding journalists like myself actively maintaining our accounts, promoting a club or business, or utilizing popular or catchy hashtags to catch the attention of our peers.


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