I
decided to major in public relations because I love to write and talk to
people. For this project, I chose to research and explore the social media
aspects of public relations because after college, I hope to acquire a job
position as a social media coordinator. I am an avid social media user, and
this industry is constantly evolving and changing. I am very interested in this
industry because it allows me to illustrate my personality and interests in
different ways while also incorporating humor and creativity.

This generation is surrounded by
social media, and it has a powerful impact and influence on those who
participate. Social media is an important tool, and it can be used as a
marketing strategy to build and establish a brand. Businesses, companies,
organizations and individuals use social media to communicate to a larger
audience. It is also used as a source of entertainment. Denny’s twitter has
accumulated thousands of followers due to its humorous and witty tweets and
replies. In September 2016, forbes.com described Denny’s as the “King of
Twitter” because it introduced new marketing tactics. The company aims to
create relatable content by incorporating pop culture references and memes in
hopes to reach a younger audience (Gustafson, 2016).

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A social media coordinator
communicates over multiple channels, and I would have to craft my message to
fit the multiple channels. Public relations messages are no longer a one-way
effort; the audience can reply to message instantaneously, so it is important
to monitor the responses. I found three job positions that fulfilled my desire
to work with social media. I was really interested in one specifically for a company
called Advanced Sports Media Group, and the job involved managing social media
accounts for various sports teams in the United States. I would promote brand
content and events via digital media. An essential part of the job would be developing
relationships with athletes and leagues. Also, I would generate reports and
write weekly press releases (“Digital sports,” 2017).

The second job posting was a social
media manager position for University of Indianapolis. I would be responsible
for promoting the university’s reputation and brand through various social
media platforms. The content would relate to academic excellence or community
impacts. I would monitor social media accounts and interact with multiple audiences.

This job requires community management, relationship building and strategic
planning (“Communication,” 2017).

            The third job posting I looked into
was a position as a social media strategist for Eli Lilly.

I
would develop a social media marketing strategy and establish the policies and procedures.

The company is looking for new creative and innovative ideas for social media. It
would be important to build relations with brand partners and consumers.

Another essential aspect of this position would be to track trends (“Social
media,” 2017).

            I had the opportunity to interview
several people via email and telephone for this project. Their answers gave me
a lot of insight about managing social media accounts. Several of the interviewees
are Ball State alumni. They majored in various subjects such as English, public
relations and communications. I found it very interesting that between the five
interviewees, they all shared one common interest—telling stories. They were
able to find careers that allowed them to utilize this skill.

            Jo Grabarek and Kelly Sharpe work at
Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, which is a law firm in Indianapolis. Jo
manages Taft’s social media content calendar, and she promotes events, speaking
engagements, news and community involvement via the firm’s social media pages.

Her job is to establish the firm’s brand, and in order to advance the social
media strategy, she must consider language, graphics and timing (Grabarek,
2017). Kelly helps update social media, but she also plans events and seminars,
updates the website and writes press releases (Sharpe, 2017).

            Jo explained Taft’s guidelines that
she must follow when working on the company’s social media pages, and she also
stated that employees have policies for their personal social pages that they
must follow. If she sees a negative comment on a social media page, she follows
a standard crisis response plan which includes the following: removing or
reporting the comment or post, notifying any potentially affected parties and monitoring
the offending party for any future issues (Grabarek, 2017).

            Melissa Jacobs formerly worked at
Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance. She created social strategies and a roadmap for
content creation. She responded to customer complaints and negative comments
posted online by offering immediate assistance to resolve and control the
situation. Along with posting to social media, Melissa also updated the company’s
website (Jacobs, 2017).

            Nicole Thompson works at Indiana
Members Credit Union (IMCU). She updates and manages the social media plan and
creates content for posts. She monitors the social media channels by observing
the engagements, interactions and the overall success of the post, and then she
is able to update social reports. Nicole also responds to messages and
comments. She designs social images and takes and edits pictures and videos for
social posts (Thompson, 2017).

            Nicole discussed IMCU’s social media
policy that was established to create a positive brand image. She follows a
standard protocol when responding to concerns on social media. This includes
acknowledging the concern, making a company statement and providing a solution.

The responses are personalized, and it is important to respond to all comments
that do not violate the social media community standards, which ensures that
all online communities are positive and supportive (Thompson, 2017).

            I also interviewed Jessica Stinger
who is currently a recruiting graduate assistant at Middle Tennessee State
University. She works within the football program; she is in charge of running
social media and communicating with prospects via web. Jessica uses social media
to monitor the recruits and learn valuable information. Her job also includes a
lot of event planning including the following: booking flights, setting up
dinner reservations, booking hotel rooms, arranging driving directions, creating
itineraries and renting cars (Stinger, 2017). I think that I would be very
interested in a similar job.

            My interviewees stressed the
importance of building my résumé, and it is never too early to start. I am
currently involved in Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), and
next semester, I plan to join Cardinal Metrics. I wanted to join Byte, a
student-run publication, because I want to improve my writing skills, but this
semester I was far too busy. I have also heard that Cardinal Communications is
another great way to gain experience. I have started looking into internships; I
am very interested in the sports and entertainment industry, and my dream job
would be to run the Indiana Pacers social media accounts.

Writing skills are very
important because social media coordinators must be able to write multiple
pieces like new releases, articles and social posts. Communication and
organizational skills are also required. With this specific job, no two days are
the same, and plans are constantly changing. This job requires the ability to
adjust and reprioritize projects; therefore, time-managements skills are
beneficial. Knowledge of Adobe products and web design could set me apart from
other applicants, so I definitely should start learning.

I learned a lot
from this project, and several of my expectations were far from the truth. I anticipated
that being a social media coordinator would be all fun and I would be able to
post funny things or whatever I want on social media. I realized that there is
a lot more going on behind the scenes, and creating social media posts requires
a lot of planning. It can be a fast-paced and stressful environment, so several
of my interviewees advised using a calendar. I was also surprised to learn that
a lot of math may be involved, but math has always been one of my best
subjects. Also, I never thought about customer service being a large part of
the job. I did not think about managing social media outside of work hours, and
I realized that it is very important to be available to respond and resolve
issues.

I discovered that social
media coordinators experience many challenges. Melissa stated that her job’s
biggest challenge was demonstrating
proven analytics because a large portion is subjective and untrackable. Plus,
it takes time to be able to demonstrate the impacts (Jacobs, 2017). Sometimes
it may be difficult to know what an audience wants, so creating engaging
content can be complicated. Social media coordinators must be instant and
creative. As I stated earlier, schedules change often and new content becomes
priority. Also, crafting a message to fit multiple channels can be difficult.

            After exploring this industry, I
have concluded that I am still very interested. I have a lot of experience and
knowledge of social media. I think that I can create fun and entertaining
content that is appropriate and follows policies. I believe that I could bring creative
ideas to this position. Also, my concentration is media analytics, and after
conducting the interviews, I realized that analyzing social media is an
integral part of the job. I want a career that allows me to talk to other
people and write because I, too, have a passion for storytelling. I think that
a social media coordinator is a perfect position.