My First #CASESMC Experience

Scylla Lopez is social media coordinator at San Jacinto College, a community college in Pasadena, Texas.

I had an amazing time at the recent CASE Social Media and Community conference, held March 19-21, 2014, in Marina del Rey, Calif. (And, yes, a highlight was seeing Montel Williams at the hotel. I even got a photo.) We, as higher ed and social media professionals, play a significant role in the student experience. The conference inspired me to think further about how to use social media to make a difference for students.

In speaking with other conference attendees, I realized that we all have had similar struggles and similar successes in social media regardless of institution size and type. At the end of the day, all institutions have the same goal, to enhance a student’s experience at the school.

Here are my two main takeaways from the conference:

It’s all about the content. Don’t use social media as a platform to just broadcast messages but rather focus on creating relevant and meaningful content that your audience wants to see. I think this is a struggle for every social media professional. We get many requests to promote and post content and sometimes it is hard to say no, but there needs to be strategy behind what goes out to each channel and why.

Ma’ayan Plaut, manager, social strategy and projects, at Oberlin College, shared a number of things that I thought were interesting, but the Oberlin Stories Project really stood out . “Good stories will be shared,” she said. As I looked at the dozens of Oberlin stories, I thought, “Wow. I want to keep reading these stories. I want to share these stories.”

Go beyond more than just a like or retweet. How can you turn online relationships into offline relationships? Sometimes it’s difficult not to obsess over the number of likes and retweets you get from a post or tweet, but it’s much deeper than that. I try to pay attention to students who like, comment on, mention or retweet pieces of content shared by San Jacinto. I have found great student success stories just by reaching out to students via social media. And, I love taking that online interaction offline. I’m lucky to be able to meet some of the students I interact with on social media. These are connections we all need to make more often.  Here’s an example of a student story I discovered when a student mentioned us on Twitter.

Thank you to CASE for organizing the conference and bringing us all together. I am a better social media coordinator because of #casesmc.

Did you attend the conference? What were your main takeaways? (And, did you enjoy the kale chips as much as I did?)


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