SMC panel examines social media in the workplace
Martha Reilly | Monday, February 16, 2015
Saint Mary’s hosted a panel Monday called “Beyond Just Being Social” to teach students about integrating social media into their careers.
Speakers included College alumnae Liz Harter, a 2009 graduate who works as a social media program manager at Notre Dame; Megan Harr, a 2014 graduate and the current social media coordinator at Flourish Boutique; and Angela Rupchock-Schafer, a 2003 graduate who serves as the assistant director of communications at Church World Services.
Although all three women work in different branches of public relations, they offered similar advice for anyone seeking a job that revolves around social media: Personal accounts should abide by the same rules that professional ones do.
“Of course I want to hire someone with a personality, but when I’m in the process of hiring, what people post on Twitter helps me decide whether or not to put them in the ‘let’s go further’ pile,” Rupchock-Schafer said. “You want to build yourself up as someone who is hirable.”
Harter agreed social media performance can either help or hurt someone when applying for a job.
“We want to know who we’re going to be dealing with,” Harter said. “We want to be able to get along and have similar backgrounds and likes and things of that nature. It’s really a balance. Social media can be a really great way to get to know someone, but you also don’t want to take it too far.”
Besides discussing the appropriate online presence required to land a job, the panel spoke about how workers can network and connect with other people, or even companies, to expand their brands.
“You have to think of who you’re trying to market to because different people use different types of social media,” Harr said. “At Flourish, we have to focus a lot on the demographic and who we’re trying to sell to.
“On Facebook, a lot of older women try to interact with us, but on Instagram, we post the younger-looking outfits. We try to post specific things based on the age group we are trying to appeal to.”
According to Harr, a professional regard can mix with a conversational tone to engage customers.
“We’re constantly like … ‘Look at this top!'” Harr said. “We want to look as professional as possible while still talking to people and getting them interested.”
Harter, however, said her job does not permit abbreviations or slang over social media, as she represents a premier Catholic university.
“If it can’t be said in 140 characters, it’s not said,” Harter said. “It’s a balancing act. It’s about building that brand and understanding the words that people are seeking and the needs of our followers. There are very definite needs and wants from our audience.”