#SocialAU: Meet the Brains Behind the SOC Twitter Account (@AU_SOC)
As part of the #SocialAU Blog Series the AU Social Media Club interviewed the people behind various American University social media accounts. In this interview we talk to Tia Sumler, the Senior Manager, Marketing and Web Communications for the School of Communication.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. How did you end up working in social media for American University?
I came to AU from the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, where I managed the main website and helped to coordinate online advocacy campaigns, which included using Facebook. When I arrived at SOC, one of my jobs was to help get the school up to speed on social media, and now we have a strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
2) Why did you personally decide to join Twitter?
To follow news and issues I didn’t have the time to track down. I felt it was quicker and easier than
3) What has been the best thing about managing the school’s social media account?
Learning so much about what our students and recent alums are doing. New jobs, bylines, awards, trailers, projects…
4) Does the school give you any sort of guidelines for how to tweet? Like who to respond to or who to retweet?
Not really. Former Dean Larry Kirkman @Larrykirkman is a big Twitter proponent. Initially, he just asked that we use it as another way to showcase faculty, student and alumni achievements. Then he let it grow organically.
5) What is the goal for your Twitter account? Is it to promote your school’s events, is it to engage students, or is it something else?
Engagement. Building a community, a network.
6) What do you think is the most important thing to know when managing a professional twitter account?
I think that it’s important to spend a lot of time reading tweets from the people you’re following. Figure out who they are and what interests them. Meet them there. You wouldn’t walk into a group of people talking about the new Batman movie and start reading a lasagne recipe – you should follow them same sensibility online.
7) Do you think your school does a good job using social media in the classroom? How do you think they could better incorporate social media?
Several of our professors are real rock stars when it comes to using social media in the classroom. Caty Chattoo @catybc, Pallvi Kumar @pdkdc and Scott Talan @talan are few who are particularly innovative.
What has been the most controversial tweet you’ve sent from the school account? How did your followers and students in particular respond?
For better or for worse, I can’t think of anything controversial we’ve tweeted.
9) Does each school / twitter account have a specific content strategy? What types of tweets get the most engagement?
Our strategy is to engage the SOC community and to help build connections between community members. Generally, that’s students, faculty, alumni, staff, and prospective students. Announcements about awards or accomplishments – broadly defined – tend to do best. We follow new folks – mostly students – all the time, and we do a lot of retweeting, to both build our network and make it more interconnected.
10) What advantages, or disadvantages, do you believe Twitter has over other social media sites, such as Facebook, in regards to professional account management?
I actually started using Hootsuite to manage the account, so that I could schedule tweets in advance and there were a few other features – like a built in link shortener – that made it more user friendly for what I was trying to do. Actually, I also managed the Facebook account through it for a while. But at this point, Twitter has added many of these features – as has Facebook. I think overall that Twitter has been more flexible and willing to adapt to serve the various populations that are using it.