Student Spotlight: Elizabeth Moffat, Communication Major Tweeting with the Canucks

ElizabethWhat is your background in social media?

I first jumped into using social media as more than just a personal user in 2010, when I was interning for the Canucks. I found that the quickest way to get player quotes, or the information I needed from practice during road trips was by following the Twitter feeds from beat reporters travelling with the team.

From there I became much more active on Twitter, sharing my Canucks posts, and within a year I was using Facebook and Twitter as part of my job for the SFU’s OLC website, taking control of their account, and posting from some other SFU accounts as well.
Since then I also helped launch The Game According to Twitter with Canucks Hockey Blog, engaging with tons of other hockey fans to put together game recaps through their tweets.

Why do you think it is such an important component in marketing/business?

I think social media really allows for whole new levels of marketing and customer service, brands can engage with their fans, critics and customers on a much more personal and authentic level, if they choose to do so.

It’s quickly coming to the point where consumers expect to be able to reach companies online, and businesses need to be able to go to where their audience is.

Canucks on Facebook

Canucks Hockey Blog on Facebook

How has your online presence helped you to network or job search?

I’ve met some great people through online connections, I can’t say that they without a doubt have been directly responsible for landing a job, but they have definitely helped.

Having an online presence that shows off your personality, and demonstrates your strengths is a great thing to have, it’s one more way to grab an employer’s or potential contact’s attention, and gives them one more reason to hire you.

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

Probably the ability to connect with people you likely never would have otherwise.

Not only is it an interesting way to connect with people near you, it’s also pretty amazing in its crowdsourcing ability. It’s a pretty revolutionary way to access breaking news, using reports from locals and professional journalists to put together a picture of what is happening. It’s susceptible to a lot of misinformation, but at the same time, you’re forced to learn pretty quick how to check your facts and sources.

What advice do you have for other students?

Use your common sense. Most of the stories I hear about social media gone wrong could have been avoided by just using some common sense when posting. Know your audience. If you don’t want something you post to be seen by the public, then either figure out your privacy settings, or just don’t post it. While some platforms may prove to be a passing trend, the changes social media brings aren’t going away, so we all need to adapt.

Elizabeth MoffatElizabeth Moffat graduates from SFU this June with a Communication degree, before she takes off to spend the summer traveling. She currently works with the SFU hockey team and SFU’s Online Learning Community. You can find her on Twitter @lizzmoffat, where she’s usually posting about the Canucks or her latest favourite TV show.

From Friendster to HootSuite: Elaiza’s Path to Social Success

Elaiza Datar

Elaiza attending the Social Media Awards

One of the best ways to learn how to further your experience in social media is through others, and while my recent Student Spotlights shed light on how university students are utilizing social media in their education, it’s also great to hear from other social media professionals on how they developed passion and experience in the digital space. With that said, I am please to introduce Elaiza Datar, a Community Coordinator at HootSuite. Hear how she got into social media, and what advice she has for students of social media:

How did you get into social media?

I joined my first social network site, Friendster, when I was 12 years old. Then I joined MySpace, next was hi5, and by the time I was 16 I faked my age to join Facebook because that’s what all the older kids were on. Social networks have come a long way in such a short period of time. In a way, I’ve grown up with social media! And especially having lived and traveled all over the world, social media has become crucial in the distant relationships I’ve built and maintained throughout the years.

As a university student I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do after graduation. I knew I wanted to pursue something I was passionate about but I was passionate about so many things and unsure of how to make a living off them. One day I stumbled on a TedTalk by Gary Vaynerchuk and felt my eyes open to the possibilities of social media. Since then I knew that social media would be the vehicle through which I build my career and pursue my passions.

How did you come to work for HootSuite?

I was attending one of DaveO’s (VP of Community) HootUps at Capilano University, #HootUpTREC, with a few of my friends. DaveO approached our group at the end of the talk and I told him that I was applying for a position at HootSuite and its been history since. At our recent team BBQ he said it was my swag and ‘low maintenance’ vibe that gave him a hunch that it would be a good fit. And looking at his track record, DaveO’s hunches have gotten him pretty far in life.

I was brought on to help coordinate the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program which has been such a fruitful experience. We just graduated our first batch of talent and are currently recruiting students from new regions and new Universities around the world!

Working for a company with passionate and hardworking individuals makes coming to a 9-5 job fun and extremely rewarding. Working with a start-up company means there’s a lot of growth happening and a lot of freedom for you to exercise creativity and materialize your ideas. These feelings translate directly into our Campus Ambassador Program.

Some of the HootSuite Team

Some of the HootSuite Team

Why is having an online presence important to you?

I was fortunate enough to have lived and grown up around the world. Doing so made me realize the importance of social networks in maintaining, and in some cases rediscovering, the relationships I had built and communities I interacted with throughout the different chapters of my life. Thanks to the Internet, no matter what corner of the planet I’m on, I will never be homeless or hostless. Whether via posting a status on my facebook page to any of my international friends who may be in the area, or logging onto couchsurfer.com and getting in touch with generous strangers.

But more than that, having an online presence has been a gateway to endless opportunities. Having an online presence means being a part of an online and offline community that one may not have encountered otherwise. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be who they want and feel like a part of something bigger than our day-to-day bubble. Our individual ability to create meaningful impact in distant communities or pursue personal life changes is incredibly empowering.

What advice do you have for students learning to use social media for personal or professional brands?

The best thing you can do is find things you’re passionate about – whether it’s food, snowboarding, not-for-profits, or even socks! Then find local businesses or organizations related to your passion. The next step is the hardest, but the most crucial: approach the business or organization and volunteer your social media services.

You will have a million and one reasons why you shouldn’t. Maybe you think you don’t know enough about social media to represent a brand? My SEO instructor at school knew nothing about SEO when he got hired for his first SEO gig but he turned to Matt Cutts and Google. Flashforward a few years and now he’s running his own successful online advertising company. Lesson: Google is your best friend, use it wisely.

If your passion is social media, the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program is a great in. You learn how to engage with communities online (international Campus Ambassadors and HootSuite staff) and offline (your campus community), as well as the technical aspects of social media.

As long as you’re giving your social media services to something you’re passionate about you will enjoy what you’re doing and feel inspired to learn as much as you can, and to do the best that you can. Having this hands-on experience will not only teach you about the industry, but it will give you the experience to take your social media career to the next level (aka a paid job).

There are lots of other ways to learn social media. Take on an internship, read as many articles as you can, find a mentor, take a course, attend networking events, etc. But whatever you do: stay curious and stay hungry. Social media is a continuously evolving game and to stay on top of it, you need to adapt with it!

Elaiza DatarElaiza Datar @ElaizaDatar

Elaiza is a Community Coordinator for the HootSuite Campus Ambassador Program. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. in Political Science and from SFU with a Digital Communications Certificate. When she’s not cultivating communities online or engaging them offline, she’s climbing up rocks, downhill biking, hiking, and soaking up the great outdoors. More Elaiza at http://about.me/elaiza_datar

5 Ways to Get More Experience in Social Media

People ask me all the time how they can get experience working in social media, and while there are a variety of answers, I thought I’d offer up five ways that I would suggest gaining such experience.

Social Media Channels1. Set up your own accounts.

While I hope that this would be a given, I’m surprised at how many students want to work in social media, but don’t even have a personal Twitter account. Therefore, one of the best ways you can increase your knowledge of social media channels is to leverage them for yourself. Not only will you learn how to use each channel, and discover the unique features of each, but you can then position your own channels to market yourself for jobs. And coming from someone who has hired and recruited social media interns and community managers, having an impressive and professional online presence is very important. I’m not keen to hire you if I can’t even find you online.

2. Offer to manage accounts for a small business or student org.

This is actually how I started getting experience in social media. Find a family member or friend who has a small business, and volunteer to manage their social media presence. Don’t expect to be paid, just do your best to practice developing a strategy, maintaining their accounts, and measuring results. If you can’t find an opportunity, try to create one. Get involved with a student organization on campus, or perhaps an office on campus, that is struggling with their social media, and offer your help. Once you do this, make sure to showcase your experience on LinkedIn and get a recommendation from whoever you worked with.

3. Look for a social media internship.

With social media becoming more and more influential in the business world, thousands of companies are jumping on the bandwagon, so to speak, and seeking help with their social media. Larger companies are most often already in the game, and looking for seasoned social media professionals, but small businesses just need some help. Although many of these smaller internships are unpaid, there are many where you can work remotely, and require minimal hours per week. Look for one of these and apply! Here are some resources to look for internships:

4. Take advantage of unique opportunities.

HootCampusBesides a traditional internship, there are other unique opportunities that are popping up all over the web. One such opportunity is the HootSuite Campus Ambassador program. Once accepted in this program, you assume a role on your campus in which you help promote the many uses and functions of HootSuite and social media. Not only do you gain invaluable experience, but you also get to add a well-known and reputable company to your network and resume. Read more about my involvement with this program here: A Hoot-Tastic Opportunity.

5. Follow SocialMediaForStudents.com.

Ok, so this might seem like an obvious plug, but I’ve worked hard to include many helpful resources, tips, and interviews on this site to help students of social media learn how to develop their knowledge and skills. For example, make sure you check out the Social Media Marketing 101 page for ideas on how to navigate all of the information about social media, as well as the Important Links page for blogs and sites to follow. To make sure you stay on track, subscribe to SMFS by email through the field in the sidebar!

Do you have questions? Other tips to share? Please add them in the comments!

Student Spotlight: Adelyn, Grad Student in New Media Management at Newhouse

Adelyn in Class

Adelyn and classmates at Newhouse

Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Adelyn Biedenbach, a graduate student at Syracuse University, who is currently enrolled in the New Media Management program at Newhouse. See what she has to say about her grad program, her work with Dr. William J. Ward, a social media professor at Newhouse, and how social media plays a part in it all.

Why did you choose your grad program at Syracuse?

I chose my graduate program at Syracuse University for a number of reasons. It is an intense one year program which also contains classes in the business school and both the speed and the variety appealed to me. My undergraduate degree is in Journalism from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA where I am originally from, and while I learned a number of storytelling and writing skills there, I felt that the management and business side of the media would bolster my ability to understand and operate in the media sphere. Newhouse is also an outstanding facility with a range of dedicated faculty and opportunities for guest speakers and events to get a glimpse of what’s going on in many aspects of the media world and I am happy with my choice!

What kind of work do you do with Dr4Ward?

Dr. William Ward, aka Dr4Ward, teaches a number of courses at the university in social media and engagement. I am his instructional associate (IA) for COM 400 which is Social Media U Need 2 Know and is open to undergraduate students. As his IA, I work as a community manager to facilitate in-class social media discussions on a number of platforms including Twitter, our class Facebook group, LinkedIn and Google+. I also help to score weekly to do lists of tasks which immerse students in the activities needed to brand themselves socially and learn how to professionally make use of social platforms including Storify and HootSuite social media certifications.

In what ways do you showcase your experience using social media?

Approaching graduation, myself and a number of the senior students in my classes are focusing on representing their experiences online. There are a number of different approaches, but I like to use several different platforms. On LinkedIn, I try to include not only my internship experience but also my coursework and links to real projects that I have worked on in class. I also try to keep a consistent profile photo between social accounts. This can sometimes be a challenge, but if an employer or someone would come across you on Twitter, you would want them to also recognize you on Pinterest, LinkedIn, etc.

Adelyn LinkedIn

What is your favorite aspect of social media?

It’s so difficult to choose one aspect of social media that is my favorite; so many parts of it keep me coming back for more. 🙂 However, if I had to choose, I think it would be the access to information of all kinds in real time. I read somewhere that the average person has access to more information on the front page of a newspaper then they had in their entire lives in say the 1700/1800s. Now imagine that amplified by a few minutes on Twitter or a few hours with flipboard. Its an amazing way to be informed, connected and constantly learning.

Adelyn BiedenbachAdelyn Biedenbach @adelynlee

Adelyn Biedenbach is currently finishing up her graduate degree in new media management at Syracuse University. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA her undergraduate degree is in Journalism from Point Park University. Her passions in media include social media, media strategy, interviewing and analytics.

3 Unique Ways to Create Visual Content

Now more than ever visual content is dominating the web and social media. Facebook has announced that they are going to place more emphasis on photos and videos, Pinterest just plain exists, and even YouTube has revamped their profile design to include channel art. Beyond that, users are more likely to engage with visual content, so really, if you aren’t sharing visual content, you aren’t getting the best exposure. Here are 3 easy and unique ways to create visual content to share with your community:

1. Create an infographic of your Twitter account.

Visual.ly, a website that helps you create your own infographics has come out with a new template that will create a visual representation of any twitter account.

Twitter Infographic

2. Transform quotes with Quozio.

Quozio is a fantastic and free tool that allows you to create images with quotes in mere seconds. You can use the website to create a visual quote, or you can add their handy bookmarklet to your favorite browser.

Quozio image

3. Edit any image with Pixlr Express.

This free online image editor allows you to edit any image, create collages, overlay text on an image and much more.

Pixlr image

Do you have other awesome ways of creating visual content? I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

Atlas Sliced

Atlas Sliced Interview: Sharing Social Media Tips with the World

Last week I had the honor of being featured in Slice #61 on Atlas Sliced, the web’s only travel show that offers advice for those looking to work and live abroad. In the interview, Alexa Hart, founder of Atlas Sliced, asks me questions about why social media is important, as well as how it can help you in your career, and even help you go abroad. Watch the full episode below to get some tips on using social media to promote yourself positively and professionally.

EPISODE SLICE #61: Using Your Travels & Social Media to Create a Positive Online Persona


A big shout-out and thank you to Alexa for having me on the show! Be sure to check out Atlas Sliced on Facebook & Twitter.

FAQ: I’m not a blogger, how can I showcase my experience online?

Students often ask me how they can showcase themselves or their experience online without blogging. This is a great question, especially for those who aren’t writers, or perhaps don’t have the time and resources to sustain a blog. There are several great online tools out there that can help you represent yourself online without blogging, or even as a compliment to your blog if you have one. Here are a few of the more creative and unique ways to represent yourself outside of your traditional social media channels:

Vizify

I stumbled across this awesome site after conversing with @adelynlee on Twitter. She has a great profile set up to compliment her online presence.

Vizify

About.me

This free and easy to use site allows you to create a short summary of yourself and provide links to your other social media profiles.

About.me

Zerply

Similar to the above site, Zerply creates a page that features information about you. “Zerply is a simple professional network focusing on your experience and talent while presenting you in the best possible way.”

Zerply

ViewYou

“We create stunning video introductions and profiles for motivated job seekers looking to standout in today’s crowded job market.” If you’re looking for a truly untapped and unique way to profile yourself, ViewYou is it!

ViewYou

Pathbrite

Pathbrite is a brilliant site that creates an online and visual portfolio of whatever content you choose to include.

Pathbrite

Whether you use one of the above or one of the many other platforms created to help you showcase yourself online, you’re sure to make an impression, even if you don’t have a blog.

Do you use another platform to showcase yourself? Tell me about it in the comments!