MCS11: The (Wo)man Behind the Mask: Why Managing Social for a President Isn’t the Same as for a University

When Gail Martineau took over the social media presence for Ohio State’s President Drake, he had only an unverified Twitter account with 6,000 followers and very little engagement. She started by taking 90 days to do some research. She did audience analysis, using native Twitter data, Brandwatch, and Hootsuite; she utilized general social media stats from Pew; and looked at what other presidents were doing online.

After gathering all the data she could, she realized she was missing a key point: what President Drake wanted. If it was *his* account, it had to be aligned not just with university goals, but *his* goals and his voice. She asked him some general questions — do you like coffee? Your favorite food? — and recognized that his goal was to engage with students, for people to get an idea of what typical days were like for him.

She put together a full plan, including a look at the current larger social media environment, what was currently part of his social media public face, some content analysis, and a good “next steps” plan. The plan prior to her work was a team effort; it was content that included pictures of campus, congratulations to OSU faculty, staff, students, and community members, and posts about events.

Gail planned six content buckets: teaching & learning; access, affordability, and excellence; research & creative expression; academic health care; resource stewardship; and community engagement. These aligned with the larger university pillars. By slowly integrating facets of his personality, the accounts began to have more fun. Ultimately, getting to know President Drake made the difference in creating the new persona for the accounts.

In order to help expand reach, President Drake offered a “President’s Prize” Twitter takeover; it helped engage on a student level. They opened up connections with student life to present things like “5 Tips about Student Life” and Spotify playlists, helping personalize the president to the students.

Her key takeaways:
* Let data drive. That’s speaking their language, so make sure you’re ready for it.
* Build relationships based on trust. It’s not an easy thing to do, but you can’t manage the reputation of another person online unless you trust each other.
* Be nimble. Schedules change, ideas change, priorities change. Always be ready to move. Sometimes you have to scrap things you worked hard on! Don’t take it personally.