Lions and Tigers and Media, Oh My!

Last week I went to the Nebraska Humane Society where Creighton journalism alum Elizabeth Hilpipre talked about running a social media strategy for the shelter. She touched on how she uses metrics and the good and bad of social media.

Walking into the presentation, I was unsure of exactly how a social media person spends their day. I understand now that this is a job that can require a whole team to do. I was immediately struck by the huge amount of work her job actually is. I think a common misconception made by a lot of people is that social media isn’t very much work. I mean, how much time can a few posts a day really take? The fact of the matter is that Elizabeth spends her time strategically planning each post. She looks at all of the analytics, carefully words each sentence, times out her posts throughout the day, and makes sure she targets the right people.

Elizabeth uses metrics to determine how many people her posts are reaching. If a post does well, she will do something similar again. If a post does not have many impressions then she will go back to the drawing board. Something interesting that she does is reply back to all comments, negative or positive. I can’t imagine how much time that must take. This is used to her advantage though because it makes the organization very transparent. They aren’t hiding anything and people are probably very grateful to hear a response back.

A lot of the ideas Elizabeth comes up with are humorous. Everyone loves a good laugh and a cute kitten picture. She talked about the time that she posted a picture of a sheep named Gage with a Christmas sweater on. The post quickly became viral and soon the entire country was talking about it. Through the “magic of the internet, Gage was reunited with his family.”

I am so happy that I had the opportunity to listen to her. If I only walked away learning one thing, it’s definitely that social media has more uses than the conventional ones. It can be used to raise money, awareness, reunite animals with their families, or sell a dog that’s been abused. Whatever the problem is, social media can aid in the solution.

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