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The UMatter campaign was first introduced to the campus community of the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh in the 2011-12 academic year. I was hired in September of 2011 by UMatter as the Social Media Coordinator. My job description included creating a social media presence for UMatter, managing and overseeing daily usage of UMatter's social media, and being a part of the UMatter team in general. Upon starting my position, the most immediate problem that needed to be solved was that UMatter had no social media presence to speak of. The goals that UMatter hoped to achieve with their social media presence was to educate the campus community about the campaign, connect with students, and to share information about how UMatter is spreading it's message on campus. My supervisor and creator of UMatter, Shelly Maxwell, gave me a lot of creative freedom in creating the social media presence of UMatter, so I made it a personal goal of mine to leave behind an established platform for the next social media coordinator and UMatter team to build on.
What I Did
In being able to manage a social media effort for an entire academic year, I had the chance to be constantly creating content for the multiple social media platforms to UMatter's name, as well as working with a team to coordinate and manage the usage of that social media. Facebook has been my main focus in attempting to connect with the UWO campus community, but I have also created a Twitter account and more recently we just launched the UMatter blog. On all three platforms I have created all the designed everything from every element imaginable for both Facebook page layouts, to a custom Twitter background, to the entire design of the UMatter blog. And especially on Facebook, the creation of new items is a constant whether it be having to re-design and re-format everything for the switch to Timeline, or just making a new cover photo every week or two to keep the page fresh and up to date.
Aside from designing each particular platform, a lot of what I do for UMatter is managing how we as a team use our social media, as well as coming up with new ways to engage our audience. By trial and error, I've found that a balance of directly educating our fans about UMatter and also sharing videos, links, and on-campus events is the best way to engage with our subject matter. Attempting to achieve this balance requires communicating amongst myself and the other UMatter employees constantly via a private Facebook group. We are constantly messaging each other with what we can be posting about. Also I've created a document with links to outside videos, websites, and other online information that we rotate posting, in attempt to keep our content fresh, rich, and interesting for our fans. We also have ongoing conversations about how to be using our social media presence in our weekly staff meetings.
One of the most recent efforts I've been working on is soliciting for student bloggers for the UMatter blog and organizing the workflow for the blog. My hope is to develop a blog where UW-Oshkosh students can have their voices be heard (the tagline is "where your voice matters") by telling stories from their life that relate to UMatter. To do this, I've developed a plan for regular student bloggers, guest bloggers, and anonymous guest bloggers to be contributing to the blog. This has required developing a detailed workflow of managing who plays what roles on Wordpress, how posts will be edited and monitored, and creating instructional guides on how to use Wordpress. It's been a lot of fun organizing this endeavor and I can't wait to see it go into motion!
Planning for the Future
A lot of what my position with UMatter consisted of was creating all the various social media accounts and starting the workflows to use those accounts effectively. This first year being visible to campus has been a lot of trial and error, as well as finding our voice and where we hope to stand in student's everyday lives. In planning for the future, I have a lot to leave behind for the next social media coordinator that will hopefully keep this effort successful. Naturally, I'll be creating a binder filled with all of the login information to our various online accounts and tips for designing and managing those accounts. I'm also creating a online directory that will store all the files for everything I've created while working for UMatter. Something I hope to develop and start using before I graduate, but might end up being something to plan for the future, is a schedule for tweeting information about UMatter, it's facets, and facts relating to it's facets. And also, there are several ideas that I've had for our Facebook page that won't be applicable until UMatter is more integrated into campus, and I intend to write those out and include them in the binder for the next UMatter social media coordinator. Because UMatter will be an ongoing social media effort, I plan to leave behind as much comprehensive materials as possible to ensure it's success.
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