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by Alex Duffy, Best of HESM 2021 Volunteer

It’s common for social media professionals to feel undervalued. You’re dealing with everything from major events to major controversies, yet yours is a job some people think “anyone can do”. You’re at risk of social media burnout, whichis heightened when scrolling through negative comments and creating masses ofcontent is a huge part of your job.

One thing we don’t do enough is champion those who work in social media. Your job plays a massive role in your organisation’s success, and the work you do is far more impactful than you realise.

Here’s just four examples of why you’re doing a great job:

You show people how awesome your institution is

Those good news stories? You’re telling everyone you have great students, staff and alumni.

That research piece? You’re showing the change your institution is making.

Those gorgeous photos of campus? That’s you saying “hey, aren’t we stunning?”

These posts make people understand why they’re a part of your institution. They build community spirit and present them with new opportunities. They make your institution seem even more desirable to prospective students, and they evoke nostalgic memories in your alumni.

You communicate in a way nobody else can

Who else can share videos, photos, threads, polls, audio chatrooms and live video, often all in one place?

The job of a social media manager is incredibly varied. You may find yourself writing a strategy one day and organising an online event the next day. You’re got a range of talents at your disposal, and you’re using them on a regular basis.

Look back at the content you’ve created in the last month alone. You’ll no doubt have written a lot of copy, but what about the photos and videos you’ve worked on, or the campaigns you’ve contributed to? Not many people can put such a high level of detail into such varied content.

You give students a voice

Social media is a conversation. You post something, and it sparks a discussion.

Very few other forms of communication allow for this dialogue to be created. You’re not only running an account which shares information, you’re offering a space for people to share their thoughts and opinions.

Admittedly those thoughts aren’t always great, but we’ll skip that for now.

Your posts encourage interactivity, whether it’s a poll on Twitter, a questions sticker on Instagram Stories or a chat on Facebook. These allow students to make new connections and make a difference to their higher education experience. It may not always seem like it, but these interactions are important.

You’re at the forefront of communication

When students need answers, they’ll turn to social media. If there’s a crisis, social media is the quickest way to keep them updated. What you do is important because your messages are some of the quickest ways people find out information.

When students have an issue, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to you. We’ve all handled enquiries where someone is upset or angry, and they’re not always nice to deal with.

But you know what? You help them out, and you do your best to make them feel that little bit better. It’s not easy, but your communications matter.

Alex Duffy

Alex Duffy

Social Media Manager at The Manchester Metropolitan University

Alex is a Social Media Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK. He’s responsible for running the university’s Facebook and Instagram account, developing a range of content to keep students engaged. In Alex’s 5 year career he’s won awards for his Instagram work and management of student ambassadors.

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