Using Social Media as a Business Professor and as a Thought Leader

Yesterday I co-presented a session on how to use social media both in the classroom and as a thought leader with Leon Fraser at Drexel University’s Business Professor Teaching Summit.  We had a great time hearing other speakers and meeting some great people. We were very excited to share what we’ve done at Rutgers Business School with social media, and the thinking behind it.

Here are a few of the great questions we got from the audience about social media and the answers we gave:

Would you encourage professors to use social media to promote their own brand?
Yes. Creating insightful comments on blogs, having a Twitter account that is specific to your expertise or area of research is very beneficial to promote your work and your school. Signing a comment with your name and your university affiliation shows you are a credible source the media can go to when they have a question or need a quote for a story, again promoting yourself and your school.

What if I have privacy concerns with connecting to students on social media?
Social media sites often have privacy controls that you can manipulate to your liking. You can customize what your visitors see. On Facebook Groups for Schools, you don’t even have to “friend” (or connect) with a student to actually work with them in a group space, keeping all of your Facebook content private from them. With services like Edmodo, Yammer, and My Big Campus, you can create a community completely customized to the school/class instead of using a medium with existing personal data.

What if people say negative things about a brand?
When brands are open, honest and responsive to a complaint or to negativity in the social space, consumers are responsive. BOSE does a great job hunting down and relieving dissatisfied customers, making a very public display of engagement and customer service with their customers, which will keep existing customers happy and lure in potential customers.

View the PowerPoint slides and feel free to contact me or comment below with any oter questions.

After the conference, I got to spend some time with friends in Philly 🙂

“An Interest in Pinterest”

So I’m sure you’ve heard. Pinterest is huge. I’m actually going to a meeting tomorrow to discuss the future of social media at Rutgers and am excited to bring up some ideas I have for us to use Pinterest (muhahaha).
I found this great slideshow  by @stedavies that explains, very simply and perfectly, what Pinterest is and does best. After reading about how  it’s driving more traffic to company websites and blogs than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined, according to a recent report from Shareaholic, I figured it was worth a post 😉

Interview with Jonathan Rick, social media strategist & CEO

My last semester in college, I interned in online publicity at Susan Davis International Public Relations. There, I was lucky enough to work with and find a mentor in Jonathan Rick, who headed the entire new media department. Recently, in addition to learning a lot from his writing on some of the most prominent social media outlets around, I got to reconnect with and interview him to soak in some of his expertise.

What are the best social media “listening” or “monitoring” tools that you have found? 
Radian6 seems to be the most powerful. It’s also complex and costly. By contrast, the ever-popular Google Alerts is free, but it misses a lot.

Do you have a favorite? 
Just as WordPress sometimes is best for a blog, while other times Drupal is the ticket, I think that the best monitoring tool depends on the specifics (needs, budget, ease of use, power, etc.)

In many organizations, social media marketing and PR is a tough sell. What types of things should you look to measure to help sell the idea of being in the social media space to managers?
Check out a recent blog post I wrote on Mashable about this:

In order to sell the field that everyone is talking about, but on which few can illuminate, we first need to reframe the conversation. Instead of striving for Merriam-Webster precision, social media strategists would do better to focus on case studies. 

  • Narrow your focus to responding to customer complaints, as Comcast does on Twitter.
  • Build brand loyalty, as Bisnow does with e-newsletters, as Skittles does on Facebook, and as the Wine Library does with its podcasts.
  • Issue blog posts and tweets instead of news releases, as Google does with its blog, and as its now-former CEO did with Twitter.
  • Re-purpose your existing content, and thus enlarge your audience, as The New York Times does with Twitter, as the FBI does with Scribd, and as Dell does with SlideShare.
  • Manage your reputation, as countless companies do — or try to do — with Wikipedia.
  • Conduct crisis communications, as Johnson & Johnson does with its blog.
  • Hold contests to improve your algorithms, as Netflix did with the Netflix Prize.
  • Crowdsource your challenges, as the U.S. Army did with its field manuals.
  • Demonstrate thought leadership, as recruiter Lindsay Olson does with her blog.
  • Research free advertising opportunities, as Allstate does on YouTube.
    Finish reading post on Mashable

What advice do you have for people looking to switch their focus to social media marketing? What should they read, work on, and what brands should they look at in your opinion?
I actually also just wrote about this. Learn by doing. The “social” part of “social media” is critical: if you’re smart and personable, that will come through in your tweets, wall posts, e-mails, and so on. The Internet makes everything transparent.

Also, look at what your friends are doing. Chances are, one of them is a blogger, or boasts a large Twitter following, or has 500+ connections or LinkedIn.

About Jonathan
As the CEO of the Jonathan Rick Group, Jon Rick one of those lucky people whose day job is an extension of his hobby: I’m a social media strategist.   His  writing has appeared in a plethora of publications, including blogs such as Mashable,techPresidentTech CocktailDigital Inspiration, and Spin Sucks; newspapers such as Politico and PRWeek; and the book, What We Think: Young Voters Speak Out (2004).  He has also spoken before organizations such as the American Marketing AssociationGeorgetown University, and the Department of Homeland Security

Follow: @jrick and jonathanrick.com