Social Media


Ciara Knisely

  • The Importance of Social Media

    by Ciara Knisely | Aug 21, 2017

    As my internship with Social Media at MU is coming to an end, I struggle to find the right words to describe all that I’ve learned. Not only have I met tons of MU community members, but I’ve gained experience that I’ve realized only comes from a hands-on commitment.

    In terms of running branded social media accounts for a university, the list of responsibilities is endless. I didn’t even participate in most of them, but I watched my supervisor, and I have no clue how she handles all of it mostly on her own. There is so much variation between daily tasks that need to be done to keep the accounts running. But if I have to sum up my experience into a cohesive thought, I would say this: social media can be a very powerful tool.

    In general, a social media account is always more than just a fun platform to say or post whatever you want. For individuals, it’s an expression of self, a creative outlet, a form of communication, but most of all, it represents the user, which can be good or bad. It can be pretty easy to get in trouble on social media by saying the wrong thing (e.g. vulgar content), posting content that doesn’t belong to you, or abusing your privileges. But it can also help to show off your personality, your thoughts, and your accomplishments. It can be your outlet to get yourself recognized through a blog or profile, or it could be proof that you can successfully curate useful, enjoyable content for an audience. For brands and individuals alike, social media is also a great, modern tactic at creating a community between people.

    For branded social media accounts, like a university, online platforms can easily become one of the most effective ways of communicating with followers, friends, and community members. I can’t even begin to describe all of the resources and content that MU has available on its various social media accounts, but some of my favorites: our Pinterest boards with scholarship, career, and college information; our Instagram accounts that feature both the university and its community; and our Snapchat, full of fun and helpful content (mostly aimed at students) that is presented to followers in a way that the student demographic can enjoy.

    Maybe social media is non-traditional, and maybe it won’t interest everyone, but there is so much potential in it. Technology’s prevalence is only growing, and when used correctly, social media accounts can work in your favor. Many, many people and businesses use it, and I personally think that to forgo using it is a lost opportunity. However, I also know that it can be tricky to create accounts that are actually successful. Sometimes, it’s a hit and miss, and other times you just get lucky. But from my experience through this internship, these are useful pieces of advice for curating social media accounts:

    Of course, it will always depend on the specific platform. Lengthy text posts don’t do well on Twitter (mostly because you can barely get a full thought out before you run out of characters), and pictures of people typically don’t do as well on Instagram, for example. But, in general, posts with photos usually receive more interactions. Stories or highlights about specific people also tend to do well, but on certain platforms rather than others. On the other hand, photos with short captions do well, unless you’re posting one of the aforementioned stories. Sometimes the success of your post also comes down to the timing of when it is posted. There isn’t really a “right” time to post anything, so it may depend on the targeted demographic audience. If you’re posting for college students, 8 a.m. might not be the best time. Similarly, there isn’t really a “right” place to post at; again, it depends on your targeted audience. If you’re posting content for middle-aged parents, Twitter isn’t going to help you much.

    Running social media accounts requires persistence and commitment. Sometimes it’s disappointing when an idea you loved fails miserably, but it can also be very satisfying to see your content go live, even if you’re the only one who likes it. I think the best piece of advice I can give for running any social media account, whether it’s for a branded account or a personal account, is to be genuine. Be authentic with your content, and embrace the identity that is true to you. One of the pitfalls of social media is to become too digitized, too regulated, too calculated. This technology is a great tool, but it’s important to maintain the humanity behind the profile picture. 


    Ciara Knisely ’18 is an English-Creative Writing major and Journalism minor, and hopes to continue her writing career in the future. She spends her time working at the Writing Center on campus and is a Co-Editor of the Oak Leaves newspaper.