Adapting to a quickly changing field

My own pound puppy and furry friend, Lucy.

Almost three years into my college education, I finally took a full-fledged field trip. Combining our love for social media, learning and puppies (yes, you read correctly), my social media class took a field trip to the Nebraska Humane Society.

Although merely going to play with cute animals would have been a success in my book, we visited the humane society to meet with Elizabeth Hilpipre, the communication specialist for the Nebraska Humane Society. A recent Creighton alumna, Hilpipre spoke to us about her experiences at the humane society with social media.

A couple years ago, Hilpipre began trying to strengthen the humane society’s social media presence. She started posting pictures on Facebook, videos on YouTube and tweeting adoption information on Twitter. Slowly but surly, the pages gained more views and followers. But all this didn’t just happen with a stroke of luck.

Hilpipre stressed the importance of being responsive to questions and comments posted on social media sites. No matter how busy her schedule, Hilpipre said she tries to respond to every message she receives. This builds a loyal fan base, and also makes people more likely to donate–necessary for every non-profit.

Another point she stressed was the use of analytics and statistics when measuring social media success. Hipipre said she takes advantages of informational pages on YouTube and other social media tools like HootSuite to get see concrete numbers of things like impressions certain posts have. From there, she said she can post and plan events catered toward a certain age group or demographic, in order to achieve maximum feedback or attendance.

Among all the advice Hilpipre shared, what struck me the most was her willingness to adapt to change and tackle every obstacle in her path. Although she graduated with a degree in journalism, she recognizes how much the field is changing. With social media gaining momentum and the shift moving away from print media, the ability to be a chameleon is becoming increasingly important. Not only does she handle the humane society’s social media and writes e-mails, but she also takes, edits and uploads pictures and videos. Essentially, she does whatever her job requires her to do–and at this point, her job description is rapidly changing.

Although I loved getting the chance to meet Baxter, the adorable Pomeranian mix, this field trip gave me the opportunity to think about social media in a new way, and helped me realize that in my chosen profession I will need to be ready to take on any challenge. It’s a frightening concept, but also an exciting one, and I hope I will be able to step up to the plate and succeed.

 

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