What does a Program Manager for Social Media in an Education Department do?

Posted by Gina Rosenthal in emc education | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

I’ve been in my new role as a Senior Program Manager for Social Media for about a month. So what am I doing?

Right now I’m in learning mode. I’m keeping the lights on at the Proven Professional Community, which is our go-to Social Media site. I’m teaching everyone about social media, so they start thinking about how it can be use to better serve our audiences. I’m working on workflow, I’m working on a listening strategy.

We’ve had  a couple of social media models we used for the community from the beginning:

Model 1: Official Messaging on the Education Website, Casual fun relationship building on the Community

From the beginning, we’ve looked at our Education Website as the place to go to get the official, polished, vetted message about our programs. Since we run a certification program for technologists (and since I hold some of those certifications), I think this is important. We need a place for the rules, the real line-in-the-sand communications. Its the place to go when you are looking for WHAT our education programs can do for you.

The community is the place to go when you want to know the WHYS of our education offerings. Why did we change a certification path? Why shouldn’t you pay for study aids for the certification exams if you need to come up to speed quickly? Why can’t I find what I am looking for?

Here’s how I explain it: The Education website is business attire. The community is polo shirts and flip-flops. 🙂 Every place we reach out on the web (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Orkut, this blog) links back to the Proven Community, the community links back to the Education website. We’ve started linking the Education website to the community. You want the official answer? We got ya covered. You want to ask us some questions about it? Got ya covered there too.

We’ve got a way to go, especially on the engagement side. We could do better at engaging with our audiences and certification holders, and do better at trying to elicit feedback to improve our programs. That’s a goal.

Model 2: Everyone does Social Media (not just Gina)

This has also been a model from the beginning. This is the first year we’ve had a full-time resource on Social Media. Last year, we had 3 part-time resources. That actually meant that all of us did 100% of our “day jobs” and an extra percentage of social media.

Because of that, we had to influence stakeholders to become active in social media. One of our primary stakeholders last year was the Proven Professional Program team. This year, that team is active on Twitter and in the community. They understand the power of social media to influence their program. Their 2010 goals included social media.  We taught them how to use the tools, how to see it as a conversation with our Proven members, and they started thinking of social media when they planned new projects for the program. We work with them to refine workflow so that social media is something they do naturally, as a matter of course.

The goal for me this year is to get everyone else to do the same thing. I’m only one person. I can’t do all the social media, and it wouldn’t work even if I tried. We’re lucky because I am so technical. I am a Proven Professional (EMCIE in SAN technologies).I have worked in a data center. I speak “that” geek language.

But, if you put me outside SAN technologies or EMC/web/compliance software, my skills are a bit rusty. And the more I stay in this role, sadly the more my data center technical skills will probably get outdated (this is actually pretty sad for me and the only downside to this new position). So if we start getting questions about our our VMax curriculum, or how if you can come to EMC Education to get VMware training, I need the guys that speak that language to feel comfortable about engaging because they are the ones who understand our audiences the best.

Yeah, we are starting with the marketing end of education, but baby steps you know? 🙂 I’ve found I am very disruptive to meetings, because everyone wants to understand how we can use social media to make our audiences happy. But right now, no one understands a darn thing I am saying. So one of the first things I’m doing is a “Seeing is Believing” tour – short hands-on training sessions where our teams will learn things like how to search using tags, how to set up an RSS reader, and how to use Twitter. Good thing I have ID and trainer skills huh?

Right now I feel like I have a few balls of yarn all spread out on the floor. Every time I think I get the threads straightened out, I learn something new and its all a jumble again. I try to think back to my studies in the FSU IS program, and all the things I’ve learned from the #lrnchat gurus,and that gives me the patience to ask the questions that help me start untangling things again.

So far I LOVE the new role. There is so much work its dizzying. Combining the new role with my last semester at FSU and my wedding planning is a bit crazy at times, but hey whats another couple of balls of yarn? 🙂 Plus my new team and my new boss are just awesome.

I’d love to hear from anyone else who is in this sort of role…..we can compare notes!

I’ll keep posting updates as I can, it should be a very interesting year!

3 Responses to What does a Program Manager for Social Media in an Education Department do?

  1. Janice Clark says:

    im walking to a new clients office this morning. and this list is invaluable. thanks for making my job just that much easier. you rock

  2. Gil Vinokoor says:

    Very informative and entertaining post, Gina. Keep up the good work!

  3. Pingback: Instructional Design and E-Learning Blogs « Experiencing E-Learning

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