Exploring Social Media Mastery with J.S. Stansel: Insights from "Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO

Exploring Social Media Mastery with J.S. Stansel: Insights from "Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO
by
Shelby Moquin
on
June 17, 2024
Social Media Management

About the Blog

In the latest episode of the "Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO" , host Jaime Hunt welcomes J.S. Stansel, the founder of Saturn 9 Media and former social media manager at the University of Central Arkansas. Stansel, known for his outspoken and innovative approach to social media, shares his journey and insights into the ever-evolving world of social media management. This episode is packed with engaging discussions, from the challenges of humor in social media to the critical role of social listening. Let's dive into some of the key themes and takeaways from this enlightening conversation.

The Journey from Academia to Entertainment

Stansel’s career path is anything but conventional. Originally aiming to teach literature, he found himself drawn to the emerging world of social media as his students increasingly engaged with platforms like Facebook. This shift led him to create social media content for educational purposes and eventually move into full-time social media management. After stints at Texas State University and the Texas Department of Transportation, he returned to the University of Central Arkansas as a full-time social media manager. The pandemic prompted another career pivot, leading him to the entertainment industry where he worked on major projects like "Invincible" for Amazon Prime Video and the "Avatar" franchise. This diverse background gives Stansel a unique perspective on the similarities and differences between higher ed and other industries.

Humor in Social Media: A Double-Edged Sword

Stansel, known for his humorous take on social media, cautions against relying too heavily on humor. While humor can be an effective tool for engagement, it requires a deep understanding of the audience and context. Missteps can lead to tone-deaf posts and potential backlash. Stansel emphasizes the importance of using humor thoughtfully and strategically, recognizing it as one of many tools in a social media manager's arsenal. He advocates for a balanced approach that includes other forms of engagement and communication.

The Critical Role of Social Listening

One of the standout themes in this episode is the importance of social listening. Stansel highlights how social listening is used extensively in the entertainment industry to inform decisions even before a project begins. From understanding fan preferences to anticipating potential backlash, social listening provides invaluable insights. Stansel argues that higher education institutions can greatly benefit from this approach. By incorporating social listening into decision-making processes, universities can better understand their audiences, improve communication strategies, and enhance overall engagement.

The Disconnect Between Leadership and Social Media Managers

A recurring issue discussed is the disconnect between university leadership and social media managers. Stansel points out that social media managers often have limited access to senior leadership, which hampers effective communication and strategic alignment. He advocates for a more integrated approach where social media managers are part of leadership discussions. This would enable them to provide real-time insights and feedback, enhancing the institution's ability to respond to emerging issues and trends.

Overcoming Silos in Higher Education

Silos within organizations are a universal pain point, and higher education is no exception. Stansel shares his experiences of working to break down these silos and foster better collaboration between departments. He draws parallels between managing social media for a university and coordinating a major entertainment franchise, emphasizing the need for cohesive strategies and communication. By fostering a culture of collaboration and shared goals, institutions can improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Key Takeaways
  1. Diversified Experience Enhances Perspective: Stansel's varied career path illustrates the value of cross-industry experience in enriching social media strategies.
  2. Strategic Use of Humor: While humor can boost engagement, it should be used judiciously and with an understanding of the audience.
  3. Importance of Social Listening: Leveraging social listening can provide critical insights and inform strategic decisions across all levels of an institution.
  4. Bridging the Gap with Leadership: Social media managers should have direct access to leadership to provide valuable insights and enhance strategic alignment.
  5. Breaking Down Silos: Encouraging collaboration and communication across departments can significantly improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness.
Listen + Learn More

For a deeper dive into these insights and more, be sure to listen to the full episode of "Confessions of a Higher Ed CMO" featuring J.S. Stansel. Explore how you can apply these strategies to enhance your institution's social media presence and break down the silos within your organization. Tune in to gain actionable tips and join the conversation on how to navigate the dynamic world of social media in higher education.

Shelby Moquin
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