Harnessing Social Media Strategy at The Ohio State University: Insights from Dani Dean

Posted By Shelby Moquin on May 3, 2024 10:00:00 AM

Read Time: 4 Minutes

In a recent episode of Confessions of a Higher Ed Social Media Manager, host Jenny Li Fowler had the delightful opportunity to chat with Dani Dean, the Associate Director of Social Media at The Ohio State University. Dani shared her extensive experience and unique challenges in centralizing the social media efforts at one of the largest universities in the nation. This conversation not only shed light on the complexities of managing a cohesive social media strategy across various departments but also highlighted the innovative solutions that have been implemented under Dani's leadership.

The Genesis of Centralization

Dani began her career in broadcast journalism, a field that nurtured her storytelling skills and prepared her for the dynamic world of social media. Her transition to higher education came as she recognized the potential to apply her digital expertise to the evolving needs of academic institutions. At Ohio State, she started in the Athletics Department before moving to oversee the broader university social media strategy.

The move towards centralization of social media at Ohio State was driven by the need to streamline communications and mitigate risks associated with having numerous uncoordinated accounts. Dani recounted the early days when social media was akin to the "wild, wild west," with various departments and groups operating in silos. The solution? Implementing a robust social media policy and conducting comprehensive audits to assess and organize the digital presence systematically.

Strategy Over Spontaneity

One of the key strategies that Dani emphasized was the importance of thinking strategically about social media use, rather than just being present on a platform for its own sake. This approach led to the development of a social media policy that mandates annual audits for all institutional accounts, ensuring compliance and cohesion in messaging and branding across the university.

These audits were not only about enforcement but also about education and support. Dani and her team provide resources and guidance to help departments maximize their social media impact while adhering to university standards. This has fostered a community of practice among social media managers across the campus, enhancing collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Community and Continuous Improvement

The establishment of a social media community of practice is a testament to the shift from isolation to inclusion. This group serves as a forum for sharing successes, discussing challenges, and staying updated on industry trends. Dani's leadership in this area has not only improved internal communications but has also empowered individuals by making them part of a larger, supportive network.

Under Dani's stewardship, the social media audit process has evolved to become more efficient and focused on the most critical aspects of social management. This continuous improvement reflects a deep understanding of the needs of the university and the dynamic nature of social media.

Key Takeaways:

  • Strategic Centralization: Effective management of social media at large institutions requires a centralized approach to ensure consistency and mitigate risks.
  • Policy and Compliance: Establishing clear policies and regular audits helps maintain control over the brand’s online presence and fosters accountability.
  • Community Engagement: Building a community of practice among social media managers encourages knowledge-sharing and collaborative problem-solving.
  • Continuous Improvement: Regularly revising strategies and processes in response to changing technologies and campus needs is crucial for staying relevant and effective.
Listen + Learn More 

If you found these insights from Dani Dean enlightening, listen to the full episode titled "Centralizing Chaos: The Ohio State’s Journey To A Unified Social Media Presence" on the Enrollify website or anywhere you get your podcasts. Tune in to explore more about the innovative strategies implemented at Ohio State and consider how these lessons might apply to your context in higher education.

Written by Shelby Moquin

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