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This Post Will Make You Want to be a Social Media Editor

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Have you ever met a person who, every time she speaks, you want to tweet her perfectly phrased sentences? Or turn her oh-so-very-quotable words into pretty graphics for your Pinterest boards? That’s how we felt last night when Elisa Benson (Social Director, Cosmopolitan.com, Seventeen.com & RedbookMag.com) and Gena Kaufman (Social Media Manager, Elle.com) came to talk to our social media class. They shared the most Tweet-worthy advice. For those of you who weren’t there with us, here are some snippets we especially loved:

1. “You have to do things to increase engagement, but sometimes you have to make decisions for your soul.” –Gena
People say Newhouse students don’t like math, but as Gena pointed out, when you’re in charge of social media, numbers quickly become your best friend. As a generation that has grown up with our eyes glued to our phones, it’s tempting to think posting on social media is entirely instinctual. While having a gut feeling about when to post is certainly helpful, social media pros like Elisa and Gena swear by the importance of using numbers and analytics to back up their decisions. Sometimes, however, as Gena pointed out, you have to make decisions that make your soul happy. Is your heart telling you to keep making hilarious Vines even though it does nothing for your brand’s numbers? Go for it!

2. “We obsessively try to create stories that people will remember forever because everything [on Snapchat] disappears in 24 hours.” –Elisa
Both Elisa and Gena come from editorial backgrounds, so they’re no strangers to the pressures of creating impactful and memorable stories for their readers. What they probably didn’t expect when they joined the social media world, is that those same pressures would apply to creating Snapchat stories with significantly shorter lifespans. Cosmopolitan has been a pioneer of Snapchat’s Discover feature, creating a unique and fun in-app reading experience for users. It’s important not to be fooled by the quick turnaround between posts: according to Elisa, it takes a village of dedicated workers to put the stories together, even if they only last for 24 hours.
[Newhouse NYC brag: One of our students, ADV student Christy Fox, is the Snapchat Discover intern at  Cosmopolitan.com. How cool is that?]

3. “Remember that your audience isn’t all living the same lifestyle that you are. Not everyone is in New York.” –Gena
The glitz and glamour of a New York lifestyle is not only a fun experience, but it also makes for excellent editorial content. However, what’s important to remember, especially from a social media standpoint, is not everyone is here experiencing the same thing. If the whole idea of social media is to find and share the one part of a story that readers will latch onto, then it’s important to make sure that point will be meaningful to readers everywhere, even those outside of your typical audience.

4. “Social media editors are like the DJs at the party.” –Elisa
Yes, you read that right. As a social media editor, you get a feel for your audience and make strategic decisions about what you post accordingly— just like a DJ gets a feel for the room and chooses songs to please the crowd. While many posts get scheduled out ahead of time to ensure consistency, many decisions have to be made on the fly. When you’re the one watching the posts and how readers engage with the content, Gena and Elisa argue you have the best sense of what the audience wants. Similar to how all feels right in the world when the DJ puts on your favorite song, the people behind your favorite social media accounts are always ready to give you the next great viral YouTube clip from last night’s award show that will keep you laughing for days. I bet you all want to go out and become social media editors now, huh?

Leah Fagen, Newhouse NYC student and junior PR major

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