One might often find themself looking at the Meredith social media pages, wondering how they decide what to post and when. This year it has been especially vital to know, with the Black Lives Matter movement, COVID-19 response and the current political climate all influencing the content Meredith posts. The Meredith Herald had the opportunity to interview Melyssa Allen, Meredith’s News Director, to ask her about these decisions.
The Marketing Department includes the social media team, managed by Melyssa Allen. The team has six members, including herself, who are responsible for sharing Meredith news and information, admissions details, announcements about events and some fun content through their posts, videos and photos. Allen is usually the one who posts on their accounts, but oftentimes the social media team shares the responsibility for creating content that can be seen on Meredith social media pages. A couple of years ago they took on the responsibility for Meredith’s admissions social media presence as well, so a member of the admissions staff is also on their team.
As the News Director, Allen wanted to stress that she is posting on behalf of the college and not herself, stating that “we try to have a professional but approachable tone on our pages.” She also said that her job is quite varied. “In addition to managing social media, which includes planning, posting, and monitoring our Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts, my job as News Director includes managing media relations and news writing,” she said. “Media relations means working with traditional news media to promote Meredith College initiatives and events. I also manage and write for the Headlines section of the Meredith website, serve as co-managing editor of Meredith Magazine and edit Meredith newsletters, including our employee newsletter. Whether on social media, our website or in our publications, my job is to communicate news about Meredith College with all audiences, including the general public. Our primary audiences are our students, faculty/staff, prospective students and alumnae.”
Crisis communication at Meredith is usually managed by Meredith’s MC Alert system, but they do use social media to supplement that information. Allen gave the example of a snow day: “In the case of closings because of snow or other weather conditions, those initial messages would go out from MC Alert and the same information would be repeated on our social media channels to make sure more of our audience received it.”
This year, the social media team has been working diligently to include Meredith’s college-wide initiative on anti-racism throughout all of their pages. They try to use their social media to make sure the community is aware of the work the college is doing.
Much of the information posted on social media can also be found through email or the website. Allen states that “social media is a space that we’ve used to remind everyone of the ‘three Ws,’ including through a campaign we did featuring campus community members in face coverings and with a quote about why they wear their masks.”
When asked what ethical issues they have faced as a marketing department, Allen said, “The most important ethical issue is making sure what is posted is true. This hasn’t been an issue at Meredith, but it is something that I consider as a social media professional.” Since she considers social media to be a part of marketing at Meredith, they always want to consider in what context they are sharing content. By posting photos of real Meredith students, they are showing what is possible when pursuing a degree at Meredith.
By Rachel Van Horne, News Editor