Episode 58: What to do with Instagram Threads? Move-in day social strategy with Mike Gombita

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Shiro Hatori
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the higher ed demand gen podcast hosted by concept 3d. If you like our content, please follow and subscribe to us on Spotify apple in all the other podcast platforms. And if you’re on Apple podcast, please drop us a comment. We really appreciate that. My name is Shiro. And today we’ll be covering threads and Instagram app and social media strategy also for moving day in orientation, which will be coming up shortly for everyone listening in today. So I’m really excited to kind of cover a topical topic. And for that, I’m excited to have Mike competa joining us on today’s episode, he’s actually returning so it’s a second time recording with us. Mike is also newly serving as the Social Media Strategy Manager at East Stroudsburg. University of Pennsylvania. We can say ESU from short for now, but welcome to the podcaster Welcome back to the podcast. Mike,

Mike Gombita
thank you so much. It is it was quite a surprise being asked to be back on again. And before our recording. I was like, have you had anybody on the show before and you know, Shiro pointed out that Kyle Campbell is a was a returning guests. So a lot of big shoes to fill. But I think I’m okay with it.

Shiro Hatori
I’m sure he’ll be really stoked to hear that as well. Well, you know, I love to ask this for starting out every conversation here. Mike, what do you love about higher ed?

Mike Gombita
Oh, man, I think I, the last time I was on the show, I talked about the people. Because I think that’s that’s what makes it. That’s what makes the university or institution great. But I think more specifically, I want to talk about our students. I think our students are the lifeblood of our institutions and universities. Because obviously without them, I wouldn’t have a job. And I think with their potential in becoming the next future leaders of tomorrow, I really think that students and in any of the like, and even, you know, transfer students, residential students, part time students, you know, we’re really looking at a different scope here compared to before the pandemic. And I think, the adversity and the, let’s just say the grit, I love that word, the grit, of having our students participate in a higher education degree is something that is almost a wonder story, almost. But yeah, the students I really love the students that I get to interact with.

Shiro Hatori
That’s fantastic. Thanks for sharing that. And yeah, it’s it’s invaluable. All the connections and network I have today are all from university as well. And so I completely understand that from the receiving end of education. Oh, great. Well, let’s jump in. You know, I know you just came into this new role. It’s also a new position, a new investment from ESU as well, can you tell us a little bit more?

Mike Gombita
Yeah. So I think I’m five months in at the time of this recording. So a little fun fact, which I’ve kind of hinted at you before we started recording. So we recorded our first episode when you had me on the show on November 15. So do you remember what you were doing that day?

Shiro Hatori
One second. Can you repeat that real quick? I just think I lost internet for one second there. Yeah, that’s where my computer froze. Yeah, yep. That’s okay.

Mike Gombita
Can you Okay, so you asked me about okay, yep. All right. Cool. Are you good? Yep.

Shiro Hatori
I just marked the position so we can start over there. That’s okay. All right. You ready? Yep. We’re good to go. I’ll start in three. Yep.

Mike Gombita
So before we started recording, I said I had a little funny thing to share with you. So our first episode that we recorded was back in November 15 of 2022. Do you remember what you were doing that day?

Shiro Hatori
No idea.

Mike Gombita
So I had this podcast interview, and I love talking about my job that video store video and storytelling. Later that afternoon was actually the interview for this position that I’m in now.

Shiro Hatori
You’re kidding.

Mike Gombita
I’m dead serious.

Shiro Hatori
Oh, my goodness.

Mike Gombita
So this was a really nice conversation starter, as far as the interview went on, but it was a really good just warm up to like start talking and like start talking amongst other individuals. But luckily, I got the job. I started back in February. And with that part of it as it is, is it’s presumed with the assumed responsibilities, many would guess I manage our official university accounts. So the East Stroudsburg University accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and as we will sure be talking about later threads Obviously reporting on the performance of the content, creating the content, and engaging with individuals that are interacting with social media. As Shiro mentioned, this is the first time that ESU has created a position like this. In many times, the social media was managed either through a collective effort to the marketing communication staff, but then it was also sometimes just added as an additional responsibility to somebody else at that time. But I think really bring it down to the nitty gritty, there is an importance of the word strategy in my title. So the Social Media Strategy Manager, and with many of that strategy is necessary to execute a consistent and strong delivery on social media, people can’t expect that they can just post online one day, and then hopefully that they can attend, they can get a big attendance for their event, there’s a strategy behind that. And with that strategy comes with time, we can’t just come up with a strategy the night before or the day off. It takes a little bit of time for the strategy to execute. With social media itself, just talking about that strategy itself, I think Cheryl, what we always run into a social media managers, and I’m sure many of us have in previous guests in previous episodes before, is we do get a lot of feedback when it comes to social media. Because we’re all consumers of the social, it’s a human nature, it’s not anything where that just comes out of nowhere, like people are on social media every day for a consumer side. And eventually, that leads to criticism and critiques because they are on social. I do have a fun quote that I do follow a man named John Steven Stancil he great person in the social media world itself. With that I love I love this quote, and I’d love to share it on the podcast today. But knowing how to drive a car does not make you a mechanic. Having a Facebook account does not make you a social media manager.

Shiro Hatori
Yes, thank you.

Mike Gombita
So you know, with this position, it’s really creating a bunch of initiatives and a lot of directives from scratch. We’re just finishing up on a social media procedures that hasn’t been updated since its creation. So really diving deep into that, as far as how can we help our institution have a strong presence on social? So we’re just finishing that up as we speak. But really, as a team, we’re working with content and strategies, you know, proactively rather than reactively. reactively? Is that even a word? Yeah.

Shiro Hatori
I think yeah, no, you know, that’s, that’s what I hear a lot. So.

Mike Gombita
But with that content itself, you know, creating a strategy behind that making sure that we’re not thinking about an inauguration content schedule, the day before, we are thinking about this maybe weeks in advance, or hopefully a month in advance. And then also to were working on drafts for an ambassador program. So having our students represent ESU, but also creating almost an invite, or a community to work with, to help identify trends that personally for me, I am not aware about, I try to stay on top of trends that you are on social but our students see those trends more and is a great pathway for our students to bring it to our attention and be able to execute it in a way that fits the brand fits the voice fits the tone, and so on with those checkboxes.

Shiro Hatori
Oh, man. Yeah, I completely agree. I think the episode I just posted yesterday, a previous episode of Carrie Phillips, part of the episode was talking about managing a team and having she has a team of social ambassadors as well. And having their input is is so critical to their strategy as well because like she said, She’s How to Date she’s out of touch with what the actual students of today are consuming. And so, you know, she keeps an open line of communication for ideas, strategy, you know, tactical types of content, sharing idea, ideation. And, you know, it’s a super relevant topic, I think. Yeah. It’s also funny, you mentioned that the career switch as well. I had one of my first couple guests. His name was Garrett Spradlin. Okay, I might be pronouncing his last name wrong, but he’d actually exited higher ed for like two or three years. And the podcast amongst his own internal feelings like helped him like, apply to another job in higher ed. Okay, so he’s back in higher ed now working at Arapahoe Community College but it similar story Yeah, he got back into higher ed by the time we recorded which is interesting.

Mike Gombita
This This podcast is changing lives. You know that right?

Shiro Hatori
Oh, it’s just funny to hear that. That’s fantastic. Yeah. Oh, that’s great. Yeah. And I think, recently I’ve been covering social media a lot more. And I think Nikki’s Sundstrom also said it very well, she said, everyone thinks they’re an expert because they’re consumer of social media. But that’s not always the case. Right?

Mike Gombita
Yeah. If anybody listened to that episode, I mean, Nikki’s is a pool of knowledge. I mean, I wanted an ocean of knowledge. Let’s put it that way. Yeah. We’ve actually, we’ve actually had conversations beyond, you know, conferences and all that just to hear her out. A lot of the stuff that we’re working with today was because of her support. So that was a really good episode that you had with her.

Shiro Hatori
That’s amazing. Thank you. Yeah. And she was pretty open to the fact that hey, like, if you work in social, I don’t care if you just started or if you’re a manager, like yourself, Mike, reach it reach out to her, she has an open line of communication. And she’ll always reply back. That was one of the things she was proud of. So yeah. To anyone listening, and you’re managing social or curious about social send Nikki message or to my, because Mike will respond as well. Absolutely. That’s great. Well, talking about, you know, staying on top of things and trends. Right, let’s talk about threads and Instagram app, or by meta as well. You know, threads versus Twitter, how are you looking at implementing threads into your social media strategy? Or what are the conversations going on? I know, it’s just launched literally last week. So it’s extremely top of mind for a lot of social managers and social strategists in higher ed. But yeah, tell us more about how you’re approaching this.

Mike Gombita
Yeah. So this platform itself threats, I think it wasn’t like another in this. This is obviously what was what was going through my thought process before even you know, the hope of creating an account. But you saw this account, this threads app show up quite a bit before its launch date. And you know, it’s in do part two, that it’s ran through meta. But you know, you saw news lines, I think I saw one of the news lines that it said it was meant as Twitter killer, which very aggressive in the headline. But within that, I mean, everybody knows who has a threads account, it’s very similar to Twitter, you know, you have the opportunity to create conversations of what they’re calling it threads. They can repost or quote, or a thread, or even like or comment on the thread. And, you know, talking about it as a consumer standpoint, I don’t mind it. But I haven’t been able to be the consumer of the app, because we’re on it as the ESU threads account. And what’s been a pain about it is we are so in the infancy stages of threads. That, you know, unfortunately, social media managers like myself don’t necessarily have a true, thorough concrete strategy that allows us to actually say, this is our plan, which has been challenging, because because of the media attention because of people signing up for it, we’re always gonna get those questions of are you signing up for this platform? are you signing up for this account? With that, I think as a social media manager, there’s been a few pain points that I think a lot of my other higher ed, social fellows, or colleagues have pointed out, whether they’ve tweeted about it, there’s been a lot of articles about it, obviously, there’s been a huge talk about no accessibility within the platform itself. So there’s been no alt text options. There’s been no SRT files that you can upload for your videos. So what you would have to do is, if you want to be accessible, you have to include the alt text in the thread of the post. Or in addition to that, if you’re creating video, you have to burn in the closed captioning in order for closed captioning to be available to people with a disability involving watching video. There’s also no analytics to I think that’s obviously if you’re running social and you’re running analytics, you don’t really see the back end as far as like reach or impressions. All you just get is how many likes the thread gets itself. And then on top of that, too, there’s there’s really not a whole lot of discoverability right now, if you’re on the homepage, you’re seeing threads chronologically, and you’re also seeing thread accounts that you don’t necessarily follow. So there’s really no refinement in that opportunity to say, hey, I’m interested in let’s just say basketball. I know I see the NBA threads account a lot, but that’s just my interest but because they follow it, but if somebody wanted to look for basketball, they wouldn’t necessarily have a discoverability option like we do on a lot of other platforms. Facebook really throws about have suggested posts at you on your home feed, you’re not, you might not necessarily like the page or follow the page. But because of the algorithm, Facebook is like, you know what? You might like this page here. And here it is. And in most cases, for me, it’s mostly Star Wars on the times when you know, the Mandalorian is out, or the book of Boba Fett, like, it’s always those types of content. But then also, being a social media manager. There’s a lot of content that comes through there. So a lot of higher ed institutions show up in my suggested pages. And I’m like, Okay, well, we’ll take a look at it. But within that itself, I think, in its infancy stages of threads, the idea that a social media manager has a plan behind it, and we’re I think we’re almost coming. Yeah, like you said, like, the one week and one day anniversary of threads. What was funny, and I’m able to share this experience. We all projected that it would go out that Thursday. So I think it was Thursday, the sixth, I think it was if I can think

Shiro Hatori
it was the sixth. Yeah. But I remember because it was the day after the fourth, I think,

Mike Gombita
yeah, that’s right. So it was that Tuesday, and then Wednesday and Thursday, our days got so mixed up with that extra day in between. So it was originally gonna go out that Thursday. But for some reason, Mehta decided that they were going to launch it the night before. So they launched it around like 789 o’clock really late into the afternoon. And a lot of buzz happen within the higher ed social community. And, you know, the question was, well, what’s, what’s the strategy, and everybody’s like, we literally just created an account, we don’t even know what the platform is. So I created the account that that Wednesday night, I created both my personal one and our ESU. One, not to brag or flex here, but we’re under the million, the million account Mark, on both. That Thank you, thank you, thank you for the golf clap. The next morning, I had a team meeting at 9am. When I started the meeting, and it wasn’t necessarily me leading the meeting, it was just me being a part of it are photographers like so I see that ESU is on threads, not even having the opportunity. Cheryl, I literally had a draft ready to go in my email inbox to send to my supervisor about what is happening on Thursday. And of course, like typical social media doesn’t go your way as always. Right. So, you know, this big long conversation of like, well, what is threads? How do you get on threads? And I think so many of the social media managers around the country are being pressed as far as well, what are we going to do on this account? And I think if anybody is under those circumstances, you are able to say we need to test a few things before we get started. I mean, you can point out a lot of the the challenges that we’re facing with its infancy stages of the platform. Right, which by the way, I should say accessibility should always be part of a social platform in its building stages, it should not be an afterthought. Just

Shiro Hatori
out there, I was gonna say like, just the accessibility portion should be enough to you know, hit the brakes, at least for a little bit. But yeah, continue on.

Mike Gombita
Yeah. So even with that, with social with threads, you know, you want to test how many times can you post in a day? What time should you post? Is it best to post one photo to photo three, photo four? Is it best to post vertical video content? Is it post? Is it best to post horizontal video content? You know, the information that you deliver helps you make a better decision in that strategy. So as far as anybody who is thinking or considering creating an account, you know, as the quote, expert, you know, when you bring a guest on the show, you’re considered the expert of the podcast, but I think it’s going to take a little bit more time. However, what I will say about threads is that compared to platforms, like Tiktok, or Mastodon is another one as well. With those two platforms, you’re required to create an account, and you’re required to build that audience with threads. In cero, you shared with me? What was it today that you just created an account? Correct?

Shiro Hatori
Yes. Yeah. So I did it before this call. I’m not gonna I can at least fiddle with it and get a feel for it. Right. And I research some numbers and try to figure out how many users it has and demographic but Gotcha. Continue on. Yep. It’s still very, very new. I’m about an hour and a half in to my threads journey.

Mike Gombita
So when you went through that process, what options does it allow you for followers?

Shiro Hatori
I could immediately follow all of my Instagram, same accounts that I follow on Instagram. And when I actually created my account I already had 49 followers from my, my followers on Instagram following me already. So I know what you’re gonna say here. So yeah, tell the story here.

Mike Gombita
So so this this is obviously the first time is social media platform had this cross following on a platform. And somebody can correct me if I’m wrong, but this is the first time I’m seeing it. So really having that audience base you’re already built, you’ve already have a built audience. So if you really need to just get by with something, what I would recommend, or what I would suggest is, you know, just keep posting every day like you do, you know, or at whatever your schedule is, it’s not necessarily every day, but if you have a post that’s going out on your Facebook or Instagram, take that same content and put it over on threats, you obviously have to adjust that a little bit when it comes to the Wednesday the content but the accessibility of it, you might have to put all text in the post, but meta is giving you that opportunity to actually have an established audience. For us itself, I think we’re up to 10.6 1000 followers on Instagram, we’re up to about 700 on threads. And that it’s quick like it is a quick way to get your followers because of this connectivity between Instagram and threads. But what’s been really interesting to see is a lot of higher ed institutions are being a little bit more human. Instead of, you know, everybody likes to say you can’t talk to a building. But a lot of institutions are really bringing out their human voice. And they’re really interacting, which I think what threads is attempting to do. And this is just, you know, a prediction and an assumption is they’re really trying to build community within threads. And as I say that, community is probably the most important thing when it comes to social. And by that you’re creating this atmosphere, you’re creating this community that you’re allowed to interact with. So with that community, you know, you have that opportunity for ease of access when it comes to following your followers or vice versa. But then you’re also able to interact with them very easily because of the simplicity of the platform. Well, yeah, that’s the first time I’ve ever seen a account. say would you like to pull the followers from another account? Which I think is, is a little enticing for a lot of people who are interested in creating their account?

Shiro Hatori
Definitely, yeah, that was when I was signing up. That was like the one thing that really stood out to me, especially thinking from a lens. So this is my presumption is a lot of Twitter users were a Trump demographically, right. They were probably my in my generation, mostly a lot more millennials, right? People in their 30s and above. And I don’t think their user base for Twitter. I was trying to do a little research. But you know, I don’t have the numbers in front of me. But the Twitter users are aren’t like the Gen Z, right? They’re not the 16 to 25, which is a lot of the Democrat graphic higher ed is going after. And so if you already have an Instagram account with a large Instagram account for your institution, can you you have you’re hitting your target market? It’s a great opportunity, I think to bring some of those targeted users into a more conversational, more community based more feels like one on one conversation, like, like threads is and I thought that was a cool opportunity immediately for institutions to get on it.

Mike Gombita
I want to say sorry, I will say that for threads, because there’s been a lot of confusion. And Shiro I hope, I hope you know this. So if you create your account, and you are saying you know what, I’m really not into threads anymore. You can deactivate your account and nothing happens. But if you want to delete your account, and I’m saying this because I even said it on my threads itself and I guess a native plug. If you want to delete your threads account, you also have to delete your Instagram account. Wait a minute, what?

Shiro Hatori
Oh, man. I didn’t know that.

Mike Gombita
So be careful. You could deactivate it, but you can’t delete it.

Shiro Hatori
Okay, so what I’m hearing is if you’re in higher ed and you haven’t created your account, like know these three things before you create your account, in threads, you can’t, you can only be activated if you were to delete it, you have to delete your Instagram account. That’s a huge red flag. Number two, it’s not accessible at all. You have to create your custom all text and text. And three, I think what was the third point that you mentioned?

Mike Gombita
A tie That’s a lot, you know how Oh, the login aspect.

Shiro Hatori
So if you’re managing multiple accounts, like an Instagram, if you’re managing multiple accounts, you can switch really easily across accounts. That option is not available for threads yet. And so if you’re a manager, it can be very difficult, especially if you’re managing multiple schools, multiple units within your organization as well.

Mike Gombita
And I’m hoping that those, those updates, you know, I, you know, as we’re recording, you know, this is a timestamp into where we’re at with threads today. So I’m hoping that there is improvements that go through. But in this essence of the time right now, I think we’d need to support our social media managers, in understanding that this is a new platform, this is not only a new platform, but an additional platform on top of the other platforms that they are running. So I think just really focusing on how can I help my social media manager in understanding or how can I help them test or how can I help them give them right, the flexibility as a new account has been created? I mean, I don’t want to like throw guesses or I don’t want to, you know, I don’t want to be on a soapbox. But I do think that threads and people can come back to this episode being like Mike Iraq. I think that threads will last a decent amount of time, just because of some of the features that they are importing in with their followers and with their presence. But again, I’m not saying I’m not putting a time on it, but I I think it will grow a little bit more and improve a little bit more. But as we all know, social can just, you know, be deleted by tomorrow for all we know.

Shiro Hatori
Yeah. Oh, that’s funny. I’m actually I did some community research within higher ed social the Facebook group. Yes. Oh, goodness.

Mike Gombita
How was that?

Shiro Hatori
If you’re not? Yeah, if you’re, if you’re working in social and you’re not a part of this Facebook group, go join right now. Because it’s it’s the most active community around higher ed social. But yeah, someone was like, Hey, What’s everyone’s thoughts on threads? Is anybody still using clubhouse in parentheses, which had a billion dollar valuation when it began? And that just I have clubhouse too, but I don’t think I’ve heard the word clubhouse in a years.

Mike Gombita
Right. No, you’re 100%. Right. Yeah, maybe, you know,

Shiro Hatori
if you are getting asked by your, your, you know, your boss and your executives about what’s our plan for threads, maybe the plan is just hey, I have no, I have a strategy and a plan to test dreads for XYZ. And then I’ll come back to you and three months to see if we have an actual strategy aligns with our institutional strategy and goals as well. Yeah, maybe that’s the that’s the plan is to have a plan to test. I like how you put it.

Mike Gombita
Yep. Have a plan to plan.

Shiro Hatori
That’s great. Well, speaking of planning, right, it’s almost August. And by the time this posted next week, people will be in the thick of it, which is talking about moving their communication, orientation communication, orientation for students, right, and really committing on that first week and month of student success. Really topical right now? How are you using social media as a tool? Or are unit 100 on the right word for this as a group to help support this extremely important time in a student’s lifecycle?

Mike Gombita
Yeah, I think with social media as a whole, I think we are very quick. And this, this just goes across just you know, within the scope of higher ed in the scope of of the nation, is that we think that social media is the most impactful because that’s where all of our students are. And that’s not the case like it is part of I always say it’s part of the cog wheel that is spinning amongst the rest of the cogs in that big wheel that is allowing you to communicate to your students. So I think with one of the things with orientation, is there’s kind of like multiple directions that you need to go. Obviously, with the first direction, you know, you want to welcome the incoming students. So you got to find a ways to interact with them and make them feel like they’re part of the campus community. The second thing you need to do is you need to inform everybody about and which kind of coincides with the first point but being able to inform them as far as what is going on when it comes to moving in or when it comes to your new student orientation. And at times, which has been a little crazy, considering this is my first go around. You know, everybody says it’s not my first rodeo. Well, it is my first rodeo. So hopefully I can last a little bit longer than eight seconds. But with that you’re Getting a lot of inquiries, you’re getting a lot of questions. And obviously, with the scope of communication, there is obviously a phone number that parents and students can call if they have questions. There’s also an email that in case that, you know, they have a question they can write to you. But I think the most easy thing that students and parents alike want is they’ll just message the Facebook page, because it’s, you know, it’s the official institution of the account. And so that puts a social media manager or person like myself in the position of, okay, they have a question, how do I find the answer? And for somebody being here for only about five months at the time of this recording, it’s a little challenging, because you don’t know all the answers. And certainly, you’re still trying to figure out some of them even based on your official job title. So as far as gathering content lies, you know, I’ll just share some of the examples that we’ve been doing. So our multimedia content coordinator, Alexis has been doing some Q and A’s with the orientation leader. So it was focused more on getting involved. And then Housing and Dining, which usually in most cases are frequently asked questions during a incoming students experience coming in. We’ve also had our student photographer Taj, being able to be at those new student orientation days. Um, so over the summer, we host, we’re just finishing up, thank goodness, on eight days of New Student Orientation, not consecutively just throughout the summer, for the student to come in and get acclimated with the campus, meet with some of the campus partnerships, and then walk away with their campus ID and other questions answered. So we’ve been doing a lot of Instagram story content, we did this really fun, this or that game, which students and incoming students were able to vote on choices between this or that. So the best example and I love this example is it was either between we have this wonderful statue of her name is Julia. And Julia is dedicated to all the people who served in World War Two, I think, so dedicated to that, and the teachers and the alumni. So Julia sits very beautifully in the center of her college circle. And then there was a cow and camp, the cow in the camp library. And this was actually recommended to me by a student. So I go up to my boss, and I’m like, so what is the cow in the camp library, and she looks at me like I had six heads. And I’m like, I hope I was given to this by students. So as I was asking around, I found out that there was actually a statue of a cow in the basement of the library. Wow. So that was pitted up against that. And, and with the Instagram Stories, there’s a poll that people can vote on. I really was hoping Julia would win, but it looks like the callate camp one little disappointing, but to each their own. But then obviously, capturing content, you know, last orientation we did, we not we interviewed, but we recorded some of the deans and some of the individuals that are responsible for the academics at ESU. So they got to share who they are, put a name to a face. And then we’re also able to kind of share some words of encouragement or advice, especially at a dean or executive directors level, like bringing them down to a point where they can be in a humanistic standpoint to share advice, I thought was really resonating with some of our students. And then just making sure we’re gathering them together and making sure with those photos, that we’re posting them online, that we’re able to kind of share them amongst the students, because then the students can share them on their personal accounts. And it kind of helps out with kind of sharing to a wider audience. And of course, with that wider audience, those incoming students, they just graduated high school. So there’s an opportunity that they may be following or have followers that are high school juniors, or high school sophomores. And I think that reveals them in a little bit more. I mean, it’s a very light lift in the sense of like, we’re reaching out to a wider audience. But we’re hoping that transaction wise, we’re able to get students following the page and then they’ll continue as they go on their college search. But I think importantly, amongst all the things I think I mentioned in the beginning of that question, was having an idea with orientation. So I’ve built an amazing relationship with a working relationship with the person who’s responsible for orientation Her name is Clarissa. With that, anytime I get a random message, one message was talking about a two factor authentication for an email. For me, obviously, I don’t know. So I go to her directly, and is like, this student has a question, how can we help them. And she’s very quick and easy to respond, she’s very accessible with that. But then it gets down to those things with like move in, and how hectic days, especially when you are a state school, and not have like 400 students, but 2000 students that come in, it’s a hectic day. And at times, and as we know, when as a human, when we’re upset about a product or service, we tend to reach out to the social media channel, the poor social media manager. So getting in touch and building those partnerships. So with that community itself as a partnership, you’re able to answer a lot of questions that you don’t necessarily need to keep reaching out to the orientation person, because they’ve informed you a lot on those decisions. On those times in which students can move into a certain resident hall, where can they park? What did they need to do after because those little things will help that student in that college experience, because we all know about the experience, always leaving a good first impression. And orientation is always one of those first impressions for a college student.

Shiro Hatori
Love that I’m hearing a lot of things. So you know, if you really are creating social media strategy for moving day in orientation, what you’re really doing is one, there’s a customer service model, right, you’re you’re helping out the end consumer as well as the buyer, which is a parent or another constituent, you’re helping them. And in a customer service model. Number two, you’re also creating deeper ties with other organizations, other departments and schools within your org, which isn’t just beneficial for this period. But also, you know, throughout the school year, and for years to come. You’re also building increased engagement and awareness with new engagement users, right. So if if I’m a student, and I repost my story, my siblings and my friends who are still in high school might see them. So you’re increasing awareness and engagement, that there’s so much that goes into this right? And so that’s kind of what I’m hearing is listening to this whole stories, you’re really by collaborating on something that’s, you know, focused like this. There’s so many benefits in many different areas. And yeah, it’s funny that you point out that, when people have a question now, like, they don’t resort to the phone, or to asking someone in person, it goes straight to the DMS.

Mike Gombita
Yeah, apparently, I’m an expert in every single little thing that happens at the institutions. Right? It’s five months, five months into the drive, you know, I just I just know, and I like so

Shiro Hatori
I liked that you said that, you know, being informed with, you know, just I think we said prior to this call, like, just being really aware of what’s happening at each time in the day during orientation as a social media account manager is going to be really helpful, because you’ll probably get those basic questions around the key, like, where do I go for this? Which is the thing that everyone does, you can easily answer that you don’t have to reach out to your orientation director or VP for something like that. And, you know, that also takes a load off of them, and you’re helping each other and just cross collaborating even more. Yeah.

Mike Gombita
And then there’s also, you know, the automations. I mean, Facebook Messenger certainly has a lot of automations, or frequently asked questions, you know, if you don’t necessarily want to field those questions, let’s just say about parking, you can have orientation parking, and then you can have the automatic response. But for me coming on, I don’t think we had automatic responses besides the Hey, thanks for your message. So I think establishing those as well could be helpful in the process. If you don’t want to be fielding every time like hey, where can I park? So just just a suggestion for everybody who’s, who’s out there in the trenches of social so

Shiro Hatori
just curious out of those eight days, right of orientation that you’ve successfully completed? Like, how many messages do you think you’ve got across all your social accounts are an increase?

Mike Gombita
I mean, there definitely was a significant increase. specifically directed towards orientation. I think I remember which has been odd. I think I’ve only remember helping out at least 10 people. Okay, and that and I think that’s, that’s just Facebook alone. I’m sure there’s a lot. A few on Instagram. I’m expecting actual move in day, like, moving in, dropping the student off. The hugs the goodbyes, the tears, like emotions run i That day, of course. But I think we’ll see an uptick in our messaging around or close to our moving day.

Shiro Hatori
That’s great. Yeah. So if you don’t have time to put out a huge strategy, you know, just communicating some of those, we have like a pyramid we built with the onboarding success pyramid. And at the very bottom layer, there’s four levels, the very bottom layers, basic needs and logistics. So even just communicating the housing, timing, parking, where to park to get to your door, and to move in, that sort of information is helpful. And on the flip side, I think just being, you know, being on your account during those times, so you can help answer questions to parents and to students and to anyone, any constituents helping with moving they do just doing that you’re helping out, right? Yeah. Yes, great.

Mike Gombita
Yeah, social media is not, we’re starting to realize it’s not becoming a 24/7 job, specifically in higher ed. So if somebody messages you at 2am, I hope you don’t respond to right, you know, next business day or next day that you’re available. Yes, I’d love for you to respond. But I think just being mindful, always having that healthy work life balance, especially in social, which is somewhat challenging. You know, we always expect that immediate response. So it’s okay, if they message you at 2am that you can message them the next day. Well, not even the next day, the morning of when they messaged you at 2am. Like don’t don’t spread yourself too thin for that, because somebody would that somebody with that question like, can probably wait till the morning, unless you know, it’s code read, which very rarely happens for basically loads of questions. So

Shiro Hatori
maybe there’s ways to set up those automated messages based on time? I don’t know. And, yeah, you could try you could

Mike Gombita
do, you could turn it on other certain ways. Like you could turn it on like, but I think those are only associated with an away message. So like, if it’s the weekend, you can put that in our offices are closed, like we’ll respond back to your message on Monday. But I don’t have that turned on for ESU. But I do have a lot of the basics like I want to visit campus I want to apply. Got it, there may be an additional one because of orientation, like information about orientation move in, or whatever the characters Allow me.

Shiro Hatori
That’s great. Well, speaking of automation, I know it’s, you know, getting a little longer than our usual episode. But I love to jump in. And his topic is around AI tools. I know I covered it with Kyle Campbell, in a previous episode, but we were talking more high level around content creation. But I’m curious to hear how Mike even put implemented any AI tools into the social media strategy and content creation for specifically for social. Yeah, so

Mike Gombita
I feel like anything now, any platform, anything we talked about, there’s always an artificial intelligence component to it. We had before we were hopping on the podcast, I messaged Shiro with the Adobe podcast feature, which is something that I use very often for social content creation. And what it does is, with its artificial intelligence, or AI for short, it gives you you can upload your audio file to this website, it’s through Adobe. So it’s an official, you know, an official site. And it’s able to remove the background noise, and it’s able to make it sound like you’re in a recording studio. So when it comes to, let’s just say Instagram stories, or if I’m recording from my phone, yes, the onboard camera mic is great. But at times, using that Adobe podcast AI has been amazing and has improved results. Because I know that I can be in a somewhat medium noise level room and be able to record with my phone and still get a result that I was expecting. And expecting as far as good quality. I always say don’t let AI. I don’t wanna say manipulate, but don’t let AI control your life. And what I mean by that is don’t be too dependent on it. So as I say, you know, you can go into a medium noise level room and record somebody for a simple spotlight or a testimonial. move them to a place that you can interact with them, you can record with them. Always use that, but it’s always nice to have that in a quick pinch. As far as with content creation. I always like to say that I don’t necessarily let it take over my job. I artists, everybody says that, oh, artificial intelligence will take over your job. I don’t think artificial intelligence will take over your job. It’s just going to take over some things part of your job. It’s not going to entirely take the human out of it and say, We don’t need Mike anymore because we could just ask chat GPT either right is a few pieces of copy for social, there’s still a lot that goes into that process when making a social media posts. So for that itself, when it comes to creating content, I, there’s a trend that I do want to do is with a very royalty free Ayar, I think Adobe is still doing it again, here we go with Adobe, you’re able to generate imagery, just by a few prompts. And I’ve tried it, and I put East Stroudsburg University. And it’s come up with some very close, but yet interesting results. So there’s usually a trend that comes up and it’s like, using AI to, you know, show what East Stroudsburg University looks like to an AI. So that’s a trend that I do want to do eventually. But in most cases for my day to day when it comes to using artificial intelligence, I think one of the things that I use it for is if I’m in a craters block. So let’s just say I’m trying to create a lot of content. And there’s this post about I don’t want to keep it generic. But let’s just say we we have a new program, underwater basket weaving, which is a true pro, which is true class to take. But I don’t really know what to talk about. So in chat, GBT, I’ll write you know, write me a few examples of social media copy that’s under 280 characters, about announcing a new underwater basket weaving major. With that, it gives me those results. But very few times, I take an entire example. Usually some of the words or verbiage or sentences, usually sparse that creativity back. So it’s really helped me improve my workflow in my process. But I think I know it’s non social media related, but I love to mention this. So for this podcast interview today, I decided that I wanted to just talk all my thoughts out, and then be able to put them in a way where I can review them and then put them together. So I follow this guy. His name is Thomas Frank. He’s a notion power user notions an app that that I use very frequently when it comes to Content Scheduling, or content management, not Yeah, content management and strategy, and note taking and task management. So what he’s come up with which I was able to copy, because he showed us a tutorial was I’m able to take a voice recording. So I can literally take this episode recording podcast, if I have the actual file of it, I can upload it to a cloud, Google Drive or Dropbox base. Whisper AI, which is part of open AI, transcribes the entire video recording or audio recording, it’s usually more audio, it records the entire audio recording. And then it brings it to chat GPT. And then what it does, is it gives you a summary. It gives you a transcript, it gives you main points gives you follow up questions, and then arguments in areas and improvement. All just by talking.

Shiro Hatori
Wow, that’s amazing.

Mike Gombita
So I use this for I used it like last, you know, hand up, I’m guilty as charged last night, I was using it. And all I was doing was just talking. So I saw the questions that I saw the prompts that we were discussing. And I just talked and I talked and anything that came to mind, I brought it out, just put it out there. So instead of me writing pages of notes, I was able to talk and then I was able to put it together. So I might show you that later after the show just to show you where my mind was at with everything. So

Shiro Hatori
that’s, that’s great. Yeah, we use otter AI to transcribe all these recordings and create an accessible podcast page for all of our episodes now. Nice. We also strongly believe we should lead with accessibility. So that’s a huge priority for us and concept 3d as well. But yeah, we’re using AI tools to sort of assist that journey as well. And I like how you broke down, like taking something with a lot of text and breaking it down into smaller chunk size bits that will be good for things like social right and so definitely using that same tactic to our own marketing approach as well. Definitely super, super helpful. I’m looking for an AI tool that hopefully in the future splices these video recordings into smaller bits in a really good manner. There’s a company out there called Video of vi d YO video.ai. That allegedly does that I still need to test it. But that would be huge uplift to because if I’m thinking social media like it’ll create like five to 10 second clips would be really good for like Tik Tok. or Instagram stories in the future?

Mike Gombita
Yeah, office clips Oh, P U S clip. I’ve seen that too. You just take a youtube video and you paste it. And then it actually brings out some of the discussion, right? I know they had a beta, which you were able to do for free. But there is some cost, I think associated with it now, but it was good. I mean, I use that as a reference for you know, when I actually went in, because I run a personal podcast on the side. But going into it, like I see where all the points are. And we’ve taken some of those topics. And we’ve applied it to, you know, our content that we’re posting.

Shiro Hatori
I love that love that. It’s it’s going to be interesting. I love having this conversation. I told Kyle, it’s talking about, again, six months to see how far we’ve come. So it should be really good. Yeah, I’m very Mike working our listeners connect with you outside of the podcast.

Mike Gombita
Yeah. So if you’re really curious about what the content I’m doing today, and my job as a social media strategy manager at East Stroudsburg you can certainly follow all of our higher ed institution accounts on Facebook at East Stroudsburg University, or Twitter at es University as well as our Instagram and threads. We have a YouTube channel as well. But if you want to connect with me personally, I always love LinkedIn. That’s how Shiro and I got together for the first time was through LinkedIn. So LinkedIn, my name is Mike competa GOMBIT A. Yeah, I always love connecting with people meeting new people. And you know if anybody ever needs any help with social I’m always available for a chat or, or a coffee because you know how much I like coffee in the morning. So

Shiro Hatori
keep that in mind right here.

Mike Gombita
I wish this was coffee, but unfortunately, it’s I mean, fortunately, it’s water, which is also the second best drink in the world.

Shiro Hatori
I hear you all thanks again for joining us again. Hopefully we we have you on again and to our listeners. Thanks so much for tuning in. I’ll catch you on the next one. Thanks, everyone.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

We saw the potential of Concept3D’s platform right away, and it was amazing to see our space come to life in a fully interactive 3D map. We know the platform will improve the overall guest and attendee experience, and we’re excited for all the ways that we can use it for both internal and external needs moving forward.
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We want Rice to be a welcoming destination for art, music, lectures, food, athletic events, lectures – a great place to visit just to enjoy the beauty of our campus. [The Concept3D] mapping system will help people find those amenities and explore those opportunities.

Linda Thrane, Vice President of Public Affairs, Rice University
The CMS makes integrating our data feeds a simple, easy process. We can update our content feed once and it updates within the CMS and our map simultaneously.
Robby Sietz, Webmaster, Ole Miss

The biggest challenge for [Claremont Graduate University] was lack of a centralized map system entirely. Roughly 30 different maps existed on our website pre-[Concept3D], created by various departments to meet their own needs.

Claremont Graduate University

The new virtual campus map is particularly helpful to showcase our campus to prospective students and families who are not quite ready or able to physically visit campus. International students are a great example of a group who typically do not visit our campus before enrolling, but really value getting a birds-eye view of the place they’re considering calling home.

Admissions Director at Boise State
Vantage is committed to exceptional customer service, and the technology developed by Concept3D helps us work closely with potential clients, give them an incredible preview of the data center and offer a compelling way for them to explore the critical details of our facilities.
Steven Lim, Marketing Vice President, Vantage Data Centers
Our residents are getting more savvy with technology and they will certainly appreciate a tool that guides them from location to location on our campus. Concept3D’s wayfinding capability was the immediate draw for us, but the map and interactive media have been valuable for depicting a bird’s eye view in print materials, or when scheduling an onsite visit. Residents, visitors and even staff find a lot of utility and functionality in Concept3d, and we often hear compliments about our beautiful map.
Mike Haber, Digital Media Manager, Shell Point
Concept3D’s photospheres really allow us to show rather than tell what separates our studios from others.
Corepower Yoga

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