Lessons from Princeton University’s Social Media Day

Every year, dozens of headlines go viral, each sharing the story of a social media gaffe that has caused an employee their job, an athlete their endorsements or scholarships, or a company or university unwelcomed PR.

These headlines make for a few good laughs, but they also mask the wealth of opportunities that social media offers college students in their quest for a breakthrough internship or first job opportunity.
At Princeton University, however, students, as well as faculty, staff, and alumni, are getting a valuable education on the tips, tricks, and virtues of social media when it comes to personal and professional branding.

That’s in large part due to the efforts of Eva Kubu, Director of Princeton University’s Career Services office and “Fairy Job Mother.” Eva, in conjunction with her Career Services team, Princeton alumni, and social media ambassadors across campus, hosted Princeton’s first Social Media Day in December 2015, and recently hosted its second iteration this past March.

Kubu describes Princeton’s Social Media Day as a “campus-wide professional development conference designed to bring together the entire community.” Kubu says there is a strong emphasis on learning, sharing, connecting, and “trying to collectively raise the bar in all the ways that we use social media for personal and professional branding, as well as institutional storytelling at Princeton.”

Fresh off of hosting Princeton’s 2017 Social Media Day, Kubu joined the Hashtag Higher Ed podcast to chat about the structure of the event, the importance of educating students on social media, the way Social Media Day helps students build connections with Princeton alumni, and the surprising audience that lined up to have professional headshots taken as part of the event.

On the Structure of the Event:

“We offer a full day of education programming, including talks and panels by experts in the industry as well as leaders across campus and within our alumni community. We also had grab and go features, like on-the-spot profile check-ups by social media doctors and free headshot photos happening all day long. We really wanted to plan this all-day conference so that we would be able to accommodate all levels of social media expertise and involve everyone in the sharing of best practices, tips, tools, and tactics and really practical ways that we could facilitate connections between members of the Princeton community.”

On the Importance of the Event:

“Given the trends in social recruiting happening across the globe (Kubu says roughly 90% of recruiters are using social media as part of the recruiting process, according to studies), understanding social media as professionals has become more critical than ever for all of us. Not just students, but faculty, staff, and alumni. Because these are our key stakeholders and active partners with the career center in helping students navigate the career exploration process and in building and cultivating networks and connections that create access to opportunities for our students.”

On Educating Digitally Savvy Students

“It is important to educate students about their digital footprint early on, as early as when they are in middle school or high school. We are actually seeing more of this type of advising happening as high school students are beginning their college applications. So while we partner with our office of information technology to advise students about privacy settings and other ways they can monitor their online reputation, by their freshman and sophomore years, the focus really becomes helping students use social media intentionally and strategically to build their personal and professional brand and their network of professional connections.”

Eva Kubu’s Social Shout Outs

Sree Sreenivasan: Chief Digital Officer, New York City

Follow Sree on Twitter at: @Sree

“Over the course of several years, I became acquainted with Sree, and in fact, he was part of the inspiration of Social Media Day at Princeton. He hosts a social media weekend every year, and I attended one of his events and was so inspired. He and I came up with this event literally over the course of our weekend conversations. Last year, he was one of our keynote speakers; he was so gracious and spent the entire day with us sharing his advice and his tips.”

Jeremy Podany: Colorado State University

Follow Jeremy on Twitter at: @jeremypodany

“Jeremy recently launched the Career Leadership Collective, a community of contributors within the field of career services. Individuals who are doing innovative things, extraordinary things, within the field to help push the envelope and lead large-scale change efforts on their campuses, all with the goal of making the career center experience extraordinary for students and helping to shape a new direction for our field. I would encourage everyone to check out the [Career Leadership Collective] blog”

Ryan Maguire: Princeton University

Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @ryjmag

“He was such a helpful partner in Social Media Day. He is an absolute fount of wisdom when it comes to social media engagement in higher ed. He has spoken at so many conferences, across the country and around the globe.”

My sincere gratitude to Eva Kubu for joining the Hashtag Higher Ed podcast. You can find Eva on Twitter at @Eva_Kubu or by searching Twitter for #FairyJobMother. You can listen to this episode on Soundcloud, iTunes, Google Music, or wherever podcasts are found. To explore previous episodes of the Hashtag Higher Ed podcast and sign up for alerts regarding new episodes, visit our Hashtag Higher Ed hub.