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Feb. 24, 2016

128: How Harvard Medical School Does Visual Social [Jay Shemenski Interview]

128: How Harvard Medical School Does Visual Social [Jay Shemenski Interview]

Today Neal is mixing it up with an interview as he gets ready to hit the road again in the next couple of months. He’s talking to someone he’ll be meeting at the upcoming Social Tools Summit in Boston, Jay Shemenski, who is the Digital Manager of the Harvard Medical School. Listen in to hear him talk about how he got to Harvard Medical School, what his goals are in managing their social, and what he’s looking forward to talking to at the Social Tools Summit.

Key Highlights

[01:09] Introduction of Podcast Guest, Jay Shemenski

[01:36] Jay's Journey To Social Media Marketing

[05:18] Getting Experience In Google AdWords, PPC, and  SEO

[07:16] Jay's Advice For Social Media Practitioners

[09:43] The Use Of Harvard Medical School In Social Media

[11:26] Who Are Jay's Target Audiences?

[12:03] Elements To Look At To Decide Iff A Program Is Possible

[13:52] Social Tool Summit Session That Jay Wanted To Be On

[16:22] Tips On Developing Visual Content

[18:50] Connect With Jay

Notable Quotes

  • I mean, even now looking at social media, and looking at how you can start to work with native ads and paid ads, and targeting to certain audiences. It's really the same principles. It's really just, you know, how much you know about particular users and how you can engage with them and increase that engagement.
  • I think it's, you know, everything that you work with, you're going to pick up bits and pieces that enhance that singular focus. 
  • So I think getting that broad base is very important, because nothing happens in a vacuum. And you're going to need to know how all the different pieces work together, in order for you to be able to demonstrate the ROI of social and the impact that social is having, and how it influences all the other pieces.
  • With us, we take more of a competitive analysis look and say, what's our share of voice? What's our share of engagement? You know, are we driving more attention than our competitors within the field? And then even kind of keeping an eye outside just the medical education field, and really just science media as a whole?
  • What I'm really keyed into and excited about is, is visual, social, and how people in organizations can be using images, video to really tell their story in a much more emotional way, in a much more connected way.
  • But I think one thing that was really lacking within our field is visually connecting the stories and the change that institutions organizations are driving through scientific discovery and through medicine. And that was an area where we could really develop a differentiated story about what we're doing here and you potentially connect to audiences in a deeper way, and also reach some new audiences. 
  •  So I think, really, the first step is taking a step back and assessing where you are in the field that you're working within, and where you can create value. And like I said, before, a differentiated story from your competitors, through images.
Transcript

Neal Schaffer:

Welcome to maximize your social actionable advice on how your business can maximize your social media presence. Now, the host of maximize your social, social media author, speaker, and saltan, founder of maximize social business, his social media center of excellence, and the social tool Summit, Neal Schaffer. Hey, everybody, this is Neal Schaffer. And welcome to another episode of maximize your social. Those of you that have been listening through all of my podcasts, know that I prefer to talk about those subjects, those experiences dear to my heart, and I'm passionate about that experience when I speak when I get questions from clients, or what have you. But some of the time, especially when I'm on the road, I like to mix it up with interviews of the social leaders that I meet. Well, today, I'm coming to you from our home office here in Orange County, California, Irvine, where yes, the weather is cool down in the 80s. I'm in shorts and T shirt. But today, I'm talking to someone that's from the other side, the United States where it's really, really cold, who I'm really excited to meet for the first time at the upcoming social tools summit in Boston. On April 12, Jay Szymanski from Harvard Med School Jay, welcome to maximize your social,

Jay Shemenski:

Neil, thanks for having me. Yeah,

Neal Schaffer:

you know, everybody knows about me, no one knows about you. So why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about you and your journey in social media?

Jay Shemenski:

Yes, so my journey actually started about five or six years ago, and it was really through email marketing that I got started in kind of the digital marketing field and moving into social. So I actually, when I was an undergrad, I studied government history, a typical liberal arts, poly sigh, Psych major. And when I left school, I, I took a job with a RP actually, and I was working with state legislative issues and national legislative issues, federal legislative issues, and direct lobbying, and working with the Massachusetts members of Congress and state legislature. And at that time, we were very much a direct lobbying organization, and still are, I would would assume, but I saw an opportunity to engage with our constituents and start getting the people that we're advocating for involved with our work and our lobbying and legislative work. So we at the time, we're working with an advocacy and email advocacy program called convenio. And that was, like I said, an opportunity that that I noticed that we could start engaging people in kind of with a soft touch, have them be brought to speed with what we were working on, potentially contact their legislators in support, the work that we're doing, and really, the more I got into that, the more it just almost kind of became like an addiction, I, I really enjoyed the number side of things, seeing how you could segment groups, you can start to see how people engage with your messages, what messages they were engaging with, to what extent what issues they were interested in, and being able to really be hyper targeted with our email program to then drive greater results. And

Neal Schaffer:

I know we haven't gotten your social, but I just wanted to comment on that. I think it's really interesting. Those that come from digital background, the approach to social, you know, as you know, from emails, you're never going to get well you might if it's very, very targeted, and what have you, you might get a 60 70% open rate and a 20% click rate. But in general, and I you know, I think you'd agree the numbers are going down, you know, 10 to 20%, open rate two to 3%. Click through rate. So, when people are angry about, you know, Facebook EdgeRank changes and Twitter algorithm changes, and you know, only one out of every 100 have seen my posts on Facebook. It reminds me of sort of the Norman email marketing, doesn't it?

Jay Shemenski:

Yeah, yeah. And, yeah, and it's the same. I mean, even now looking at social media, and looking at how you can start to work with native ads and paid ads, and targeting to certain audiences. It's really the same principles. It's really just, you know, how much you know about particular users and how you can engage with them and increase that engagement. So yeah, so that's really where I got my start on the digital side. And but I was very focused within email and, and my job was still split between the direct lobbying and going up to the statehouse or going down to Washington, DC, and email side and I decided I really wanted to move more on the digital realm and that meant, you know, folding social into it. That meant SEO and search engine marketing and so on. So I moved on from AARP and took a job with a small nonprofit in the Boston area. And that allowed me to bring in much more the other digital properties. And so I started to get experience with Google AdWords. So some PPC, Search Engine Marketing, like I said, SEO and, and the social the social side. And as I became more involved in all of those different pieces, in gain those experiences, I really started to gravitate much more towards the social, I thought that that had, it was kind of the the area that had the most potential. And it was also the area that, to me seemed like it was growing the fastest. And the most kind of out on on the front, I guess, the frontier, you know, the frontier of what we're doing. And so I started integrating social much more into what we were doing into our fundraising and in trying to move people through kind of a buyer journey for, for growing engagement with our advocacy, but then ultimately pushing that through to a fundraising goal, and really built out a social program through the nonprofit. And then after doing that, you know, I zeroed in on the social element and moved over to Harvard Medical School, where I'm at now, really focusing in on the social side and using social to build or enhance brand reputation, and to help foster engagement with the brand and maintain the brand. So that's kind of the short, the short end of how I got to where I'm at.

Neal Schaffer:

That's awesome, Jay. So I know, there's a lot of people listening to this podcast that are awful social media practitioners, there are some that are really passionate about social, but perhaps their job is not fully social. And maybe they want to move in the same direction that you've been able to move and do more social as part of your work. Do you have any advice for them as to how you were successful in doing that?

Jay Shemenski:

Yeah, I think it's, you know, everything that you work with, you're going to pick up bits and pieces that enhance that singular focus. So, for instance, being successful on social or using social, you need to know Google Analytics, and you need to know how what you're doing on social is tracking to a business goal, or to a bottom line and how you can follow the leads that you're creating, or the traffic that you're creating, or the sentiment that you're creating, and really what that means and what you're able to achieve through that. So I think getting that broad base is very important, because nothing happens in a vacuum. And you're going to need to know how all the different pieces work together, in order for you to be able to demonstrate the ROI of social and the impact that social is having, and how it influences all the other pieces. I mean, having a strong social program is important for again, that brand recognition that top of funnel awareness, top of mind awareness, those types of things, but it's also going to boost your SEO, and it's also going to boost your search engine marketing. And so and contribute in other ways, and being able to have that whole picture and, and have experience with all those other things, I think is very important. And, you know, kind of as it did for me, and I think as well, for most people, you gravitate toward what you like working with, and it kind of happens naturally and organically as well.

Neal Schaffer:

Yeah, yeah. As you say that it's funny, because last night, I just launched a Instagram account for maximize social business. And with Neal Schaffer, my own Instagram account, my personal one, I'm not really looking for ROI with maximize social business, I thought, you know, let's see how much web traffic we can generate from Instagram. And then I go into Google, and realize that it's not, you know, Google Analytics is not properly measured, that there's a way of actually measuring that which I'm sure you know, create a special URL on. And they are custom, you're on a redirect, and you can figure that out. But I'm sure you're sure you're an expert at doing that. But it's so true, we do get back to the analytics, and especially Google Analytics. So I think that's really awesome advice. So you know, every company is going to be different in your business objectives. So before we get into, you know, I definitely want to talk a little bit about what you plan to talk about at the social tool Summit, because you're going to be on a specific panel. But before we get to that, I really want to understand and obviously, you know, we don't have an NDA in place. And I don't want you to talk about things that are going to get you in trouble. But can you give the listeners an idea, you talked about the different business objectives that every company is going to have for social media, what is important to Harvard Medical School in terms of, you know, their use of social media?

Jay Shemenski:

Yeah, our use of social is kind of an interesting case because it's really really focused in on, you know, we're a school, we're not the university. So we're hyper focused within an industry for, for lack of a better term. So that, that gives us a little bit of a value proposition. And then we're really working at building our brand within the industry. So that we are synonymous with, you know, pioneering discoveries within the medical field, pioneering medical education, and really creating a community of leadership in the best and brightest within within the field. Where a little bit different from I think, what universities or colleges as a whole are trying to drive when you're looking at potentially admissions or creating revenue streams, or, let's say, promoting sporting events or those types of things. There's, there's a few more elements that come into play there. But with us, it's really the brand recognition, reputation and what we're contributing to the world of medicine and science.

Neal Schaffer:

Also, it's almost it's really about thought leadership. And it sounds like the people that you're trying to impress that thought leadership on are other medical experts, other institutions, is that is that sort of the community that you're targeting?

Jay Shemenski:

Yeah, so we were kind of looking at, we're looking at two communities, we're looking at the people that are interested in going into the medical field, and then also the people that are in the medical field. So you know, if you're thinking of that, from an age demographic, maybe 15 to 21 year old, and then you're 21, to adult professionals. But those those really are the two buckets that we're looking at,

Neal Schaffer:

when you report back to your management then and I love this conversation, because I've worked with nonprofits and with other organizations where it's not just the bottom line, there's a lot of things they look out to determine success, right. It all depends what your KPIs are, what are the things that your management looks at in terms of deciding whether or not your program is

Jay Shemenski:

possible? Yes. So that is, it's very interesting, because like I said, we're not tied into sales or something along those lines, where you have that bottom line, and you're saying, Alright, we're doing this work, and it needs to ultimately, some somewhere down the road, contribute to sales, cost of acquisition. And in those types of elements. With us, we take more of a competitive analysis look and say, what's our share of voice? What's our share of engagement? You know, are we driving more attention than our competitors within the field? And then even kind of keeping an eye outside just the medical education field, and really just science media as a whole? And are we driving a conversation the same way that some publications are Scientific American, Popular Science, wired publications like

Neal Schaffer:

that? Often so combination of benchmarking your own efforts with direct comparative with other similar institutions with sort of show a voice and a broader comparison with with that industry, I thought, that's all really, really great advice that hopefully, you're all taking notes as we listen to this podcast. So today, when I reached out to you, and I was impressed with your background, your experience, as you know, the social tools, some is divided into seven sessions, and we really try to bring out subject that is Top of Mind with CMOS VPs of social VPs and digital in terms of their pain points with social media in 2016. One of them well, we'll get to what it is, but when I asked you and you can imagine, you know, we talked about employee advocacy and influencer marketing and content marketing and, and social ROI as well. But when I asked you Well, I'll let you tell everybody what your response was in terms of the session that you wanted to be on?

Jay Shemenski:

Yeah, the what I'm really keyed into and excited about is, is visual, social, and how people in organizations can be using images, video to really tell their story in a much more emotional way, in a much more connected way. So that is something that I'm really keyed in on probably since, you know, midway through last year, and then looking looking forward into this year, and even maybe even 2017 depending on how things develop. But I think one thing that was really lacking within our field is visually connecting the stories and the change that institutions organizations are driving through scientific discovery and through medicine. And that was an area where we could really develop a differentiated story about what we're doing here and you potentially connect to audiences in a deeper way, and also reach some new audiences. And outside of the norms of what our competitors were, we're reaching. So we really started focusing in on the visual elements of what we're doing and incorporating visuals with everything, all the news that's coming out of the school, the types of events that are happening at the school, our leadership, our faculty, our staff, and our community. And then, you know, beyond just visuals starting to think about how we can incorporate video and live streaming into events, you know, replacing maybe Twitter chats with live streaming, replacing amas, and those types of things with live streaming, to really, again, drive that deeper connection.

Neal Schaffer:

Wow, that's great. And, you know, when we were talking, and you know, when I sort of said, it sounds like you're trying to aim for thought leadership in the industry, I think, to a lot of social media, marketers immediately, sort of like blog posts and long form content. And, and that sort of comes into mind, not the visual. So I'm really curious. And obviously, well, you'll have to go to the social tool summit to hear the whole story. But if you can give us for other organizations, maybe b2b organizations or institutions similar to the Harvard Med School that do not have what I like to call that visual voice, what would be two or three tips that you can provide them on how to develop that and develop visual content that helps them meet their objectives, as well as will be engaging with their audience?

Jay Shemenski:

Yeah, so I mean, when when we started, it was really like, stepping back to square one, and thinking holistically about what our objectives are, or where and what we're really trying to get across. So we had to think about even the simplest things, what is our what's our visual identity? What's our brand identity? What's our what's our tone? What are the types of images that we want to show and messages that we want to be showing to our audiences. So I think, really, the first step is take is taking a step back and assessing where you are the field that you're working within, and where you can create a value. And like I said, before, a differentiated story from your competitors, through through images. And even even for us, I mean, off the off the top of your head, it kind of seems like a nebulous concept. You know, what can a medical school really show, you know, what is there to show and, and what story comes out of that. And I, you know, in looking at what we had available to us, and the types of stories and news that was coming out of the school, I think we were really able to come up with compelling visuals that aren't just compelling because they're, they're nice to look at. But there's also relatability, and a story behind them that either has real world implications, or is something that people can relate to. And that makes us to harp on the same word relatable, and but also much more accessible than I think a lot of people off the bat think of Harvard Medical School.

Neal Schaffer:

That's awesome. I love to move forward, you're first need to take a step back, don't you? This has been really awesome. Jay. You know, I think we could go on for an hour with this conversation, and share all your experiences. But as you all know, I do like to keep these podcasts short and sweet. If you enjoyed this conversation this these are the types of conversations that the social tools Summit is really all about. So I hope you'll join me in Boston and April 12. Go to social tools summit calm. Jay, I want to thank you for being my guest. I look forward to meeting you in Boston. How can others find you in social media? Tell us some links of yours.

Jay Shemenski:

Oh, yeah. So on Twitter, my handle is j the letter J and then Szymanski, my last name shemen. SK AI and you can also find me on LinkedIn J Szymanski, Jason Matthew calm, and I think that should cover it.

Neal Schaffer:

That's awesome. Jay, thank you so much. And you know, a lot of you enjoy my podcast where I'm sort of in a foreign country. I've been in well, let's put it this way. I've been getting my battery ready for these travels. And I'll be doing in March, April, May. So stay tuned for Podcast coming from more exciting destinations other than my home office, when the time comes. But until then, Jay thanks again. And wherever you are in the world, make it a great social day. Bye everybody. Thanks for listening to maximize your social. We appreciate all of your iTunes subscriptions ratings and comments. Please also make sure to check out Neil's new community, the social media Center of Excellence at social media ce o e.com. As well as Neil's social media conference, this social tool Summit, coming to Boston on April 12.