Welcome to the new website for the Your Digital Marketing Coach podcast!
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.


spk_0:   0:05
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, consultant, founder of Maximized Social Business, The Social Media Centre of Excellence and the Social Tool Summit. Neil Shaper Everybody, this is Neil Shaper and welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Social. Those of you that have been listening through all of my podcast know that I prefer to talk about those subjects. Those experiences dear to my heart that 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 the home office here in Orange County, California Irvine, where, yes, the weather is a cool Down into the eighties, I'm in shorts and T shirt, but today I'm talking to someone from the other side. The United States were really, really cold, who are really excited to meet for the first time at the upcoming Social Tool Summit in Boston on April 12. J. Shemenski from Harvard Medical J. Welcome to maximize your social.

spk_1:   1:25
Hey, Neal, thanks for having me.

spk_0:   1:28
Hey, 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 and social media?

spk_1:   1:36
Yes. So, um, 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 Ah, government history, a typical liberal arts policy, like major. And when I left school, I, um I took a job with AARP, actually, and I was working with, um state legislative issues and national legislative issues, federal legislative issues and direct lobbying and working with the Massachusetts, uh, members of Congress and State Legislature. And at that time, we were very much a, um, a direct lobbying organization, and still are, I would assume, but I saw an opportunity to engage with our constituents and start getting, um, the people that were advocating for involved with our work and our lobbying and legislative work. Uh, so we at the time we're working with an advocacy and email actually program called convenio. And that was like I said, an opportunity that that I noticed that we could start engaging people and kind of with a soft touch have them be brought to speed with what we're working on. Potentially contact their legislators. Andi 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 numbers side of things. Seeing how you could segment groups, you could start to see how people engaged with your messages, what messages they were engaging with toe what extent what issues they were interested in and being able to really be hyper targeted, um, with our email program to then drive greater results. And

spk_0:   3:37
I know we haven't gotten your social, but I just want to comment on that. I think it's really interesting those that come from digital background, the approach, the social, um you know, as you know, from e mails, you're never gonna get well. You might if it's very, very targeted. What have you might get a 60 70% open raid and that 20% click great. But in general, And, you know, I think you did read. The numbers are going down, you know, 10 to 20% open rate, 2 to 3% click through rate. So when people are angry about facebook, edge drink changes and Twitter algorithm changes. And you know, only one out of every 100 or seen my posts on Facebook. It reminds us sort of the Norman email marketing, doesn't it?

spk_1:   4:15
Yeah. Yeah. And, um yeah, it's the same. I mean, even now, looking at social media and looking at how you can start work with native ads and paid ads targeting to certain audiences, it's really the same principles. It's really just you know how much you know about, um, particular users and how you can engage with them and increase the engagement? Um, yeah. So that's really where I got my start on the digital side. And, um, but I was very focused within email, and, um and my job was still split between the direct lobbying and going up the statehouse. We're going down to Washington, D. C, um, in the email side, and I decide. I really want to move Maur on the digital room, and that meant folding social intuit that meant CEO and search engine marketing and so on. So I moved on from Air P and took a job with a small nonprofit in the Boston area. Um, and that allowed me to bring in much more the other digital properties. And so I started to get experience with Google AdWords. Um, so some PPC search engine marketing, like I said, um CEO and in the social, the social side. And as I became more involved in all of those different pieces gain those experiences, I really started gravitating much more towards social. I thought that that had it was kind of the area that had the most potential. And it was also the area that to me, seemed like it was growing the fastest, Uh, and the most kind of out on the front. Uh, I guess the front here, you know, the frontier of what we were doing. Um and so I started integrating social much more into what we were doing into our fundraising and 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 fund raising goal and really built out social program through the nonprofit. And then after doing that, um, 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. You know, brand reputation and Thio help foster engagement with the brand and maintain the brand. That's kind of the short, the short end of how I got where I'm at.

spk_0:   6:56
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 in and do more. Social is part of your work. Do you have any advice for them as to how you were successful in doing that?

spk_1:   7:20
Yeah, I think it's everything that you work with. You're gonna pick up bits and pieces that enhance that singular focus. So, for instance, um being successful on social are using social. You need to know Google analytics, and you need to know how what you're doing on social is tracking thio a business goal or to a bottom line, how you can follow, um, 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 I'm 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 Arli of social and the impact that social having and how it influences all the other pieces. I mean, having a strong social program is important for again a brand recognition that toppled from wearing this top of mind awareness those types of things, but it's also going to boost. Your CEO is also going to boost your search engine marketing and contribute in other ways and being able to have that whole picture and have experience with all those other things. I think it's very important and you know, uh, kind of as it did for me. And I think, as a will for most people, you gravitate toward what you like working with. And it kind of happens naturally and organically as well.

spk_0:   8:45
Yeah, as you say that it's funny because last night I just launched a instagram account for maximize social business and with Neil Shape for my own INSTAGRAM account. My personal. When I'm not really looking for all I would maximize social business, I thought, you know, let's see how much Web traffic looking Jennifer Instagram, And then I go into Google X and realize that it's not, You know, Google analytics is not property measure that there's a way of actually measuring that, which, I'm sure, you know, create a special. You are Alan and they are come from Your Honor, redirect, and you can figure that out. But I'm sure you're sure you're an expert at doing that. But it's 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 gonna be different in your business objectives. So before we get into, you know, I I definitely want to talk a little bit about what you plan to talk about at the Social Tool Summit because you're gonna be on a specific panel. But before we get to that, I really want understand? And obviously, you know, we don't have an Indian 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 different business objectives that every company is gonna have for social media. What is important to Harvard Medical School in terms of, you know, their use of social media?

spk_1:   9:55
Yeah, our use of social is kind of an interesting case because it's really focused in on you know, where school were 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. Um and then we're really working at building our brand within the industry so that we are synonymous with 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, uh, universities or colleges of the whole they're trying to drive when you're looking at potentially admissions are creating revenue streams Or, uh, 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.

spk_0:   11:08
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 our other medical experts, other institutions that that's sort of the community that you're targeting.

spk_1:   11:21
Yeah, so we were kind of looking at We're looking at two communities were looking at the people that are interested in going into the medical field on, 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 21 2 adult professionals, um, but those those really are the two buckets that we're looking at

spk_0:   11:49
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 you're KP eyes. What? What are the things that your management looks at in terms of deciding whether or not your program is vessel?

spk_1:   12:10
Yes. So that is very interesting because, like I said, we're not tied into sales or something along those lines where you have that bomb line and you're saying all right, we're doing this work and it needs to ultimately, you know, something somewhere down the road contribute to sales, cost of acquisition and the types of elements with us, we take more of, ah, competitive analysis, look and say, What's our share voice? What's our share of engagement? Um, are we driving more attention than our competitors within the field? Um, 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 that?

spk_0:   13:07
So combination of benchmark in your own efforts with direct comparative with other similar institutions with sort of sure a voice in a broader comparison with that industry. That's all really, really great advice that hopefully you're all taking notes as we listen to this. When I reached out to you and I was impressed with your background, your experience, as you know, the social tool. Some is divided into seven sessions, and we really tried to bring out a subject that is top of mind with the emos. VPs of social VP is a digital in terms of the pain point with social media in 2016 1 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 influence of marketing and content. Marketing and social are wise well, but when I asked you well that you tell everybody what your response was in terms of the session that you wanted to be on.

spk_1:   13:57
Yeah, the, um what I'm really keyed into and excited about is, uh, visual social and how people and organizations could be using images. Video Thio really tell their story in a much more emotional way. In a much more connected way. Um, 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 in 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, uh, institutions, organizations are driving through scientific discovery and through medicine. Um, and that wasn't an area where we could really develop a differentiated story about what we're doing here. And, you know, potentially connect to audiences in a deeper way and also reach, um, some new audiences and outside of the norms of what our competitors were 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 in our community, Um, and then, you know, beyond just visual, starting to think about how we can incorporate video of live streaming into events, replacing maybe Twitter, chat with live streaming, replacing um, am A's and those types of things with live streaming to really again Dr that deeper connection.

spk_0:   15:53
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 leadership in the industry, I think to a lot of social media marketers immediately, like blood pop posts, long form content. And that's what it comes in the 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 could give us for other organizations, maybe be to be organizations or institution similar to the Harvard Med school that do not have what I like to call that visual voice, what would be two or three chips that you can provide them on how to develop that and developed visual content that helps them eat their objective as well, as, well be engaging with their audience?

spk_1:   16:35
Yeah, so I mean, when when we started it, 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 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 audience is 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, uh, value. And like I said before differentiated story from your competitors, uh, through through images and even even for us, I mean off off the top of your head. It kind of seems like a nebulous concept. You know? What can a medical school really show you? What is there to show? And, um and what story comes out of that and I in looking at what we had available too often 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 a relatability and a story behind them. that either has real world implications or is something that people can relate Thio. And that makes us harp on the same word. Relatable, but also much more accessible than I think. A lot of people off the bat think of Harvard Medical School.

spk_0:   18:22
That's awesome. I love to move forward. You first need to take a step back, don't you? This has been really awesome, Jake. 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 enjoy this conversation, these are the types of conversations that the Social Tool Summit is really all about. So I hope you'll join me in Boston on April 12th. Go to social tool summit dot com. 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.

spk_1:   18:53
Oh, yeah. So, um, on Twitter, my handle is J the letter J. And then Shemenski. My last name s h e m E N s k i and You can also find me on Lengthen J. Szymanski, Jay Sherman si dot com and I think that should cover it.

spk_0:   19:11
That's all from 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 that I'll be doing in March, April May. So stay tuned for podcast coming from, or 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 about 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 Centre of Excellence at Social Media, c o e dot com, as well as meals. Social Media Conference, The Social Tools Summit coming to Boston on April 12