Vanderbilt University Social Media Specialist – Strategic Communications in Nashville, Tennessee

Social Media Specialist – Strategic Communications (Job Number: 1801618)


About the position

The Social Media Specialist works in the Office of Strategic Communications at Vanderbilt University and is responsible for the creation and distribution of engaging social media content across the institution’s priority platforms. This position creates, edits and produces content such as video, text, photos and graphics as needed in accordance with the University’s strategic and communications plans, and in coordination with current branding and marketing initiatives, and the latest digital tools and trends.

About the Work Unit

The Office of Strategic Communications designs and executes integrated communications strategies to protect and enhance Vanderbilt’s local, national and international reputation, and positions the university as one of world’s leading academic research institutions across a variety of digital and traditional channels.

About Vanderbilt University

Vanderbilt is a renowned private institution founded in 1873 and located in the heart of Nashville, Tennessee. The university’s students, faculty, and staff frequently cite Nashville and the surrounding area as one of the many perks of being a part of the Vanderbilt community. Vanderbilt University is a place where your expertise will be valued, your knowledge expanded, and your abilities challenged. It is a place where your diversity is sought and celebrated. It is a place where employees know they are part of something bigger than themselves, take exceptional pride in their work and never settle for what was good enough yesterday. Vanderbilt was recently named the “best large employer” in Tennessee and a top employer for women by Forbes , ranked #1 in the Princeton Review among 384 top colleges and universities for having the best financial aid in the nation – as well as #3 for “happiest students,” “quality of life” and “beautiful campus,” #4 for both being in a “college city that students love” and for having “great campus/city relations.”

About Vanderbilt Benefits

In addition to offering a lively community that encourages learning and celebrates diversity, Vanderbilt University offers a competitive, flexible benefits package including health, dental, vision, life, accidental death & dismemberment, disability insurance, paid time off, and a 403(b) retirement plan with employer match. Vanderbilt offers tuition assistance to employees, spouses and dependent children. Also, after five years of service, Vanderbilt will pay up to 55% of the tuition for up to three dependent children to earn a bachelor's degree. Learn more about Vanderbilt's benefits at VU Benefits Overview at .

Key Functions and Expected Performance

  • Works with Office of Strategic Communications leadership, public affairs officers, videographers, and other members of the social media team to develop, create and distribute engaging and relevant content across Vanderbilt’s flagship social media accounts.

  • Contributes to social media efforts for Vanderbilt University’s primary accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media platforms, including writing and posting to the social media accounts, shooting and editing videos, creating graphics and gifs, researching content and more.

  • Serves on the social media team rotation, taking turns monitoring and responding to social media conversations to engage with target audiences, including on nights and weekends.

  • Closely monitors critical social media conversations, gathering data and responding as needed or alerting colleagues to issues needing attention; provides customer service to Vanderbilt’s online community.

  • Coordinates content and communications efforts with other VU areas, including Admissions, Athletics and others across campus.

  • Stays abreast of emerging social media trends and platforms, and makes recommendations to adjust strategies and tactics as appropriate

  • Works with the Director, Social Media, to translate the Office of Strategic Communications and the Division of Communications’ internal and external initiatives and plans into cutting-edge social media content and engagement tactics.

  • Uses the latest social media measuring and monitoring tools to make decisions and recommend tactical and strategic changes, including overseeing the timely and thorough delivery of key priority analytics, reports and metrics as needed.

  • As part of daily activities, monitors, measures and reports on social media content performance and engagement; monitors social media conversations, responding as needed or alerting colleagues to issues needing attention; compiles regular reports on social media performance; makes tactical recommendations based on data collected

  • Plays a key role in social media issues management; works with the Director, Social Media and other key stakeholders in Strategic Communications, tracking issues and risks via social media monitoring tools; provides thorough written and verbal updates on projects to stakeholders across the division, including the leadership team, as needed; works with the departmental leadership to handle sensitive and/or highly visible issues, requiring a high degree of discretion and sound news judgement

  • Works to engage influencers through social media content and proactive conversation management.

  • Develops engagement-ready video, photos and graphics for the university’s social media channels.

  • Works with the Video and Media Relations teams to package and share research and other institutionally prioritized content with news media and key influencers through digital and social media channels.

  • Directly engages with social media-based video and content outlets to disseminate Vanderbilt stories.

Supervisory Relationships

This position does not have supervisory responsibility; the position reports administratively to the Director of Social Media.

Education and Certifications

  • A Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education is necessary.

Experience and Skills

  • At least three years of experience in marketing, communications, social media, journalism or related field is necessary.

  • A track record of success in online communications is necessary.

  • Demonstrate excellent news judgment, excellent written communications skills, and excellent sense of what is appropriate for the brand is strongly preferred.

  • Ability to manage own production and editing schedules, coordinate with the division’s public affairs officers, communicate comfortably with various internal audiences outside of the Division of Communications, such as faculty and staff is preferred.

  • Demonstrated awareness of the latest social media trends, platforms and outcomes is necessary.

  • An ability to demonstrate and communicate about the role social media plays in the larger communications plan for a department, school, university and brand is necessary.

  • Experience in Google Analytics and listening tools such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck is necessary.

  • Experience with Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere and After Effects is necessary.

  • Experience shooting and editing video is preferred.

Key Characteristics of a Successful Team Member in this Work Unit

Adaptability – Reads cues and adapt accordingly. Adjusts style and approach to accommodate the styles and needs of others. Can anticipate and effectively de-escalate potential conflicts.

Creative Thinking – Goes beyond the boundaries of the job description, willingly takes on new challenges, finds creative solutions rather than always awaiting direct instructions

Helpful Nature – Offers to help lighten the load for others in times of need. Volunteers rather than waiting to be asked. Understands that almost no one works in a silo and needs the help of others to do their job well; recognizes that by helping others first, others will likely reciprocate.

Autonomous – Self-managing; self-motivated. Manages time, activities and outcomes well so that progress stays on track. Cleans up after themselves.

Analytical & Detail-Oriented – Accurately assesses information and applies applicable law, policy and procedure. Considers the long term implications of actions today and advises employees appropriately. Even small mistakes can create big issues; attention to detail work indicates care about the outcomes.

General Characteristics of a Successful Vanderbilt University Staff Member

Acceptance of Feedback – Takes constructive criticism with grace, and make improvements without taking it personally or holding grudges. When wrong, owns it – freely admits mistakes.

Assumes Positive Intent – Assume that others are working and taking action with good intentions. They may not have all the information yet and asking thoughtful questions and providing information is critical to mutual understanding and moving forward with success.

Assumes the Best -- Assume that others are working as hard as you are on things that are as important as what you are working on. Just because you don’t know what someone does, it doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything.

Believes – Believes in the work being done and in the importance of the organization’s mission.

Eager – Enthusiastic, wanting to learn, wanting to continue one’s personal and professional development and expertise.

Hard-Working – Is industrious as well as efficient (busy isn’t the same as productive). Can juggle multiple competing priorities simultaneously without becoming overwhelmed.

Honest and Transparent – Doesn’t have hidden agendas. Doesn’t play people against each other. Is authentic and forthright.

Integrity – Holds oneself accountable; takes responsibility for failures as well as successes, recognizes that trust is required to hold a team together.

Maturity – Exhibits professional maturity; doesn’t pass the buck to dodge accountability; doesn’t engage in petty office politics or inappropriate social conduct

Naturally Communicates – Readily shares information and is comfortable working within a highly collaborative team. Communicates proactively. Understands that open communication and the sharing of knowledge is fundamental to the success of the team. Asks for advice, and considers it thoughtfully.

Nice – Asks caring, interested questions and is a good listener. Smiles and is grateful. Sends appropriate notes of thanks to others who have helped. Avoid gossip or saying negative things about co-workers. Patient and generous. Make suggestions rather than stating hard and fast opinions. Avoids being negative, sarcastic, and cynical.

Optimistic – Is friendly, tirelessly cordial, polite, and genial. Comes in to work with a good attitude and doesn’t bring their own personal “little black clouds” into the work environment.

Perspective – Maintains a sense of humor and perspective. Can laugh first and foremost at oneself.

Praises Publicly; Criticizes Privately – When dealing with a difficult co-workers or customers, “pretend your children are watching” how the situation is handled. Good manners help keep a cool head. Gives credit where credit is due.

Raises the Bar – Expects and delivers excellence. Is a creative problem solver. Is proactive. Welcomes input on making things better. Places a high value on learning and getting better

Reliable – Does what they say they will do, when they say they will do it. Shows up for work when expected. Doesn’t push the burden of work volume or deadlines to others.

Resilient – Is resilient in the face of daunting challenges and setbacks; bounces back readily.

Respect – Is friendly, tirelessly cordial, patient, polite, and genial. Comes in to work with a good attitude and is ready to help campus employees, managers, and colleagues through what may be a difficult and overwhelming time for them.

Responds Promptly – When emails and phone messages aren’t returned in a timely way, it sends the message that the other party is not important. Responds even if just to acknowledge receipt and provide a timeframe by which the requester can expect a full response.

Sharing – Shares information. Communicates proactively. Transmits knowledge; recognizes that “knowledge is power” is less effective than “sharing knowledge is power.” Asks for advice, and considers it thoughtfully.

Teamwork – Genuinely values teamwork and co-workers; make them feel valuable and important by acknowledging what they do well. Doesn’t expect from others effort that one is unwilling to do themselves. Finds ways to acknowledge other’s strong suits.

Works through Issues – Recognizes that the work is about successful outcomes. If things aren’t going well, outcomes suffer. Is willing to have crucial conversations if things aren’t going well. Doesn’t just complain to management . . . does everything possible to remedy the situation directly first.

This opportunity requires a Bachelor's degree and three years of experience or the equivalent.

Primary Location: United States-Tennessee-Nashville

Organization: 41300 - News and Communications

Job: External Affairs & Communications Professionals

Vanderbilt University is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action