Meet the Common Experience social media team

Jessica Knight | April 8, 2019

Members of the southbytxst social media team take a group picture with senior in Public Relations, Kaylee Smith (second to left), senior in Public Relations, Allison Jones (middle), and graduating senior in Electronic Media, Allison Johnson (far right).

Engaging first-year students while they are adjusting to college life is no easy task. But the Common Experience social media team understands the first-year struggle and has made significant progress in connecting with the newest Bobcats on campus.  

The team is comprised of Kaylee Smith, senior in public relations, Allison Johnson,  senior in electronic media and Allison Jones, senior in public relations. Guided by Twister Marquiss, director of the Common Experience and Innovation Theme chair, they share their experience.

Kaylee Smith is credited with refining the Common Experience social media accounts  so that Twitter engagement is more than 2,700 percent above the industry average for higher education. When asked how she did it, she said it came from listening to what the students want. 

“For social media, that’s looking into analytics, seeing what works and what doesn’t,” said Smith, who also manages Common Experience’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. “Also, being students ourselves, we know what students want to see.” 

Smith recently presented at the 38th Annual Conference on the First-Year Experience in Las Vegas. Her session,  “Social Media: Cutting Through the Clutter to Engage Students,” was filled to standing room only. Attendees asked Smith for her business cards and  were surprised to learn that she was a student. 

Johnson serves as digital media developer and blog editor for the Common Experience. Johnson has covered Common Experience events  through Facebook Live,  which has significantly improved engagement. 

“Engagement has been good,” Johnson shared. “At first there won’t be a lot of viewers, but a lot of people go back and watch it later that night or throughout the week.”

Johnson has also been responsible for much of the recent web content and design for Common Experience and other University College programs. 

The third member of the team is Allison Jones, who joined in January. She serves as social media coordinator for the Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center and for University College, and she  handles Common Experience social media accounts, as well.  

“I never realized that going into social media could end up being a career,” said Jones, who now plans to pursue a career in social media. 

When asked for advice on engaging social media, each had something to share. 

“It’s more important who you follow,” Johnson shared. “Because if you engage accounts you are interested in, they will follow you, and then you will gain an audience from that.”

“Follow people,” Smith said, “and commit yourself to scrolling through your feed a little bit every day. See what everyone else is posting so you have more confidence in knowing what’s out there. Don’t be scared to take risks.”

“Sometimes I think my ideas are far-fetched,” said Jones. But under the guidance of Twister, she has learned how to make them work. “Don’t be afraid to come up with something crazy.”

Smith and Jones will remain on the Common Experience social media team until they graduate in December, guiding the next generation. 

For more information, contact University Communications:

Jayme Blaschke, 512-245-2555

Sandy Pantlik, 512-245-2922