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Social media director does more than just tweet

By Alicia Adamczyk, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 6, 2012

Jordan Miller, the University’s newly hired social media director, has some big plans in mind for enhancing the University’s online presence.

Miller, who has worked on successful projects with a variety of companies, including Chevrolet and Kotex, said she plans to overhaul the University’s online image by creating a distinct personality for the University that will develop into an easily recognizable brand.

“If you see a video from Apple, you know that’s Apple,” Miller said. “I would like to see the same thing for the University of Michigan, that you see a video, and it’s a professor or a lecture or a visiting researcher (and) you know that that’s a University of Michigan video.”

The 31-year-old said a common misconception about her new position is that she will work primarily with Facebook and Twitter. Though her job encompasses these forms of social media, she said there is a “social listening” side to the position that comprises a larger part of her duties.

“I’ll be working on what the content that we’re putting out looks like, how we can make it better, how we can make it more cohesive,” she said. “I do tweet all day, it is part of my job, but I do it while analyzing reams of data and meeting with people.”

The position, first announced five months ago with an advertised salary of between
$90,000 and $110,000, garnered widespread interest from the Ann Arbor community.
Though there was an exhaustive search to fill the social media director position, Lisa Rudgers, the University’s vice president for global communications and strategic initiatives, wrote in an e-mail she was thrilled to bring Miller aboard.

Rudgers cited Miller’s work on the Super Bowl adertisements for Chevrolet featuring actor Rainn Wilson and award-winning work for the Kimberly-Clark Corporation as just some of the reasons she will be a good fit for the job at the University.

“She has 10 years of experience in communications and social media as a writer, strategist and brand manager,” Rudgers wrote. “Also, she has terrific experience on the creative side of the house doing digital and broadcast content creation as well as copywriting … Jordan has worked both as a newspaper reporter and an ad agency professional, and is uniquely situated to bring a social media focus to the many aspects of University communications efforts.”

Michael Limbert, the creative director at Goodby Silverstein & Partners was Miller’s colleague when she worked at the advertisement firm. He wrote in an e-mail that Miller was an impressive person to work with.

“While working at GSP, Jordan helped elevate several of our projects from read-only to must-share,” Limbert said. “She was one of those shining individuals here who pushed hard for social relevancy and authenticity in everything that came her way.”

Miller said the ability to have a conversation with and connect to the University’s audience is one of the most important aspects of social media and is crucial to the University’s image as a whole.

“It’s not about the platform, it’s more about interacting with your community and getting your message out and hearing what they have to say back,” she said. “It’s looking at social media as the word ‘social.’”

She added that the University can become a national, if not global, leader in using social media to enhance its image

“In the same way that the University is a top school in so many other ways, we can and should be a ground-breaker and a thought-leader in social media,” she said. “We should be a school that other schools can look to and say ‘That’s how the University of Michigan’s doing it. They’re doing it right and that’s how we should be doing it too.’”

Miller added: “I have a lot of experience with creating a high-quality product that is of a level that can be disseminated globally. I know that that’s something that we’re going to be trying to do here, to really raise the bar on what we’re doing content-wise.”

Rudgers also noted the importance of social media on a global scale that makes the new position such a necessity.

“We want to become higher ed leaders in the social media space as we work to advance our global reputation,” Rudgers wrote. “Social media growth has exploded in recent years … Both in the U.S. and globally, social media channels have become critical not only to the dissemination of information but to a vibrant engagement — and conversation — with stakeholders.”


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