As RIT’s first social media director, Dave Tyler is responsible for building and maintaining the university’s digital media reputation by driving exposure, influence and engagement in all forms of social media.
What in your career background led you to this new position?
Tyler: I’ve been a storyteller in one form or another for my entire career. I’ve worked as a newspaper reporter (including for Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle), a public relations manager and as a marketing specialist in higher education, with a focus on social media, video and writing. All that experience kept me learning and growing. It also built up a love for sharing great stories with audiences.
What are your primary responsibilities?
Tyler: I’m leading RIT’s social media strategy, which includes updating guidelines and parameters across several platforms and developing listening/monitoring strategies. I’m also creating and leveraging content, and I’m responsible for analysis and studying paid social media opportunities.
What is your assessment of the social media landscape, both on and off campus?
Tyler: Social media has a lot of power, and we as a society are still coming to grips with just how to use it. At its best, it’s an amazing force for good (see the reaction to Hurricane Harvey) and an awesome storytelling tool. At RIT, we have so many accounts telling the inspiring RIT story. I want to help us do a better job of getting that story out to the largest audience possible, to increase our awareness in the nation and the world. I think we can do that by working together and using our top-level university social accounts more effectively.
Why does social media matter for higher education?
Tyler: Social media is your front door to the world, often the first place someone will interact with your brand, before even visiting your website. In higher ed, it’s the way to reach your audiences, current and prospective students, faculty and staff and alumni. It’s the only communications vehicle you can guarantee a large part of your audience is using every day.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting a social media account today, both personally and professionally?
Tyler: A colleague at another school likes to say “Do less better.” I agree. Get comfortable with one social platform instead of spreading yourself too thin. Have a plan. Develop great content. Establish goals. Listen to what’s being said so you understand your audience.
Outside of RIT, what are some of your favorite social media accounts?
Tyler: The University of Florida does a great job on social. So do Wisconsin and Cornell. MIT’s Twitter account is great. I enjoy following Neil Degrasse Tyson and the writer John Scalzi. Mental Floss shares some great content. And The Onion helps me laugh.