Assignment #4

For this assignment, I decided to interview Erica Hart, a communications/social media professional currently working for Special Olympics New Jersey (SONJ). Special Olympics New Jersey fosters inclusive communities for people with and without intellectual disabilities through innovative sport, health, wellness and leadership opportunities for Special Olympics athletes, their families and society as a whole.

Interviewer: Joe Kolano

Interviewee: Erica Hart

  1. What is your current role at SONJ and where exactly do you fit in the organization?

I am currently the communications supervisor for our office and run our main social media accounts. Some of the accounts I operate include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Within the organization, I mainly help with press and media tasks, along with posting updates, blogs, and social media content to our organization’s platforms. Being a non-profit, we believe social media is a key part to gaining brand awareness for our cause.

2. How many people are on the social media staff?

Three employees

3. What does a typical day look like?

Because we don’t post on our main platforms daily, we usually converse with the press and media team to work on creating brand awareness and event coordinators to develop strategies for increased attendance to our events. With posting to our platforms, we usually produce contests, fundraising information, event status, and registration requirements for our athletes. Throughout the day, our job is fast-paced and constantly pivoting, so we have to work toward gaining awareness for our organization in order to help our athletes.

4. How did you get to this position?

While attending Rutgers, one of my main goals was to volunteer with SONJ. This experience was extremely gratifying for me and made me wonder, “what more can I do?” After connecting and networking with individuals in the organization, I found myself doing what I love and working in the communications department.

5. What is the best part of the job? The worst?

The best part about the job is working with the athletes and going through awesome photos that will help create brand awareness for our organization. Since we are a unique organization, the worst part I would say would be knowing when to post and trying to figure out captions to make sure people stop and read.

6. Favorite platform and why?

Easily Facebook; With Facebook, we are able to really get our message across and share great videos in doing so. Our organization tends to love using Facebook Watch, and with this, our team is able to upload great videos that keep audiences engaged with our vision.

7. Content: What types of content do you rely on? How do you engage with consumers?

Since we aren’t exactly a consumer based organization, our content is geared toward inspiring our athletes and engaging individuals with our posts. Images, videos, live videos, and blogs are what we truly rely on in order to engage our fans.

8. Audience/Voice: Who is the SONJ audience? How do you describe your organization’s “voice”?

Our audience is parents/friends/teachers of our athletes. We also work with attracting communities to our cause and work with schools or local businesses to attend our events. I would describe our brand voice as fun and inspirational.

9. Campaigns: Do they integrate with major advertising campaigns? Conduct stand along social campaigns?

Most advertising comes from community outreach. Since we are non-profit, paid advertising is very limited and we don’t necessarily do any paid social media posts. Conducting stand along social campaigns is a major part in posting to our platforms. This creates brand awareness and brings our organization to light while working with individuals to have successful events.

10. Do they work with influencers? Have they tried any crowdsourcing? In what capacity?

We are a smaller organization, so local NJ celebrities love to be a part of our organization. Usually our main influencers are Bruce Springstein, Bon Jovi, Glee cast members, and other celebrities who work with our organization. This attracts many individuals to learn more about our mission and vision.

11. Do they use monitoring tools? Which ones?

Currently, no. But we have looked at these helpful tools in order to enhance our brand image on social media.

12. How do they measure social media success?

Our success on social media can be seen by how successful each event we host is. Our team does an amazing job with putting on these events, and our job is pretty simple when developing strategies for showing these off on our platforms.

13. What kind of advice does he/she have for students looking to get into this field?

I would say to do something you are truly passionate about. Working with a non-profit can be extremely rewarding, but knowing when and what to post is key for having a successful social media platform. Our organization does an amazing job with developing content, and I couldn’t be more grateful to work for an organization like Special Olympics.