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Medill IMC Lecturer Randy Hlavac talks hashtags and effective social sharing with students

Randy Hlavac - Medill Faculty
Randy Hlavac - Medill Faculty

Marketers and journalists of all ages walked away from IMC Lecturer Randy Hlavac’s social media training with an improved grasp of the digital world.

“I thought the social media workshop was very helpful in a sense that you can connect with the world in so many other ways than just Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat—all the ways that we normally think of [social],” said current student Jared Thomas, (BSJ19).

In the workshop, Hlavac introduced multiple different platforms of social media that users can find what he called the “thought leaders” in a respective field.

“Every level of the pyramid is talking about your topic and they don’t know you’re there,” Hlavac said. “You can find the deep long-tailed conversations, but you have to have the right tools.”

He also mentioned that it was “baffling” that journalists tend to think in terms of one media.

“You do a lot of research, you do one article, you post it on the page, and you’re done,” Hlavac said.

With advances in social media, though, Hlavac said that should be just the beginning of a journalist’s circulation. He shared insights on how journalists could get their articles moving in the social media sphere, with sites such as Social Mention, where users enter a term to find the sentiment of communities that are communicating in a certain sphere in order to better distribute an article.

“You want to find the people whose career is your topic, the people to whom your topic is their life,” Hlavac said. “That’s how you get sources and how you get people to share it.”

Another important concept Hlavac discussed was the idea of “give to get” - give the community respect and show that you truly appreciate them to gain clout. He suggested if journalists want a source to respond to their interview request, they should share one of their sources’ most recent articles on their personal Twitter feed.

“You want to make those connections, get that following,” Hlavac said. “Influencers in the community want two things: fame and fortune. By giving them recognition and followers, you get information from the expert groups that you want.”

Hlavac continued to vouch for the special advantages of being at Medill.

“Here we have the only school in the world with SMA, the only school in the world with Silverpop. Companies come here first to test out their products. It’s a really special place,” Hlavac said.

Lecturer Hlavac leads free Medill online courses in social media on Coursera, with enrollment for the next session beginning on March 5.

For more information on Medill and how our graduate programs in IMC and journalism can expand your digital networks, visit our website.