Atkinson Answers: MBA Students’ Perspectives On Managing Personal and Professional Social Media Networks

“Not everyone is strictly a personal or professional connection. Anybody in your personal life can also be a professional connection. It’s important to understand that overlap.”—Colin Rice, Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management, MBA Candidate 

Did you know that Internet users have an average of SEVEN social media accounts?

With so many different networks, it can be difficult to manage how we represent ourselves on each platform. However, as young business professionals who are currently applying for internships and jobs, it is crucial that we put some effort into how we conduct ourselves on social media.

To get a better idea of how students manage their personal and professional social media networks, we talked with some Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management MBA candidates.

Do you want to learn more about how to manage your personal and professional social media networks? Read this article about four different strategies you can start implementing today! 

How To Manage Your Personal and Professional Social Media Networks

Forty-three—that’s the percentage of employers who use social media networking sites to research job candidates, according to a study done by CareerBuilder. And 51 percent of those employers said they’ve found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate.

Social media is an important part of most of our lives. As of 2017, 81 percent of Americans had a social media profile, and that number is expected to increase in 2018. Social media is how we connect with family and friends, stay up-to-date on current events, laugh at funny videos, share opinions, and so much more. But here’s the thing—as popular and entertaining as social media might be, there is also a level of risk that we take on when we sign up for a social media network.

When we were in high school, there’s a good chance that the last thing on our minds was whether or not our Facebook and Instagram profiles were appropriate for employers to see. We weren’t thinking about how to represent ourselves on Snapchat versus LinkedIn. But a significant amount of time has passed since those days, and now (whether we like it or not) we are young business professionals, and the way we represent ourselves on social media is extremely important.

So the question becomes, what is the best way to manage our personal and professional social media platforms?

There truly is no one right way to do it. In a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, they interviewed dozens of professional about their use of social media and discovered that there were several different strategies they were using:

#1: The Open Strategy

While this is definitely the simplest strategy, it is also the most riskiest. Utilizing an Open strategy means that you don’t attempt to separate your personal and professional social media platforms in any way. You can post whatever you’d like without caring about who will see it. If you value transparency and authenticity above everything else, this is the strategy for you.

#2: The Audience Strategy

This approach includes keeping your professional and personal networks separate. For example, on Facebook you might choose to only accept requests from people in your personal life, and divert requests from co-workers to LinkedIn. While this strategy requires a bit more work, it ensures that you won’t be viewed in an unprofessional manner if you post something on Facebook that you might not want your boss seeing. However, you need to remember that over time someone who was once just a friend may become a colleague, so this strategy is definitely not risk-free.

#3: The Content Strategy

But what if you feel like rejecting a friend request from a co-worker is rude? This is where the Content strategy comes in. You can accept requests from both personal and professional contacts on whichever networks you’d like! But here’s the catch: You have to be careful about the content that you post. While you don’t have to worry about separating your contacts according to what social media platform you are on, you can’t just post whatever you feel like.

#4: The Custom Strategy

If you are willing to invest the time and the effort, you may want to consider combining both the Audience and Content strategies, and thus use the Custom strategy. By managing both your audience and content, you can ensure that your professional reputation will be safe while also sustaining an authentic personal identity. One way to implement this strategy is to create two different lists on Facebook—one for personal contacts and one for professional contacts.

Which Strategy Should You Choose?

While there are pros and cons for each strategy, Harvard Business Review believes that most professionals would be best served by a Content or a Custom strategy:

“A Custom strategy allows for richer relationships to be forged with peers through the sharing of information that goes beyond the strictly professional. At the same time, it saves the boss from seeing too many party and baby pictures, and spares friends all the job-related content that means nothing to them. However, you must have the capabilities to execute this Custom strategy effectively or else it could backfire. A Content strategy is the next best alternative that requires fewer capabilities, but may allow you to connect with a broad audience effectively.”

However, at the end of the day, there is no “perfect” strategy, and you should choose the approach that you feel the most comfortable with. Be aware of the risks associated with each strategy, consider the industry that you work in, and don’t forget to take the future into account. While it may seem overwhelming at times, thinking through and choosing your own strategy is worth the time and effort to ensure that you are managing your social media networks effectively.

Curious about how your peers manage their personal and professional social media networks? Watch this video to find out!

Gamification Is on The Rise: An Innovative Method for Boosting Customer Loyalty and Engagement

As content marketing continues to be a key strategy in the digital era, marketers need to think of ways to keep the content engaging. That’s where gamification presents itself as a revolutionary tactic.

Wondering what gamification is??

Gamification is defined as “the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g., point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.”

Why is it important??

  • First, it integrates fun and competition which makes your content more appealing to audience.
  • Second, gamification motivates players to do tasks that require effort or time which makes it the ultimate way to create engagement and build emotional connection with the consumer leading eventually to a longer relationship.
  • Third, gamification is estimated to rise up to 11.1 billion by 2020.
  • Fourth, according to the latest Nielsen report, 64% of the U.S. population (13+) are gamers and a typical millennial spends up to 96 minutes a day playing games on their phones.
  • Finally, gamification turns your customers into active “co-creators” by entertaining them while also encouraging their interaction and personal input.

Got the idea?? Now have a look at three of the best gamification examples!!

#1 Nike+ App:

 Nike took gamification and social media networking to a new level as it launched the Nike+ app that gives its users the opportunity to track their workouts, post their run statistics and challenge their friends and peers. A smart move was enabling the app users to post their runs on Facebook too; this increased awareness and demand for the Nike+ Fuelband.

#2 My Starbucks Rewards:

 As you may know, Starbucks value proposition is entirely built around creating exceptional brand experience for customers. Gamification is one of the tools used by the brand to amplify customers’ loyalty and engagement to enhance the Starbucks experience. My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program uses an application that enables players to collect stars (points) everytime they purchase a Starbucks product.

Curious to know the results of this gamification move?? In 2012, the users of My Starbucks Rewards totaled about 4.5 million. The cards alone accounted for $3 billion in sales per year.

#3 Coke Zero’s Drinkable Ad:

Coca-Cola is widely known to be one of the most creative and innovative companies when it comes to marketing campaigns.

To get more people to try out its Coke Zero, Coca Cola partnered with Shazam (app) to come up with a drinkable campaign. While watching the Ad, People can Shazam the spot which would then pour coke onto their phones and be redeemed later for a free Coke Zero at retail stores.

This gamification strategy resulted in 25% redemption rate.


How much will the GDPR change the use of Social Media?

You’ve probably heard of the GDPR. But do you know why you should be aware of it as a social media professional?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation about data protection and privacy for individuals residing in European Union (EU) while also addressing the policies on how the personal data is to export outside the EU. In order to address the data privacy protection challenges created by the evolving digital economy, the General Data Protection Regulation repeals and replaces the 1995 Data Protection Directive. Therefore, it enhances personal data, increases responsibility for organizations that process personal data, and introduces improved enforcement systems.

The GDPR establishes the minimum level of personal data protection throughout the 28 EU member countries. It will protect personal data with information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person. This includes individuals’ names, photos, posts on social media, and personal IP addresses. Starting May 25th, 2018, the civil fines for GDPR fall will be enforced. The fines range from $20 million to 4% of a company’s annual income; whichever is the larger amount. The severity of the civil fines can affect any company or organization; therefore it will be critical for organizations to comply with the GDPR laws and regulations.

Social media platforms operating in the EU will be required to create opt-in programs for giving consent to sharing an individual’s information. This includes making sure there are no pre-selected boxes on social media platforms allowing individuals’ data to be mined or shared from their social media profiles. Another important aspect of the GDPR is that individuals in the EU will be given the right to be forgotten online. This means that all data about an individual will need to be erased when an individual invokes that right [1].

How will the GDPR affect digital marketers and advertisers?

Social media marketers rely heavily on customer analytics to predict consumer behavior through the use of ads and direct mail. The GDPR will shake current social media marketing tactics, as marketers’ abilities in obtaining personal information from EU individuals will be hindered substantially. Digital marketers need to have persuasive and creative strategies in place for attracting EU individuals. They also need to provide clear privacy settings providing multiple steps in addressing their use of data collection.

In April 2016, companies and organizations were given a two-year grace period to be prepared for GDPR regulations by May 25th, 2018. During this period, companies were expected to create transparent procedures for data privacy settings and engage in data mapping solutions, so that there are secure options for storing private data and erasing data upon request. If companies do not incorporate these policies, it will lead to serious financial consequences and damage the organization’s PR image. It is critical that the companies provide absolute proof of individuals giving consent to share their information with marketers. A key component to running these procedures smoothly is for marketers to educate users of their new rights and requirements as much as possible.

While the GDPR creates barriers and challenges, it also provides opportunities for new marketing strategies. Marketers who are successful at following GDPR regulations will gain valuable customer relationships based on trust and respect. The GDPR will also encourage marketers to raise the bar in finding innovative ways to re-shape the outcomes of data collection from the online web-space[2].


[1]  Lubbe, Johan. “The New EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.” Global HR Practitioner’s Handbook, Edited by Lisbeth Claus, vol. 4, pp. 66–86.

[2] Hubspot. (2018, February 28). What is the GDPR? And What Does it Mean for the Marketing Industry? Retrieved April 19, 2018, from

Untappd—Where Beer and Social Media Collide

Platform Feature: Untappd

 “The cool thing about beer is that it creates conversation across geographic boundaries and we can enhance that experience.” –Greg Avala, co-founder of Untappd

You’ve heard of Facebook. You’ve heard of Twitter. And you’ve heard of Instagram.

But what is Untappd?

Have you ever wanted to find the latest and greatest local brews?

Do you hate showing up to your favorite pub, only to find that your favorite tap is out?

Do you love social media so much that you are constantly checking your profiles no matter where you are?

Well, thanks to Untappd, you can now easily find that beer you wanted to try and be sure it’s still on tap. Untappd is a social media platform that lets you connect with friends, plan a night out, and interact with a multitude of bars and restaurants right from your phone.

If you like beer, this app will help take you to the next level and make you a beer enthusiast. This app isn’t designed to help you find Coors Light or Heineken. Rather, Untappd will help keep you up-to-date on the latest and greatest speciality brews in your area. No longer will you have to be the friend who is the last to know about a new summer lager.

How To Interact With The Platform

Consumers: While you can download and use the app for free, you can also pay $25 a month for more features. You can rate beer, earn badges, review tap lists and see what your friends are drinking. You get access to others’ beer reviews and ratings so you don’t make the mistake of ordering a beer you don’t like.

Businesses: If you are looking to put your business on Untappd, you can pay $599 a year to help you connect with avid beer drinkers. Untappd allows you to interact with your soon-to-be customers, design custom badges to award patrons, and promote new drink specials and events.

This app is uniquely designed to connect both beer drinkers and the establishments that serve them. Through this constantly updated app, users are able to provide real-time feedback on what beers they like and don’t like.

Helping Keep You Safe

This app can even help you avoid getting a DUI. The creators of Untappd have partnered with Uber to make for a more pleasant and safer beer drinking experience. Once you have planned your night out and checked-in at a bar, you can automatically order an Uber to pick you up and take you to your next destination!

Click here to learn more about Untappd and create an account!

More From Fortitude Marketing: Want to read about how social media managers can make a difference through purpose-driven campaigns? Then check out this other article!

Want to be noticed on Instagram ? Check out these 7 photo editing apps

The professionnal must-have : VSCO

Probably the most advanced app, a must-have for professional influencer.


The most professional for beginners : Halide

Created by a former engineer of Twitter and a former designer of Apple, Halide can transform your smartphone into a genuine camera. This app makes it possible to adjust the settings of your smartphone as if it was a reflexe camera.


The most delicious : Foodie

Want to share your delicious memories ? This smart app will be your new essential partner to improve your foodie reputation.


The most esthetic : Litely

Getting bored of Instagram filters ? Try Litely : these filters have been created by the same photographer who designed most of the Insta filters. Old but gold (launched in 2014), one of the best apps with VSCO.

The magic one : Touch Retouch

Photoshop in your pocket ? It is now possible with Touch Retouch. A trash can ruins your picture : you can simply erase it thanks to the multiple options of this magic app.


The most convenient : Snapseed

Designed by Google, this free app is a new essential to highlight, darken or change the saturation of your picture. Another good feature of this app : you can easily fix or erase some unwanted details , just by touching the screen with your finger.


The most self-centered : Microsoft Selfie

Thanks to its special filters, get rid of imperfections, and just look your best, even after the party of your life.


Want more ? Check out this Top 10 best photo editing apps for Iphone

Companies with a different Branding Strategy in the International Market

Content plays an important role in marketing and it is important to have different strategies to fit local customer needs. Some of the companies that have implemented different marketing strategies in localized markets are

  1. McDonald’s

McDonald’s has local flavored menus in different countries which makes it unique to attract customers.

  1. Domino’s Pizza

Like McMcDonald’s Domino’s Pizza also has localized menu for different countries. Below is an example of India’s Menu where the main ingredients of Pizza– Bread, cheese and sauce remain the same, while additional toppings are to be changed based on the target market.

  1. World Wildlife Foundation (WWF)

The World Wildlife Foundation creates different sustainability initiatives for different regions in the world. One of their campaigns was promoted in Scandinavian countries, which encouraged them to promote a “blackout” or lights-off initiative during daylight savings.

  1. Coca-Cola

With a large International presence, this has been mainly due to the community programs that this company invests a lot of time and money on. Their branding strategy through this program is mainly to affect the emotions of the people, which is to give happiness. Above is an image of STAR program in the Philippines, where in this program, women were given 12-week Entrepreneurship course along with Gender Sensitivity Training Course.

  1. Airbnb

Airbnb introduced a social media campaign in 2015 prompting people to use the hashtag #OneLessStranger, which the company made in an effort to increase global presence on the Airbnb network. In this campaign, the community members were asked to host any stranger and take photo/video to share the experience using the hashtag.

This is how brands generate a buzz !!

Here are 10 examples of the best social media marketing campaigns. They all made a huge buzz and attracted many followers and buyers! Learn from them to level up your own social media marketing campaign

  1. Burger King – Big come back

After 15 years of absence in France, Burger King made a very noteworthy comeback. They made a Facebook post with a comment saying they would open a restaurant in the city of the last person who comments on the post.

24 hours later, the post was commented more than 1300 times and 65 000 persons throughout the world saw it.

Of course, the last comment could never exist. Today, people are still commenting on the post. Burger King has now a bigger fan base, a better idea about where to open a restaurant, and the whole world knows they are coming back in France, without spending any more money than the Community Manager’s salary.

Like Burger King, use your social media channels to spread the news, but also ask for advice while making the buzz!

2. Cas Smirnoff – Tell me what you have in your fridge…

Smirnoff started a very efficient campaign on Instagram: take a photo of your fridge and post it on their Instagram account. Then, a bartender will use what you have in your fridge to make an incredible cocktail. That way, they increased a lot their fan base and their sales.

3. Le Louvre – Culture and YouTube

Le Louvre in Paris decided to improve their YouTube channel by inviting three YouTube influencers to the museum. They all made one video for the Louvre YouTube channel and one other for their own channel.

The objective was to show the museum under a new modern light. This initiative was a success, the videos were watched more than 1.3 billion times and more than 80 newspapers talked about it.

4. KFC recipes – Twitter followers

KFC’s marketing team started to follow just 11 persons on Twitter: the five original Spice Girls, and six dudes named Herb. This was linked to KFC’s secret recipe composed of five spices and six herbs.

A month later, one person noticed it and commented on it. This was the start of tens of thousands of other tweets, retweets, and comments on KFC’s news feed.

As Freddie Powell, creative director at Wieden+Kennedy, said: “Frankly, we weren’t sure if anybody was going to find it. Sometimes you just have to put stuff out into the universe and cross your fingers that the internet will work its magic.”

Subtle is a risk, but it can have a great payoff if it’s clever enough.


5. Dom from Domino’s – Chatbots are Coming

Domino’s Pizza used chatbots to enable clients to order a pizza via Facebook Messenger. The chatbot is even funny and makes jokes which created quite a buzz on social media.


6. Intermarché  – “L’amour, l’amour”

Intermarché, a brand of French supermarkets broke the rules of the usual ads of supermarkets by making a 3-minute short movie about friendship, love, and health. The story is about a young client who falls in love with a cashier.

We understand at the end that the purpose is an advertisement. Although the video appeared one time on television, it got more than 8.5 million views on Facebook, 2 million on Twitter, was 36,000 times shared and got 63,000 reactions.

7. WWF – #EndangeredEmoji

Seventeen of the animals included in the emoji index were identified as representative of endangered species. WWF used this insight to launch a campaign to raise donations for species protection. For each retweet of an animal emoji shared by the @WWF Twitter account, users were encouraged to donate 10 cents.

The launch tweet was retweeted more than 36,000 times with 38,000 responses. The campaign hashtag generated 1 million tweets and WWF gained more than 200,000 new followers and received 59,000 dollars of donations in the first two months of the campaign alone.

8. WesJet – “Real-Time Giving”

Before a flight, WestJet, a Canadian airline company asked their passengers what would they like for Christmas. After the landing, these passengers were surprised to see their desired gifts appear on the treadmill. Of course, everything was filmed and viewers could see children receiving toys and amazed grown-ups getting televisions or camera.

On YouTube, the ad got 200,000 likes and more than 20,000 comments for 40 million views. After this campaign, WestJet sales increased by 86% compared with the previous year…

Sometimes it pays to go really big.

9. Spotify –  Play This At My Funerals

In 2016, Spotify collected its users’ data to create a funny marketing campaign. The idea was to highlight the strange titles some users gave to their playlist. In a video, some artists got involved and were asked to react to the fact that their songs were on a “Play This At My Funerals” playlist. This original campaign generated a positive worldwide buzz as every user could identify themselves with it.

10. Burger King 2 – From one account to another

Another very simple post, but very efficient. They let people know about their different social media accounts and about their new “Xtra Long Chili Cheese”. If you want to see a whole picture of their very long new burger, you would have to follow the steps:

  • They started with a Facebook post: if you want to discover their new burger, you have to click on a link which redirects them to the Twitter account.
  • On the Twitter account, you find a new post with an image of the burger but the burger is not whole: you have to click on a link to see the whole burger.
  • Then, the link leads you to their Instagram account,
  • it goes on to their Vine account,
  • then on Youtube.
  • You end up the little game on Facebook, with a post announcing that the new burger is available in the restaurants, and you can see the end of the photo of the burger.