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Kelly Bennett: The face behind Miami social media

By Alison Perelman, For The Miami Student

Miami University alumna ('11) Kelly Bennett thinks she has the coolest job ever.

As manager of social media and marketing strategy for Miami, Bennett runs all of the university's main social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. She creates the content for those pages and uses them to promote the university and events going on around campus.

Her typical day involves checking emails, consulting with other departments and a lot of customer service.

When there's an issue and people don't know who to go to, they reach out to the Miami social media accounts. Bennett is the one who then figures out how to connect them to the faculty or staff member who knows the answer to their questions.

But her job is so much more than that.

"The biggest thing is trying to figure out where to invest my time," said Bennett. "It's been interesting to see where our audiences are and what makes the most sense to put our time [into]. We were one of the first universities on [Snapchat] and that's kind of my motto: let's get on these sites and see if they take off or not and if they continue to do well, we'll invest our time."

The Miami Snapchat has taken off. Bennett began by running to events all around campus, trying to capture student life in Oxford. Now she has a first-year intern, James Oakes, to help with the physical tasks of running the Snapchat account.

"It's a really cool experience … it doesn't feel like work," Oakes said.

He loves working for Bennett and the university. He thinks it is great to have the opportunity to give people a feel for what Miami and its clubs are like, especially through Snapchat.

Every Monday morning, Bennett and the rest of the marketing team also create a "snap story" newsletter called "Oh, snap, it's Monday," and post a series of fliers that show everything going on around campus for that week.

They have also started doing more contests and interactions. Every Friday is "MiamiOH Spirit Fridays," where someone is awarded a free T-shirt by snapping a photo of themselves in their Miami gear and sending it to the Miami account.

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Bennett started the job in 2011 after she graduated from Miami with a degree in Mass Communication.

"Basically, as a senior in college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life," she said. "I loved Miami and I loved social media and I just couldn't even think past graduation because I was just loving life here at Miami so much."

In the second semester of senior year, Bennett took a social marketing class with the interactive media studies program, where she worked with a team to improve Miami's social media presence.

"It kind of all started from that class, which basically proved that social media was not going away and that it was an important thing to have," Bennett said. "And, then, basically from that, the position got created and I got hired right after graduation. I really lucked out."

Since she started in 2011, Miami's Twitter has grown from 126 followers to nearly 30,000, and Facebook went from only 9,000 likes to 60,000.

Kelly never doubted her decision to stay at Miami. It gave her the opportunity to stay with her best friends who were going to be fifth years and stay in the town she loves.

"It's just still such an exciting environment to see what the students are doing and all the impact that they're making and the opportunities that they're getting," Bennett said. "I feel like I get to relive my college experience all over by getting to promote that and to highlight different student stories."

Being an alumna has also given her a great advantage in her job. She already knows the different buildings and traditions of the campus that give her connections and the ability to relate to other alumni, current students and even prospective students. Bennett loves that her job encompasses both social media and the Miami community.

"I have so many good memories here that have just made me the person that I am and I'm just so excited to see that continue on through all the students that come here," Bennett said. "It's cool to get to see that year after year."