Getting social in Indy

The crowd for this sold-out summit was a large increase over last year's inaugural event. Eli Lilly's digital and social media lead Amy O'Connor was the keynote speaker. Summit co-founder Kristofer Karol took a selfie of the crowd with a selfie stick. Liz Kaye, IU Communications

Selfie sticks and live-tweeting filled the Campus Center at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis on Monday, Aug. 7, when more than 200 Indiana University communicators and marketers attended IU Communications' second annual IU Social Media Summit.

The sold-out event, which had an increased attendance limit due to high demand from last year's summit, gave school communicators the rare opportunity to network with colleagues from other IU campuses and learn how to better weave social media efforts into their marketing and communication strategies.

"Even though there are so many people doing so many amazing things on social media at IU, we don't always share those success stories with our colleagues for various reasons, including due to the hectic pace of our jobs," said Kristofer Karol, summit co-founder and director of social media strategy for IU Communications.

Because of the conference's rapidly growing popularity, next year's Social Media Summit has already been scheduled for June 22, 2018, at IU Bloomington's Indiana Memorial Union. For the first time, the summit will be open to communicators and marketing professionals outside of Indiana University.

"Getting everyone together in the same room -- even for just a day -- provides great opportunities not only to learn but also to build a community of social media professionals across the university," Karol said.

Two keynote speakers -- social media expert Jay Baer and Eli Lilly's digital and social media lead Amy O'Connor -- and nine breakout sessions gave summit attendees insight into how to create engaging content on social media, tips on how social media can drive website traffic, app recommendations, blogging advice, graphic design best practices and more.

"The most valuable part of the Social Media Summit is being able to connect and network with peers from across the IU community," said Teresa Mackin, an attendee who works for the Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus.

This year's breakout sessions were divided into three tracks to accommodate the social media skill levels among the summit's attendees: "beginner" for those new to managing a unit's official social account, "intermediate" for those with a couple years' experience but still looking to master their skill set, and "advanced" for those wanting to further their knowledge of social media trends.

Breakout sessions were led by IU Communications staff and other social media experts from many of IU's campuses.

"The breakouts taught me new ways to do my job better -- whether that is through tools to make videos on my phone for social media, new ways to build graphics, or new ideas when it comes to Snapchat and Instagram," Mackin said. "It's inspiring to hear from others across the state and work together to improve what we do on a daily basis."

A conference hashtag -- #IUSocial -- was created to help strengthen the university's social media community at the summit.

"The summit is a crucial event in helping build a strong social community at Indiana University," said Troy Brown, assistant vice president of marketing for IU Communications and summit co-founder. "It's a way for us learn from each other and learn from industry experts, all to advance the IU brand."

Registration for the 2018 IU Social Media Summit will be available next spring.

Samantha Thompson is the IUPUI social media specialist for IU Communications.