Rachel N.’s Interview with Danielle Devota at MSU

Welcome back after the break! Our third graduate student presentation comes from Rachel N. This presentation is an interview with Danielle Devosta, who is the Communications Coordinator at Michigan State University and formerly a Marketing Associate and Social Media Manager for Tri-Star Trust Bank. Here is a link to the interview.

As we’ve done before, go to Rachel’s site to read the interview and come back here to comment on it!

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33 Responses to Rachel N.’s Interview with Danielle Devota at MSU

  1. LouiseWrites says:

    I think the impact Devosta left on her old company is really amazing, and there are a lot of businesses out there that still believe in the old fashioned ways that don’t necessarily appreciate the age of media. I think that’s a mistake because I see more and more older generations on social media every day. Also, thank you for including the last question regarding how to bring up a social media platform to upper management. The 1 to 3 year plan is a really solid piece that could form a good argument as to why social media is so crucial because it gives real numbers and potential sales, which is the real way to get the attention of management. Nice interview!

    • rachel says:

      One of the things I think made Danielle able to be successful in her previous company was her ability to advocate for her role and tactfully push forward through management’s pre-existing notions of social media. We always hear about this sort of thing as something we should be able to do, but it’s always nice to have someone spell out what that meant in a specific situation.

      • Scott says:

        It was helpful to get a glimpse into how she was able to make it happen. It is very true that we often hear in classes that people do this kind of work, but rarely do we see it. I think these interviews allow us as students to see how someone else’s real life example of implementing change within their professions mirrors what many of us will have a chance to do. It goes back to the whole showing versus telling. Being shown how it’s done rather than just told that it can be done was helpful for me.

      • Marianne says:

        It really was nice to hear her explain how she advocated for herself. I can see going into a job interview for social media manager with a completed Internet audit on their current Internet presence and social media presence as well as what their competition is doing. If you added in recommendations for the future, seems like the company would be impressed.

    • Joan Kwaske says:

      In my post, I mainly discussed how surprised I was that Devota had to convince Tri-Star to get online, but I hadn’t thought of the older generation’s mentality. Dismissing social media as pointless or cheapening (which many do) severely underestimates the power the internet holds. Living in Jackson, I’ve been seeing a lot of small businesses close down and it wasn’t until I read your comment that I realized the majority of those businesses hadn’t taken time to utilize social media.
      Whether anyone likes it or not, being online is critical in current business. It’s all part of the competition.

      • Steve Krause says:

        Well, my guess is that part of it is about timing– Social Media is all that much more important now than it was even a year ago– and a lot of it might be more industry specific. MSU is in the kind of “business” where Social Media is probably more important than the banking business, if that makes sense. But like I said, that’s mostly an educated guess on my part.

  2. swilso93 says:

    Great interview! It was very informative and interesting. I like seeing another interview for this type of job because I want to know more about it. But what I think this interview shows and the one before it that was similar to this one in the career aspect, is they show how important social media is now; how much of an impact it can make on a company. People think that social media can be a waste of time (I mean some of the older people in my life, etc.) but it honestly has taken over lives now and its the best way to spread awareness and interest for your business. I loved how you used relevant questions as well! Kept the conversation flowing.

    • rachel says:

      While social media can have a tendency to take up more of our time than we want it to at times, it makes sense that companies take advantage of all the time people spend on it.

      I agonized over the questions. I’m glad they ended up being somewhat useful.

  3. Debra says:

    Excellent interview, and your questions were very good. At first, I was concerned that your questions were too complex — they all had two or three parts to them. For many people, after answering the first part, they might have forgotten the second part. But Danielle seemed to handle them quite well.

    I really appreciated your questions about misconceptions and upper management. Because most people only know how to use social media personally, they often don’t understand how much time is involved in preparing content in advance and planning a schedule for the messaging.

    Danielle’s suggestions about competitor benchmarks and developing a written plan based on company goals is great advice. Well done.

    • rachel says:

      I think the way an interview is conducted has a lot of effect on how layered questions can be. If I had conducted this interview via phone or in person, I would have had to be more piecemeal in how I structured everything. However, since the interview was over email and Danielle had time to review everything on her own time, my layered questions didn’t make her skip over things as much like she might have otherwise.

  4. Scott says:

    This was an interesting snapshot into Danielle Devota’s profession relating to social media. I noticed right a way that she seems to wear many hats. Along with communications and marketing, publication and website content design and editing, as well as social media. Seems like a whirlwind.

    I am still surprised that so many businesses and organizations have turned to social media for marketing to reach out and maintain customers. It makes sense that it is the case. Still, only ten years ago things were so much different on SNSs. They seemed to provide more interpersonal communication (person-to-person) rather than geared toward products or services (business-to-consumer). It was nice to see that Devota was attempting to implement social media into her former company and a bit on how she did that. Not surprisingly she got some back-push against the idea. The advice she gives is really helpful since something like social media is such a new way to market a company. A person in this profession needs to be able to convince management about the benefits of implementing such strategies and it seems like she was able to effectively argue for change.

    • rachel says:

      I think Danielle is a good example of how our program can lead us to have a “swiss-army knife” of skill sets than can be employed in different ways depending on the situation.

      • Steve Krause says:

        I agree, and it’s one of the things I want y’all to get out of these interviews, too: it turns out what we’re reading and talking about actually connect with what people do in the so-called “real world.” Go figure!

  5. ZoeBelle says:

    This was a really great interview. I loved how you asked meaningful questions – it really showed how much time and thought you put into constructing this interview, I’m sure Danielle appreciate that, too.
    I really loved your question about if other people were confused by Danielle’s job title. This is a common problem I’ve found in the field of Written Communication. Most people don’t seem to understand the different areas that written communicators and technical communicators have influence on. I’ve also found that as a student in this field, sometimes it can even be hard for me to articulate what written and technical communicators do!

    • totallykyle94 says:

      I’ve run into this same problem! When I try to explain to a friend or family member what the written communication field is exactly, I sort of get lost in how I go about explaining it. But I think seeing real-life examples of individuals in our field will aid with that in the future.

  6. aderengo says:

    This was a great interview. I really loved the deep questions that you asked. I think that makes it easier to answer when doing an email interview. I especially enjoyed the question concerning whether or not people had misconceptions of the job that she performed. It’s something that occasionally I struggle with explaining to people.

    Her comment about implementing social media in a company was interesting. Like she said it is not easy because some people don’t see why it is needed. Some businesses are afraid of making changes when what they currently do works, while at the same time they don’t necessarily want to be left behind. Picking up social media is important for any business nowadays.

    • Marianne says:

      I thought the questions were really good, too. I didn’t really think about it before, but in my text to hypertext project I did a student survey and now I realize I asked terrible questions. Rachel’s were obviously very well thought-out.

  7. ReneeG says:

    This interview was really interesting! It was clear that you had really put a lot of thought and effort into the questions that you asked.

    I felt that, in a way, I personally related to this interview when it comes to the mentality around social media. Social media is a HUGE part of my job as a marketing assistant and is something that the company that I work for uses daily. While social media is becoming huge for both personal and business reasons, there are still a lot of misconceptions about it – especially among older generations.

    I also related to the question revolving around the confusion of Danielle’s job title. Like Zoe pointed out, this seems to be really common in the Written Communications field. And to be honest, explaining what we do is something that I still struggle with.

    Nice job!

  8. Joan Kwaske says:

    I have to admit, I was rather surprised that she had to persuade upper management at Tri-Star to get started on social media. I would have thought all sorts of organizations would realize the potential and importance of being online today. I suppose I hadn’t considered precisely how vital it is until this class, but then again, I had never needed to.
    I think simply being online is part of a bigger-picture strategy, but as she pointed out, operating the accounts comes with a great deal of strategy as well, which most people take for granted. Just as elements of design must be chosen carefully, so do the words and phrases of a post. In instances like this, I’m beginning to see the vast possibilities of how a writing degree can be applied to different types of jobs.
    Overall, I really enjoyed reading this interview. I still can’t believe she had to persuade Tri-Star to get online, especially after taking this class.

  9. Jaclyn Y says:

    This was also a cool interview. I think the most interesting thing was the use of different social media for different events. She stated that she was trying to replace Pinterest with Twitter at the bank. Which, in retrospect, makes perfect sense considering what a bank is and what it does. Pinterest seems like it would be good for advertising products rather than services like a bank because of the picture based nature of Pinterest. Not a lot of people realize that to be effective social media must be used correctly.

  10. jjwourman says:

    Nice job here Rachel! I enjoyed reading this interview and Danielle seems to have a lot of experience in what she does. Since most people touched on the social media/marketing aspect, I’d like to bring up her advice for someone going into the field. She mentioned going into the industry with statistics is valuable. Specifically, knowing what social media platform to use and what your competition is using. This is something I just read about yesterday on SCORE. There was a webinar about starting a business and one of the key points a woman made was knowing the trends and what your competition is using. I think sometimes people forget this piece but it makes sense to know what is working/not working for others when you are trying to be the best in the field. There is a lot more that goes into marketing and social media management so this was a really great point she made that I think will help people when they consider going into this field.

    Well done!

    – Ja’La

    • Scott says:

      I agree. It seems important to be aware of what other companies and businesses are doing. Like you said not everything will work the same for each place. Being prepared with statistics of both what works and doesn’t can help a company find what will for them specifically.

    • aderengo says:

      I thought it was interesting that she mentioned knowing the statistics on an industry when going into it. It’s definitely something that I’ll look at when looking into different areas.

  11. jmoss9 says:

    First, like almost everyone else has pointed out your questions were very thorough and were complex enough for to give her the opportunity to give an in depth answer. You obviously spent a lot of time honing those questions and the result was a fantastic interview. I learned a lot reading this.

    Secondly, I appreciate this interview because Ms. Devota’s career is in a realm I hadn’t really considered, and as I am working toward my written communication degree I feel like the horizon of my future job opportunities has been broadened.

    • totallykyle94 says:

      In regards to your second point, I’m in the same boat. Seeing the various job titles that have come up in the graduate projects has enlightened me about the variety of work available in the written communication field.

  12. andrew says:

    I know a lot of others have mentioned this, but I was very interested in how Danielle Devota had to advocate for a social media presence at Tri-Star. Since they were concerned with sales, I am curious how well social media performed in this arena. Meaning, did it boost sales? Did it create opportunities? It is awesome that she was able to implement this into an organization. I can see how this may be difficult, especially when the target audience is a little older.

    I am also interested in knowing why she recommended the removal of Pinterest from the campaign. I guess it would make sense that Pinterest did not really offer what they were trying to do. So I guess I would be more interested in knowing how they attempted to use it.

    This was a cool interview though. It is nice to hear how someone has advocated for their own agency within an organization and also how they moved to a new job. I am assuming that I will have to do some moving around before I get to a place that I am truly comfortable.

  13. totallykyle94 says:

    This interview was in interesting read, your questions and Danielle’s responses were thorough, and gave an in-depth look into the position of a social media manager, and what the job entails. It was worth noting to me how reluctant people with upper management positions seem to be towards implementing social media in business, especially with its ever-growing popularity. Reading this interview has caused me to think about how essential positions such as social media manager are to marketing these days. While the “face-to face” method brought up in the interview is a tried and true method, interacting with people online via social media is an effective way to spread the word about all sorts of things, and I have already seen so many businesses make use of it, so I can see this continuing to grow. Nice work!

  14. Marianne says:

    Rachel, you were right, she is the perfect person to interview for this project. Her straightforward answers to your questions were very helpful. It was nice to see the mention of how important a plan was for business social media. That’s one of the things we learned about in the PURL221-Fundamentals of Social Media class I took and I thought it was a very helpful skill. Thanks for the great information.

  15. haniam1315 says:

    This interview was a great read. I really liked that it was to the point and relevant, and the content was interesting as well. As with other interviews, I like how it’s taking an otherwise overlooked role and showing how it relates to everyone else, without them even knowing.

    That said, the questions you asked also flowed really nicely. It was a good transition, but they also thoroughly covered all of the basic information anyone might want. The last question as a perfect closer, and I think it really helped pull the interview together. Good work!

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