YSU Social Media Evolves with the Times 

Francine Hazy (left) and Janae Johnson (right) scroll through social media on their cellphones. They’re both YSU Social Media Ambassadors. Photo by Kamron Meyers/The Jambar

By Abigail Cloutier

Youngstown State University’s social media approach has developed over the last year, and it’s also taken on more student-run social media accounts.

YSU’s social media team has worked to include student account takeovers and nine new social media ambassadors and develop an award-winning Twitter platform. 

The social media ambassador program has expanded throughout the academic year by nearly doubling the number of student accounts, going from 10 YSUgram accounts on Instagram to 19.

“We had a lot of success with the first 10 that we realized we needed a few more [ambassadors],” Kati Hartwig, the social media and digital marketing coordinator at YSU, said. “We ended up adding nine more. … It’s really all about having the students tell the story.”

Francine Hazy, a graduate student majoring in student affairs, has been with the program since its inception and would like to see the campaign continue to grow.

“I would love to see potential YSU students who might be in high school and aren’t sure where they want to end up for college turn to the YSU ambassadors to get a feel for what it would be like if they came to campus,” Hazy said. 

Janae Johnson, a sophomore business major, used her social media ambassador title to help new students during her time as an orientation leader.

“It was really cool connecting with my students that way. … I was also an IGNITE leader, and they’ll [direct message] me questions or anything they have,” Johnson said. “So getting that all out for students and having students say that they can see [my] student perspective right now by clicking on Instagram is really cool.”

Francine Hazy (left) and Janae Johnson (right) scroll through social media on their cellphones. They’re both YSU Social Media Ambassadors. Photo by Kamron Meyers/The Jambar

According to Hartwig, the YSUgram accounts showcase what life is like as a student on campus.

“I can post on our social media channels and our Youngstown State channels, but really what it comes down to is when the students are able to tell that story themselves, it’s a lot more relatable and intriguing to other students and prospective students,” Hartwig said.

But as social media evolves, YSU is looking to a new platform: TikTok.

Hartwig said the team is currently exploring this platform. 

“We’re kind of just experimenting with it, trying to figure out what our audience likes to see, figuring out what trends on TikTok we can engage with,” she said. 

Though YSU’s TikTok account is currently experimental, it has just over 200 followers and over 900 combined likes on its videos.

According to Hartwig, the implementation of the YSU TikTok account is a part of a marketing change to use more user-generated content.

“Marketing on TikTok is totally different on marketing on any other platform,” Hartwig said. “TikTok is a place people go to where they don’t want ads right in their face, or they don’t want a big call to action because they want to keep scrolling through and watching videos.”

“A lot of our content [from 2019] that was shared from other users did really well,” she added. “We’re getting more into YouTube and TikTok as well.”

The YSU social media team is currently moving away from using Snapchat as a marketing and social media tool and is exploring the world of TikTok, according to Hartwig. 

“We’re trying to steer away from Snapchat and focus more on TikTok, so there might be other opportunities to do takeovers, like maybe a TikTok takeover,” she said.