Texas Tech University

Q&A: Trevor Bell

  • Name: Trevor Bell
  • Age: 24
  • Hometown: Lubbock, Texas
  • Position: Social Media Manager and Content Developer
  • Company: Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University

Trevor Bell graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, May 2012; Master of Arts in Mass Communications, May 2014. During his undergraduate career, he helped with several seminars and trainings for proper social media usage, particularly with adolescents. At these events, he talked with adolescents about the importance of maintaining a positive online reputation and the possible repercussions if they didn't.

As a graduate student, he performed extensive Type 1 diabetes research with Dr. Autumn Shafer. They are currently finalizing a paper which was used for his 6050 final project to graduate with his master's degree. Their goal is for the research to be published in a national health journal, with aspirations that their findings will have an impact in the fields of diabetes research and practice.

Bell is a former Outpost Social Media Lab Manager and Lab Instructor for MCOM 3310 Professional Communication. Due to his excellent resume and portfolio of work, he landed a full-time position in the Rawls College of Business as the Social Media Manager and Content Developer. Bell has also taught Principles of Public Relations during the 2014 Summer II semester.

Describe how you use social media in your career thus far.

As social media manager for the Rawls College, I use various social media networks every day. I handle the college's Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. My main goals for social media are to both interact with students and promote the college's initiatives, announcements, events and accomplishments. A majority of posts are directly related to news articles that I write. I also utilize social media to connect posts to our strategic plan: Rawls LEADER in 2020. For this campaign, the college has a designated hashtag, #RawlsLeads. By using #RawlsLeads, the college has another platform in which we showcase the progressive steps we are making to achieve our goals.

What type of tools do you use to track social media coverage for the Rawls College of Business?

I use Sprout Social for all the college's social media activity. Through Sprout Social, I schedule posts and look at the accounts' analytics. The software gives me a full breakdown of social media interaction between the Rawls College and its publics, demographic information, traffic to our website, and essentially any other relevant information about how we are performing.

What is the most important thing students need to know about social media before they graduate?

As I mentioned before, most of the posts I schedule are directly related to the news articles I write. Thus, it is essential that you know how to write. Simply put: content drives social media activity. I think that's where a lot of people – and businesses – fail when it comes to strategic social media use. You cannot tweet or post on Facebook just because “that's what everyone is doing.” You need to add something to the conversation, which is where your content comes into play.

Give an example of a normal work day.

Because I work with social media, I am always “on the clock.” I constantly check the Rawls College's social media accounts to see if there has been any activity or if anyone has posted about an issue. When I'm not utilizing social media, I have to write articles about various Rawls College news, coordinate events, pitch stories to the media, and converse with the college's publics.

What is your favorite part of your job?

I enjoy the interaction with students on a daily basis. I'm an advocate for higher education. I believe that what I'm doing positively affects the Rawls College. I'm invested and care about the “product,” which is something not too many recent graduates can say. Also, because I work with students, faculty members and alumni, I am constantly busy and writing various articles which helps drive my social media activity.

How did the College of Media & Communication prepare you for the professional world?

The College of Media & Communication does a fantastic job in preparing its students for success after graduation. During my time there, I built beneficial relationships with numerous faculty members. This was able to happen because they were approachable and actually cared that I was receiving a quality education. I think the College of Media & Communication also excels in the courses it offers. I was able to take multiple public relations courses where I learned valuable lessons that I use in my current job.

What skills would you recommend students have in order to obtain a job or internship in your line of work?

This should be an obvious answer based on my previous answers, but students must know how to write! To become an effective writer, be sure to pay attention and apply yourself when taking the appropriate writing courses such as PR Writing. In these classes, you are learning valuable skills that you can apply in the professional world. Also, be sure you are well versed in all the social media channels and any changes in the industry. Remember, MySpace and Xanga used to be popular; now, they're obsolete. As a communications professional, especially one who works with social media, you need to be adaptable and ahead of the game.

What advice would you share with current students about finding their first job out of college?

First, you need to establish a solid network of individuals who can assist you on your job search. A great place to start is the faculty members at the College of Media & Communication. I found out about the job I have because of a recommendation from Dr. Kent Wilkinson. Not only do faculty members have a wealth of knowledge that they are teaching you in class, but most have tremendous professional experience and may know people in those fields who can provide you with the opportunity you need. Second, take courses that are going to positively affect your future, instead of ones that may boost your GPA. I felt that I learned the most from the special topics PR courses such as PR for Nonprofits taught by Dr. Liz Gardner. My final piece of advice would be to find a job that you want, not one that you “need.” You are going to spend over 40 hours a week in this position, which can be a tough challenge if you're not enjoying the work. But, as I mentioned, this process starts while you're in school. Find what you're passionate about and take the courses which will enhance your skills in that field.

Trevor Bell

Trevor Bell