The NISM SMS professionals serve as ambassadors for our certification program. Not only are they knowledgeable about our curriculum, but they also share our passion for social media. Best of all, their stories help shape our organization and the work that we do here.
In our “Meet & Greet” series, you can get to know more about our SMS community, learn more about these professionals who share your passion for social media and connect with them for collaboration and networking. Have other questions? Ask them below.
And with that, we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Andresen and her story.
Hi Amanda, tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.
I’m the Digital Communication and Engagement Coordinator for the University of Nebraska Kearney. What does that mean? It means that among other things, I create content & messaging that’s shared across a variety of networks (social, text…basically anything digital). I earned a B.S. in Computer Information Systems in Business from Bellevue University and a graduate certificate in Public Relations and Social Media from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I obtained my SMS certification earlier this year and just started a term on the NISM Advisory Board.
How did you get started working in social media?
In 2013, I was hired to be the Web Services Assistant and help with web design, training our content editors, designing HTML emails, etc. Within the first week of being hired, I was told that I was also going to oversee the main university social media channels (Facebook and Twitter at the time). In 2016 I transitioned to managing social media full time and now my role has moved beyond just social and into all forms of digital communication.
What do you love most about the work that you do?
From working with our team to create custom GIFs, covering an event on campus, scheduling social ads to speaking with an organization on campus about social strategy – I love that no two days are ever the same.
It’s true, social media is always on the move. What is your favorite social media platform and why?
I really enjoy Twitter because it’s so easy to connect to any community through hashtag. Want to meet other people who are fans of your favorite sports team? Use a hashtag. Want to network with other professionals in your industry? Use a hashtag.
I agree, Twitter is the best place to use hashtags! What prompted you to explore certification as a social media strategist?
I had just finished a graduate certificate program in Public Relations and Social Media and I was on the lookout for additional ways to enhance my skillset. Social media is constantly evolving and as such there are a limited number of opportunities for professionals to validate the skills that they have in an “official” way so SMS certification seemed like a good next step.
We’re so glad our certification could backup all of the hard work you were already doing. Did you go through a prep course or complete the self-study program?
I completed the self-study program – the graduate certificate program I had just completed was all online so there was a level of comfort on my part in studying and preparing without classroom training. Working full time, I liked the flexibility of being able to complete things at my own pace.
How has the SMS certification helped you so far?
I believe that it was a factor in a recent change in my job duties, moving me from not just focusing on social media but all types of digital communication. I’ve heard other professionals in the industry talk about feelings of “imposter syndrome” and I think that having the SMS certification has led me to approach everything I do in my job with a higher level of confidence.
What advice would you give someone thinking about certification?
If you’re thinking about certification, I’d say GO FOR IT! Preparing for and taking the SMS exam is about making a long-term investment in yourself and your professional development. It’s going to set you apart from other professionals in the industry. In addition, becoming part of the NISM community provides you an opportunity to meet and network with other professionals who have a passion for social media.
Can you tell us something about you that not everyone would know?
This is a tough question for me to answer. When I was in elementary/middle/jr. high, I really hated running – those P.E. run-a-mile days were days that I just dreaded. But about nine years ago that all changed when I took up running as a way to disconnect and de-stress. This year I’ve run in several races, including my first 10K. Since then I’ve been thinking about signing up for a half marathon, so we will have to see what 2020 brings 🙂
Amanda, thank you for your willingness to share your story with us. Keep up the excellent work! You can connect with Amanda online: