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Priest, Panel Discusses How Social Media Can Be Used Effectively

By Michael Wargo

SOC Alex Priest alum on panel

Priest, BA/BS'11, speaks about qualitative differences between Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Google and their sub-networks.

Alex Priest, BA/BS ’11, was one of several panelists speaking on social media for American University alumni at the CASE Headquarters in downtown DC. Priest, who received his BA from the School of Communication and his BS from Kogod School of Business, is the DC community manager at Uber Technologies, Inc.  

He was joined on the stage by other alumni including Chip Griffin, SPA/BA '94, CEO and co-founder at CustomScoop; Geoff Livingston, CAS/BA '94, principal marketing strategist at Lady Soleil, Inc. and Isabel Saldarriaga, Kogod/MBA '11, business strategy and marketing consultant at Collective Method.

The panel covered a lot of digital territory, speaking about qualitative differences between Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Google and their sub-networks, who the main online influencers are and why you must engage them, how to measure success with social media, the latest trends and what’s next on the social media horizon.

Priest also gave some tips on social media and how he’s used it in his job.

Q: What type of social media do you use at Uber?

A: “We’re on Facebook and Twitter. We use FourSquare pretty substantially because we’re sort of a location-based company. It depends on your audience and your goals. With Uber, I’m the one managing our social media so I look at where our audience is. A lot of it for me is just experimenting as well. It’s looking at our audience and the data that we have and seeing what makes the most sense.”

Q: How do you get beyond the click (to engage customers)?

A: “Every single aspect of the way we run our service is providing our customers some sort of ownership over their experience. I answer emails personally, I’m the one behind Twitter and Facebook and it’s a high touch customer interaction that lets people know that they matter. They’re not just talking to a logo or a blank wall; they’re talking to a real person. It’s important for us that our customers know they’re the ones that are driving our success.”

Q: Does being an early adapter for new social media work out?

A: “Not all the time. I personally will give it a month or two months and see if my audience is moving towards it then invest some time in it. Investing a lot of time in a network just because it’s new doesn’t pay off for most small businesses.”

Q: How much time do you spend on social media?

A: “From a day to day perspective, there’s never really a set time. It’s sort of 24/7 but by no means do I hunker down on my computer all day.”