By Monica Martinez-Jimenez
SAN MARCOS – Social media editor for the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, Virginia Alves spoke to Texas State University students Thursday about her experience at the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Olympic games.
Alves is a native Portuguese speaker and has a father who was a journalist in Brazil, which helped her develop connections as soon as she arrived in Brazil.
The Rio 2016 Organising Committee had four social media accounts: Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. She was placed in charge of the committee’s English Twitter account.
Alves spoke to students about the preparation the social media team did and how the committee used test events to try out social media strategies to build an audience. Throughout each phase of the Olympics, the social media accounts catered to a different audience, according to Alves.
“The goal of the company was to sell tickets, and that was the one goal I had to keep in mind,” said Alves.
She explained how the social media team handled crisis. Alves discussed the incident involving Juma the jaguar, the jaguar that died after it was pictured next to the Olympic torch. According to Alves, the presence of the animal received backlash from human rights activists. The social media team was quick to respond with an apology for posting the photo.
The social media team also had Nielsen Holdings PLC monitoring their top posts to see what followers responded to.
Alves offered advice to students looking for jobs and experience. Idalia Ortiz, a general mass communication senior, was one of the students who attended the event.
“I really liked all the questions that had to do with how to get into the field, what to look forward to and what to expect,” said Ortiz.
Some students asked Alves for advice when applying to international jobs.
“Go for it, don’t be scared,” Alves said. “If you want to take a leap of faith, take a leap of faith and go to that country.”
When asked what her best advice for students was, Alves suggested that students develop their social media profiles in a personalized manner.
“Build your social media,” Alves said. “Build your brand, and if you have a thing, build social media out of it.”
Tatanysha Morgan, public relations senior said, “Her advice about branding really connects with me because I’m really trying to figure out how to brand myself. For her to even say it, is another reassurance that I really need to do it.”