Associate Director of Digital Communications

Oakland, California
Sep 14, 2018
Institution Type
Specialized Institutions

Job Summary:

Reporting to the Director of Communications, the Associate Director of Digital Communications supports strategic and tactical digital communications programs for Samuel Merritt University. The role collaborates with multiple departments to develop relevant and compelling messaging and constructs these communications on digital platforms such as the University’s website, social media channels, and email communications.

The successful candidate holds the central role in digital content development and social media administration, requiring proven ability to work effectively individually and collaboratively with SMU stakeholders to create highly engaging content that supports communications and marketing objectives across all digital channels. The position requires in-depth understanding of web content and social media best practices. The successful candidate who holds this role serves as primary manager of the SMU website content and primary owner of SMU’s social media accounts.

The role ensures that communications are timely, appropriate, creative, and varied. The person in this position must have proven planning, organizational, and project management skills as well as the willingness and ability to learn and adopt the use of new technologies and information systems. The successful candidate is comfortable in an environment with multiple deadlines and shifting priorities.

The description of responsibilities below is not necessarily an all-inclusive list.

Job Responsibilities include but are not limited to:

  • Utilizes web content management systems and corresponding tools to create and update web pages for use by internal and external audiences.
  • Coordinates with SMU media representatives announcements of SMU news on the University website, across social channels, and through e-mails and e-newsletters.
  • Serves as resource for departments and teams to maintain standards/style for digital communications.
  • Creates or edits images to enhance content presentation and formatting.
  • Responsible for defining and reporting on KPIs (analytics/survey results).
  • Works with SMU ITS to provide back-end technical support for website maintenance and introduction of new features and functionality.
  • Coordinates, in close collaboration with ITS, regular training in content writing and posting for SMU website editors and publishers.
  • Vets public-facing content as adherent to SMU messaging, branding, and style guidelines.
  • Writes, edits and develops – in collaboration with subject matter experts – content for websites, social media, and other digital channels.
  • Reviews and edits all assigned and self-initiated digital communications content using proper grammar, appropriate style, and institutional voice before publishing and posting.
  • Develops and executes social media campaigns to grow digital audience.
  • Shares social media best practices with paid and volunteer student contributors.
  • Recruits and manages students for social media student-generated perspectives on SMU programs and events.
  • Establishes, in conjunction with the Director of Communications, social media goals and provides reports on progress toward meeting those goals.
  • Monitors responses to SMU social media posts and other mentions of SMU.

Hands-on web management, enhancement, and training (60%)
Strategic digital communications leadership (20%)
Social media channel management (20%)

Qualifications/Skills and Abilities:

  • Proven planning, organizational and multi-task project management skills
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong experience in brand positioning
  • Proven Internet-based positioning experience
  • Intermediate knowledge/understanding of Web site design and layout
  • Demonstrated attention to detail
  • Ability to consistently negotiate expectations and outcomes with internal management and external vendors
  • Ability to work well under pressure, meet deadlines, and work within an environment of shifting priorities to deliver a quality digital user experience
  • Demonstrated business maturity and professionalism
  • Understanding of working within higher education or institutional structure for approval processes
  • Knowledge of content relationship management applications and uses
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices


  • Bachelor’s degree in digital media, communications, public relations or journalism
  • 3 to 5 years of experience in higher education or institutional communications, digital communications or corporate marketing
  • Mix of experience in writing, editing, and social media management
  • Website technical and graphics editing skills
  • Equivalent combination of education, training, and professional experience that provides the individual with the required knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform the job
  • Exceptional understanding of criteria for organizing and maintaining a high quality website that meets best practices of user-responsiveness, accuracy, accessibility, and consistency
  • Familiarity with marketing, branding, and related communications fields preferred
  • Demonstrated knowledge and use of social media platforms
  • Advanced knowledge of CMS, Drupal, HTML, Photoshop and best practice programs and systems related to website design and structure

The University has an institution-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. We strive to build a welcoming and supportive campus environment, and acknowledge that diversity is an educational imperative to achieve excellence.

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