Imagine posting content for millions of judging eyes to see. That is just a small part of what Ric Tombelli does every day.
Tombelli is the new director of digital marketing at Hillsdale, and despite having worked here only a few short months, he and his team have been hard at work making sure the college’s brand stays strong and consistent.
The school hired Tombelli in July, and six years of owning his own company proved itself valuable experience as he took over the many complicated facets involved in running Hillsdale’s digital marekting. One of those main facets is managing all of the social media channels that represent the college, a part of his job that he has emphasized. It carries a lot more weight than it does for the average college student, especially with the recent issues of free speech faced by many major social media platforms.
“In theory,” Tombelli said, “things that we speak about here at the college that are considered the bedrock of what we teach could be viewed by some of those platforms as speech that they no longer wish to promote.”
This would be a step in the wrong direction for the college as a whole, he said, as social media plays a large role in connecting with Hillsdale’s international audiences.
Though digital marketing may seem to be a relatively straightforward job, there is a great deal of time and effort put in to making sure that the school’s brand is promoted in a consistent, positive manner.
“There’s the Hillsdale.edu site,” Tombelli said, “but there’s also the Halter Shooting Center, there’s the online courses page, and Hillsdale in D.C. So my job is to make sure that those properties reflect the brand of the school.”
Bryan Springer, another of the school’s new additions to the marketing department, helps to ensure that Hillsdale’s values are accurately represented, both online and in print.
“One of the fundamental keys to marketing is consistency,” Springer said. “Consistency is important to build brand equity that people are used to seeing in a certain way.”
After teaching for more than ten years in Hillsdale’s art department, Springer now works as the marketing department’s creative director.
“We’re looking at developing an identity that’s distinctive, yet still ‘Hillsdale,’” Springer said, “so that we can provide engaging communications to a variety of different audiences.”
One of those audiences is the admissions department, which Springer said is one of their main avenues for bringing in new students to the college.
The marketing department’s work doesn’t stop once those students are enrolling in college, though. As the freshmen class learned during orientation, the marketing department makes videos and pamphlets to help the students as they get ready for the school year ahead.
“We have Facebook and YouTube campaigns that we’ll put up, make them into YouTube ads and Facebook ads, and that kind of thing,” said Chandler Ryd, a video producer in the marketing department. “The college is very committed to doing video and doing it on a really big scale; [they are] high quality productions.”
These videos serve a wide variety of purposes from promoting the college to filming the college’s large selection of online courses. Ryd is on scene throughout the filming process, assisting with anything needed to complete production.
“The goal is to teach people about what the school is and what our mission is,” he said.
Tombelli has so far enjoyed his time leading the marketing for a school as special as Hillsdale, he said. Tombelli said he is excited for his position with the department to showcase a college as uniquely driven as Hillsdale to the rest of the world.
“Hillsdale is a lot like the Silicon Valley of colleges because we do things nobody else does,” he said.