Staying Connected with Post Alumni

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Professor Kristi Serrano explains why Internet marketing is so important

Marissa Santomaso

While all of us update our Facebook statuses, follow celebrities on Twitter, and pray that an employer has stumbled upon our LinkedIn accounts, we have to wonder: How important is online communication, really?

Kristi Serrano, an alumni and adjunct professor at C.W. Post, has been working with the Internet and marketing industry for over seven years in multiple facets and is busy monitoring the largest wedding websites. Serrano graduated in 2004 with a degree in public relations and ventured through the job market in several different media marketing businesses. She was responsible for posting and running online advertising campaigns across a network of sites. Serrano specializes in Search Engine Optimization [SEO] and Social Media Marketing, but she has extensive experience in Email Marketing, Online Advertising, Analytics, and is currently the Senior Online Marketing Manager for The Knot, Inc.

Serrano has taught Online Communications, focusing on Internet Marketing, in the media arts department since 2008. Serrano said, “In 2007, Professor Abby Dress approached me with a unique opportunity to teach a course at C.W. Post, focusing on online marketing and communications. At the time, this topic had not been a mainstream topic at universities in the country. After having put together the course outline and having it approved by the department, this was one of two undergraduate courses in the country that focused entirely on online marketing and communications. “Perry Drake, at NYU, was the other professor to teach a similar course. Today, more and more universities have seen the value in this type of course and have expanded upon this; some colleges and universities have even adapted this as a major or minor program,” added Serrano.

At The Knot, Serrano is responsible for the optimization of four major brands: theknot.com, thenest.com, thebump.com and weddingchannel.com. The main focus of her role is to identify keywords and make sure that TheKnot ranks number one in Google and Bing searches. When asked how important it is for students today to understand the online business of market, Serrano’s response was, “Today, there is virtually no role in the business world that does not require some type of online experience. Without having a basic, fundamental knowledge of how the internet works and how businesses are using it to grow, students are limiting themselves. This is no longer optional.” Serrano also explained that the need for online positions has grown exponentially, and this will continue to grow.  In 2010, there were an estimated 255 million websites, and 21.4 million were added in 2010 alone. In addition, the total Internet use increased 14% to 1.97 billion Internet users around the world.

It turns out that our generation may not be as doomed as we think it is. Facebook and Twitter can help up us understand the value of social media in the world. “Understanding social media will definitely help, but it is much more than understanding how to use the technology. In order to successfully utilize this knowledge, it is important to understand how businesses are using social media to grow. In time, having grown up with this advanced knowledge of technology will provide this generation with an advantage against those with a more limited understanding of social media and technical platforms,” Serrano explained.

When asked what advice Serrano could give students at C.W. Post today, she explained that although you may not get your dream job the week after graduation, you must remember to use every opportunity as a learning experience. “You must make sure that no matter what field or direction you choose, you are learning something new every day.” Finally, Serrano was asked the awaited question: Faceook, Twitter, or Linked In? She said, “I would choose Facebook. In essence, you can use this platform the same way you can use the others, whereas Twitter and LinkedIn can be more limiting.”

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