Northeastern alumnus Andy Jasenak, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Studies, is a digital media expert who has worked in social media-focused roles at big-name companies for more than ten years. He loves the field because it is always changing, which makes it exciting and fast-paced, and it also requires a vast amount of creativity. This ever-evolving nature of the industry challenges brands to stay current, relevant, and fresh. Andy, who thrives when approaching projects from a creative standpoint, is certainly up to the challenge.
In his current role of Director of Digital Media at Amtrak, he oversees all of the organization’s social media efforts, including content development, paid social, social listening, analytics and reporting, and more.
“Over the last two years, we have really grown Amtrak’s social media efforts and turned it into a holistic marketing and customer care initiative,” said Andy, who is based in Washington D.C. “We use social media as a tool to understand how we can better serve our customers.”
Andy’s team has three parts, the first using social media as a marketing tool, including content creation (blog posts, videos, graphics) and paid media. This arena uses social media to get the organization’s message out. The second part is social listening, which explores what people are saying about the brand and how the organization can use the information to make smart and strategic business decisions. These team members listen to customer messages and inbound conversations and respond to complaints, issues, or positive feedback. The third part of the team sits next to the operations desk and uses Twitter around-the-clock to let customers know if there are delays and to push out alerts as needed.
Andy oversees all of these diverse facets of digital media and works strategically with his team, as well as other departments, to develop and deliver the best possible social content to the various Amtrak audiences.
“Overall, we aim to grow our brand and share the incredible experiences that Amtrak has to offer across our vast network,” Andy said. “Since most consumers today prefer to use social media as their primary communication medium, it is an increasingly important tool that brands must use effectively.”
So far, one project that stands out to Andy is the #AmtrakTakeMeThere social media residency, which aims to showcase how people from different walks of life travel by rail and to promote Amtrak’s long distance trains. The chosen residents have been tasked with sharing their individual experiences aboard the trains while engaging other social media users through their own online communities. The initiative, which Andy had the opportunity to work on, has been memorable and effective.
“The #AmtrakTakeMeThere project has certainly been a career highlight for me,” Andy said. “My team got to work on something that ended up attracting a lot of positive press – and the project has been such a great way to tell the stories of unique individuals and their families.”
In addition to Amtrak, Andy has worked for many large, well-established brands, including Capital One, Vineyard Vines, and Disney Parks & Resorts. He has learned something different from every company that he has worked for.
“My experiences have all worked to diversify my knowledge and skills,” Andy said. “One challenge that most major brands share is how to use social media to make new people aware of their product while also keeping the existing customer base equally engaged. Today’s consumers, even when it comes to companies with incredible brand recognition, want content that’s interesting and relevant. It’s a crowded market out there – my job is to help even the biggest brands stand out among everyone else.”
This is where Andy’s eye for creativity has been especially helpful. At Northeastern, he gained experience in everything from storytelling to visual and video production, to animation and art. One of his co-op experiences was even at a post-production studio in Boston, where he learned the ins and outs of video and editing. His second co-op was at a software company where he dove into graphics.
“I had a great experience at Northeastern; the co-op program was such a unique draw. Being able to come out of graduation with real, valuable work on your resume is so meaningful,” Andy added. “Co-op also allows students to try a bunch of different things and find exactly what they’re looking for, which is especially important in creative fields, and it helps with building meaningful relationships. I am still in touch with some of my colleagues from one of my co-ops; it is important to stay in touch with the people who have helped you along the way.”
We look forward to seeing what other creative projects Andy has the opportunity to work on, and where his adventures in the digital media industry take him next!