Meet social media professional and public relations alum Kristyn Shay

Written byAshley McClure-French

“I fell in love with the power of social media as a low- to no-cost opportunity for small businesses to share their story.”

Kristyn Shay is a UL Lafayette public relations alum.
Kristyn Shay
Graduation Year
Class of 2015
Strategic Communication
Scott, La.

Where I'm From

I’m from Scott, La., where I always wanted to raise my family close to home.

Where I Am

I am the director of social media at SCORE.

Where I'm Going

I plan to teach on the university level one day, so perhaps grad school is my next adventure!

Kristyn Shay started her career in social media before she realized it. 

She is currently the director of social media at SCORE, her passion for social media started before she even began her first internship in the field. 

“Prior to graduating college, I managed a local pizza restaurant,” she said. “In that role, I was trusted to explore different avenues of generating new business. 

“I fell in love with the power of social media as a low- to no-cost opportunity for small businesses to share their story,” she said. “I think that this new evolution of PR (public relations) has made it easier for two-way communication. It’s much more about fostering a community these days, rather than just pushing information out.” 

Kristyn has since worked her way up in the field and has become a local leader in social media, which includes presenting on social media strategy at conferences and events.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette public relations alum Kristyn Shay presenting at Innovate South 2019.

Social Media as a Creative Outlet

As a student, Kristyn started looking for a field that satisfied her need be creative.

“I have always considered myself a creative person, but not necessarily an ‘artsy’ person,” she said. “And as a young adult, it was a tough place to be in, as I was searching for where I could fit in the professional world. 

“In my young mind, either you’re left-brained and you become an engineer or doctor, or you’re right-brained and you become an artist of some sort,” she said. 

“For me, finding PR was finding where I fit,” she said. “It was a program that would satisfy my want for a creative career and challenge me to think critically daily.”

Kristyn chose UL Lafayette for reasons most locals can agree with.

“Choosing UL Lafayette was easy,” she said. “Lafayette is home. It’s where I wanted to raise my daughter, who I was growing some of those days on campus.”

Kristyn Shay's daughter with her brick on the University of Louisiana at Lafayette walk of honor.
Kristyn's daughter with Kristyn's brick on the Walk of Honor, where all graduates are recognized with a brick with their name on it.

Kristyn praises UL Lafayette and the public relations program for preparing her for her future — and for creating a supportive environment while she was “mom’ing it.” 

“Real-life experience” is what she got out of the program, she said.

“That final campaigns class where you are assigned an actual client and get a taste of what your future career will be like is a phenomenal component of the program.

“I learned how to conduct research prior to building a campaign, how to understand the meaning behind the data, and how to use data to communicate success,” she said. “My time at UL Lafayette taught me how to sell myself, but also how to deliver results and that has made all the difference in my career. 

"Outside of skills needed to thrive in the social space, there are several key takeaways from my time in the PR program at UL Lafayette that I attribute to my success today," she said. "My research course taught me to be data driven. Being able to back up your ideas with metrics and support your initiatives with measurable ROI is the key to standing out in a sea of social media marketers.

"My public speaking course (and several others) taught me how to articulate my thoughts effectively, debate amongst my peers professionally and create an impactful slide deck," she said. "These are not trivial skills. They have been critical throughout my career journey, so learn how to build good slides and practice as much as you can while you have the opportunity." 

Becoming a Social Media Professional

Today, Kristyn utilizes these skills in her role with SCORE in helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals.

"As the Director of Social Media at SCORE, I oversee our two-pronged strategic approach to social media," she explained. "The more traditional of the two is through managing our national social media presence.

"I currently manage all of our organization’s active social media platforms from strategy to implementation and every wild twist and turn the platforms throw at us in between," she said. "This includes community engagement, content development, paid advertising, metrics analysis and more all geared towards building awareness of the SCORE brand so that more and more small business owners can take advantage of our free services."

SCORE is the nation's largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, which informs the second part of Kristyn's strategic approach.

"The other component of my role with SCORE is managing our location marketing at scale program for our 230 chapters throughout the U.S.," she said. "Each of our chapters has a Facebook Business Page, LinkedIn Company Page and Google Business Profile that we manage in collaboration with the chapter’s Social Media Chair.

"This local approach allows us to elevate our national presence by engaging in individual communities throughout the country," she said. "We are able to generate partnerships with local chambers of commerce, nurture relationships with other business incubators and be of service to entrepreneurs at every stage of their business journey.

"Developing and evolving this collaborative ecosystem is complex, but my role is designed to analyze the data, find efficiencies and build a program that is both scalable and effective," she explained.

So, for those interested in a career in social media, Kristyn is the person to ask. 

"When it comes to social media, I do believe there is some 'Jump in and learn as you go' to it" she said. "With ever-changing algorithms and new channels popping up left and right, the best skill to learn is adaptability. Be flexible. Be unafraid of failure. And don’t take yourself too seriously. That would be my advice to excel in a social media career today!

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