Social media is another communication tool to help you get your message out, create connections and build goodwill with your audiences over time. Keep the following in mind as you do so.
Before you launch a social-media channel, please consider the following questions:
1. What do you want to accomplish?
Outline your goals like you would with any communication or marketing campaign. Social media is another channel for your content. Use it wisely.
2. Where is your target audience?
Determine where your audience is and concentrate your efforts on building one platform before adding another. It takes concerted time to listen, engage and inform. Social media is meant to be a conversation, not a one-way broadcast.
4. Do you have the content to sustain a presence?
Your social media channel(s) will reflect on your department and, ultimately, the university as a whole. Consider whether your unit has the time and personnel to 1) create or curate quality content on a regular basis (that drives traffic to your own website as much as possible), 2) post engaging content daily, and 3) monitor and respond often. Social media doesn’t create your stories, it tells them.
2. Engage your audience.
Post content that your followers enjoy and want to share. This will not only keep them coming back for more but also increase your chances for better reach (via Facebook’s algorithm).
3. Remember less is more!
Don’t feel the pressure to use every social media channel out there. Start with a realistic plan for one or two and get good engagement with those first.
5. Measure your results.
Establish performance metrics upfront that are tied to organizational strategy. Find out what did well, and why. Adapt accordingly.
6. Involve actual students in your planning (if they’re your main audience)
You may think your campaign content is interesting and written in a way that appeals to students. Find out if that’s really true.
7. Reach out to subject matter experts.
Don’t respond on behalf of the university, your department or a professor unless you have the correct facts and information. Direct the questions to the appropriate website or person in your network.
8. Think twice about posting, or responding.
Exercise sound judgment and common sense. Trust your gut. Familiarize yourself with compliance obligations under FERPA and university policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. Refrain from conversations that may create the appearance of lobbying.
9. Respect copyright laws.
Show proper respect for laws governing copyright and fair use. Be sure to receive permission for sharing images protected by copyright. A best practice is to always credit a source, unless the photo credit is referenced in the linked story itself.
10. Be supportive.
Collaborate with other social media managers across campus to help amplify your or their content. Be courteous with considerate lead-time when possible.
11. Use brand guidelines.
Support campus efforts to build a strong brand when creating graphics, using logos or composing Facebook posts or tweets.
Please keep the following concerns in mind:
As stated in the UC Electronic Communications Policy (page 10, “Privacy and Confidentiality”):
“The university recognizes that principles of academic freedom and shared governance, freedom of speech, and privacy hold important implications for the use of electronic communications. This policy reflects these firmly held principles within the context of the university’s legal and other obligations. The university respects the privacy of electronic communications in the same way that it respects the privacy of paper correspondence and telephone conversations, while seeking to ensure that university administrative records are accessible for the conduct of the university’s business.”
As stated in UC Statement of Privacy Values (page 2, “UC Privacy Principles”):
a. Free inquiry: “The university is guided by First Amendment principles and is committed to encouraging its members to exercise free discourse without fear of reprisal or intimidation, subject to the privacy and safety of other individuals or university resources.”
Personal responsibility and liability
a. Assume copyright protection: As stated in the UC Electronic Communications Policy (page 2):
Counter cyber-security risks
Social networking is built upon mutual trust. Attackers seek to exploit this trust relationship to damage reputation, disrupt operations, or for financial gain. Their tactics include taking control of social media sites and posting links to websites controlled by them to distribute malware or exploit vulnerabilities in web browsers, web browser extensions or applications.