Social media is commonly encountered in the context of applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr where text, media, links, and opinions are shared, discussed, and redistributed. Social media is generally an accessible outlet to spread the word on your organization, program, or self.
The slideshow and guide below will assist you through the basics of social media platforms, analytics, etiquette, and branding for a College of Arts & Letters related faction.
For one-on-one consultations regarding any and all questions about social media, please submit a Marketing Request Form with the College’s Marketing and Communications office.
Twitter is a great social media platform for providing news updates, timely information, and communicating to your audience on a frequent basis. Tweets are limited to 280 characters, and can include text, links, photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and location information.
Twitter’s primary audience is alumni, current students, faculty, and staff.
- Alumni are most engaged with posts including questions, nostalgia, and pride posts
- Students are most engaged with user-generated content, authentic conversations, humor, and visuals.
- Faculty and staff are most engaged with posts about announcements of grants and coverage of research
- Tweet with engaging images (of people, with vibrant colors, and high resolution)
- Tag relevant users (other initiatives/colleges/departments/professors …)
- Use hashtags
- Write concise copy (there is a 280 character limit – but the shorter the better!)
- Retweet related content to the college or department
- Use language that a general audience can understand. Avoid jargon.
Facebook is also a news platform, with a focus on networking with alumni and older audiences, like parents of students. Facebook is also great for providing general information about a unit, due to the fact that pages provide space for general information. Additionally, your “news” can also be a bit dated, since Facebook is not as fast-paced as Twitter.
Facebook’s primary audience is alumni, faculty, and staff. These groups tend to engage most with questions, nostalgia, video, and pride points.
- Always use short, concise copy
- Always use images, even with article posts (upload a relevant image if the article does not auto populate with one)
- Take advantage of video content – shorter content is more attention grabbing
- Promote your events (see CANR’s Facebook Event How-To)
Instagram is a casual image-based platform that will make your group’s web presence more appealing to younger audiences. Instagram also has a 60-second video feature and stories. Your followers are more unlikely to “repost” on Instagram than they are on Twitter or Facebook. The focus for Instagram is strengthening your brand.
Instagram’s primary audience is current and prospective students.
- Prospective students engage most with content that includes videos, causes, and images sharing brand personality
- Current students engage most with user-generated content, authentic conversations, humor, and visual graphics
- Post regularly with content relevant to your audience
- Engage with your followers by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts, as well as tagging them in your posts
- Be sure that your profile reflects your organization’s brand
- Always obtain an image owner’s permission before sharing their work
- Utilize features like stories, highlights, and reels
If you need assistance creating an icon or choosing a photo for your social media pages, please submit a Marketing Request Form. To learn more about specific Instagram features, view the Instagram Stories 101 slideshow below or visit the Instagram Stories 101 slideshow link.
Instagram Story Examples
To know how successful your platforms are performing, each above-mentioned platform includes built-in analytics.
If you are interested in a more in-depth perspective of your social media accounts, you may be interested in using a social media management system like Buffer or Hootsuite. With a social media management system, you are able to schedule content, manage all of your accounts in one place, and track your engagement and interaction (likes, retweets, followers, impressions, etc.).
Social media is more than a platform to post informational content on. Social media platforms also allow for meaningful interaction with your audience, and it is important to remember that when you are online you can build important connections. If an account directly mentions, tags, or shares your post, engage with them through a like and comment.
Engaging with your audience is a way for your brand to build community. Whether it is crediting the photographer for a post you published, mentioning a business directly in a post, or location tagging a local restaurant that was involved in a story, take the time to find these accounts and include them in your posts.
Reposting User Generated Content (UGC) is another way to build community. UGC is content created by your audience members or followers that is reposted by your account. UGC is a well-performing form of content that helps your brand establish itself as authentic and inclusive.
When building connections through social media, negative feedback and messages can arise. If there is a post, comment, or message that brings criticism from another user, respond in a professional and appropriate manner that is solution-oriented and avoids accusatory and defensive language. To the best of your ability, your brand should respond with an explanation and a solution to every complaint received.
Proper grammar and spelling are very important when it comes to posting on social media. Don’t neglect basic spell check features and a quick grammatical scan! Ensuring your posts are grammatically correct is easy to do with collaborative software such as Microsoft Teams and Trello, which allow for other users to cross-check your content before you post it on social media.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why do I need to use social media?
A: Social media platforms are an excellent way to build community, send messages to and engage with your target audience with branded content. Use social media to promote your department events and accolades, engage with students, prospective students and alumni. A polished social media presence also makes for a well-rounded, reputable institution and gives credibility.
Q: What is the first step in setting up a social media profile?
A: The first step in setting up a social media profile is determining what goals you are trying to achieve. Ask yourself what messages you are trying to send and to whom.
Q: What does it take to run a social media account?
A: The resources needed to run a social media account consist of time for planning, posting and monitoring as well as a continuous flow of content. You should set aside 1-2 hours per day to spend on each social platform.
Q: Where can I get content to share on my social media pages?
A: Social media content can be created from your department website, student highlights and event shares. It can be curated from various industry leaders, depending on what department you are in.
Q: Do I need to have a presence on all social media platforms?
A: It is not necessary to create a social profile on every platform. Assess the target audience you are trying to reach and the type of messages you are trying to send to discover which platform works best to achieve your social media goals. Members of our Marketing and Communications office are available to help assist you assess your audience and goals.
Q: Can I post the same content on all platforms?
A: Not all content is appropriate for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. In general, keep the best, most polished editorial content for Facebook. Share quick snippets of information and news on Twitter. Fun and engaging photos should be shared on Instagram. Keep long form video to YouTube.
Q: How will I know if what I’m doing on social media is working?
A: Successful social media posts perform well, meaning they receive a high number of likes, shares and comments. Analytics are available natively through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social media management systems like Buffer are also available.