So, You Want to Create a Social Media Account?
Social media platforms may be new, and they are constantly changing, but strategic implementation of successful communications is not.
1. Do I need a social media account?
There are currently more than 250 Facebook accounts, 90 Twitter accounts and 80 Instagram accounts at WSU. By creating an account, you are choosing to enter a crowded space. Try answering the following questions before proceeding.
Why do you want to create a social media account?
The answer should be more than “we want to get the word out,” or “(insert name here) has one, so we need one, too.” You should be able to define both short-term and long-term goals — measurable ones. Do you have an event you want to promote? Don’t create an account just to promote events. These can be supported by other standing social media accounts that have larger, more active followings.
Can you provide content on a regular basis with this account?
In regards to social media, few things reflect more poorly on the university than abandoned, inactive and ineffective accounts. WSU’s outward-facing image depends on your ability to post consistent, relevant content. This doesn’t mean posting every day, but you must be able to regularly reward your audience for choosing to follow your account.
Is there another group on campus you can collaborate with?
Duplicate messaging is often harmful, rather than helpful. If another group on campus has a similar audience or purpose, try to work with them to disseminate your content.
Will this account be supported by the group you represent?
Without proper buy-in from your dean, vice president, marketing manager, etc., in your department or division, you are going to run into problems. The social media account you create should be officially assigned to a position or role within the organization. Make sure it aligns with any policies your group has (in addition to the university’s).
Inactive accounts reflect negatively on WSU. Social media is visible to all, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Be ready to support your account at all times.
2. What's my strategy?
So, now you have a social media account. That’s just the start. Without an action plan, success will be difficult in this crowded space.
- Identify and Plan
- Define your goals.
- Define your audience(s). Who are the stakeholders, influencers and resources?
- Learn your audience’s goals and interests. What data and analytics back this up?
- Research what social platforms your audiences prefer.
- Create an editorial/posting calendar to plan your content in advance.
- Establish what your personality and voice will be.
- Make team roles clear. Define who will manage and create content.
- Have more than one administrator. If one of them leaves WSU, you’ll still need access to your account.
- Determine what tools you plan to use to monitor and measure your account.
- Deliver and Participate
- Figure out how often you can/want to post. Is it daily, weekly or monthly?
- Engage in the conversation. Social media is meant to be social, so monitor and participate in discussions.
- Be responsive. Answer questions in a timely manner and clear up misinformation (while being respectful).
- Be accurate. Make sure you have all the facts before you post. Having an extra set of eyes look at your content before you post will help eliminate typos and grammatical errors, as well.
- Encourage desired behaviors, such as user-generated content and/or comment rules.
- Analyze and Evolve
- Use analytics to measure success (reach, engagement, audience demographics)
- Measure how goals are being met. Don’t forget to establish baselines before starting.
- Calculate the return on investment. Should you ramp up or slow down your efforts?
- Adjust focus and efforts depending on changes in demographics, platforms and interactions.