A social media account is an easy, personable way to share information and multimedia resources like photos and video. A Twitter account is best for sharing quick, concise updates, a Facebook account is best for sharing comprehensive information and Instagram is best for sharing photos.
So you’ve set up a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram (or all three) account for your department or club. Now what?
Know Your Platform
Audiences gravitate to each social media platform for different reasons and they use them in much different ways. Your approach to social media content should not be one size fits all.
- DO cross-promote your content on all platforms. Not everyone uses the same platforms and the more eyes, the better.
- DON’T just copy and paste content meant for Facebook to Twitter, or Instagram to Facebook. You don’t need to write three different messages, but think about how best to optimize the message on each. For instance, hashtags are vital on Instagram and Twitter but not Facebook. Twitter has character limits, etc.
- DO stay up-to-date with platform developments. New features are being launched on platforms fairly regularly. Pay attention to how they impact your engagement and how you may use them in the future.
- DON’T jump on a new platform without a plan. Will you have enough content and bandwidth to feed it past the first few weeks?
Quality Over Quantity
Content is king, but content without focus and drive creates too much noise and can drown out your main message.
- DO have a plan for content or a posting calendar. Keep track of the posts you’re making, when you make them, and what kind of engagement they get.
- DON’T post just to post. If you don’t have good content or are struggling to find something relevant to your page, just don’t post.
- DO consider your audience. As a niche university page, you’ll have a smaller audience than any of the Big W pages and that audience won’t look the same as the main pages. What is your audience following your page for? What is your purpose?
- DO design graphics and video with the web in mind. A flyer that looks great printed on a bulletin board doesn't always translate well to social platforms.
- DON’T overuse #hashtags. #Please.
- DON’T try to go viral. Going viral happens naturally and rarely. It’s not something that can be forced through sheer will.
- DON'T use QR codes in your social media posts. Smart phone users will not be able to scan them.
Create the Correct Identity
People often follow multiple WSU social media accounts, and we need to distinguish the main university feed from other feeds. To make this easier, use of the WSU shield in the profile image is reserved for the six official university accounts, where messaging is managed by the Marketing & Communications team.
The WSU shield, as shown below, should not be used by other university offices, departments, student organizations or initiatives.
Instead, use photos or approved university signatures for colleges, academic departments, divisions, campuses, locations, centers, offices and programs. You can find these downloads at weber.edu/brand.
Use proper naming conventions. Refer to the WSU Writing Style Guide before naming your account. Abbreviate as necessary if length is an issue, but be sure to use the unit’s full name and “Weber State” in your biography or description.
Make use historical or outdated logos or create custom logos and profile photos using bits and pieces of different approved (and unapproved) university signatures/marks.
Use the Presidential Seal or Alumni Association mark in your logos or images. This is reserved for official university documents and ceremonial or historical university materials.
If you have further questions about logos, please refer to Weber State’s logo usage guide.
Know Your Audience
Part of being a social media manager is knowing when your brand should post, so it’s important to remain in touch with trends and what’s going on in the world.
- DO read the news daily. Knowing what’s going on in Ogden, the state of Utah, and the rest of the nation will give you a heads up on any big issues or what might be on your followers' minds. It may also help you decide content for the day, especially if Weber State is in the news.
- DO stay on top of trending topics.
- DO have an awareness of holidays and important events. These should be marked on your content calendar.
- DO pull any scheduled content if something tragic happens on the national stage i.e. a terrorist attack, school shooting, unexpected death of an important figure. Sometimes, you’ll just need to wait a few hours until the dust clears to resume posting. Use your best judgment.
Handling Negative Comments
Social media is a unique public environment that has its own culture and expectations. Traditional customer service and public relations may not be enough. Here are some tips to handle complaints, negativity or inappropriate situations online.
You Can't React if You Don't Know
Spending adequate time monitoring your social media accounts is paramount. This includes mentions, comments on posts, visitor posts on your profiles and even doing keyword searches for relevant hashtags and phrases that are unique to you and your brand.
Acknowledge the Complaint
Most people post negative comments because they don't feel like they are being heard. Some do it because social media is "detached" from more personal methods of communication, and it's easier for them to lash out in digital space. Either way, it's important to let them know you are listening. Always acknowledge the complaint and, if possible, attempt to resolve the issue. If necessary, apologize.
You can't make everybody happy though.
Don't Argue or Debate
This rarely looks good for you or for the university. When your attempts to engage with a complaint aren't making progress, it's OK to take a step back and stop engaging a "troll." Arguing and debating is rarely productive. Sometimes, you'll find that your most loyal followers will go to bat for you and engage with the complainer on your behalf.
Don't Delete Comments
Deleting comments only aggravates the commenter, or moves the conversation to another public forum (which can still damage your reputation). Deleting things in digital space is an illusion anyway, and it will bring your integrity into question — not only with the complainer, but with all your followers.
Blocking users or deleting comments should be reserved for violations of social media policy, including hate speech, pornography, personal attacks, confidential information, spam and comments that are off topic.