Social Media Best Practices
Before starting a social media channel, research similar organizations on social media networks for ideas on what works and what doesn’t.
Form a Strategy
Identify who you want to reach (audience), types of content you intend to share and overarching goals. Is there an existing U of I unit, college or department social media channel you could add content to instead? Start with just one social media channel and build a platform for your audience.
Set Your Goals
What do you want this social presence to accomplish for your unit? The goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Common social media goals include:
- Increase traffic to website (search engine optimization)
- Build and manage reputation
- Build awareness
- Establish thought leadership
Make the Time
Don’t start a social media effort unless you have the dedicated time and resources post at least three times per week. Continual content is critical for a new channel to thrive.
Who manages the social channel is just as important as how it’s run. Make sure you have at least two admins at any point in time and plan for change.
Be an active user. Listen to conversations, engage with comments, answer questions, and keep your account fresh with regular posts.
Determine what success means for your purpose and goals. Increased traffic to your website? Better communication with prospective students? Number of fans, followers, comments?
A Few Things to Consider
Social media is all about people connecting with people. Remember to humanize your social media interactions and write posts that join a larger conversation when possible. On social networks it is okay to use an exclamation point and phrases such as “check it out” rather than “read more.”
Make sure you have all of the facts before you post. Cite and link to sources whenever possible to help build a community and openly own any mistakes. Spell check and confirm dates for each post.
Encourage Open Conversation
Listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Allow negative comments, report the spam, and seek to respond rather than censor. The University of Idaho welcomes thoughtful discussion, debate and differing viewpoints, with the understanding that all comments made must be civil, respectful, and appropriate. Comments which are lewd, libelous, incite violence or are otherwise hurtful or hateful speech directed at either individuals or groups may be documented and hidden or deleted.