Social Media Strategy and Best Practices
Before You Begin
Social media can be a valuable addition to a robust communication strategy, but consider a few questions before you launch a new social media account:
- Who is your intended audience? Is this the right channel to reach them?
- How much time can you dedicate to the management of this channel?
- Social media is fast-paced and requires time for monitoring and engagement as well as outgoing messaging.
- Set aside time to keep up with the ever-changing features and policies within social media channels.
- What are your goals, and how will you measure success?
Setting a Social Media Strategy
Consider the following steps when creating your social media strategy:
Listen: Use social listening practices to learn more about your audiences and ensure you’re posting relevant content. You can also learn more about the current conversation surrounding the University.
Plan: Keep a social media editorial calendar to ensure consistent and planned content for each week. Connect with other University communicators to share content across audiences.
React: Ensure timely content by tapping into trending topics, timely news stories, and events.
Engage: Social media is a conversation. Make sure you’re engaging with your audience. Provide customer service by answering questions, welcome campus visitors or event attendees, and use a friendly and conversational tone when appropriate.
Evaluate: Many social channels include free access to analytics and insights. You can use this information to measure success, and fine-tune your tactics. Keep in mind the following questions when evaluating posts with high or low engagement:
- What type of media was used?
- What time of day was it posted?
- What event/news item did it tie into?
Creating Content for Social Media
Balance: Content should be balanced between
- Promotion: News, events, deadlines, and reminders
- Personality: School spirit, fun facts, welcoming and lighthearted content
- Think about your audience(s):
- Use words they understand/use
- Frame messages by their need, not yours
- Avoid acronyms
- Be concise and make content easy to scan
- Posts should have a conversational quality. Avoid promotional or gimmicky language.
Find the Human Aspect:
- What would make this interesting or inspiring to our audience?
- Where can you infuse personality or emotion?
- Use photos, video, and graphic elements to make your content stand out
Effective Use of Hashtags:
- Use hashtags to help connect your posts to a larger conversation
- UMN-specific: #UMNdriven, #UMNproud
- Weekly trends: #MotivationMonday, #TBT, #TriviaTuesday
- Trending hashtags
- Quick Guide to Social Media Channels
- Social Media House Rules
- Social Media Policies and Codes of Conduct