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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

Language:

  • 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?

Be Visual:

  • 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

Assets

Guidelines

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