Tips for Creating a Social Media Account for Your Program
Before creating an online social media presence that represents your office, department, program, club or service, contact the Office of Marketing & Communications. We'd like to help you think through your goals, desired platform, name, graphics, and strategy. Some questions to consider:
- What type of content do you want to share, and how often?
- Who is your audience?
- Who will be responsible for maintaining your site, now and into the future?
- How can you work with other SSU accounts to coordinate information?
- Can your goals be accomplished with existing social media accounts?
- How will you ensure that the Shawnee State University brand is reinforced?
- How do you plan to monitor and measure your social media activity?
Tips for Content
If it is decided that a separate account will best meet your communication needs, below are tips for management of your account.
- Know your platform. Understand the rules of the platform you have chosen and best practices for using it.
- Know who you are. Use Shawnee State University in your name to make it easier to find your site. Keep your goals in mind and have a planned strategy. Become familiar with branding guidelines and identity. Remember that your site represents Shawnee State University.
- Assign an account manager. It’s wise to have more than one person responsible for providing content for your platform, but one person needs to be responsible for maintaining your consistent identity.
- Speak with one voice. Understand your audience and make sure your posts are consistent in style, personality, and tone.
- Use visuals, but know the rules and keep branding in mind. High quality photography is a vital part of the Shawnee State University brand. Use of photography and visuals is important in social media to engage your audience. Make sure you have the right to publish photos that you did not take, observing copyright and trademark laws. Pictures of students may require a signed release. Shawnee State University logos are trademarked and their use must be coordinated with the Office of Communications.
- Engage your audience. If you are going to have a presence, be present. Post consistently, answer questions asked on your site, provide accurate and timely information, keep watch of the site 24/7 and be ready to react. Inactive accounts reflect negatively on the university. The Office of Marketing & Communications may ask that an inactive account be deleted.
- Don’t delete comments unless they “break the rules.” Social media is about having a conversation and sharing viewpoints and opinions that are sometimes different or controversial. All comments are respected, valued, and encouraged. Only comments that are off-topic; represent advertisements or spam; constitute or encourage illegal activity; infringe upon someone’s rights; contain nudity, obscenities or threats will be removed, in compliance with the SSU Social Media Policy.
- Know your area of expertise. Avoid reporting, speculating, discussing, or giving any opinions on university topics that are outside your scope and area of responsibility, including internal policies and operations. Avoid presenting yourself as the University spokesperson. If a comment or question is outside your area of expertise and intended purpose of your site, respond with the contact information of the department or area that can provide assistance. “Jamie, our Admission counselor will be able to help you. I’ll message you contact information.”
- Respond professionally and responsibly. Refrain from engaging in dialogue that could disparage colleagues, competitors or critics. Never comment on legal matters or pending litigation. Do not share confidential or proprietary information.
- Assist in spreading accurate, official news in times of emergencies. In times of emergencies (weather, crime alerts, etc), the Office of Marketing & Communications, in coordination with the Department of Public Safety and the SSU Emergency Response Team, will distribute alerts. Because your audience may look to your site, share official alerts as they appear on the Shawnee State University feeds.
Tips for Personal Accounts
As employees of Shawnee State University, what we do and say, including our activity on social media, directly reflects on the institution. While we like to think that our personal accounts are private, it is often hard for others to distinguish the difference between our own online personal and professional opinions, especially when our personal accounts make reference to our employers. Please be mindful of these perceptions when making public posts, particularly if you are in a position where you may appear to officially represent the institution.