Social Media Best Practices
Do you run your student org’s social media accounts? Are you a student fellow tasked with running your department’s accounts? Follow these steps to make your social media presence both awesome and truly representative of Carthage.
Create a tone and voice for your page/profile. For instance a student org’s Facebook page may have a lighter, more conversational tone but a LinkedIn profile should be more reserved and professional. Having a consistent tone helps build trust and strengthens relationships. Successful social media thrives when people feel as if they’re engaged in a conversation rather than being talked to (more on that a bit later). Creating one voice can be difficult if more than one person is managing the account. Please keep this in mind when developing your social media strategy.
Always, always, always speak to people the way you would want to be spoken to. Just because the conversation is taking place behind a computer or phone screen doesn’t mean the rules of polite face-to-face conversation are out the window.
We all make mistakes, but if you mess up, take care of it. It isn’t a big deal if you make a grammatical error, just edit the post (if possible) or delete and repost with the fix. However, if you’ve made a factual error or given someone the wrong answer, own up to it. They’ll find out anyway and it’s best they find out from you.
Carthage is doing really cool things. From concussion research, to working with NASA or winning national theatre awards, there’s no shortage of really cool things we can tout. So don’t make the mistake of presenting cool news in a dry, boring fashion. Dispel the notion that academics can’t be fun. Incorporate a fun headline, include visuals or tell the story in a completely different way. That being said in times of crisis or need, be sensitive and respectful. Years of built-up reputation and goodwill can all be undone in one post, be thoughtful and strategic when posting.
This is another simple one. Think before you write a post and then think again before you hit send. If something tells you that maybe you shouldn’t post it, don’t.
This one is pretty simple. A picture is worth a thousand words and Twitter only gives you 140 characters.
“Listening” to the communications on your social media accounts is key to success. Always pay attention to your audience, in addition to posts on other accounts (related to Carthage, higher education, your field, your niche, etc.) and use that content to add value for your audience.
Be worth it
Always remember that our goal is to help students, parents, and colleagues. Communication should be thought-provoking and community-driven. This isn’t to say that every single post has to be directly beneficial if it helps people improve their knowledge or skills, solve problems, feel part of our community or understand Carthage better, then it’s adding value.
Be aware of your platform
Every social network has its own lingo and culture. Before you start, familiarize yourself with them. Are you wondering what the best platform is for you, check out a very basic pros and cons list.
Be familiar with privacy and safety
Social media content is public. Never reveal private information about yourself, students or colleagues and always consider policies like FERPA when determining what things are appropriate.
There will certainly be times where you may not have anything to post, but you can always share content from a variety of Carthage resources. The Carthage website and The Bridge are both great places to get information. Your followers themselves are also a great source for content, a simple question will go a long way. When you can, do your best to push people to the Carthage website to further engage your followers with the institution.
Social media is fun. College is fun. So reflect it.
If you ever have any questions, you have help! Just send an email to Tom Applegarth with a request for assistance.