Social Media: The Guide

Posted on 9/12/2011 12:14:05 PM

Pages and profiles. Follow Friday. Retweet, handles, and hashtags. Social media seems to have a language all its own. If your department or organization has been considering joining the wave of incorporating social media into a website, event promotions, or general communications, we’ve got just what you need to understand and succeed in the world of social networks.

The Social Media Guide, available in the How-to section of the Web Team’s site, covers why, how, and where to join the social media movement.

What You Need to Know

Before you create any accounts, it is important to determine if you even should. Do you have the audience for it? Do you have the time to maintain it? And, does a page already exist? Worse than not having a presence on social media is having a poor one, so make sure it is something your group can commit to.

Next, you need to figure out what you want to achieve. It is good to set goals so you can see if your efforts are paying off. Your goal can be broad, like reaching a certain number of followers/fans/connections by the end of the semester. Or it can be more specific, like increasing attendance at an event promoted through a combination of traditional and online outlets.

When you know what you want to achieve, you can then determine which network or networks will work for you. Each has a different offering of benefits and downsides. LinkedIn is great for connecting with alumni, faculty, and staff members, but not where you would announce club meetings for students.

On the flip side, Twitter is perfect for sending reminders about meetings, deadlines, and other time-sensitive topics.

Ready, Set, Write

Once you know which network or networks you will be using, get familiar with them. Learn what tools are available and how to use them. And definitely review the writing tips; besides technicalities—like the 148 character limit for Twitter—you can learn what style to use for each network, when to post, and much more.

We’ll be looking at each of these networks more closely in future posts, but in the meantime, use the guide to get familiar with them. Then go friend folks on Facebook, retweet great tweets on Twitter, get your subgroup connected on LinkedIn, or show the world your videos on YouTube.

See all the Web Team’s blog posts specifically for Web maintainers, or visit the How-to section for more information and help.