Marketing through social media is one of the most versatile and popular strategies that organizations use. Social media marketing is used to connect with your audience to build your brand, increase engagement, and drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media accounts, listening to and engaging with your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media campaigns.
Throughout this set of guidelines, you will find information to help you create social media accounts, ensure your accounts and content are brand compliant, optimize your content strategy, and increase your engagement and overall reach.
Should you have any questions regarding the social media guidelines, please contact the Office of Marketing & Communications at email@example.com.
Before creating a social media account that represents the University of Virginia’s College at Wise, please review the following.
If, after reviewing the below, you would like a consultation or assistance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about creating a UVA Wise Athletics account, please contact Darrell Ely, assistant athletic director for communication at email@example.com.
First, we highly recommend that you take the following steps:
1. Review the “Electronic Communications and Social Media” document from the State of Virginia. This covers many basic questions, including prohibitions on posting inappropriate content.
2. Review the resources on this page, including the guide to developing a social media content strategy.
3. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and department to be added to the directory of UVA Wise social media accounts. This allows us to provide you with updated resources that will assist you as you manage your account.
4. Join the UVA Wise Social Media Managers Facebook Group for resources and tips for how to maximize your social media strategies and content.
Developing a Social Media Strategy
Consider the following questions:
- Does your department or office have an existing communications strategy, and are these social media accounts aligned with it?
- What are your goals for these social accounts?
- Who are your intended audiences?
- What social media platforms are best to reach those audiences?
- What type of content will you share on these accounts?
- Who will have the login credentials? Make sure at least two people within the office have access. If possible, use a shared email address to register the accounts.
- How often will you post?
If you would like help or a consultation, contact email@example.com.
Note that social media is a tool to help you engage with and communicate to your audiences, but it is not a megaphone; it is a place to listen and to converse. It is important to develop a strategy that fulfils your marketing objectives and offers something valued by those you want to reach.
Choosing the Right Social Media Platforms
Keep in mind how much time your office or department can dedicate to social media, and resist the urge to join every available platform.
If you are unsure of which platforms are most relevant to your audiences, the Pew Research Center’s Social Media Fact Sheet is a good place to start, as it offers basic demographic information on the popularity and adoption of major social media platforms. Just interested in talking to students? LinkedIn might not be for you. Are faculty your core audience? Perhaps Snapchat isn’t right.
Creating Your Accounts
When creating an account for your department or organization, it is important that you create the account using an official college email and have at least two employees in your department have access to the account.
When naming your account, you should lead with the name of the institution and it help your account get recognized more in searches.
Account names should be written like this example: “UVA Wise Office of Marketing”
If you need assistance with creating your accounts, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once you have established a social media strategy and created your accounts, it is important to have high-quality content that supports your goals.
Crowdsourcing Content for Social
Across social media platforms, it is important to have a mix of content generated from your department or organization and content from other sources. If your group develops useful content, use it. However, we also recommend sharing content that speaks to your audience; measure what they find most engaging and think about how you can create content that builds off of your audience’s interests in the future.
Content can be user-generated from your followers, UVA Wise students, faculty members or other UVA Wise social accounts. Follow the news and videos produced by the Marketing & Communications Department in the event it's relevant to your audiences. Please share content from Marketing that speaks to your audience. Likewise, let us know when it might be appropriate for us to share your posts. Ask questions, monitor your mentions, and be interactive.
Sharing a daily picture of campus will drive high engagement rates, but it may also raise questions about the intentions of your strategic messaging. Inversely, posting information that supports your core mission, but that generates zero social engagement, is not a sustainable approach.
Scheduling & Planning Content
Scheduling your content will help you keep track and keep your account active, even if you are not able to check your accounts frequently.
Here are a few options to schedule your content on social:
- Facebook and Instagram offer the option to schedule content within the platform through the Creator Studio. This is sometimes viewed as preferable to using third-party services to schedule because of a perception that Facebook offers less reach to content scheduled through other services.
- Tweetdeck for Twitter.
- Services such as Hootsuite allow one-stop scheduling for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram, with a rolling cost structure depending on your use of the platform.
- Asana offers a free option to create a content calendar. This can be helpful to map out your social content ahead of time and collaborate with colleagues to schedule the posts.
The first step to measuring success is to define what it means with regard to your social media activities.
Here are some examples:
- Do you want your audience to head to your website? If you are looking for more clicks to your site, then include a short URL (you can use bit.ly, tinyurl, or another link shortener to create one) in your posts, monitoring and measuring the amount of traffic you drive to your site after these promotions.
- Are you looking to gain more awareness about your department or office? If your department or office is newly established, then you might want to measure success by follower growth, impressions or engagement rates (likes, comments, shares) with your content.
- Are you looking for more attendance to your events? You could measure the engagement on your Facebook event posts, etc.
Keep in mind that these are just a few examples – closely aligning your strategic objectives to tactical actions makes the next part much easier.
Analytics and Reporting
If you are creating a business profile, many social accounts (including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) offer their own analytics. Often, you can export them directly from the platform (Twitter, Facebook). Instagram offers analytics, but only through the app.
There is much more data available here than is possible to use, so take a look at what is available, decide which metrics are most important to you based on your strategic objectives, and set up ways to systemically monitor them. Many services, such as Hootsuite, will offer a tool to deliver automated monthly reports.
If UVA Wise is involved in a crisis or negative issue that is dominating social conversation, remember that addressing it via social media posts from a UVA Wise account is much the same as issuing a press release or speaking on behalf of the College. Please refrain from taking any action of this kind. Official college statements are coordinated with the College’s leadership and can be found from the primary UVA Wise accounts (which your account is welcome to share).
Likewise, if a national emergency or crisis unrelated to UVA Wise dominates social conversation, make sure to consider the appropriateness of your scheduled posts. It is likely that you will want to pause or cancel scheduled posts to avoid unintentionally appearing tone deaf or unaware of current events.
We encourage open discussion about the topics we post but we do reserve the right to moderate discussion on the University of Virginia’s College at Wise social media accounts and to remove posts that contain:
- Profane or obscene content
- Off-topic content
- Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination against protected classes
- Sexual harassment content
- Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
- Spam or comments that include links to external online sites
- Solicitations of commerce or advertisements including promotion or endorsement
- Promotions of particular services, products or political candidates or organizations
- Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems
Violators may have their comments removed from the College's social media platforms. Continued or egregious violations of this policy may prompt the College to further restrict an individual's commenting on College social media platforms. In certain situations, the poster, as well as the content, may be reported to authorities, depending on the nature of the content.
Posts that refer to specific individuals or offices within the UVA Wise community as part of the complaint, concern, or compliment will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, at the discretion of page administrators, the post or comment may be removed.
Users who have concerns about specific conduct can contact email@example.com to report them. Please capture a screenshot of the conduct and send as part of your report.
The University of Virginia’s College at Wise is not responsible for the content posted by participants on any of its pages, nor does its existence constitute endorsement of the content by the College.
Participants understand that they are ultimately responsible for the content they post, and as such, understand legal issues may arise from the content they post, and that the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is not responsible for those outcomes.
Additional Resources & Help
For further assistance with your social media accounts, campaigns, and marketing, please contact the Office of Marketing & Communications team for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.