Social Media 101

The basics

  • Form a strategy. Identify purpose, who you want to reach (audience), types of content you intend to share and overarching goals. From there, start with one social media outlet, such as creating a fan page on Facebook, and develop a presence.
  • Set your goals. Are you trying to communicate a campaign, promote your KU group/department/program, connect with alumni, create a community for fans, or increase overall awareness and recognition of your KU entity? Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Common goals include: increased traffic to website, reputation management, brand awareness, search engine rankings, and thought leadership.
  • Make the time. Don’t start a social media effort unless you have the dedicated time and resources to maintain new content on a regular basis. New content is critical to thrive in social media communities.
  • Conduct research. Before starting a social media campaign, research other organizations on social media networks for ideas on what works and what doesn’t.
  • Jump in. be an active user. Listen to conversations, engage with comments, answer questions, and keep your account fresh with consistent posts.
  • Measure success. Determine what success means for your purpose and goals. Increased traffic to your website? Better communication with prospective students? Number of fans, followers, comments?

A few things to consider:

  • Be authentic. Social media is all about people connecting with people. Remember to humanize your social media interactions. On social networks it is okay to use an exclamation point and phrases such as “check it out” rather than “read more.”
  • Be accurate. Make sure you have all of the facts before you post. Cite and link to sources whenever possible to help build a community. It also doesn’t hurt to spell-check your content before posting. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.
  • Be respectful. Respect for the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas is critical. Feel free to respectfully disagree with a position but please do no propagate online confrontation as it reflects poorly on both the individual and KU.
  • Be positive. A good rule of thumb: if you would not say it in person, don’t say it online.
  • Encourage open conversation. Listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Allow even negative comments. A good philosophy for comments is to encourage thoughtful discussion, debate, and differing viewpoints, with the understanding that all comments made must be civil, respectful, and appropriate for your audience. If comments are lewd, libelous, incite violence or are otherwise hurtful or hateful speech directed at either individuals or groups, KU employees who serve as account administrators reserve the right to delete such comments.

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