Form a Strategy: Define your objectives
Download UofG's Social Media Strategy Guide to create your own strategy.
Who is your audience?
This is really important as this will determine your Social Media communications plan and the types of content you post. If you have multiple audiences, it’s important to determine who these are, what content they’re interested in and how you’ll engage with them – potentially via different channels.
It’s also important to research where your audiences are on Social Media and engage where they already are.
What are you trying to achieve?
What are your Social Media communications goals?
- Are you wanting to broaden the reach of your work?
- Do you want to engage in conversation with students or connect with alumni?
- Are you sharing news or events?
Answering these questions will help you choose the right Social Media platform and inform your communications plan.
Thinking about short term and long term value, Social Media accounts need to be updated regularly for them to be beneficial. If your content is time sensitive and only relevant for a short period of time, please consider alternate ways of promoting or publicising this information. In some instances it might be better to go directly through the main UofG channels rather than setting up your own.
Consider how your Social Media channel/s will work alongside your other online and print marketing and communications materials. Social Media is not an attractive add-on. It needs to be integrated into your whole Marketing and Communications strategy.
Always remember to think about how your social platforms offer value to your audience and complement the University's strategic plan and brand.
Which platform(s) to use?
There is so much choice it can be overwhelming! Knowing who your audience is and thinking about what your objectives are will help you decide which platform(s) you want to use and why before you start creating them.
There are always new channels emerging, and it is better to see how they perform and function before jumping on the bandwagon.
Always remember it's better to do one or a couple of platforms well rather than spread yourself too thinly across multiple channels. Less is more.
Also, consider tapping into the University’s central Social Media channels. For example, is there any point in setting up an Instagram account sharing photos of campus when you could send something to be posted to the well-established main UofG instagram account?
If you're still unsure of what channel is appropriate for your message, contact the Social Media team – we can assist you with this.
Choosing account managers
Thinking about who is going to manage your social media accounts is crucial when considering your strategy. Ideally, this person would have the necessary skill set, interest and time to run the channels effectively.
To run social channels successfully requires a good amount of resource, not only to post content but to moderate and supervise conversations taking place in the public space. If there is not enough resource to do this, carefully consider whether running a Social Media platform is necessarily the right thing for you. Having a dormant channel that only posts content very sporadically is more harmful to your brand than having no presence at all.
Social Media is not an after-thought – it requires careful planning and implementation.
Content strategy - planning ahead for big events/campaigns
Social Media = Good stories. Content is king, but the right content, at the right time, in the right channel, to the right audience, is true royalty!
It is vital to create a Social Media content planner or calendar so you can proactively plan and oversee content in advance. Your content should always reflect your overarching objectives and give value to your audience.
By creating a communications plan you can plan content in advance which frees you up to cover the reactive stuff. For example, we plot into our central Social Media calendar national holidays, global events and campaigns.
For more information on this, please refer to 'Best Practices'
Expanding reach and creating impact
Connect with the official UofG accounts (including linking back to them in your social media bios – by for example saying in your Twitter bio ‘Fantasy Literature at the University of Glasgow @UofGlasgow will give weight to your account) and engage with our content by liking, commenting, or sharing when it fits within your content strategy.
Build your community of ‘influencers’ - partners, students, academics, media, alumni etc and find ways to like, share, and comment on their content. They are likely to become your biggest social advocates.
Ensure you link everything together - ie embedding social media icons or links into all your online and offline marketing and communications, email signatures etc.
Tracking, Reporting, Evaluating and Improving
The great advantage of social media activity is that it’s all measurable - which enables you to show the value you’re adding to your marketing and communications plans. And convince sceptical colleagues of its worth!
Using a URL shortener is one way of doing this - this enables you to measure how many people have engaged with your posts. You can use tools such as Ow.ly (Hootsuite) or Bitly to shorten your URLs and begin tracking your click-throughs. By shortening your links, this also makes them more shareable.
Tracking is made easier with a Social Media management tool that collects data or posts to multiple networks from one dashboard. The University’s preferred Social Media Management tool is Hootsuite Enterprise which allows you to schedule content across multiple channels, listen to what your community is talking about, pull off detailed metrics and much more. If you’re interested in finding out more about Hootsuite or signing up for a licence please contact Emma Gilmartin.
Most Social Media platforms have in-built analytics tools - Facebook and Twitter both have valuable insights which allow you to review your activities and see what’s working and what isn’t. Review this information regularly and track it over time. Adjust your content strategy based on the intelligence and data you collect.