Beginning Social Media at Lycoming College
Before creating your professional social media presence to represent the College, discuss your intention to do so with your department chair or supervisor and develop a social media plan. You’re also encouraged to consult College Relations.
Questions your plan should address include:
- What social media, if any, has already been established by colleagues or the College for this purpose? Answering this question will help you avoid duplicating efforts or mixing messages.
- What do you hope to accomplish?
- What communications goals will the social media help you accomplish that other media, such as a website, couldn’t?
- Who is your audience?
- What content do you want include?
- How often will you post content?
- Who will be responsible for maintaining and monitoring the site?
Study various social media sites to answer the question: Which of the social media platforms available to you will best help you fulfill your goals for reaching your key audiences in an efficient way?
- Each social media platform has its own set of strengths and weaknesses in such areas as ease of use, type of content included, popularity with users, privacy controls and community user expectations.
- Understanding what you’re trying to communicate will help guide your decision in selecting a platform or platforms. For example, if you’re interested mostly in sharing “headlines,” Twitter may be your best platform. If you’re more interested in developing a community dialogue, Facebook may be the better choice.
- Learn what the individual platforms offer and how their communities work when developing a site plan.
- Choose only one or two platforms, especially in the beginning, to focus your plan.
If the social media presence will be for departmental rather than individual professional purposes, identify the faculty or staff member(s) who will manage the site.
- Choose at least one person from your department who will be primarily responsible for monitoring and updating your site. This person should be able to check the site at least once daily and, in general, depending on which social media presence you have chosen, update it with new content several times a week.
- Set clear expectations for this person’s understanding of the site’s tools, the privacy settings you want to follow, and the frequency of posting and reviewing site content.
- Assign and train a backup who is familiar with the communications goals you have set for the site.
- For issues regarding questionable content, contact the appropriate social media representative listed in the College Social Media Representatives. If issues require additional assistance, please contact College Relations.
Select an appropriate name for your site.
- The site name should make it clear to visitors that it represents a specific profession, department or office associated with Lycoming. For example, a Twitter username for the Admissions Office might be @LycoAdmissions.
Register your site with College Relations.
- All social media sites that are created as a representation of the College must be registered with College Relations.
Start small and build your site before officially launching.
- Create your site and begin populating it with content for several weeks before announcing it broadly.
- Share the link with a small group of people who can join or become followers and provide feedback. Doing so will allow you to become comfortable with maintaining the site, work out any bugs and develop a small audience before launching more widely.
Announce your launch, focusing on the audience you’re seeking.
- Use more traditional means, such as e-mail listservs, websites and newsletters, to announce the official launch of your social media site.
- Briefly describe the focus of your site and the kinds of information you plan to share and encourage people to join.
- Cross-promote the site through other College social media sites. For example, you may request that the College mention your site on its official Facebook page.
- You may find that other opportunities for promotion include your departmental website and your e-mail signature.
Monitor, measure and be prepared to change.
- Manage your site regularly and track which content is most popular and best communicates your goals.
- Depending on your analysis of this information, you may decide to emphasize certain types of content or turn your focus to another social media platform that might better communicate your messages to your intended audience.