Content first, then tools.

Social media is quite the topic of conversation these days, and rightfully so. There is no other medium that gives you the level of engagement you can get from social media. Because this has become such a phenomenon many on campus are getting started using it. I get a lot of questions such as “Which social media tools should I be using?” and “Do you have a social media strategy template I can use?” These questions provide a great opportunity to talk through the bigger picture.

I generally begin my response to these questions with “Let’s take a step back and discuss what content you have and what your goals are.” It is so important to realize that social media should be a piece of a larger strategy. Before diving into a tool you need to talk through the fundamentals of a marketing or communication plan. Start with your audiences. Who are you trying to reach? What content do they want or need? What is your department trying to accomplish with each audience? What content do you have, or could you have, to reach these audiences?

As you begin thinking through the fundamentals you will get a better picture of the tools that are appropriate to use. For example, if prospective students are an audience you need to reach then consider what would get their attention. Are you a department with interesting research going on with a student involved? If so, you could do a video profile of that student discussing their work. That video could then be posted to your website, posted on a Facebook page, pushed out on Twitter and uploaded to YouTube. Do you see? Once you have an idea of content the tools to use become clearer.

By the way, this is the type of content IMC would love to have too so we can put on the University social media which gives even more exposure to your content. In fact, there are times when it makes more sense to leverage the main University social media versus starting your own. For example, an annual event does not necessarily need its own Facebook page or Twitter account. This is the perfect example of working with IMC to use the main University accounts for promotion. It saves you the time of trying to build a following on your own accounts for something that happens once a year, and the University accounts already have a very large following.

Let us know if you need help!

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