Q: We have a Facebook/Twitter account, but are having trouble getting people to follow us. What should we do?
A: First be honest with yourself – WHY would students/alumni/members of the BC community follow you? What service are you providing them? Look at social media as an extension of your web presence – a way for an audience to communicate with you. That can’t be one-sided. If you are simply looking to repeatedly post upcoming events or broadcast office news, then maybe you should reconsider social media. You have to offer your audience something extra, a reason to follow (breaking news, tickets to events, a premium experience that they are not able to get elsewhere).
Other helpful tips: make sure you have linked your social media accounts to your office website; include the social media channels on printed materials and flyers; encourage students or employees involved with your department to friend the page; get involved with discussions on Twitter or Facebook that make sense and organically insert yourself to a wider conversation (i.e. if you work in the Theater Department, friend some of the student groups and shows and offer good luck or well wishes on opening night).
Q: We’ve done that. Now what?
A: Give yourself time – it takes a while to establish a vibrant, online community. If you are seeing slow, but steady growth, stick with it. After promotional efforts and a semester pass and you see little to no fan interaction and stagnant numbers, it’s time to reconsider the medium. Ask members of your potential audience – students, alums or faculty – how they would like to interact with you.
We have been encouraging departments with similar goals to partner and consolidate SM efforts. A centralized group with shared administrative functionality is a great way to approach a new social media channel. Doing so will allow smaller offices to get involved and provide users robust content and a better overall experience.
Q: I am not familiar with Facebook/Twitter/Flickr/etc., but have been asked to administer the social media for our office. Where do I start?
A: For many departments, social media is expected to be done in addition to all the other responsibilities. Make sure you have a candid discussion with the administrator who assigns the task and determine how much time should be used for social media. The Office of News & Public Affairs has a list of resources for new social media managers. Feel free to email us.