Monthly Archives: January 2012

Social Media Q&A

Over the last month, we’ve been meeting with numerous departments and groups across campus to talk social media. Here’s a brief rundown of the most asked topics during our information sessions:

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.

Social Resolutions

New twist on the tired new year’s resolution question: Google+ Your Business asked it’s 58,000+ circle members what their goals were for the upcoming year in social media.

The response was good, the answers thoughtful. An established, engaged online community doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s important to learn from those that do it well.

Social resolutions included:

1. “I will think big”- connect with people utilizing some of the new features of social media (Google+ ‘Hangouts’ comes to mind)

2. “I will listen more” – find out not only what people are saying to you, but what people are saying about you through search functions. Enter conversations when it make sense to do so.

3. “I will triple my followers”- use various channels and websites to cross promote.

4. “I will roll out the red carpet” – provide exclusive content to the different social media channels to encourage people to follow.

5. “I will not ignore my followers” – be responsive. be a service.

What are your social resolutions for the upcoming year?

Social Media in Higher Education

Social Media Council @ BC

Until now, social media at Boston College has been a completely organic, self-directed exercise. More than 300 departments and organizations have jumped on the social media bandwagon with varying degrees of success. All have established Twitter, Facebook, FlickR and YouTube accounts with little or no input from other efforts across campus and work independently, sometimes duplicating efforts and wasting resources. Seem a little crazy? We thought so too.

The Boston College Social Media Council has been established by the BC Office of News & Public Affairs to offer social media managers across campus a way to share best practices. Promoting collaboration and cooperation, the group aims to strengthen the University’s overall social media presence. Through information sessions, roundtables and professional development opportunities, we’re working to make incorporating social media easier. We’re also looking to make social media at BC better.

The Boston College Social Media Blog will be one resource for Council members to share information. Through guest columns, we want to share the wisdom of social media experts here on campus and around the world. If you can’t make a meeting, an overview of the discussion will be contained here.

So welcome. Hope you follow and participate. And here’s to taking BC social media to the next level.