• Plan first. Consider messages, audiences, goals and your strategy for keeping information timely. Some audiences may be on one social media platform and not another, and some sites provide more flexibility than others. It is time-consuming to maintain more than one social media site at a time so choose carefully. Creating a content calendar can also help organize postings and ensure that you won’t forget to post new content.
  • Assign responsibility. When possible, identify a full-time appointed employee responsible for social media content and monitoring. If responsibility is not assigned, new content might not be posted, and the site will wither and die. As your site grows, you will also need someone familiar with the site to attest what is and isn’t working for your audience.
  • Launch for success. A common misconception about social media is that if you build a site, people will automatically come. Fill your new site with content, so your site doesn’t feel empty. Remember no one wants to move into a ghost town. When you launch, announce it through your traditional channels: email, newsletter, and website. New audience members may not participate right away, but let them know you value their presence by sending them a welcome message or thank you for joining. Oftentimes, people don’t want to be the first to break the ice, so try and recruit friends or co-workers to stimulate the discussion.
  • Interact with your audience. Social media is meant for two-way communication. Nobody likes a robot that only spits out content and does not reciprocate communication. People google or read the news to get information, but people visit social media sites to interact with other people. Welcome new audience members, respond to comments, or follow up a posting with a question about the content. Engaging with your members will also make your site more valuable to them and keep them coming back.
  • Monitor comments. Most people who maintain social media sites welcome comments—it builds credibility and community. Consider posting a disclaimer or comment policy to let audience members know what is and isn’t appropriate. On some social media platforms, you can set your site so that you can review and approve comments before they appear. This allows you to respond in a timely way. It also allows you to delete spam comments and to block any individuals who repeatedly post offensive or frivolous comments.
  • Measure for results. Make use of analytics and tracking tools to evaluate posting activity and interaction within a social media site. Facebook has built-in analytics for fan pages. Google Analytics can be used with blogs. When posting links on any social media site, use a link tracking service such as bit.ly. Some Twitter applications have this feature built into their software interface. These tools help you to refine your strategy and better understand your audience’s preferences and behaviors.
  • Connect to the community. Help Brown keep its online community connected. If you currently have a social media site, contact Public Affairs at 401-863-9273 or e-mail paur_web@brown.edu, so we can list your site along with other Brown social media sites. Public Affairs will also assist you in reviewing multimedia to ensure its content represents Brown accurately and is in accordance with University identity guidelines. If your department or group plans to start using social media, consider contacting Public Affairs to coordinate with other Brown social media sites and content, discuss best practices, and for general assistance.