Questions to Ask Before Creating a New Social Media Account
Is a social media presence necessary?
A successful social media presence features new, useful and interesting content that is updated regularly. Time intervals for updates depend largely on content and platform. For a blog, this could mean posting once a week; for Facebook, once a day; for Twitter, once every few hours. In addition to considering whether your office has the content and capability to commit to maintaining an effective social media presence and to attract an audience of followers, you must consider whether doing so serves a useful purpose toward achieving your goals and objectives.
How does social media tie in to other communication efforts?
Think of social media as one of multiple tools in your communication toolbox. If you’re sending out email, newsletters, distributing fliers and so on to reach out to your audience, consider whether social media will complement and coordinate with your other efforts.
What goals are we trying to achieve?
Will creating a social media presence help your department/organization reach its goals? How will you build your audience? Will you use the platform to reach out to new constituents? To communicate with your current audience? An effective social media presence requires defining its mission and purpose, and its relationship to our other communication efforts, to enable consistent messaging and purpose across all communications channels.
Who will monitor your presence?
You must identify one or more content manager[s] before starting your social media presence. This is the person responsible for routinely posting engaging content and monitoring the account for comments, questions and spam messages. In the event of both planned and unplanned absences of designated content manager[s], it is also recommended that you designate one or more back-up content manager[s] and keep up-to-date log-in and password information accessible in the workplace.
Best Practices and Other Considerations
- Prominently list on your organization’s or department’s website all officially recognized social media accounts.
- Ensure officially recognized social media accounts are clearly identified as such.
- Display code of conduct information as appropriate.
- Review all terms of service/user agreements before adopting a social media platform, and plan to keep up with changes to these documents.
- Ensure that all official social media accounts/users adhere to University branding guidelines: tennessee.edu/identity/.
- Use sound judgment and common sense in any online activity: Assume anyone can access and view postings, including those which may exist in some form long after considered “deleted.”
- Ensure the accuracy of postings – double-check every time – before making them public.
- If a posting is found to be inaccurate, retract or correct it as quickly as possible.
- Avoid lengthy approval processes for site visitor comments.
- Monitor and respond to site visitor comments as quickly as possible.
- Avoid online confrontations and conflicts. If appropriate, respectful disagreement may be expressed, but personal attacks are inappropriate and reflect poorly on the individual and on the University.
- Encourage open conversation – listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Permit negative comments (but delete spam and anything inappropriate, such as profanity) and seek to respond rather than censor.