by Dr. Wendy Bohon, Just SciComm
Are you part of a university or organization that’s looking to start or improve their social media presence? Here are some helpful tips and tricks to get started!
Tip #1 – DEFINE YOUR OBJECTIVES
Before starting a social media program decide on the goals and objectives.
- Do you want to share the science your organization is doing?
- Are you trying to increase the recognition and impact of your organization?
- Are you working to build a network of like-minded people?
- Are you trying to attract students or expand the workforce?
The objectives can be specific or broad but defining the goals for creating a social media presence will help define the social media strategy.
Tip #2 – DETERMINE YOUR AUDIENCE
By determining the audience, you can dedicate your efforts to platforms and content that are most likely to meet the broader organizational objectives.
- Who do you want to reach?
- What is their level of familiarity with your subject or topic?
- What social media platforms are they most likely to use?
The age of your target audience can be especially important to consider. For instance, if you want to engage with a younger demographic you might want to consider Instagram or TikTok. If you’re looking to relate to a more experienced crowd, Facebook may be a better platform. Additionally, some platforms are designed around specific types of content; Instagram is great if you have lots of visual imagery and YouTube is a go-to for video content. Be sure to consider the type of content and media you have to share when deciding on a platform.
Tip #3 – CREATE CONTENT
Once you’ve defined the objectives and audience you need to think about what content you’re going to provide.
- Are you going to produce most of the content?
- Will it be written, visual, video or some combination?
- Will you share content from others (you should!)? If so, who do you trust?
- Whose voice do you want to amplify?
Write down a list a topics and subjects that you want to post about, as well as potential sources for gathering this information. Be sure to leverage existing content from your organization – there’s no need to create everything from scratch.
Tip #4 – STRATEGIZE POSTING
Now that you’ve defined the objectives and audience and determined what types of content you’ll be posting you need to thinking about a posting strategy.
- How often will you post? You can post too much, or too little.
- When will you post? Your community is more likely to see posts at certain times of day.
- Will you cross post to different platforms (i.e use the same post on both Facebook and Twitter)?
Consistent posting is key to growing a vibrant network and a posting strategy can help you to stay on track! Remember, it takes a long time to grow a following so stick with it.
Tip #5 – PERFORM EVALUATIONS
Evaluation is critical for improving your social media effort. Using the free metrics provided by different platforms can give insight in how well your content is being received, what types of posts are working best, and what times are most productive for posting. Evaluating your social media metrics is how you determine your engagement, engagement rate, and growth. Doing weekly (or at least monthly) evaluations will also allow you to make evidence-based claims about the efficacy, growth and improvement of your social media program.