Guidelines for faculty and staff who request a Concordia social media account
At Concordia, social media includes any digital media (primarily websites and email campaigns) used for social interactions with students, researchers, faculty, staff, alumni, donors and other community members.
To help you prepare for this conversation, review the following guidelines on how a social media presence for Concordia's academic and administrative units is typically created and maintained:
Define your goals. Before jumping in to social media for your department, program or office, take the time to reflect on what you intend to achieve by setting up the site and how this effort will contribute to achieving your communications objectives? Understanding this will help you choose the appropriate communications tool(s), create relevant content and determine the best way to reach your target audience(s).
Identify a coordinator. Determine who will be the primary person responsible for monitoring the site, which includes reviewing posts, responding to questions from visitors, escalating or dispatching information to the appropriate individual, posting content and compiling a report on visitor statistics. Given the high speed at which information is generated on social media sites, especially when you have built a follower base in the thousands, the coordinator should monitor the site at least once a day. Successful social media sites are updated frequently, allow for easy engagement with users and adjust in response to timely events and problems. Ideally, the coordinator should also train a backup to maintain continuity of service, as well as ensure knowledge transfer and succession planning.
Create a strategy. The more work you do on the front end, the more likely you are to create a successful social media presence. Define what you hope to accomplish, with whom you wish to engage, and what content you wish to share first, and then begin exploring social media tools.
Listen. All social media platforms have their own standards, styles and expectations. By becoming a consumer of social media well before becoming a producer, you will learn how these communities work, what content is of most interest, what other organizations are talking about your topic, etc. Investing considerable time in researching how others are using social media will help you better plan your unique contribution to that platform.
Choose the right channel for your audience Instead of trying to do everything at once, choose a channel that best meets the needs of your target audience. Find out which channel they are using so you can connect with them more easily. For example, if your target audience is primarily on Facebook, be sure to learn about how to tailor your content (includes images and videos) to respond to the needs and interests of those who expect to interact with you on this site.
Name yourself. Create a profile name that clearly and concisely describes your unit and role. Where there is a character limit, such as in Twitter, please use Concordia+name or CU+name.
Experiment. After you open your account, populate it for several weeks, then share it with a small group of individuals who can provide you with feedback before you promote its presence more widely.
Launch. You're ready to communicate! Use traditional means, such as email lists and notices on your website, to notify your potential audiences that you have a social media presence. Also, notify other individuals and groups with social media presences and similar interests that your site is live, such as linking to these sites from yours and mentioning them in your posts. Include easy-to-find links to your social media presence on your website.
Adjust. Monitor your site closely to determine the type of content that is popular versus that which is ignored or just plain cumbersome. All social media sites come with easy-to-use tracking tools so you can see which posts are viewed and shared the most, or have generated comments, etc. Be prepared to re-align your strategy in response to who is viewing your site. Post more content that people have liked in the past such as photos of student life. Another example is if a hash-tag is becomes the dominant one used for an event, start to use it too so people can see your updates.
Do Listen. The most important first step you can take in social media is to listen before you “speak.” Social media offers a unique window into the lives of colleagues, clients, and influential people, but only if you don't talk over the opportunity. Adhering to a “listen-first” mantra will help you can gain valuable insights that inform how – or even if – you want to engage.
Do be authentic. Social networks are human networks. Your online behaviour should reflect who you are in person.
Do be consistent. When cultivating your social media presence, be consistent about the information contained in your profile and the content you share. If possible, establish brand guidelines for individual and group participation within Concordia so that you can build trust with and recognition from others regardless of platform.
Do be gracious. Applauding the good work of others and thanking others for their support are the cornerstones of any good community on or offline. Whether it is citing a source with a link in a blog post or retweeting be sure to credit and thank the original creator.
Do disclose. Letting your online audiences know that you work for Concordia is essential if you are tweeting, blogging or posting favorably about Concordia online. A great way to do this is filling out your Twitter bio with a brief line about your Concordia affiliation, as well as including Concordia's name as an employer on your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles. Additionally, if you are supporting the efforts of a client, make sure to disclose your interest in the matter.
Don't share confidential information about your department, clients, colleagues, partners, or competitors.
Don't criticize your department, clients, colleagues, partners, or competitors.
Don't spread rumors or false information about your department, clients, colleagues, partners, or competitors.
Don't reveal personal information about any of your colleagues. Examples include tweeting side conversations or posting personal photos without permission.
Don't misrepresent yourself or Concordia. Every action online is, at some level, traceable, so make sure the content that you are creating and impressions you are leaving, no matter how big or how small, are accurate and honest.
Automated social-posting systems diminish the value of your presence by corroding real engagement. Ultimately, what motivates people online is similar to what motivates them offline.
Consider sharing the email address used and password for key accounts. A manager, family member or friend could act on your behalf in the event of prolonged illness or worse.