Inking a strategy for social media: what should I include?

Every time I’m asked “Does William & Mary have a social media strategy?” the unspoken answer running through my brain is, “Yes, we have a communication strategy.” At the end of the day, a university’s comprehensive communication strategy should include social media. A separate social media strategy doesn’t make sense to me; instead, how your university uses all available platforms for communicating with diverse audiences is what counts.

Because I think a strategy should evolve over time, I also support the idea that an institution can begin strategic experimentation with social media before articulating a fully-formed strategy. All that aside, when you’re ready to ink a strategy specific to social media, what are the elements? Consider this list when writing yours:

  • techniques
    do you integrate multiple channels? do you rotate responsibility for posting content?
  • measurement
    what statistics and data do you track? what quantitative goals do you have?
  • content
    is it all about you? does your content address general higher education issues? is it more than words?
  • engagement
    how do you ensure that you’ll hear from your followers? what will you do to encourage a conversation?
  • purpose
    why do you use social media? do you use all platforms in the same way to accomplish the same things?
  • values
    is your voice the one that matters most? is criticism and disagreement allowed in your community?
  • policy
    is profanity allowed? will you remove hate language if posted as a comment on one of your channels?
  • oversight
    do you manage departmental and student organization channels centrally? are there visual standards?
  • brand management
    does your content support your messaging? are you reinforcing your reputation through social media?

Last week, I spent a full day “retreating” with my internal social media team. After eight hours, we ended up with agreement about our own social media work and how it should shift and change to support our overall communication strategy. More on that in another post.


Author: susantevans

Susan T. Evans is director of corporate and foundations relations at the College of William & Mary. She is a proven strategic leader with deep expertise in advancement, communications, brand management, marketing, digital strategy, technology, administration and organizational development. She is known for creative and strategic approaches to challenges within higher education, nonprofits and business.

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