I’m taking it personally.

The most effective communication is personal. If it matters to me, I pay attention and am more likely to respond to calls to action. In my June post about inking a social media strategy, I describe social media strategy as merely an element of your campus’ overall communication strategy. That June post also outlined a list of strategy components we’re noodling about @williamandmary. We spent some of the long hot days of summer filling in the details of a social media strategy for our campus.

In parallel, membership in the William & Mary social media users group (SMUG) was on the rise. After a bit of summer promotion, our 60 members ballooned to 132. Last week, I made a presentation to SMUG about the social media strategic planning that @wm_creative has well underway. These links will take you to the slides, speaker notes, and draft strategy I used:

Social Media Strategy @williamandmary – Slides (PDF)  |  Speaker Notes (PDF)  | Draft Strategy (PDF)

I hope that my key message about social media strategy came through loud and clear to those in attendance: your social media strategy is a communication strategy. And, you should make it personal.

In a nutshell, my advice is this: If you are overwhelmed by the elements of a social media strategy, hang in there. Experiment with various platforms and gradually develop your own draft of guidelines and policies. In the interim, make it personal by comparing it to your own personal relationships. What do I mean?

Suppose the reputation of someone I don’t know makes that person someone I’d like to meet. One day, I am introduced and the relationship begins (think Like or Following). How does the relationship develop?

  • The new person talks, and I listen.
    (Likewise, if the individual ignores me or has nothing interesting to say, I’m disappointed and move on.)
  • Next, I respond, comment, ask a question or bring up a related topic. The conversation begins and, with any luck, continues each time I see this new acquaintance.
    (Likewise, if my question or idea gets no response, I might characterize my new acquaintance as rude.)

You get my drift. If you are using social media, make it personal.


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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