Want to communicate with fellow Tigers using social media? We can help you out.
Figure out what you need
The first step is to ask yourself why you want to establish a social media presence for your MU academic unit or organization. What are your goals? Determine whether your communication needs can be met through the established, central Mizzou social media channels. These include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (theMizzouTube) and Instagram.
Using these tools, Web Communications staff can instantly share your message with about a quarter of a million people who are interested in Mizzou. Building an audience for a new social media page takes time. And work. And lots of planning. If you want to announce major news and events of interest to a large number of Tigers without committing to a new social media presence, please contact us.
Work out the logistics
If you've determined that you'd like to develop and maintain your own social media presence for a Mizzou unit, the next step is to figure out the process. Ask yourself and your colleagues:
- What will you post?
- How often will you post?
- Who will maintain and update the site?
- Who will answer questions posed by followers?
- What guidelines will you establish for interacting with followers?
- How will you maintain the enthusiasm you have at the beginning of the process?
Think about the big picture. Maybe you're planning, for example, to start a Facebook page for your organization with the goal of staying connected, generating interest, taking part in a popular media trend and keeping followers up to date. You want to make a good impression. You want to seem vibrant. But what impression will visitors have if they go to your page and see that it hasn't been updated in months? Your organization might be chock-full of excitement, but if your Facebook page doesn't reflect any energy or activity, visitors might perceive the unit as dull, out of touch or even unprofessional. Once you have committed to developing a social media presence, also develop a clear plan for staying relevant. And stick to that plan.
Choose an appropriate profile picture
The policies governing use of University of Missouri logos and icons, as well as other copyrighted materials, apply to social media as much as to other communications media. Review them. Follow them. Remember that every time you have an interaction on a Mizzou social media page, you are representing the University of Missouri. Choose a profile picture that's attractive, professional and appropriate.
If the item you want to promote exists on a website, link to it. Maintain your website, and use social media to drive people to it. The word-count constraints set by sites such Facebook and Twitter make it impractical to share thorough, detailed information in a simple tweet or status update. Housing your content on one designated Web page ensures not only that readers will get thorough information but also that updates and corrections can be made efficiently and consistently.
Social media users are bombarded with messages. They're overstimulated. They're overwhelmed. On Facebook, a status update might be overlooked. A simple, colorful photo depicting a person, an animal or a beloved campus icon goes a long way toward grabbing attention. Check out some of ours. Better yet, post links containing photos.
Verbosity has no place in social media. If you're accustomed to academic writing, understand that communicating through social media is dramatically different. Formality is replaced with friendliness. Elaborate arguments are replaced snappy one-liners. Brevity is the soul of wit.