Using Social Media at Culverhouse
The Culverhouse College of Business sees enormous value in the use of social media to connect with stakeholders, advertise and promote its offerings, and showcase its academics and research.
There are more than 60 Culverhouse College of Business social media accounts spread across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
If you’re looking to enhance your existing social media strategy or just getting started with a new account, you’ve come to the right place. As social media is now a requirement of any marketing and communications effort in higher education, it’s important that we take these efforts seriously.
At Culverhouse, we believe the use of social media is a way to digitally connect and communicate with others — friends, classmates, colleagues, and sometimes strangers. The strength of social media is that it is built upon real relationships between people, with technology enabling people to easily connect with others around the world — carrying messages quickly to others near and far.
Additionally, social networking (both on Culverhouse-provided services and on commercially-available services) can help to support the University mission of teaching, learning, and research.
Social Media Best Practices
The default position Culverhouse uses with respect to messaging on social media are the recommendations put in place by Strategic Communications at https://stratcomm.ua.edu/social-media/bestpractices/
The following is adapted from a list of best practices created by Strat Comm.
There is no magic formula for post frequency – but in time, you’ll find what works for you. Being active on social media is key, from posting to engaging with your audience, so monitoring on a regular basis is important. The Culverhouse social team recommends posting at least a few times a week. This not only makes sure your audience has access to important information you want them to know, but it also lets them know you’re there and ready to help if they have questions.
Timeliness is important! Having a social media presence gives you the ability to instantly communicate with your audience, so be proactive. By sharing information on current happenings or emergencies, you’ll build trust and respect among your audience.
What is your audience posting? This could help determine some content you can share that your audience will find of interest. Not only should you listen to your audience, but you should also seek out the conversations people are having about you in order to stay informed. In staying informed within the social-scape, it’s important to check out what your peers and competitors are doing. Find out what makes them successful in their online presence – you may discover something useful you can apply to your own account.
Have respect for all online community members engaging with your content. Never engage in an argument via a University-related social media account. Everything posted is a direct reflection of UA.
Make sure your audience knows you’re there. This can be done with something as simple as “liking” their comment. The UA Strat Comm social team checks every notification and strives to respond to/engage with our audience as soon as possible. While this may not be feasible for you to do, we recommend engaging within 24 hours of the initial comment.
You can’t just “set it and forget it” when it comes to social media! Some platforms allow scheduling of content, but it’s always important to go back and engage once your content has been posted. In terms of deleting comments – the Culverhouse social media team takes these situations on a case-by-case basis and typically hides over deleting on platforms where that option is available. The UA Strat Comm social team has created Community Standards, which outline the specific types of comments or posts that warrant deletion on our social accounts. We highly recommend becoming familiar with the Etiquette Guidelines and Social Media Decision Tree when it comes to monitoring and responding to comments. Remember: Not all comments will be positive in nature. Just because they have a negative tone, it doesn’t warrant deletion. When managing social media, it’s important to respond to negative comments in an appropriate manner. That may mean you have to leave them be, or if applicable, respond in a way to positively change the perception of that audience member.
Please note that there is an additional expectation of quality for posts commensurate with the College’s reputation and prestige. You can utilize UA’s photo database maintained by Strat Comm to find high quality photos for your posts. Additionally, it’s important to have someone else look at your post before it goes out. This helps catch any mistakes or errors you may have missed.
Social Media Planning
- Before starting a social media channel, ask yourself: Have I considered all the alternative communication channels to promote the content? Do I have the capacity to maintain the channel and can I do a consistently good job at creating and publishing the content?
- Create a long-term strategy that includes an editorial calendar, a management plan, and benchmarks to guide your progress.
- Limit your administrators to only staff and faculty. It’s absolutely acceptable to allow student workers to make posts and manage accounts on a day-to-day basis, but please let us know about these users and provide the appropriate oversight to ensure that posts meet expectations.
- Listen to your community. Monitor hashtags and keywords relevant to your faculty, unit, or department. Watch your Twitter lists. Don’t have lists? Here’s how to create them using Twitter.
- Monitor Culverhouse's main Facebook and Twitter channels to ensure that you’re keeping abreast of the larger, college-wide stories and news.
- Be consistent. If you’re unable to post content on a regular basis, ensure that you’re scheduling content for when you’re away and that there is someone to manage the channel for you.
- The Culverhouse social media team asks that posts be closely aligned with the College brand by tagging Culverhouse or Manderson in order to help notify college-level admins about posts of interest. You can also submit a request for social media coverage ahead of time.
- Measure your efforts. Knowing how your content is performing will guide when, how, and what you post. Each social platform offers varying analytics and measurement data that you can use to report on performance. Establish a process to track your performance over time.
- Be proactive about your content. Plan for events, seasonal promotions and recurring themes in the academic calendar, and incorporate and promote your own unique events and stories that you know will happen each year. By planning ahead, you will capture better content and optimize real-time media
- Continue to build your network. Follow key units at UA and browse the UA social media directory to learn more about other university channels and add your channel to the list.
Tell Us About You
We want to know about your accounts to better track usage across platforms and to provide guidance when necessary! Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance with social media, to plan a campaign on the college-level channels, or to let us know about your account so we can add it to the newsroom.