FAS Communications offers best practices in social media

Is social media an effective communication tool for your unit? Do you know why having a strategy behind using that tool is important?

FAS Communications created a Social Media Tips and Best Practices Guide for FAS employees who want to create a unit-specific social media account or for those who already own one. According to FAS Communications Media Manager Veronica Trevino, the purpose of the guide is to enhance communication through social channels that furthers the FAS and university mission.

"Social media is not only an important networking platform, but it is also a powerful communications and marketing tool when FAS best practices are applied," Trevino said. "The FAS social media best practices are meant to help our social media managers determine if social media is the right platform for their unit’s communication needs and how to use it to reach and engage their audience most effectively."

Trevino recognizes social media as a great way to connect and collaborate with peers, but noted that it is not the only way to share information. Key strategy components should be considered when deciding if social media is appropriate for an FAS unit. For example, what audiences will a social media account engage? Will the unit be able to produce content of interest to its primary audiences on a timely basis and do so through the audiences’ preferred platform?

"Not all communication is appropriate for social media and not all units need a social account," Trevino said.

The unit must also determine if it has the resources to plan and maintain a social media presence to ensure the sustainability of the page, Trevino pointed out. A key step is to identify the staff resources who will create and post content, who will respond to inquiries and who will measure the outcomes of planned posts.

If a unit determines social media is appropriate and resources are available to maintain the account, the next step is to create a social media strategy. Trevino noted that having a strategy will help guide the unit's plan. It is important to set goals and tailor content for the platform to engage the unit's intended audience. She advised units to determine which platform makes the most sense for their audience and consider that audience as content is created. Setting appropriate timelines for content posts is also important to strategy. Branding the content to support a unit’s purpose, mission, and goals is a key element to strategy as well.

"A social media strategy is the first and most critical step in creating a successful social media presence," Trevino said. "It provides direction by defining your social media needs, goals, timeline, content, sustainability measures and success metrics."

Trevino also stressed the importance of reviewing social media analytics to ensure a unit is reaching its goals.

"In setting goals for a social account, a unit should consider reviewing social media metrics monthly or quarterly to measure the success of content posted," Trevino said. “With metrics, a unit can make adjustments as needed to reach and increase engagement. Engagement and maintenance of a social page help ensure its sustainability."

FAS Communications can help determine whether social media is the best channel for a unit to reach an intended audience. For more information on FAS unit-specific social media contact Trevino at veronica.trevino@austin.utexas.edu.

Social Media Guide
Is social media an effective communication tool for your unit?
May 7, 2021