These guidelines are for anyone working for the University and either using social media on behalf the University.

First read our before you start section to ensure that starting an account is really the right option for you.

Your Social Media Strategy

Once you’re ready to get started, here are some things should do:

Define your Goals
Setting goals for your social media efforts doesn’t have to be painful. Set some simple, high-level things you’d like to see change once you have your plans in place. These goals will also help you choose what tool is best suited for your group. Are you hoping to get feedback and engage in discussion with the Carleton community? Are you trying to quickly respond to questions from our audiences in a way they are comfortable with? Are you trying to share and promote your activities taking place at Carleton University on campus and in the community? Are you simply trying to interact with students in a more conversational way?

Define your Audience
Who are the people with whom you’d like to share your information and generate discussion? Are you looking to talk to first-year students? Biology students? Students who like to run at lunchtime? Knowing and understanding the group you’re trying to reach is going to save you a lot of time in the long run. Are there existing Social Media accounts that already engage your audience? See the Social Media Directory.

Resource Community Manager role
Managing a social media site requires daily attention. Do you have a person who can monitor your site and make comments or updates as needed? Chances are, if you’re the one reading these steps and writing out your strategy, you’re the choice. This person should have some familiarity with social media and should have regular access to your account (perhaps via a mobile device). e.g. Using Social Media to inform your audience of a last-minute change of venue or service does no good if your coordinator must wait until the next workday to access an office computer.

Choose your tool
Now that you’ve developed some goals, figured out who you’d like to be communicating with, and determined the number of resources you can allocate to your site, you can determine which social media tool works best for you. See Appendix A.4 Catalog of Social Media Tools

Choose a Name
Do you have a name picked out? You’ll want to pick a name that is relevant to your department and that reflects what you’d like people to experience when using your site. Your name is like your own little brand, which is also part of Carleton University’s larger brand. Hint: Once you’ve chosen name and gone live with it, it is a difficult task to go through the process of changing it on your site. See Carleton’s Social Media Directory.

Create a Communications Plan
How are you initially going to let your intended audience know that you’ve created your social media presence and how are you going to keep your followers and friends engaged once you get them to your site?

Once you’ve put the work into developing the plan behind your site and then the site itself, it’s time to go live and start engaging your audiences. Hint: Have a few posts or site content prepared to share in that first week of your site going live—there’s not a lot of sense into sending out one message and then going silent after your launch.

Adjust, evaluate, and keep going
You may notice a day in, a week in, or a month in, that what you thought would work, isn’t. The good thing about creating a social media site is that you’re never stuck with one design. So take a look through the plan you’ve developed. Are you getting out the messages you had hoped? Are they getting to the audience you had identified as your target audience? If you think of something that might suit your needs better, add it to your site and let your followers know.Hint: Avoid the temptation to share content for the sake of new content. There will be times where you’ll find it hard to think of relevant content to share. If in doubt refer back to your goals and success metrics in Step 6 to ensure that potential content contributes to them. It’s a balancing act and a judgment call between generating regular updates while avoiding generating “noise” around your core messages.

Social Media Planning Template

Looking for guidance on setting up your social media strategy. Start by checking out our social media planning template.