Social Media at BJU
Social media strategy is essential for any account looking to reach their audience effectively through digital communications. It takes thoughtful planning, execution & maintenance to build a successful social presence & an engaged audience. If you’re just getting started on social or looking to improve your social game, you need to start with a clearly defined strategy & goals.
Creating a strategy
Why is social strategy important? Social media is a tool to use to accomplish your overall departmental goals. Clearly defining your goals and developing a strategic plan to achieve your goals will allow you to manage your account with confidence knowing exactly what content supports your purpose.
Not sure where to start with your social strategy? Ask yourself the following questions.
Why should this account exist & why would someone care?
Creating an account just for the sake of creating an account is not a good strategy. Providing value to your followers is the key to success on social. Think about accounts you follow on social. Why do you follow them? What do they do for you?
Don’t ask what value social media can bring to your business. Ask what value social media can bring to your audience.Do this and social media will bring value to your business. — Matthew Kobach (@mkobach) January 26, 2020
What platforms will you be on?
The goal isn’t to be on every social platform. Focus on being present where your target demographic is.
Managing social is a time commitment so it’s important to consider whether you’ll have the time & resources to regularly post & engage on all of the platforms that you’re on.
How will you track your account's performance?
A key component of social strategy is data tracking. Use the insights features found in the social platforms to document performance data each month. Review month-over-month performance & use the data to guide future content decisions knowing what performs best. Check out this example of a monthly social report.
Now that you have clearly defined goals & a strategy, it’s time to create content & post to your accounts. Keep these best practices in mind when you plan and create content.
Know Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? Current or prospective students? Alumni or parents?
It’s essential to know who your intended audience is & the insights features in the platforms can help you with this. Check out the demographics of the people your posts are reaching.
Once you know who you’re talking to, let that guide your content creation. You wouldn’t create the same content for a teenage prospective student as you would a parent. It’s possible your audience is different on different platforms. Adjust your content to reach your target audience.
Below is an example of two of our first day of class posts. On Facebook, we know our audience is mostly parents & alumni, so we don’t caption as if we’re talking directly to students the way we do on Instagram.
Create Valuable Content
Purposeful content that creates value for your followers is essential to your social strategy. Quality content impacts how effective you’ll be at reaching your audience. Every post you make is important & impacts future reach & engagement, so be intentional with each post.
Consider creating 2-5 content category buckets for your account that support your strategy & goals. For example, you might have categories for student experiences & your program promotion. All content that you post should fit within the categories you choose. If it doesn’t, don’t post it.
Keep these other content tips in mind when creating posts.
- Post well-lit, high-quality photos that aren’t grainy or blurry.
- When writing captions, remember you’re trying to bring value to followers, not just post about what you want them to do.
- Avoid text-based graphics. Use stories with pictures & text or create videos of people giving the details to get the same information across in a more engaging way.
- Don’t push a post from one platform to another. Platform features & your audience will vary, so you’ll want to craft unique posts for each platform
Engage With your Audience
Build an engaged audience so that when you have something you want people to hear, they’ll be ready to listen.
How do you build an engaged audience?
- Post regularly. If you don’t plan to post, deactivate the account.
- Use tools built in to the platforms to get your viewers engaged.
- For example, use stories to ask fun questions, get feedback or take polls to get students talking & sharing about their week. The sticker features make it easy for them to reply but it’s a really valuable tool to get them engaging with you.
- Respond to all messages & comments quickly & thoroughly.
- If you get negative comments, decide whether or not it needs a response & if you respond, be sure to reply respectively.
- Check your tagged posts & mentions regularly & interact as much as possible.
Other social Guidelines
- Be familiar with FERPA regulations and avoid disclosing personal information about a student.
- Do not post photos of children or students under 18 without prior parental approval.
- Avoid using your account to promote a cause, product or political candidate or positions contrary to the public position of BJU.
- Keep the overall tone of your account positive. Be kind & helpful in any interactions you have & remember you’re representing the University with your account.
Tools & Resources
Great! We’re happy to see the BJU community recognize the importance of social. But we want to make sure that you’re prepared for what creating a new account involves.
It takes time and hard work, so email us at [email protected] before starting, and we’d be happy to discuss tools and a strategy to make your account successful. Once you’ve set up your account, let us know by emailing us so we can help support you.
Are you a department in need of social advice? We’re here to help. Email us at [email protected] to set up a time for us to review your account & help you out.