You know what they say about timing — it’s everything! And it’s no different on social media. People turn to social media to find out what’s happening and for information as much as for their friends’ status updates now — more so, even, on some platforms (hello, Twitter!) — and your office or department’s social can be the place your students go first to find what they’re looking for.
There are several ways to approach scheduling content that any social media admin can capitalize on. Some are easy, requiring little time and effort to schedule a few reminders, while others are more involved.
Both can pay off in a big way by getting more eyes on your social platforms and making your platform more useful to your followers. Here are some ideas to get you thinking about the upcoming year and what you want to accomplish on social.
Look at the academic calendar and think about the information your students need at specific times during the semester. Schedule posts with links to the information you know they’ll be looking for—curriculum guides, registration information, deadlines, etc. — on the dates that students will start looking for them.
By posting the answers to frequently asked questions before students get a chance to ask them, you set your page up as a reliable source they can turn to for information. Be sure to turn on notifications for private messages on your social platforms, too, so you can answer any unanticipated questions that may come up.
Build your community by posting about relevant events on your platforms. Link to upcoming events and then, more importantly, post a photo from the event afterwards. You can post a simple thank you to the people who came or write a sentence or two about the event and who is pictured in the photo. If there is another similar event coming up, give the time and date, and then invite your audience to attend next time.
Being the admin of a social media account doesn’t automatically mean you have to attend every event your department or office hosts — that’s what students and colleagues are for! Tap someone you know who will be there beforehand and then text them for their photos the next day. Ask them or other attendees how the event went and use their response to write a caption.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your efforts when it comes to prospective students shopping for colleges. Imagine you are a student looking at the same program at several different universities: If you have active social media accounts with content showing that your department is busy and students are engaged and supported, it may be just what a prospective needs to imagine themselves going to UL Lafayette or give your program an edge over somewhere else.
When you’re ready to take your social media to the next level, you’ll want to start planning content that takes some time to create. These could include posts introducing students and faculty to your audience and highlighting research taking place in your department, as well as posts created to tie in with national awareness days/months/weeks and/or holidays that are meaningful to your department.
Holiday and awareness posts can be as simple as taking a photo of the Halloween desktop decorations in your office or of your faculty and staff in costume to post with a Happy Halloween greeting — or as elaborate as working with Special Collections to find little known photographs and stories, conducting interviews, and writing full stories to reside on your website.
You can take a closer look at how to develop content for an awareness week and its results by reading about the Department of Nursing’s social media campaign developed for #NationalNursesWeek.
Tweetdeck: A browser app you can use to schedule tweets on Twitter
Complete Social Media Hashtag Holiday Calendar 2019
Awareness Calendar 2019