Establishing a Social Media Site
Social media sites require a good amount of attention to create, update, and monitor. Participants often expect fresh content and engaging conversation; sites that lack these elements will experience little success. If you wish to create an official social media site for your department, organization, or club at San Jacinto College, the following strategy and self evaluation has been developed to assist you.
Creating a Social Media Site
What purpose are you trying to achieve with social media? Is your goal to communicate, provide instruction, promote an event, or something else? Determine how a social media tool will fit in with your current communication tool(s). A key to success is ensuring that you have a clear purpose before diving in to social media. It is also important to consider how you might measure progress of your goals over a period of time to determine the success of the social media implementation, which is covered more in Step 7.
Are people already talking about your program online? If they are, a great place to begin in social media is to simply join the conversation and offer your valuable expertise as a College employee (be sure to disclose that you are an employee of the College). In addition, ask your audience what social media tools they use the most – if they aren’t using social media, it might not be the best communication tool for you or your group. Do you have a personal social media account? If not, create one and explore a bit to get a feel for how the technology functions. As you explore social media sites online, keep in mind the following:
- Is the College already present in the social media space?
- Are there opportunities to partner with existing initiatives?
- Are there other avenues of communication already in place which might meet your needs? Often, joint efforts are easier to maintain and can be more influential.
You don’t have to tackle social media alone; we are here to help! San Jacinto College has professionals within the educational technology and marketing departments (social media coordinator), with expertise in the use of social media, who can offer consultations on choosing appropriate social media tools, best practices on the use of these tools, and technical trainings on how to use and implement the tools. EdTech staff members can highlight opportunities for integrating social media to support instruction. For additional information about training or consultations, contact a member of the EdTech staff at any campus or reference the EdTech blog at www.sjcd.edu\edtech.
Within the marketing department, the social media coordinator can also provide guidance in the official branding and naming of your social media space, as well as opportunities to partner with existing social media sites. For additional information on creating, maintaining, and branding a social media site or to learn more about the official College social media initiatives, contact the Social Media Coordinator at email@example.com.
Now that you have done the legwork, you should decide on which tool will best achieve your goals and help you communicate with your audience. The most effective approach is focusing on and actively engaging in just one or two social media sites, not trying to maintain multiple sites.
***Please Note: In particular regards to Facebook, you must create a “page,” not a profile page or group. Pages help ensure a level of anonymity between your personal profiles and your College-related pages. Please contact the social media coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or educational technology at EdTech Edtech2@sjcd.edu for information on how to create this type of site.
Now that you have decided which tool you would like to use, it is time to develop a plan around your use of social media. Start by answering the following questions:
- How much time can you commit to your social media space?
- How will you keep the dialogue active?
- What types of information will you post, and how often will you update it?
- How will you handle negative comments?
- Do you have the necessary resources to perform the job properly?
- Will you leave the site up indefinitely, or is it a limited duration project?
- What is your exit strategy?
Create a workflow to manage your social media space. Here are some suggestions to guide your workflow development.
Account Creation and Administrative Roles:
- Identify at least three people within the department to serve as administrators on the social media account. If you are unable to do so, please contact the social media coordinator at email@example.com.
- Establish an email address for account creation, but do not use your personal email address to set up a social media site related to the College. Use department, organization, club, etc., specific email addresses (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org). To create an email for this purpose, please contact tech support at email@example.com. These departmental email addresses can be configured so that the social media account administrators all receive the same communications.
- To create consistency across all College social media sites, please review and use the following naming conventions for social media sites:
- Create names that are easily searchable and descriptive. Including “San Jacinto College” is always recommended when possible, followed by the campus and the department, organization, group, or club name. Choose your name carefully, and always read the site’s restrictions on name changes.
- Facebook: For Facebook, we recommend using “San Jacinto College” as the first three words, followed by the campus (Central, North, or South) followed by a dash (-) and the department, organization, group, or club name. Choose your name carefully;as after establishing it, you cannot alter your page name
- San Jacinto College Central – Enrollment Services
- San Jacinto College North – Student Success Center
- San Jacinto College South – Student Government
- Custom URLs can also be created for Facebook pages, such as: www.facebook.com/SanJacintoCollege. If you would like assistance creating a custom URL please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. These must also be created with care, as Facebook currently does not allow these to be altered.
- Alternatively, if you would like to collaborate across campuses, the name might be:
- San Jacinto College – Testing Centers
- Twitter: For Twitter accounts, you are limited to 15 characters for your username (often referred to as a “handle”), which is displayed as @XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Each Twitter account name must be unique. You can change your Twitter name, provided the name is available.
- We recommend using “SJC” followed by the campus initial “C, N, or S”, and the department, organization, group, or club name.
Determine which account administrators will be assigned to specific responsibilities. This will take the workload off of one individual and help to ensure the effectiveness of the initiative. A few things to consider:
- Is there one person that is responsible for responding to comments and another for posting content? Or will you rotate on a schedule?
- Who is the backup in the event someone is out of the office or leaves the College?
- How often will you update content, keep your site fresh, respond to comments, etc.? Once your schedule is agreed upon, create an editorial calendar for each administrator to ensure that management of social media becomes a part of your regular, day-to-day activities.The most important part of having a social media site is keeping it updated on a regular basis with information that is relevant to the consumer.
- Here's a GREAT article about creating an editorial calendar for social media content.
Using social media to actively communicate and engage your audience will result in loyalty and the promotion of your events, therefore, organically growing your efforts. This is done with constant communication and the introduction of fresh, interesting, and relevant content.
You may want to measure social media to determine success of your efforts.It will be up to you to determine the tools necessary to monitor your sites (remember, the social media coordinator and Ed Tech Department are here to assist you and can recommend monitoring tools). Some things you might want to keep track of are:
- number of fans/followers
- number of comments, and frequency of comments, made by participants
- number of visits to your site
- number of times that links shared are clicked
- amount of time that a visitor remains on your page
Many social media sites actually include insights and statistics about your accounts. The ability to accurately monitor this information and analyze the results can help you determine future plans regarding your social media efforts.
It is important to remember that when you refer to San Jacinto College in your social media platforms, you impact our brand and reputation. Although these platforms are "social" media and not "professional" media, it is still very important to use the correct College logos, marks, and approved colors on social media sites relating to the College.
Please do not use the College's logo and marks on your personal social media sites as others can perceive that you are officially representting the College and take your comments as those of an official spokesperson for the College.
To ensure a unified presence online, individual departments that plan to develop a social media presence, or already have a presence, should visit www.sanjac.edu/logos, or contact the marketing department (email@example.com)for assistance with branding.
San Jacinto College reserves the right to monitor San Jacinto College-affiliated sites and make requests upon faculty, employees, and students, should questionable content be displayed on a site that the College name, logo, seal or any version thereof appear.
Using the College name, logo, or seal on any social media site falls under the current guidelines of use of these identity marks, which can be viewed at: www.sanjac.edu/logos. If you have questions regarding the use of the College name, logo or seal, please contact the marketing department at 281-998-6152.