1. Plan

| No Comments

social media venn diagramBefore launching your social media site, draft a plan. It's helpful to consider the following before creating social media accounts for departments:

Start Small

Focus your efforts on one or two social media channels or one particular audience. Don't try to do it all at once.

Does the department have a designated staff member to maintain and coordinate the site?

It's not necessary to assign a specific staff member to social media, but one may be helpful if a department is attempting to build a strong
social media presence. Identify the person or people who will have
primary responsibility for populating, maintaining and monitoring your
site. Ensure they have the time and enthusiasm to devote to this project.
List the team members and their roles.

Primary goals and measurement: With whom are you trying to engage?

Social media channels can target different users, so deciding who you want to engage will help identify the channel(s) that best suits a department's needs. For example, departments might use Facebook to reach current/prospective students, parents, and alumni and Twitter to link to current/prospective students, recent alumni, colleagues and thought leaders, education-related groups and institutions.

Define the goal(s) of the department's social media presence. For example, a goal could be to communicate a campaign, generally promote a department, communicate with alumni, increase traffic to a departmental website, communicate with current or prospective students, or develop a new network of colleagues. Make sure the goal is measurable.

Determine how your department will measure the success, or lack of success, of the site. List the plan to measure the site's success and the tools to track that success.

Listen to the Current Conversation

Survey the social media landscape for the "thought leaders" in your field. What are people already saying? What are people saying about the department? Who is saying it? List the topics, people and sites that are leading the relevant conversations. Check out successful social media accounts from Sonoma State and other universities or programs similar to your own. Note the frequency of their updates and the kinds of content they post.


Identify the content your department has to share. Is it primarily news updates, research developments, or networking information? Photographs? Video? List the content you will be sharing via social media. Tailor your content to your readers and their interests.

Name and Design

Identify a simple and descriptive name for your profile that clearly identifies your affiliation with Sonoma State University. Use the Sonoma State logo in your profile, paying attention to the University's Identity Toolkit.


Set a timeline for when you will conduct an evaluation of your site's success, using the goals and measures identified above.

More Social Media Guidelines

Leave a comment