Launching your social media site
This step-by-step lesson will help you launch a social media site.
1. Define your audience.
Who is your department looking to connect with? You should be looking to interact with specific people - for example, like-minded researchers or students, or potential students in your department. It's OK to have a couple of different audiences, but any more than three and you won't be focused enough.
Knowing your audience will allow you to post information that is relevant and engaging, and will prevent you from wasting everyone's valuable time posting information they don't care about.
2. Define your purpose.
Why, exactly, do you need to talk to these people? And what do you need to tell them? The answers to these questions will guide all of your social media communications. We recommend you write down the answers and develop a strategy for what you post on your social media sites.
An example: Like-minded researchers want to know what we're studying and how it's progressing. We want to share tips for similar research.
3. Make sure you can maintain your site.
Social media requires
that you stay involved. Although appropriate timing varies with each medium, the rule of thumb is to communicate at least once a day
. Most social media is structured so that relevance is determined by immediacy, so your site will need consistent updating.4. Choose your outlets wisely.
We recommend you choose two or three social media outlets. Here are some of the top types:
Social networking. These sites allow users with common interests to connect, share information and interact with each other, but also to interact and share with each others' friends, should they so choose. Facebook is the king of all social networking sites.
Blogging. A blog allows the primary writer to tell individuals about a topic and then allows readers to converse with the primary author via comments. The best blog posts are hybrids between news articles and editorials. Blogs are a key component of the "citizen journalist" movement, and there are dozens of platforms for building a blog.
Microblogging. This is blogging in fewer characters, such as the maximum 140 allowed by Twitter. Microblogging has resulted in dozens of sites that monitor updates (such as TweetDeck) and shorten web addresses (such as TinyURL or TBit.ly).
Social news. Most news is now being digested online, and that opens up the ability to share stories you like with friends. Social news media allow users to rate and recommend stories to friends and followers. Digg, Delicious and Reddit are popular examples.
Multimedia sharing. Short online attention spans have contributed to the growing importance of using visual media to communicate messages. Most individuals would rather watch a video than read a long essay, which explains the domination of multimedia sharing sites like You Tube (video) and Flickr (photos).
RSS Feed. Really simple syndication, or RSS, feeds deliver content in an easy to read format. Users identify the type of content and/or source they'd like to hear from, and new content appears in the feed. Google Reader is a popular example.
The best social media strategy involves diversification. Don't choose to get involved exclusively with social networking sites or blogging sites. In this case, breadth is better than depth. Make sure that content is well-integrated among these platforms too.
Jan 07, 2013