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Guidelines for Social Media Managers

Have a plan

Before creating a new social media account, decide what you want to accomplish. Decide on the type of content you will offer, how often you will post new content and who will be responsible for posting. It is important to post regularly but choose quality over quantity. Before you set up a social media channel, make sure that you have a team of willing and able colleagues to help you post content regularly and routinely respond to comments and questions. Also, we encourage you to consider the strength of your department or program’s website before you dive into social media. A strong web presence provides an effective means of cross-promotion for social media and vice versa.

Before you launch a social media channel, set quantifiable goals for your social media presence. Define what you hope to accomplish, draft a plan and evaluate over time whether your social media efforts have been effective.

Engage

Find creative ways to provide value to your audiences through exclusive content, offers, advice, multimedia posts, etc. Consider your audience’s interests. Monitor your audience’s behavior to learn what it finds valuable in the social media realm. Remember, social media is about conversation. Avoid overly composed-sounding posts and responses, and respond to comments in a timely manner.

Engagement also means posting throughout the day and week, rather than updating with consecutive posts in a short time span. A flood of posts in a row indicates to your audience that you are not really engaging with them. This posting pace also penalizes the reach of your future posts, according to the algorithms used by several social media platforms. Timely updates, however, indicate that your audience is important to you.

Be accurate

Before you post, make sure you have all the facts. Verify information with multiple sources before posting to prevent the need to post a correction later. This is especially important on Twitter, where posts cannot be edited or retrieved after they are published. When possible, link to sources to promote honesty and build community.

Errors should be corrected quickly and visibly. Your audience will be more forgiving of honest mistakes than surreptitious deletions.

Be objective

The way that a post is received by various members of your social media audience will be dependent on their background and experience as well as the current social climate. As you post, consider all points of view and how they might receive your post.

Be consistent

All UTSA social media accounts are an extension of the UTSA brand. Remember the university’s key messages and strategic destinations (student success, research excellence, and strategic growth and innovative excellence). Weave these ideas into your social media efforts when possible.

Cross-collaborate

Like or follow other university-managed social media accounts. (See a directory of UTSA accounts.) Share information and ideas with other account administrators to help unify and strengthen UTSA’s overall social media presence. Use hashtags and handles effectively.

Think before you post

Use common sense when posting and commenting. Remember, nothing is truly private online. Don’t get emotional online. Once it’s out there, you can never truly reverse something you’ve said.

Be transparent

Be honest about your identity. If you choose to post about UTSA on your personal time, identify yourself as a UTSA employee. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting UTSA through social media.

Be respectful

Be particularly respectful when responding to negative comments. You are more likely to achieve your goals with constructive and respectful responses.

Maintain confidentiality

Ask people if you can take their photo for social media before you post. Do not post information that would make someone uncomfortable. Always display our university community in a positive light.