What is Social Media?
Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The Office of Communications and Marketing manages the main Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Vimeo accounts.
We offer an array of tools, including one-on-one consults with schools, departments and offices looking to form or maintain an existing social media presence to discuss social media goals and strategy, as well as offer insights and ideas. Before creating any social media account, you must submit the Account Request Form. Be sure to check with your school’s communications office for any school specific regulations or branding guidelines.
Key Principles for Social Media Managers:
- Social media is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience and building relationships. It is not just a broadcast channel or a sales and marketing tool.
- Authenticity, honesty and open dialogue are key.
- Social media not only allows you to hear what people say about you, but enables you to respond. Listen first, speak second.
- Be compelling, useful, relevant and engaging. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but think through your efforts before kicking them off.
Popular Social Media Tools and Platforms:
- Blogs: A platform for casual dialogue and discussions on a specific topic or opinion.
- Facebook: The world’s largest social network, with more than 1.55 billion monthly active users (as of the third quarter of 2015). Users create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including status updates. Brands create pages and Facebook users can “like” brands’ pages.
- Twitter: A social networking/micro-blogging platform that allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of short status messages (140 character limit).
- YouTube & Vimeo: Video hosting and watching websites.
- Flickr: An image and video hosting website and online community. Photos can be shared on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites.
- Instagram: A free photo and video sharing app that allows users to apply digital filters, frames and special effects to their photos and then share them on a variety of social networking sites.
- Snapchat: A mobile app that lets users send photos and videos to friends or to their “story.” Snaps disappear after viewing or after 24 hours. Currently, we are not allowing individual departments to have Snapchat accounts, but asking that they contribute to the Tufts University account.
- LinkedIn Groups: A place where groups of professionals with similar areas of interest can share information and participate in a conversations.
Learn how to best utilize these tools with our platform specific best practices.
We also provide an extensive list of Twitter and Facebook tips.
University Social Media Policies:
Social networks and other online media are great tools for engagement and two-way communication, but given the nature of this two-way, real-time communication, there is the potential for significant risks associated with inappropriate use.
General Social Media Best Practices:
While the tools of social media are easily accessible, the rules of the road are not necessarily intuitive. It’s a new communications landscape, with tremendous opportunities but also a lot to learn.
We developed these guidelines to provide everyone at the university—from communications professionals to department administrators—with basic guidance on how to best use social media toward communications goals, both as the owner of an account and as a user/contributor. The suggestions and best practices outlined here can help you use these channels effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation, and follow university guidelines. We also hope that these guidelines spark conversations among social media practitioners on campus to learn from each other as we explore these emerging platforms.