Social Media Best Practices
After reading Angelo State University’s social media policy and guidelines, you may feel ready to move forward with your social media initiative. Before you do, though, we recommend that you take a look at these best practices to help set yourself up for success.
Keep Your Writing Focused
Understand Your Audience
Most people looking at social media are using a scanning technique to browse available content. As they are scanning, they are looking for content that is relevant to them. They determine that relevance by looking at:
You have a very small window to capture their attention, so use some of the writing strategies below to help you be successful.
Use a Conversational Writing Style
Achieve this by:
- Writing as if you are a person talking to another person
- Anticipating questions your audience might have
- Organizing information the way your audience wants it
Conversational writing is defined by:
- Using second person — say “you”
- Avoid passive voice
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short
- Answer people’s questions
Pay Attention to Voice and Tone
Voice is your group or organization’s public personality. It should remain consistent across your posts and the social media platforms you use. Try to go with a voice that is agreeable to a broad range of social media users.
Tone changes to fit the situation. Maybe you are positive and enthusiastic on your promotional posts. But what tone will you take when responding or posting about something tragic? These are things to think through and discuss with your social media team.
Because you have to quickly capture your audience’s attention, you need to make sure your writing is packing a punch. Here are a few ways to do that:
- Include valuable information within the first couple of words of your post.
- Avoid starting your posts with “ASU” or “Angelo State University.” This is for two reasons: 1.) Your social media account name should make it clear that you are with ASU, and 2.) Starting with the university name is wasting the short eyeball time your audience is giving you.
- Don’t try to be cute. Your clever names or puns will go unappreciated. You need to get right to the point and be as clear and descriptive as possible.
It’s extremely popular for users to access social media on mobile devices. As you’re developing your social media content, keep this in mind:
- Users devote even less time and attention to you on mobile devices.
- Slow download times on your content links make your audience even less patient.
- Smaller screens on mobile devices mean that your audience views fewer bits of information at a time, giving them less context to understand what they’re looking at.
Keep your writing and content true to real life. Your followers appreciate real-world examples and testimonials, even if they aren’t professional quality.
Avoid Writing the Same Message for All Your Social Media Platforms
Many tools and services let you cross-post between social networks, but it’s rarely a good idea.
Because each network has its own expectations, a tweet is unlikely to work well on Facebook, for example.
While each social media platform has its own community guidelines, all the information we’ve shared here about writing direct and concise content applies to all social platforms.
Be Smart About Content Sharing
Produce Valuable Content
One of our most important goals with social media is to post content that is valuable to our audience. We can gauge the value of our content by looking at how frequently it is shared.
Think about how those social shares benefit your audience members:
- Sharing national recognition about an ASU degree program reflects on the value of their degree.
- Sharing a blog post about an aspect of college life shows that they can relate and have possibly had their own similar experiences.
- Sharing something funny demonstrates to their networks that they are entertaining.
Think About Your Social Media in Three Parts
Post content that highlights ASU through:
- News and feature stories
2. Community Engagement
Post content that encourages conversation. Examples include:
- Promotion of an upcoming retirement reception for a beloved professor with a call-to-action to share your favorite memory
- Questions for alumni and upperclassmen about their most helpful advice for incoming freshmen
- Photo contest for a particular subject or theme
3. Other Valuable Content
- Establish yourself as a subject matter expert in your given area. Part of doing that is sharing research, blog posts, etc., from other leading experts in your field.
Don’t Neglect Photos and Video
It is an absolute must to generate and share social media content with imagery or video. These visual elements will immediately attract more people to your posts than text alone.
Find Your Frequency Sweet Spot
We’ve established that you are going to devote considerable time to your social media efforts, but what does that mean for how frequently you intend to post and share content?
Each social media platform has its own nuances and ways to update followers about new content. Each platform also has its own optimum times of the day for posting content.
Create a posting strategy for each social media platform you use. For instance, to be most effective on Twitter, you typically need to be posting several times throughout the day. But for Facebook, one or two posts a day is probably the maximum your audience will tolerate.
Remember that your audience owes you nothing. Don’t assume that just because they are following you they will listen to anything you have to say. Favor quality of posts over quantity of posts.