The various elements of this strategy outlined here, assisted by social media policies to promote the most effective uses of individual platforms, will make it possible for University units to move in the same direction in their use of social media while maintaining the ability to adjust to changes in the course of the interactive media evolution.
The strategy consists of employing the following practices that will sustain and enhance the University's social media presence, despite inevitable technological changes:
- Maintain a position on the front edge of social media growth by prudently joining new platforms that can best benefit the University or a particular department and by transitioning away from platforms as they become less commonly used or outdated. This continual process ensures that we best use our resources and maintain a reputation as being forward-thinking.
- Ask questions that continually define a unit's audience and goals in order to avoid wasted resources and lost time.
- Because not every platform will benefit every unit, asking questions about audience and desired behavior will maintain relevance and help account holders find ways to best engage users.
- When considering a new platform, perform cost-benefit analyses to determine if what is in the interests of the for-profit companies that host the social media platforms is also in the best interest of Princeton (the companies will aggressively court new clients to gain users). Not every unit will use every social media platform -- nor should it.
- Use defined social media policy and platform-specific best practices to help implement social media.
- These policies serve as the definitive guide for University representatives using social media.
- Ensure that these remain living documents that offer best practices, along with required protocols, information on applicable laws, and guidelines tailored to specific social media platforms (evolving to reflect the addition of new platforms and the retirement of outdated platforms).
- These policies -- available online on the Communications website and available to communicators across campus through the SPIN listserv -- ensure that the flow of information is constant and allows all units to maintain and grow a social media presence.
- Share best practices among campus partners who are charged with social media responsibilities, and communicate regularly.
- Using the overall policies as guiding tools, ensure that campus partners work in cooperation with the Office of Communications to possess the most up-to-date information and have the capacity to make the most beneficial decisions for their social media presence.
- Maintain consistent partnerships over the life of social media efforts to continually share best practices among users of social media on campus to maintain the most effective application of social media targeted to meet goals.
- Achieve cost-effective partnerships with social media vendors by taking advantage of group discounts and contractual relationships that benefit from large-scale participation most easily achieved on a University-wide basis.
- Take advantage of the central University social media presence to highlight and bring attention to social media content from all units, to maximize their impact.
- Make information distributed through social media engaging and interactive so users feel the need to get involved, thereby creating content of their own and building a self-sustaining flow of information.
- Ensure that social media efforts remain “social” to maintain a strong and interactive relationship with users.
- Remain mindful that users ignore sites that expect them to be passive; instead, use social media to answer questions, provoke conversation and have fun.
- Recognizing that responsive information flow in social media platforms does not happen immediately, sustain an approach of continually seeking responses with the understanding that trust takes time to build.
- Ensure that overall appearance of social media is enticing and dynamic to maintain a strong user base.
- Build a reputation as a thought leader in the social media world.
- Share information beyond news related to the University unit to show users that we are aware of their broader information needs.
- Use social media platforms as "convening" spaces to demonstrate to users, other media outlets, and peer institutions that Princeton has a role in influencing appropriate public discussion on events and issues.
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