Social media continues to grow and change each day. Tufts University must be able to leverage current outlets while also having a clear vision for continuing to engage new audiences as the landscape changes. Strategic social media use encourages our audiences to connect and actively participate with the university. Traditional one-way communication channels do not typically reach audiences in ways that elicit a particular response or behavior, whereas social media, by definition, revolves around interactions and conversation. With clearly defined goals and wisely chosen tools, Tufts can enhance its relationships with existing audiences, and truly engage them. To meet these goals, Tufts’ many separate departments and offices should work together to communicate Tufts’ core values to the university’s various constituencies. This includes, but is not limited to, information about:
Through collaborative efforts, departments can take advantage of current and new platforms while maintaining the ability to adjust when older platforms fall out of favor. A defined strategy will allow the many units across the university to learn from best practices in the constantly evolving social media landscape and to avoid common pitfalls along the way. As social media usage among our audience grows, this strategy will help us to understand how social media works in tandem or as a complement to traditional media outlets. This document serves to guide the general use of social media at the university, including the main Tufts University accounts. It includes what one should consider before embarking on a social media effort, as well as throughout the life of that effort. While there is a benefit for almost any Tufts entity that uses social media, working without a strategy and clearly defined goals can be detrimental, leading to issues such as loss of confidence in the information coming from the school, department or program. With clearly defined goals and wisely chosen tools, Tufts will not only reach new audiences, it can truly engage them.
The purpose of this strategy is to ensure that we:
While there is no one-size-fits-all model for success, a successful social media strategy keeps in mind the wide range of audiences viewing our messages – students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff, donors, mainstream media and more – and has the sophistication of speaking to all of them.
The various elements of the strategy outlined here are supported by our Social Media Policy & Best Practices, which looks to promote the most effective uses of the individual platforms. The strategy consists of employing the following practices that will sustain and enhance the university’s social media presence, despite inevitable technological changes.
Tufts’ social media presence is substantial, and it is growing. With the coordinated strategy outlined here, a set of platform-specific policies and an evolving set of tips and best practices, the university and the individual departments and administrative units within the campus community can continue to build a robust social media identity for Tufts. We can’t necessarily predict what will happen or what people will like years or even months from now, so our goal is to always be thinking ahead and to be nimble enough to adapt to the changes as they come.
As a brand on Facebook, we realize that we are competing with an individual’s friends for time and attention in their news feeds. In addition to this, the content that is showcased in an individual’s feed is based on an algorithm that we cannot control, making it less of a guarantee that all of our intended audiences will see our message. Currently our most active audiences on Facebook include:
From experience, our most popular posts include:
With all this in mind, our main goals and strategies with Facebook are to:
Since Facebook is used more for interacting with people than brands, we want to avoid overloading users’ timelines. We aim to post only once per day, four to five times a week. Since Facebook is a very different channel than Twitter, we do not cross post between the two platforms. Please refer to our Social Media Best Practices for a closer look at the best practices we adhere to while maintaining our Facebook presence.
Twitter, by design, is made to accommodate short and frequent updates. Here you are competing with the dozens of other friends and brands that an individual user may follow, and with every new tweet your last tweet is bumped down and out of sight. Because of the more anonymous nature of Twitter (your handle does not have to be your real name), it can often be hard to determine our audience. Judging by the interactions we have had, we know a good portion of our audience consists of:
From experience, our most popular tweets include:
With this in mind, our main goals and strategies with Twitter are to:
Since Twitter changes by the minute, we aim to post a variety of content, multiple times throughout the day, offering diverse tweets and encouraging interaction from our followers. Twitter requires timely, frequent updates, so we do not cross-post between Twitter and Facebook. Please refer to our Social Media Best Practices for a closer look at the best practices we adhere to while maintaining our Twitter presence.