Developing Your Social
Media Strategy

Discuss these questions as a team.

Who is my target audience?

  • Current students, prospective students, parents, alumni, media, faculty, donors, grad students, staff?
  • Differentiate your primary and secondary audiences.
  • Identify audience’s background, goals, challenges, demographics, and interests to determine the best social media platform to use and content you’ll be posting.

What is my purpose on social media?

  • What do you hope to achieve on social media? (e.g. increase awareness among specific audiences, generate web traffic, identify student prospects or recruit students, generate event attendance, strengthen reputation, build constituent affinity.)
  • This will become the foundation of your strategy.

What resources (time, funds, technology, talents) can my department commit?

  • Do you have a staff member with time to devote to social media?
    • We recommend budgeting one hour per day.
    • Consider not only the posting schedule, but time to monitor and respond to your audience.
    • Set aside an hour a month to dive into the analytics on your channels, see what worked, and benchmark your successes.
  • Is your appointed staff member trained in communications and media? 
    • If not, are professional development funds available?
    • Please connect with your communications specialist in University Communications for training and best practices.
  • Where will you source your content? (e.g. newsletters, faculty research, testimonials,}
  • Where will you get your photos, graphics, or images? Do you need to get permission ahead of time use certain photos?
  • Do you have funds to commit to a social media management platform, which can help you schedule content and monitor comments, likes, and questions?
    • UC uses Hootsuite Pro, and seats are $150/user/month. Contact UC to learn more about using Hootsuite.
  • If you will want to run contests or advertise campaigns, what is your budget?

What defines “success” in my social media efforts?

  • What are your key performance indicators (KPIs)?
    • UC looks at growth, engagement rate (engagements/impressions), and channel reach.

What channels should your department be on?

  • Consider these questions when deciding whether you should create a new social media channel:
    • What platforms does your target audience spend the most time on?
    • What is the strength of each platform?
    • What content and images do you have to share, and where will it best perform?
    • Is there an audience interested in this content on this platform?
    • Start small and sustainable, and scale up as you grow your audience and flesh out your strategy.
  • Many departments and programs across campus have their own well-developed and popular social media channels, most notably Athletics. However, before launching a new social media account, carefully evaluate if an existing established channel will be more effective to partner with than starting fresh.
  • SPU departments and organizations interested in starting a new social media channel are encouraged to reach out to their communications specialist in UC. Our social media team can make strategic recommendations based on audience, content, goals, and resources.
  • *Please note: Creating a new YouTube channel is not encouraged. To upload content to SPU’s existing YouTube account, contact your communications specialist in University Communications.

What content will I be posting?

  • Content is the backbone of your social strategy.
  • Before making the first post, the most important thing is to have a solid plan and strategy. Do extensive research to be sure that you have an intimate understanding of brand/product, the market, followers, and the desired results. Once the campaign has begun or content has been posted, use analytics to track results and make small adjustments as necessary to optimize the campaign’s effectiveness. Leverage each social media platform to drive traffic to the others, increasing overall exposure.
  • Good and relevant content that is engaging, encourages interaction, and is highly shareable will help extend your reach, deepen engagement for your brand, and build more loyalty.
  • When creating content ask yourself these questions:
    1. What is the purpose of this content?
    2. Who am I writing to?
    3. How do they feel? (mood)
    4. What do you want them to understand?
    • *Only 20% of your social media content should promote your brand while 80% is dedicated to audience interest. 
    • The three main reasons people use social media is to be informed, entertained, and stay connected.
    • When developing content think about hashtags, text (shorter the message, higher the chance of it being seen and shared), call-to-actions, and tagging.
    • Understand what type of content will perform best on each platform. For example, Facebook is a great platform to tell stories and share videos (1 in 4 lose interest if a brand doesn’t have videos), Instagram is known for beautiful and powerful images, Twitter relies on concise and informative text, LinkedIn garners successful engagement through blog posts, industry news/research, or quick tips.

What is my social media account’s personality, tone & voice?

  • Humanizing your brand is a necessity. People like making connections and investing time and money to people they can relate to.
  • Voice: Distinct and steady personality and style of your brand. (Regardless of channel/situation, your voice remains consistent.)
  • Tone: Subset of a voice, refers to moods and attitudes of specific content pieces, which can change depending on the channel, situation, and audience.
  • *Think about the brand personality. If your brand was a person, how would they talk? (Witty, funny, authoritative, passionate, energetic, etc.)
  • *Each channel requires different kind of storytelling.
  • You can talk about one piece of content in different ways across different platforms, but you should never copy and paste the same text.
    • Don’t create unique content for every platform, but create unique ways to share it.
  • Think about sharing content from an outside groups or people who are partners in your industry or related to your work. (Example, the SPU Twitter accounts regularly retweets Puget Sound Blood Center request for blood donations, or the Washington Secretary of State’s tweets about voting deadlines, or beautiful photos of Seattle and the Puget Sound area.)