Social Media at Okanagan College
The following guidelines are in support of social media accounts, blogs and web pages that are related to the College. Okanagan College’s social media policy is available online.
Before you get started consider the following:
- Take the time to evaluate whether or not social media is right for your department. Set goals and objectives. Take the time to plan and get to know your audience. Invest in building real and meaningful social relationships up front. Contemplate how it integrates with your department and the College’s other marketing and promotional initiatives.
- Consider the big picture when building your social media presence. The online world is tight-knit and not burdened by geographical distance. It is not necessary for each campus or region to duplicate social media accounts. Enhance the College’s overall efforts by linking back to existing College pages and accounts and be aware of fragmenting your audience. The uncontrolled proliferation of social media can water down your impact and affect the College’s profile. If another department has built a strong presence, consider working with them to share your message through their network.
- Make sure you have a clear online strategy and are committed to it. Make social media worth your efforts by investing the time needed to create something worth promoting.
- It is essential to determine where your target market is. It is more important to properly maintain one account than dabble unsuccessfully in the vast array of accounts available. Focus on where your stakeholders are listening and engaging the most and then direct your energies toward improvement.
- Develop a strategy to engage your audience and then listen. Be open to change and transformation as you discover what your audience really wants from you.
- Schedule an evaluation of your efforts based on the plan you outlined. Be prepared to make changes as needed. Regular evaluation should also be part of your effort.
Using social media on behalf of Okanagan College
- When using an officially recognized social media channel, assume at all times that you are representing the College.
- Use a professional and platform-appropriate voice. If you are writing on behalf of your department, avoid using the first person narrative. Third person voice is most often the correct choice when representing any department or entity, other than yourself.
- Avoid discussing or speculating on internal College policies or operations. If you wouldn’t be comfortable speaking to the media about it – don’t include it on any social media channel.
- Spelling matters. Using abbreviations is appropriate at times but there is never an appropriate time for spelling errors.
- Strive for accuracy and think twice before you post. Privacy does not exist in the world of social media and posts can be shared at lightning speed. Search engines can uncover content and comments years after they are created. Ensure the content you post is factual and that you are comfortable with the content and how it will be considered in the future. You can be sued personally for what you write/post.
- When using or posting material that includes direct quotations, ideas, photos or videos, always include citations or links to the original material.
- Photos posted on social media sites can easily be appropriated or downloaded by visitors. If using a copyrighted photo, consider adding a watermark to the image or resize the image to 72 dpi and approximately 800 x 600 resolution to avoid print reproductions or large-scale online postings.
- Logos do not render well on certain social media platforms that are built to display photos (Facebook being one). Contact Public Affairs for the official OC Facebook logo or consider working with the College’s graphic design team to create a unique identity or image to represent your department or group.
- Avoid jokes and sarcasm – yes, even on April Fools’ Day. Tone can be difficult to determine online and jokes can be misconstrued as facts. Posts can go viral without benefit of complete context from where they were posted.
- Ensure that your content is relevant to your user or run the risk of turning them off.
- Consider carefully who or what your account will “friend” or “follow” in social media to avoid creating the impression that the College endorses that individual, cause or organization. This is especially important to consider in regard to political candidates and controversial organizations or events. It can also be an issue with regard to artists, individuals or issues.
- To achieve success in social media requires a high level of transparency. Your account may receive negative interaction from users. Public Affairs recommends avoiding engaging in online wars of words. Your audience is entitled to its opinion and social media may be the right platform for them to share their opinion. If you are unsure whether or not you should remove a comment or post, contact Public Affairs.
- Make use of analytics and tracking tools on social media platforms. Whether by Google analytics or through Facebook’s built-in analytics for pages, most social media accounts are measurable.
- A better measure of engagement on Facebook is not the number of “likes,” but the number of comments a post or photo receives or the number of times it is shared. Relevant content that results in two-way communication is what matters. Best practices in Facebook indicate that posting to a brand page once or twice a week is the right amount for an audience. Over-posting can lead the audience to adjust their settings to prevent their news feed from being flooded.
- Best practices in Twitter suggest a much more frequent posting schedule than that of Facebook in order to build a connected and engaged community. Twitter followers want to hear from their connections on a more regular basis and are looking for different content than what they receive on other social media platforms. Don’t assume the content that works for one social media site will work for all. Tailor your communications to your audience and ensure they are platform-appropriate.