What is Social Media?
Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, and/or exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The Office of Digital Communications manages the main Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare, YouTube and Vimeo accounts.
We offer an array of tools, including one-on-one consults with schools, departments and offices looking to form or maintain an existing social media presence to discuss social media goals and strategy, as well as offer insights and ideas. Before creating any social media account, be sure to complete the “Considering Social Media“ worksheet to make sure maintaining a social media presence is the right fit for your needs and resources. If it is determined you have both the content and time to maintain a channel, you are required to complete your “Social Media Strategy” document. Digital Communications is available for guidance during any point in this process.
Also, be sure to check with your school’s communications office for any school specific regulations or branding guidelines.
Key Principles for Social Media Managers:
- Social media is about conversations, community, connecting with the audience and building relationships. It is not just a broadcast channel or a sales and marketing tool.
- Authenticity, honesty and open dialogue are key.
- Social media not only allows you to hear what people say about you, but enables you to respond. Listen first, speak second.
- Be compelling, useful, relevant and engaging. Don’t be afraid to try new things, but think through your efforts before kicking them off.
Popular Social Media Tools and Platforms:
- Blogs: A platform for casual dialogue and discussions on a specific topic or opinion.
- Facebook: The world’s largest social network, with more than 1.15 billion people using the site (as of September 2013). Users create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including status updates. Brands create pages and Facebook users can “like” brands’ pages.
- Twitter: A social networking/micro-blogging platform that allows groups and individuals to stay connected through the exchange of short status messages (140 character limit).
- YouTube & Vimeo: Video hosting and watching websites. The 2012 Noel-Levitz E-Expectations report found that 62 percent of high school juniors and seniors watch YouTube videos at least once a week.
- Flickr: An image and video hosting website and online community. Photos can be shared on Facebook and Twitter and other social networking sites.
- Instagram: A free photo and video sharing app that allows users to apply digital filters, frames and special effects to their photos and then share them on a variety of social networking sites.
- LinkedIn Groups: A place where groups of professionals with similar areas of interest can share and participate in a conversations happening in their fields.
Learn how to best utilize these tools with our platform specific best practices.
University Social Media Policies:
Social networks and other online media are great tools for engagement and two-way communication, but given the nature of this two-way, real-time communication, there is the potential for significant risks associated with inappropriate use.
University Policies related to social media:
- Social Media Policy for Official Social Media Accounts
- Responsible Use
- Conflict of Interest
- Copyright, Fair Use and Open Access
- Name Use/Insignias
- Visual Identity [PDF]
General Social Media Best Practices:
While the tools of social media are easily accessible, the rules of the road are not necessarily intuitive. It’s a new communications landscape, with tremendous opportunities but also a lot to learn.
We developed these guidelines to provide everyone at the university—from communications professionals to department administrators—with basic guidance on how to best use social media toward communications goals, both as the owner of an account and as a user/contributor. The suggestions and best practices outlined here can help you use these channels effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation, and follow university guidelines. We also hope that these guidelines spark conversations among social media practitioners on campus to learn from each other as we explore these emerging platforms.
Please review the university best practices and feel free to contact Digital Communications with any questions.
Requesting or Registering an Official Tufts Social Media Account:
If you are looking to create an account, you must meet with Digital Communication to discuss the social media policies at the university, as well as strategy, goals, messaging and best practices. Please fill out a request form and we will contact you to set up a meeting.
If you already have an account that was created prior to September 2013, please be sure to register your account with Digital Communications.
Manager, Digital Content & Strategy
Online Community Specialist