Planning 

Here are a few questions to consider before creating JMU-affiliated pages. If any of these have you stumped, arrange a consultation by emailing socialmedia@jmu.edu and we can work through this with you.

Who’s your audience and what platforms are they using?

Who are you trying to reach? What social media sites are they on? Consider changing social media trends, such as an increasing number of Instagram users.

What are you trying to achieve?

Are you trying to raise awareness around your program, or maybe increase attendance at a specific event? Different purposes call for different social media tactics.

How will you measure success?

Deciding what you’re going to measure relates to what you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you’re trying to build awareness, you could measure the size of your social media community. Check out these free tools for measuring success or get in touch with us for help creating a custom social media report.

Do you have enough resources?

Social media is time consuming when it’s done right. Users expect a certain level of immediacy and a steady flow of content, so you’ll need to figure out who will be responsible for gathering content, posting and monitoring.

What do you have for content?

We know that visually appealing content performs best on social media. Do you have compelling content (photos, videos, interesting stories) on hand or will you need to create these assets? How will you go about doing that?

Best practices for all social platforms

So you want to do some social media? Great! Now that you’ve worked through the social media planning above, here are a couple of pointers to make your JMU-affiliated social media properties a hit.

Keep it real.

Users in the social media space expect transparency and authenticity from brands. It’s OK to have a more relaxed “human” voice in this space; in fact, robotic responses, canned content and hard sells tend not to go over very well. So have fun interacting with fans while sharing content that they’ll find valuable and interesting.

But always be respectful.

Remember that every post and comment you make is public and represents JMU. This is especially important when moderating conversations on social media because, unfortunately, negative feedback can happen, and unless a user’s comment is profane, obscene, harassing or threatening, it’s not best practice to take it down. There are respectful ways to respond to these negative situations that can create positive outcomes. Not sure how to handle a specific situation? Get in touch.

Post frequently and respond in a timely manner.

Your page is only as compelling as your last post, which is why maintaining frequency in posting matters. It is best to post at least a couple of times per week to Facebook and Instagram, and at least daily to Twitter. It’s also important to respond to users in a timely manner, even if it’s just letting them know that you’re looking into their inquiry. If a lack of resources makes this sound impossible, you may want to reconsider diving into social media at the moment.

Promote and register your channels.

Identify places where you can promote your social media channels. Including icons and links on your existing websites and print materials is a great tactic. Also, cross promoting your channels is a good way to drive traffic. Make sure to get your properties added the to Official JMU Social Media Directory by registering them here.

Steer clear of creating these pages…

Creating accounts or pages for specific events, buildings or conferences usually ends badly as after a short period of time, there isn’t enough content to sustain a page. There are much more effective ways to promote events, building openings, etc. Hashtag campaigns and Facebook Event pages are just a couple of examples.

Avoid linking your channels.

There are services that allow you to publish the same post on Facebook, Twitter and more. These services don’t always allow you to take full advantage of the different platforms. For example, Facebook posts can be longer and should be more visual, while Twitter posts are almost always shorter and should include shortened links.

Adhere to copyright laws, terms of service and JMU policies.

This includes not posting any copyrighted materials without consent and following the user agreements published by the social media website you’re using. FacebookTwitterYouTubeInstagram and LinkedIn all have their own Terms of Service. It also means abiding by various JMU policies in the social media space, including Media Relations and Social Media PublishingUniversity Communications and MarketingUse of ImagesConflict of InterestUniversity Advertising and Student Privacy.

In case of emergency…

During times of crisis, inclement weather closings or other emergencies, information related to those situations will be posted on the official JMU social media properties as it become available. We ask that if you would like to post about the situation, you do so by sharing or retweeting the university’s original posts. We also ask that you direct any of your fans or followers who have questions, comments or concerns about the situation to the official JMU social media properties.

Contact & consult

JMU Marketing & Communications is here to help with your social media efforts. We meet with with colleges, departments, offices and organizations looking to start or maintaining social media presences. We can help establish social media strategies and brainstorm tactics with you. We can also can answer quick questions and help trouble shoot. Let us know what’s going by emailing us at socialmedia@jmu.edu and we’ll follow up with you!

Back to Top