Starting an account
An excellent social media presence is built on a foundation as sturdy as limestone. By taking the time to define your key messages, objectives, and target audiences before launching your social profiles, you set yourself up for success.
Questions to consider
Before creating a new account, consider how social media can add value to your communications strategy and assess the resources you have to maintain active accounts. Establish a strategic content plan and review answers to the following questions with your unit director.
Here are the three marketing objectives at the center of all social media strategies:
- Brand awareness: Use your social media profiles to get in front of new faces and to stay in contact with your current followers.
- Engagement: One of the things that sets social media apart from other channels is the ability to encourage social interaction. Engagement refers to the number and type of interactions your followers have with your content.
- Conversions: Getting people to take a certain action usually involves leaving the social platform for another destination – perhaps a website, an app, or an invitation to an event.
Your unit likely communicates with a variety of audiences through different channels. Select a primary audience for the particular social platform you’re considering and, if necessary, up to two secondary audiences. Narrowing your focus will help you choose the best platform and create intentional content when maintaining your account.
When deciding which social media platforms are right for your unit, think of your audience first. Different demographics favor different platforms, so it is important that you select platforms that align with the preferences and behavior of your audience.
It is also important to consider the resources and expertise of your team when choosing the right mix of social media platforms. Some platforms are better suited for text, while others are made specifically for photos or videos.
Review these best practices by channel to determine if the platform you’re considering is a good fit for your intended audience and whether you can effectively create assets for these platforms. We recommend concentrating on one channel before expanding your presence – take the time to perfect engagement, collaboration, and execution.
Outline a plan for building your account’s following, focusing specifically on your primary and secondary audiences. Consider promoting these accounts in newsletters, email campaigns, and on your website. Other great ways to grow your audience include using relevant and appropriate hashtags, collaborating with other KU accounts, and allocating a portion of your budget to promoting your profiles or boosting specific pieces of content.
Official KU accounts should be able to publish content on a weekly basis, although there is no magic number when it comes to the frequency of posts. We recommend that, rather than focusing on quantity, you focus on building a plan that allows you to publish high quality content on a consistent basis.
If you don’t think you’ll have enough content or resources to consistently publish content that adds value to your audience, consider funneling your content to other accounts instead. Review this directory to find other KU accounts you may be able to partner with on sharing content.
Maintaining active social media profiles requires significant time and dedication. Such profiles should be owned and maintained by staff or faculty members. Student employees and interns can be tremendous collaborators on social media initiatives, but they should never “own” official KU social media accounts or profiles.
Creating an account
It is important that you review the answers to these questions with your director. Once unit leadership has reviewed your answers and provided approval for the new account, then you are ready to create your accounts!
- Identify an email address to be associated with your accounts. All official accounts must be registered to a shared or general email address accessible by more than one person. Email addresses already established for customer service — for example, firstname.lastname@example.org — are preferred. If you need to create a new departmental email account, follow these instructions provided by KU IT.
- Create and share a secure password. Passwords and logins should be known and maintained by page administrators and direct leadership. Review KU’s policy on password security.
- Choose a name and handle for your account. The name and handle associated with your accounts should complement each other. The name of your account should be the name of your unit or the name of the entity you represent. The handle should be a short, recognizable distillation of the account name. Pay close attention to how your handle reads without spaces. For example, the School of the Arts may prefer to use @schoolofthearts instead of @schoolofarts.
- Create and upload your profile image. It’s important to choose a profile image that works consistently across all major social platforms. We encourage you to use one of our branded social avatar templates, which come in a variety of designs and feature key brand elements. If you choose to include your unit’s name in your profile image, keep it short — ideally under 10 characters. Abbreviate or use acronyms when possible (you’ll have plenty of space in your platform’s display name to feature your full title). If you cannot fit your unit’s name in our branded social avatar templates, we recommend downloading one of our KU-themed avatars.
- Complete your profile. Make sure to include everything required by the platform to complete your account such as header photos, backgrounds, biographies, and website links.
- Notify the Marketing Communications team. Fill out this short form so that we can add you to the directory and start following your accounts!
- Start publishing content and growing your audience. Review our tools and guidance for maintaining social accounts.