Social Media

Social media can be an effective tool for communicating with your students, alumni, faculty and staff. However, creating and managing social media in a professional capacity is a heavy investment.  

These considerations and best practices will help you map out the best way to use social media effectively. 

Considerations for creating or eliminating a profile:  

  • Resources: To do social media well, you’ll need an employee that is planning, monitoring, and scheduling regular postings. This could be a student position someone will need to direct and oversee. If you do not have the time to do this, it’s best to use social media that already exists or consolidate your efforts. 

  • Audience: Depending on your goals and who you are trying to reach, it isn’t likely that you need to be on every social media channel. Pew Research provides data annually on how different demographic groups use social media. For example, if you are trying to communicate with students, Instagram is a good platform. If you want to talk to alumni, Facebook is a smart resource.  

  • Dormancy: If your unit has a page that has gone silent or is being used very irregularly, consider retiring the account. Most channels offer the ability to un-publish or snooze it for a time before permanently deleting it.  

Best practices for social media management:   

  • Post frequency: Strive to publish a daily post on your channel(s).  

  • Planning: Use a calendar to plan your content one to two weeks in advance. This can be done for Free with Microsoft Planner, Outlook or Google. Meta for Business also provides a free calendar that can be used for planning and scheduling Facebook and Instagram posts. Taking the time to plan allows for more strategic and creative thinking. Rushed posts are more likely to have errors and lack purpose. There are paid planning and scheduling tools available, but think about if this is worth the budgetary investment before pursuing. A planning tool isn't necessary a magic solution. Time and people to plan and schedule are the most important.  

  • Scheduling: You can schedule content for free on Facebook and Instagram using Meta for Business. Twitter also allows for scheduling in your profile or by using Twitter Studio.  

  • Responding: Social media is a two-way conversation. Think about when and how you respond to or ignore comments. Determine whom you need to contact in your unit about an offensive post and who needs to approve a potential response.   

  • Visuals: Social media is a highly visual medium. Use quality photos and videos over graphical content for optimal reach and engagement. You have access to a vast library of images as a CLAS employee. If you must use graphics, keep text minimal as small text on an image is challenging to read on mobile. Social media image size guides provide sizing and scaling information for each platform. 

Additional Social Media Resources 

For additional guidance, and to sign-up for training with the University of Iowa social media team in OSC, visit the university’s brand website