Best Practices

You've laid the foundation for how you will use social media, but don't dive in just yet. Take a look at these best practices and helpful tips first.

13 Social Media Dos for SJSU

1. Create Professional Login Information

Use your department's email address when setting up accounts and make sure you aren't the only person in your department with access to your accounts. Pick a secure password and share it with your supervisor or colleagues. Do not tie an SJSU account to your personal email address or profile.

2. Identify Yourself

Fill out information about your organization in the channel's description area. When possible, provide a real contact name, department, email or phone number so people know who is managing the social media channel. You can also identify yourself when responding to specific posts. 

3. Approach Growth with Patience, Consistency and Quality

It's hard not to focus on numbers when you're first starting out. Instead, shift your attention to creating quality content and developing a community with the followers you have, one by one. Try these tips:

  • Share relevant content regularly
  • Open up the platform for conversation and comments
  • Engage with community members regularly
  • Cross-promote your channels
  • Think of ways to collaborate with other departments
  • If after three months you haven't seen progress, it's time to evaluate your need for the platform.

4. Be a Good Listener

Monitor conversations about or relating to your area. What are people saying? Is it good? Is it bad? Is there some way you can help? Can you offer some sort of expertise? Listening is the best way to learn about your audience and join the conversation. It also provides valuable qualitative data for measuring your social media efforts.

5. Monitor But Don't Censor Your Audience

The university strives to use social media to build community by encouraging people to exchange thoughts about topics related to SJSU, but that doesn't mean anything goes. Create a set of guidelines and post those as part your page. People are entitled to opinions, but when comments become a detriment to the community, you may have to take action. See the "Listening and Engaging" section of "Content Creation" for tips on how to deal with negativity.

6. Be Human

People use social media to be social. That means they want to interact with a real, live person who represents SJSU. Although you should always maintain your professionalism, that doesn't mean you have to adopt a distant "institutional voice." Use social media channels to listen, give a voice to our organization and have conversations. Speak plainly in your posts (don't use lingo or acronyms), encourage conversation and be ready to jump in with a response.

7. Be Helpful

As a representative of the university, respond to questions and concerns in a polite and helpful manner. This means providing timely responses (within 24 hours ideally) and real answers. Do your best to provide useful information in the same forum in which the question was asked. Doing so lets your community members know you are responsive to their needs. It also allows other community members to benefit from the information you share, building a sense of community on the page and for SJSU in general.

8. Post Useful, Interesting and Succinct Content

When thinking of what to share, remember your goals and who your audience is, then give them the good stuff. Share the most interesting items and understand it's OK if you don't have something to say every day. See "Part 3: Content Creation" for more information.

9. Share Posts

The share feature on most social media platforms provides users with the opportunity to like the post, share the post and post comments as they normally would. It gives proper credit and attribution to the author of the original post and enables integration and promotion of content in both locations. Using the share feature also provides a more consistent and integrated user experience whereby all comments are grouped together into one thread rather than two separate places. 

10. Follow Community Standards

Familiarize yourself with the rules and recommendations of the social media channel you are participating in and adhere to those. For example, don't create a Facebook profile for your organization because those are for use by individuals. Instead, create a page or group. You can search topics and find more helpful information for Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.

11. Use Student Talent Wisely

Students are a fantastic resource to help support social media efforts, but they do not replace the work of a full-time staff member. Staff members should be providing clear guidance on how and why to use social media for your area. A professional should also be checking student work at least once a week. If a student becomes unavailable to help with social media, a staff member should have no problem picking up where they left off.

12. Measure and Share Your Progress

Reviewing and collaborating with others allows us to optimize our strategies. At least once a month, share the activity and progress of your social media efforts with your supervisor and other stakeholders. The format can be very simple and straightforward. 

13. Finish What You Start

Have you come across an old, outdated Facebook or YouTube page that someone created and abandoned? This is not how SJSU should be represented in social media. Remember that starting a new social media campaign takes a lot of bandwidth. Ask yourself do you have enough of it to see the project through completion?

If you have a page that is not being updated, University Marketing and Communications will ask you to take down your page. If you feel your audience needs an explanation, share a final post with information on where the conversation will be then delete the page.