Social networking guidelines for LJMU staff

LJMU presence on social networking websites

LJMU has a presence on a number of social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeLinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. These accounts are updated and maintained by Marketing and Corporate Communications.  

Social Media Policy

If you are planning to set up a social media account related to your work at LJMU, please read our Social Media Policy first.

Objectives

To increase the reach of corporate information by building and promoting existing communications, such as news items, announcements, events etc.

  • Extend and enhance level of communication with current students (in the first instance) and strengthen these relationships and sense of community.

Desired positive outcomes

  • Gives an approachable, human voice to the University
  • Creates a transparent, two-way channel of communication where we can engage our audience in an open and honest way
  • Provides a method where our audience can feed back to us

Tone of voice

The voice of posts must be consistent. The aim is to be clear, human, friendly, and helpful.

Content

  • Frequency – we should aim for at least one post per week to begin with. If we bombard followers with posts we run the risk of being seen as ‘spamming’. The frequency of posts may be increased in future after gauging follower demand and feedback.
  • Customised – we should edit posts to make them suitable for the platform (rather than setting up a several automatic feeds).
  • Relevant – social media channels are quick and easy to update. Content should be fresh and up to date. Posts relating to older less relevant topics should be categorised in order to fit with a current theme.
  • Post length - keep Twitter posts to 132 characters in length. This allows other users to repost or ‘retweet’ our messages on their own profile, allowing their followers to see our original message – which increases the spread of our original communication.
  • Hashtags – use hashtags where necessary. Hashtags are words preceded by the # symbol, which allows users to search and filter posts based on those terms. Posts with a common hashtag may be aggregated, so that discussions can be tailored around a particular theme.
  • Links – links should be run through a URL shortening service, such as is.gd or bit.ly – this allows for longer URLs to be compacted, and also allow user click throughs to be measured.
  • Exclusive content – this may be used to add value to our main corporate communications, e.g. asking questions for follower feedback, event promotion etc.
  • Crisis communications – Twitter/Facebook may be used as a communication channel for urgent announcements, e.g. providing up to the minute news on university closure due to adverse weather conditions etc.

Good practice

  • Certain conventions need to be followed so we are seen to be using Twitter in the correct way.
  • For example on Twitter, good practice is to follow people who are following us. A poor follower/following ratio leads to a bad user rating, which may result in account suspension.
  • Automatic following can be automated using services like tweetlater.com
  • Measuring effectiveness
  • We will be able to evaluate effectiveness of communications with the following methods:
  • Twitter account info – how many users are following us
  • SiteStat on LJMU website (to see how many click throughs we get from social networking sites)
  • Clickthroughs from URLs, using URL shortening services to track
  • Informal straw poll surveys asking for feedback
  • Twitter analytics tools
  • Retweets: Retweet Radar, Twist
  • Online reputation: Monitter, Twitter Grader
  • Impact and influence: Twinfluence, Twittersheep
  • Unfollowers: Qwitter
  • Alert services: tweetbeep.com
  • Real time observation: http://twitterfall.com/
  • Analysis of followers: http://tweepler.com/ and similar tools

Potential issues

  • As we do not have direct control over the posts followers may make to our sites, we must have a disclaimer about the content of posts
  • It is important to be mindful that we may attract negative as well as positive comments. Correct handling of such comments can serve to promote LJMU as a responsive, helpful organisation that aims for high levels of customer service.
  • General criticism about LJMU
  • If users post grievances on Twitter profile page lots of people will see it. It is therefore important to address issues visibly. Solving a customer issue gives us the opportunity to show that we are proactive in finding solutions.
  • Criticism from being unable to answer all queries individually
  • Be honest in assisting – if you don’t know the answer to a query, don’t ignore it – point the person to another staff member/department who can help.
  • Answer topics based on ‘themes’ if similar queries posted from followers.
  • Be open about what the channel is trying to achieve in Social Media Policy, which is available on the LJMU website.
  • Criticism about using social media for ‘broadcasting’ rather than communication
  • Vary content of posts – add links to relevant content, not just LJMU content (e.g. news stories relevant to students, the HE sector, relevant government policy and initiatives etc.)
  • Engage followers by responding to queries.
  • Use updates to pose questions, conduct straw polls etc.
  • Vary type of update links: videos, news, photos, events.
  • Posts too ‘dry’ and corporate
  • Use tone of voice as described above.
  • Exclusive self-promotion is seen as self-serving and is frowned upon. Be useful – don’t be afraid to post links to external websites, where relevant. This serves to build trust.


Page last modified by Michael Humphreys on 28 January 2014.
 
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