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Listen & Discover

Listen to your audience

Once you have set up a social media account, start off by listening to your community. See what your target audience is talking about (you figured out who that was earlier, right?) and determine what they find the most interesting. In addition, see what they are saying about your organization and the institution by utilizing hashtags and searching for relevant content via Google and social media site searches. By first listening to your audience, you create a base for the conversations that are the driving force of social media, since a conversation is, after all, about both speaking and listening.

Find experts in the field

It is very likely you are not the only organization of your kind on social media. Search for other accounts by similar organizations at other institutions. Look up what the professional associations and national offices related to your organization are doing. These outside organizations are a great source of inspiration and you can discover what topics your community at-large is focusing on, what social media approaches work for them, and share their updates if they are relevant to your community.

Utilize the campus community

Another great source of content is other organizations on campus. Utilize the reach of your fellow organizations to learn what is happening around you. Be inspired to create an event to address a current issue. If you do find some good information from another account, be sure to attribute and share the information you find. By attributing the information you provide the organization a bit of publicity with a new audience, as well as let them know about your account.

University Web & Design has created a Twitter list of academic departments, offices, sports teams, alumni groups, student organizations recognized by Student Leadership Development and other similarly affiliated W&M accounts that can serve as a great starting point to listen to the W&M community. There are even more comprehensive account lists on the Social Stream social media directory that include Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn and blogs.