Different types of social media
Facebook is a social media site where users establish a personal profile, network with friends, choose to become a fan of certain businesses and organizations and/or join groups based on their interests.
- If you do not need to interact with students directly, create a Facebook page.
- If you want to encourage student interaction, create a Facebook group.
- Content posted to Facebook groups appears on the group’s news feed and shows as a notification to group members. This includes content of group members, not just content posted by administrators.
- Groups can be open or closed. Closed groups require approval by a page administrator before members can view group content. Closed groups cannot be easily found via Facebook’s search tool. The content of open groups can be viewed by any user regardless of group membership and groups can be found easily via Facebook search.
Please feel free to contact the Director of Marketing for help in deciding which Facebook presence will best meet your needs.
Twitter is a social media site that allows users to post short messages that appear in the news feeds of people who choose to follow your account.
- Twitter posts are very brief—there is a 260-character limit. Twitter also limits the characters of its usernames. Usernames must be carefully selected as a search will not yield results unless the username is entered exactly.
- Twitter is all about the conversation. Engage with your audience by retweeting (sharing) the content of other accounts, replying to other’s posts and using hashtags to spark a conversation with fellow users.
Instagram is a social media site centered on sharing images and videos accompanied by captions that appear in the news feeds of people who choose to follow your account.
- Because Instagram is an image-centered social media channel, make sure your images are not blurry.
- Always include a catchy, concise caption with your image that ideally includes a brief description of what’s pictured.
YouTube is a video sharing website that allows users to upload, view and share videos online. Users can establish a channel to share and organize their videos. Keep users engaged by creating brief and engaging videos.
- If a Gateway program or organization has just a small number of videos, it may be advantageous to contact the Marketing Communications Department and ask that the videos be posted in a group on Gateway’s official YouTube channel.
- When posting videos, be sure to include a title as well as enter a description for the video in the space provided using keywords related to the video content. This will help users find your content using the search tool on YouTube.
Flickr is a web-based photo sharing website that allows users to establish a profile and upload and organize photos that can be easily shared.
- Photos should be organized into easy-to-follow albums and collections so that users can easily find and view photos. At a minimum, all albums and collections should be given a title and description, preferably for each photo.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site that allows users to establish a profile and make professional connections with colleagues, potential employers and other interest groups. While Gateway Technical College has an official LinkedIn page, all other Gateway-affiliated accounts should create groups to bring together users with like interests.
- Keep content relevant to LinkedIn, which tends to be more professional, educational and networking/employment-related, rather than casual social interaction.
Before applying for a social media account, please consider:
- Are you familiar with the form of social media you want to establish?
- Before applying, set up a test or personal profile. You will need to feel comfortable using the site in order to be successful.
- Who is responsible for monitoring/creating content on a daily basis?
- Pages must be monitored/updated on a continual basis—keeping content fresh, quickly responding to any feedback or monitoring for appropriate content.
- An infrequently updated page is likely to cause more damage to the program/group than having no page at all.
- Have you created a content plan? It will determine the need for the account and/or help map your content for the first month.
- Determine who your audience is, overall goals for the account and key messages.
- For sites like Facebook and Twitter, a minimum of 1-2 posts per week are needed to maintain interest/grow following on sites. Fewer may be needed on a blog.
- Make sure you are posting a variety of relevant, valuable and engaging content (i.e. articles, links and photos). The goal is to create community and build dialog.
- If you are unable to think of enough content for the first 8-10 posts, which is the minimum content for a month, then maybe a social media presence isn’t needed. Consider submitting content ideas to the Marketing and Communications department for placement on the college-level social media accounts.
- View the Social Media Flowchart.
- Be sure to enter information in the “profile” page—most social media sites have a place to enter biographical-type information. Include general college information in addition to information about your organization/department/group as well as relevant website links. The Marketing and Communications department can provide general biographical-type information and/or review your suggested content.
- Keep posts brief, relevant, engaging and varied. Include a mix of announcements, information, links, photos, articles, discussions, etc.
- Post and monitor your page frequently—this builds community and engages page users.
- Promote your accounts through other media and classes—spreading the word is a key to building your account following.
- Review Gateway’s Editorial Guidelines for our policies on representing the College through writing.
Interacting on social media
When creating a social media account that represents Gateway, you are opening up the college to interact with the public. This presents many opportunities for positive interactions with community members, but can also open doors for negative comments. When dealing with negative comments on social media, follow these guidelines:
- If the person has a genuine complaint, reply to their comment by sincerely apologizing and direct the conversation to private messaging.
- If the person’s comment is offensive/rude/libelous/defamatory/a personal attack against a specific member of the Gateway community/contains profanity, delete the post and privately message the person. If you try to fix the problem and the person continues making public, inappropriate comments, block the user.
If you receive a negative comment and are not sure how to respond, please contact the Marketing and Communications department for assistance.