Sandra Ordonez (@NYCOrdonez) is social media and public relations manager at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.
I recently started working at Stevens Institute of Technology. But I had to get up to speed on the institution, its personality and its alumni before I could begin really doing my job. I’ve put together this list of pointers to help guide others who begin new positions in social media at institutions.
- Do not post immediately. You will be tempted to but restrain yourself and take the time to research the university’s social media pages and presence before going live. Check out previous, successful posts on Facebook, examine your list of Twitter followers, geotag your school and see what type of photos are posted on Instagram. Take the time to get to know your audience.
- Learn about your department’s (and institution’s) goals and objectives. Ask for your department’s goals and objectives to help guide your brainstorming and the launch of new strategies. Your social media strategy should tie directly into this list. Talk to your team members, learn about their projects and ask yourself, “How can social media help them leverage their goals?”
- Track your numbers and sentiment. Write down the number of fans and followers for each social media account before you start to post. They will become your benchmark to measure your success. When I first started my position five months ago, the Stevens Institute of Technology Instagram account had 594 followers. Today, we have a total of 1,432 followers, a growth of 141 percent. The growth is evidence that more frequent posts and efforts to engage with followers generated results.
- Attend events on campus and become a participant. Introduce yourself and your role at your institution to students. Eventually, they will recognize you and welcome your presence at their events. Become a familiar face, and it will help with your engagement efforts on campus.
- Introduce yourself to other departments, and figure out who manages their social media channels. Building a rapport in the first couple of weeks with others who manage social channels is crucial to success. It will help you understand their social media objectives and learn about their upcoming events. Earlier in the spring semester, I was able to successfully cover annual events such as Stevens Institute of Technology Awards Gala and Accepted Student Day because I received content from our development and alumni relations and admissions offices.
- Create a document that tracks each social media channel affiliated with the university. Include details like the name of the department, URL, manager and number of followers/fans. Memorize usernames and passwords for social media channels. Committing this information to memory will allow you to have easy access to the accounts you now manage, wherever you might be.
- Get to know your new professional home. Schedule a tour to learn about the campus but also take time to walk off campus and learn about the culture surrounding your new home. Become a student of neighborhoods and explore the community. For instance, Stevens Institute of Technology is located in Hoboken, New Jersey, which is home to Carlo’s Bakery (aka the Cake Boss) and a center of attraction to our students.
- Delete previous social media channels managed from your smartphone. This may seem obvious (and passwords should be changed anyway) but you do not want to accidentally post from another university’s account!
And, most of all embrace the new experiences and enjoy the ride as you see and experience your new school’s social presence for the first time! Enjoy the tweets below that I shared as I learned the ropes in my new position…