Content strategy

Once you've started working in social media, you often find yourself asking two key questions of content strategy: 1) What should I post? and 2) How often should I post? These are subjective questions, but consider the following points to answer.

What to post?
Consider what may be of interest to your community. If the college, a student or one of our alumni earns a prestigious honor, that type of good news item should have wide appeal -- particularly for general accounts or ones related to any individual's honor. Think from the user's perspective: "If I'm following this account, would I find this item of interest?" Also, keep track of items you post and how users react; if there are stories, photos or questions you post that garner a lot of positive reactions, you know you have a good topic or tactic. For instance, our official Facebook page receives a lot of likes for posts on various rites of passage (moving onto campus, graduation), scenic images of our iconic lake, athletic events and topical videos. Due to an increasingly visually driven audience, photos or videos relating to your area of the college tend to draw greater levels of engagement among readers.

Tone
When posting, always keep it conversational. Post as if you were talking to a friend. Avoid jargon, stilted language or what comes across as crass marketing. Don't copy and paste a whole news release as your status update... would you do that to a friend's wall? (We hope not.) Social media is a fairly informal medium, so make sure your communication reflects this consideration.

How often?
No consensus exists, although one posting a month is far too little and 10 items an hour are far too much. Depending on your number of followers and how much they engage, between once a day and once a week represent safe guidelines. If you have a lot of potentially interesting content, there is nothing wrong with posting more than once a day, but also beware shoving so much content into your users' streams that they want to disassociate themselves from you. Consider the be present suggestion of social media: Track your favorite social media accounts and look at how much they post to see what you personally find too much. Scott Stratten, author of "Unmarketing" (@unmarketing on Twitter), has said of blogging, though it can apply to other social media, you should update "as often as you have something awesome to post."

Sharability
The willingness to share a link, photo, video or other content — is a primary currency of social media. Keep this in mind as you think about content to post. Stories relating to our students and what they do, captivating visuals and items with a certain "wow" factor or are more likely to be shared.

Accessibility
Avoid just posting a brochure or flyer in social media with no other context. Two reasons: 1) Visitors with vision problems needing screen readers will not pick up any information, and 2) any searches for information will come up empty if you only share an image; it doesn't exist to Google without some kind of text. If you do post a flyer, include as many details -- who, what, where, when -- as you can in the copy, and maybe a link for more information. It's good for the users and it's good for you!

Differences in media
Don't post to one medium (like Instagram) that then autoposts across other platforms. Instead, respect your differences in channels and interfaces. For one thing, autoblasted posts from Facebook and Instagram might be cut off in the middle on Twitter. As Unmarketing's Scott Stratten notes: Nothing says you don't care about Twitter like tweets that are all cut off in mid-sentence. 

Tip: Meet Content is one of the best online resources for dealing with content on websites and within social media.

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