Social media communities

SUNY Oswego utilizes several social media communities to communicate and converse with its range of stakeholders. You can find a complete and updated online inventory of Communications and Marketing-related social media outlets, but what follows are basic information on popular options and how we use them — which we hope will help you ponder what to do.

The largest and most influential social media community, Facebook encompasses users from all ages and walks of life. While high school and college students are still considered the site's main users, folks age 55 and up are a surging demographic. Thus you could expect to find prospective students as well as their parents, current students and alumni, and everyone in between... sometimes all participating in the same conversation.

The official SUNY Oswego Facebook page is still the main marketplace where all stakeholders meet. Crossing 26,000 members recently, this page may feature Communications and Marketing postings of photo galleries or videos, links to news items of interest, promotion of big events and other items of broad interest We encourage other members of the campus community to post non-commercial items of interest — such as events open to everyone — in that a variety of voices can make a community more vibrant and viable. The page has a posting policy, which is recommended for any effort in Facebook, to let people know what represents an acceptable posting and what may be removed by administrators. Our pages increasingly sees responses from alumni and parents, reflecting the rising average age of Facebook users.

Facebook pages vs. groups

A common question as people ponder what to do on Facebook is: Should I make a page or a group? This depends on 1) your audience, 2) your intended activity and 3) what you want out of the community you create. Facebook's often-changing functionality can muddy the question, but the following thoughts apply to the most recent versions.

Facebook pages represent more definitive, authoritative and official efforts. While Facebook is about conversations, think of pages as being more top-down than groups (see below), perhaps more promotional in nature. One advantage of Facebook pages is an Insights feature that gives you analytics (statistics) on your fans and interactions with your pages. Pages also allow you to post as the page itself, which has the advantage of letting multiple people post to the page on the same account ... although some would argue an advantage to humans responding to questions instead of institutions (a point widely debated in social media circles).

Facebook groups work better for more democratic or collective entities, such as student organizations and peer networks. Groups may have administrators, but generally reflect a community where all members have virtually equal say. An advantage Facebook recently added to groups is that when someone posts on a group, its members all receive notifications. Thus any member can receive notifications when anyone else in the group engages in any activity, which can keep that community more lively. With Facebook's upgraded groups, potential members have to ask administrators if they can join. We have not found this a barrier to those genuinely interested in participating, while it does tend to dissuade spammers.

Facebook individual accounts, according to Facebook's terms of service, should belong to actual and authentic human beings. You may find a profusion of non-individuals (organizations, businesses, etc.) using individual accounts, but since Facebook frowns upon this and has been known to eliminate these accounts (even when they have thousands of friends), we strongly recommend against using as an individual account for anything else.

With its ability to quickly deliver timely information, Twitter is both one of the most powerful and most misunderstood social media options. Its functionality is very basic: Users have 140 characters or less to create messages — or tell stories — which can also include links to websites, forms, video or other options. Contrary to popular belief, Twitter is not just about sharing what you had for lunch; it is a robust community that binds people of similar interests, a source many trust for the latest news and as an ongoing professional development tool.

Two important symbols to know for Twitter are the @ reply and the # hashtag. You use an @ reply to respond to/correspond with a particular account (for example, a tweet with @sunyoswego will get the attention of the official college account), while a # tag is used to aggregate information around a topic or event. For example, those discussing Commencement activities adopted the #ozgrad hashtag, where they could see others commenting on the topic. Conferences often encourage a hashtag for attendees (and even those not present) to search it and/or set up a feed to glean tips and words of wisdom. Our @sunyoswego account focuses, in large part, on what campus community members are doing to make Oswego an exciting and enriching place.

Video: YouTube and TikTok
Given the power of the video medium, YouTube continues to be a popular community. Our official YouTube channel invites thousands views per month with hundreds of subscribers. We welcome submissions for our official YouTube channel if they meet basic quality and appropriate content standards. In addition to the ambient findability of having a video on YouTube — the world's second-largest search engine — videos on YouTube can be easily embedded into any web page.

TikTok is surging, especially among younger viewers but growing across demographics, allowing for video content of one minute or less. This is generally more angled toward fun content, although informative videos also can find success with the right pacing and tone. Our channel is a work in progress (but isn't everything?). While it's tempting to rush there for promotion, remember that all channels require planning, resources and commitment.

Other visually based media
Mobile photo apps like Instagram allow users to take pictures and/or video and share via various social media outlets. The attractive visual nature of photos and easy dissemination via social media keep these options fairly popular, with Instagram one of the fastest-growing channels. We also have Laker Takeovers on our Instagram channel where a student will take over the channel for a week to show followers, for example, behind-the-scenes pictures from an upcoming theater production, traveling to an alternative spring break or overseas, preparation for a big game ... or other content that conveys the lives and opportunities of our students.

Snapchat is one of the most-used apps among college-aged students, but you would want a sound content strategy before taking a foray into it. Since it exists only within the app (i.e. has no public face like Facebook), you have to provide value and not become intrustive. We currently utilize it by posting Snapchat stories related to what is happening on campus to followers.

Pinterest continues seeing strong use, with SUNY Oswego boards such as what to bring to campus remaining evergreen in terms of user interest.

Geosocial media
Geosocial or location-based media are platforms where users can interact with the spaces around them and other users (sometimes in a social gaming platform) using their smartphones. Foursquare and Swarm, which complement each other, boast millions of users, who check into various locations and share information, tips, photos and more with potential users of those spaces. SUNY Oswego has an official Foursquare partnership. An attractive social gaming feature of Foursquare/Swarm is the ability of a user to become Mayor of a location by checking in more times than anyone else over a span of time — for which some businesses offer a special; other businesses offer specials to anyone who checks in via Foursquare. These techniques promote one's services while providing incentives for regular and new customers.

A blog is a regularly maintained web-based journal that is interactive through allowing readers to post comments. Oswego's official student blogs feature a variety of students working with the Office of Communications and Marketing to post throughout the academic year, with a major goal of providing prospective students a behind-the-scenes look at the Oswego experience.Many blogging platforms exist for bloggers (Wordpress, Tumblr and Medium among the most popular right now) that can also incorporate photo and video, although the most important consideration is finding bloggers who can consistently create content of interest to target audiences.

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