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MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERISTY c o l l e g e o f l aw

SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY AND BEST PRACTICES


MSU College of Law Social Media Strategy and Best Practices | 3

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERISTY COLLEGE OF LAW SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

The purpose of this document is to prevent misunderstandings about social media and to emphasize why social media is relevant to the MSU College of Law’s overall goals. This document will set forth a strategy that helps members develop and maintain a social media presence. While this document is not a complete manual, it provides general guidance for the use of social media.

What is Social Media?

Social media is a way to connect with people using web and mobile technologies. It is a highly interactive way to communicate news and updates, and also to ask questions. Social media outlets, which are known as platforms, include (but are not limited to) social networks, blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, RSS feeds, video sharing sites, interactive geolocation and collaborative publishing systems. Each platform has terms of use or terms of service, created by the operators of the platform, that set forth rules and guidelines for authorized use of that platform. It is highly recommended that these terms be read before an account is created.

Why Social Media?

Social media is a growing world. There are many different platforms whose purpose is to encourage interaction between members. It is an excellent way to engage in conversations with people and organizations from all backgrounds. Through effective and strategic use of social media, MSU College of Law and its programs and organizations can gain feedback, listen to conversations, stay up-to- date, encourage participation, and connect with various audiences. Unlike other ways of distributing information, social media allows for user input and response.


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Why a Social Media Strategy?

• And, to create continuity in all social media platforms and interactions

It is important for any institution to have direction and a plan for how to implement a new way of marketing. Social media is a (newer) way to distribute information and to receive feedback. There are many different ways to share information and many different kinds of content to share.

It is important to know that the way these goals are achieved will be different for each platform. The audiences for each platform will be different, so it is important to tailor content to each one.

Different social media platforms are constantly evolving. The popularity of any particular platform could completely diminish in six months or could rise from nothing. To keep up with these trends, MSU College of Law encourages its departments and programs to follow these trends and to always stay relevant. For example, if a platform like Facebook loses popularity, it should not be the primary social media outlet. Platforms that have completely lost their following should be phased out.

The purpose of the guidelines set forth here is to ensure effective use of social media platforms to best achieve the college’s goals. It is important to note that this document is not definitive. It is intended to be used in conjunction with the Social Media Policies and Best Practices documents.

Strategy

Stay current With the ever-evolving world of social media, it is important to stay up-to-date with the newest and most popular platforms and to ensure that platforms being used are appropriate. It is important to keep with Social Media Goals current platforms to reach as much of our audience as The two primary goals of social media at the MSU possible. However, it is also important to phase out use College of Law are to raise awareness of the institution of outdated platforms. and to show the college’s loyalty to its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. With the transition from the Detroit Cater to the audience College of Law to the Michigan State University Social media must cater to the audience in order College of Law, it is especially important to include for them to interact. Groups must always be asking those staff and alumni. questions of and about the audience to read their wants and needs. Content must then be tailored to those Other social media goals include: needs. • To convey the key messages of the college to a broad audience Engage with users • To create a sense of community among the MSU Engaging with users and encouraging interaction is College of Law and its students, faculty, staff, essential to effective social media use. A goal of social alumni and family of students media is to create a self-sustaining flow of information • To use a variety of social media platforms to reach that is maintained by interactions between the every audience of the College and to reach new audience and the organization. Use social media not audiences only to ask questions, but also to answer them. • To create an important and authoritative source of information in every social media platform


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Maintain a constant and relevant presence Ensure that content is always recent and relevant to ensure that users will continue to follow. Relevant content does not mean solely material produced by the MSU College of Law. Share information from other sources that will be of interest to the audience that also furthers the college’s mission.

Evaluation

Evaluating the success of our social media strategy is crucial to making one that is effective. It is important to be evaluating constantly and regularly. Schedule regular evaluation sessions. Identify what works and what doesn’t work. Look at the numbers and discuss them. Think about what they mean. Brainstorm ways to work on what’s not working. Look for new ways to grow the audience (e.g. create Facebook ads that target potential students, such as undergraduate prelaw, political science, or students interested in law or politics). Try a promotion that involves multiple platforms. Evaluation is also key to exploring the relevance of different platforms and when it’s time to move on.

Implementation

To maintain a sense of continuity at the MSU College of Law, all departments and organizations should use this strategy document, the Social Media Policies document, and the Best Practices document as a guide for social media use. Departments and organizations are also encouraged to develop their own social media strategy that fits with that groups goals; develop their own content strategy for each platform to schedule and organize what will be posted; and develop their own best practices and rules, so that any administrator to the social media accounts will know the correct social media behavior.

Other social media strategy resources include: • Princeton University Social Media Strategy • socialmediaexaminer.com • mashable.com • socialmediaexplorer.com


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MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERISTY COLLEGE OF LAW SOCIAL MEDIA BEST PRACTICES The purpose of this document is to set out some best practices to ensure that the content of each and every social media platform is best serving the College’s needs. By following these best practices, users can ensure that social media communications will be successful. This document contains tips and recommendations to encourage the best possible social media presence.

Establish a Consistent Voice In all social media communications it is important to have a consistent voice and persona. Because social media does not include face-to-face interaction, the subtleties of body language and voice inflection are not translated. This means that how a user perceives something is reality. When a social media account is created on behalf of the college it is representative of the college. The voice of any social media account created for the college must be an important voice of authority. That does not mean that it is boring or that jokes cannot be posted, but it must be consistent. Consistency creates trust. If a voice is not consistent, users will not trust the information that is posted.

Post Original Content Whenever Possible

As an important and authoritative source of information, all social media accounts should post original content whenever possible. However, information that exists in its entirety elsewhere should always be linked to the original source. Whenever reposting content that is from another source, always give credit where credit is due.

Maintain Confidentiality and Privacy

To protect the privacy of individuals and organizations, never post information that is confidential or information that has not received permission.


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for the public it should be removed, but only with the knowledge that it may exist in other locations.

Do Not Post Information that is Inappropriate for the Monitor Comments Public Monitor comments and responses to filter attacking, Only post information that is acceptable for the public to see.

Maintain Transparency and Do Not Make Endorsements

inappropriate, or spam comments. Opposing views do not count as inappropriate and should be allowed, acknowledged, and responded to.

Be Timely

Posts and responses should be posted regularly and in a Always indicate when an opinion is posted. Never post timely manner. Establish how often an account should an opinion as a representative of the college. When be checked and how often content should be posted posting something that is an individual opinion, use a when a content strategy is created. It is important to be disclaimer to indicate that it is opinion. timely not only in followers’ lives, but also in their days. Align posts with high traffic times of day such as earlier Do not endorse political candidates or parties, in the morning and in the middle of the evening. products, companies, or celebrities. Do not make any endorsements when posting as a representative of MSU College of Law.

Be Respectful of Others

Remember that social media accounts with the college’s name are representative of the college. All users should be treated with the same respect that is expected from college staff. Do not engage in aggressive interaction with users and always take the high road.

Do No Harm

Never post content that could harm an individual or an organization. Attacks against an individual or a group should not be tolerated.

Be Accurate and Correct Mistakes

Always post accurate information. Acknowledge original sources and link to original sources whenever possible. Mistakes should be acknowledged and edited or corrected. If something is found to be unsuitable


MSU College of Law Social Media Strategy and Best Practices