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Social Media

What is Social Media?

Social media is media that encourages two-way and multiple member conversations, as opposed to traditional one-way media.

Before You Start, Ask Why.

Why do I need a social media presence?

Get specific.

What business objectives would a social media presence help you meet? What user needs would you deliver on? If you can’t map out exactly what your goals are, and how you plan to measure them, your activities won’t deliver results.

Also, if your goal is to create a one-way communication (such as promoting an event or news story), you should consider other methods of engagement.

Who are you trying to reach?

Defining your target audience is another important step when deciding whether or not you need social media, and how to execute your strategy. Do you know where your audience “lives” online?

Look at your options. Are there established tools, both traditional media and social media, that you can use?

ASU has many established channels to get information to students, faculty and staff. Don’t forget to explore what’s already in place, and see if you can’t simply piggyback on another department’s account(s) if it makes sense.

ASU Web Channels

My ASU: Because of the high frequency of student visitors to My ASU, consider first your event promotions to run via this site.

Representatives from various units collaborate on an editorial calendar for the “ads” on My ASU. These typically are major events or resources across the university.

Announcements are typically smaller news items or activities where more specific details are needed.

For posting either an announcement or an ad, send an email to

Social Media Channels

Are you ready to listen?

Effective use of social media involves not only a proactive strategy, but the reactive part as well. How will you handle complaints? Angry people? Happy people?

  • Transparency is not optional. Resist the urge to simply delete posts on Facebook from surly students/faculty/other. Once it’s out there, it’s out there, and you WILL be called out.
  • Acknowledge frustrations. Letting the person know their complaint has been heard can sometimes be all they were looking for. For example: “I hear your frustration. How can I help?”
  • Work to resolve. In addition to acknowledging, you want to address the situation. If it involves sensitive data, let the individual know that the situation will be handled privately to avoid any security or privacy (FERPA, etc) issues. Never address sensitive, personal information in an open forum like a social network.
  • Happy people want attention, too. Just because they’re not complaining doesn’t mean they don’t want a response or acknowledgment.
  • Tip: Create a social media Terms of Use document to explain to followers how you handle spam, offensive or threatening language, talk of illegal activity, etc. You may refer to this if a user questions why their post was removed.

Are you the best person to manage your department’s social media accounts?

Time to be honest with yourself. Do you enjoy social media? Are you willing to be responsive during “off-hours?” Do you personally use social media? Knowing who in your organization is best suited to manage your department’s “voice” will directly inform its success.

What does it take to maintain these efforts?

Is your plan sustainable? For example, if you vow to post at least once a day, can you do that every day, every week? Set your community’s expectations at a level you know you can maintain. If you leave, or happen to be on vacation, how will others step in in your absence?

Where will your content come from? What kind of resources will it take to create, edit, approve, post and respond on a regular basis? If its original content, do you have the means to pay for its production? If it’s aggregated, by what metrics will you decide what’s appropriate?

How you will promote your efforts?

If you’ve decided to launch your own social media initiative, you’ll want to get the word out. Consider asking relevant cohorts to announce your efforts and “follow” you (or whatever the appropriate call to action is.) Look to the options listed above to help market your presence.

Who can you look to for guidance?

To stay on top of the latest trends in social media and get additional information:

ASU’s Social media guidelines for students

This page was last modified on May 11, 2012