Social Media Best Practices

Ringling College Social Media Account Mangers

Faculty and staff managing official Ringling College social media accounts are encouraged to review the guidelines and best practices below. All Ringling College social media accounts must comply with College branding and guidelines. Departments that wish to start an official Ringling College social media account please fill out our request form

Questions? Please contact hsieglin@ringling.edu.

 

Getting Started

Do I need a social media account?
First consider your goals and then your target audience. If your target audience is one that uses social media as a main form of communication and your goal is to inform and engage with them then social media is probably right for you.  Social media is a commitment you have to be ready to maintain. People will stop following, listening, and engaging if you are not consistent. Have a goal to post/tweet at least 3-4 times per week. To develop your engagement with your audience you should monitor the conversations daily, or every other day at minimum.

Consider these questions to decide if creating a unique social media account will help achieve your goals:

  • Is your purpose broader than promoting one event or publicizing one piece of information?
  • Do you want to participate in a conversation where you interact with people on a regular basis?
     

If you answered NO to either question, it will probably be most beneficial to promote your news through main Ringling College social media accounts.

If you answered YES to either question then you should consider having social media accounts for your department.
 

Audience & Platforms
Before you begin with social media you should consider your audience.  Who they are will determine what social media platforms you’ll want to use. The Office of Communications can help you determine the best platforms to use for your goals. You’ll want to choose only a couple platforms and do them well.  If you try to maintain too many it’s likely you won’t have enough time to do monitor them all and one or more accounts will suffer. It’s better to have fewer up-to-date accounts than many accounts that haven’t had activity or engagement for long periods of time.

There are many options to choose from, each offering varying ways to share content and engage followers. For example, Facebook offers the opportunity to engage more deeply with followers and is conducive to sharing longer copy and photo albums, while Twitter offers a chance to share short, in-the-moment news and single photos. Instagram is best if you have a desire to share compelling photos or visuals but don’t want to get into too much copy or conversation.

Gen Z'ers (born after 1995) usually prefer to use Instagram and Snapchat, but one recent study says that 88% of them still get their news from Facebook, which means that they may not engage with you via Facebook, but they are still seeing your posts and it’s an effective way to get information to them.  Think of it as their carefully curated news channel – they go there, get the news, and move on.

If you need help determining your audience, goals, or platform(s), the Office of Communications can help – please contact hsieglin@ringling.edu.

 

Setting Up Your Account(s)

Once you’ve determined that having a unique social media presence will help achieve your Department’s goals and you know which platforms you will use, the next step is to set up your account(s).

Naming Conventions
Naming your page or choosing your handle (your social media name) is the first step. Even in social media we strive for consistent Ringling College branding, that’s why the naming of your accounts and your handle is so important.  Please contact hsieglin@ringling.edu before naming your accounts so that we can advise you on the official naming conventions that are being used by Ringling College for social media.

  • On Facebook specifically, be sure to set up your account as a business page rather than personal page so that your followers can "Like" and "Follow" you, rather than "Friend" you. You may also choose between a Page and a Group.  For departments that want their presence to be more of a community and have member discussions vs. 1-1 interactions, you may want to set up a Facebook Group instead of a Page. Pages are ideal for two-way communication: from you to your members and from your members to you (if you allow it), but not so much between members. Pages are good for companies and organizations who want to make announcements or give news to large groups of people.  We can help you determine which is right for you if you're unsure.  More info
     

Follow Other Ringling College Accounts
Once your account is set up, be sure to like and follow Ringling College’s main social accounts (and other Ringling department accounts, if they are of interest) so you see what they are posting and have the opportunity to share their posts with your audience. Also, if you have a news-worthy or important post, we can share it on the main Ringling College accounts or our followers can also see it. Please email us to request this; be sure to send a link to your post in the email.
 

Spread the Word
Spread the word about your platforms. Let the people you want to reach know about your new social media accounts by placing the platform icon and your username on your printed materials, websites, etc.

 

Content for Posts/Tweets

What makes a post or tweet a good one? That depends on your audience. For example, if your audience is prospective students, we know that Gen Z'ers are very visual, so try to post photos or short videos whenever possible and keep copy brief.

Facebook
Most people use Facebook as their daily news feed so this is a great place to share what’s happening in your department.  There may not be much engagement or conversation, especially by Gen Z'ers, so use it more as an awareness tool.  Guest lecturers, events, industry news, student/department awards, and student work are all great things to post about that may be interesting to your audience.  Another nice touch is adding an explanation or artist credit when adding a new photo, video, album, or cover photo.

Twitter
Tweets are limited to 280 characters. Keep in mind that hashtags count as characters too, so getting all the info to fit into the allotted space requirement will be difficult at times. Try to work the hashtag into your conversation so that it doesn't just make more characters at the end. You should also use the handle for any company or individual that you mention if you know it. This will help to increase your reach (the number of people that see your post/tweet). Here's an example: "Students from #RinglingCollege won a @TelevisionAcad Emmy for their work on The Wishgranter. #RinglingWins".

Emoticons are very trendy right now so if you have enough character space you could include one or more, if appropriate.

Instagram
Instagram is primarily about sharing photos and visuals, although it does have the capability to also share short videos as well. Unlike twitter there is no character limit, but it’s best to keep the copy short and descriptive since most people are there to see photos. This is another great platform for which to use hashtags and to mention businesses or individuals by usename.

Other Social Accounts (Snapchat, Periscope, Vimeo, YouTube, Tumblr, etc.)
We can help you determine if one of these other social platforms might be a good option for your department.

 

Hashtags

Hashtags are a way of tagging or marking a conversation about particular subjects so that others can easily see or find it. Please see the Ringling College Hashtag Library for a list of official hashtags that Ringling College is currently using for promotional purposes. You may want to use one if it pertains to your post/tweet or you want a specific audience to see it. Using the official hashtags promotes engagement and helps to build excitement and awareness for our brand. 

More Hashtag Resources: http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/should-you-use-hashtags-facebook-heres-what-research-says

 


Best Practices

Be active.
Regularly monitor your account and share updates – ideally several times a week.

Join the conversation.
While it’s important to share your department’s news and events, it’s also valuable to discuss broader topics that are of interest to your audience. Don't just make it all one-sided, post some things that are not about you but imporant to your audience such as sharing industry specific information or articles they may like.

Grow your audience.
Be sure to promote your accounts on any marketing or communications pieces you develop. Following the @ringlingcollege accounts and commenting or responding can also help you reach more people since those accounts have a larger audience base and will help you gain awareness.

Be timely.
Participate in the conversations as they happen, and share current and relevant news. If you are sharing something that’s not very timely, let your followers know that – for example, “Great article from Thursday’s Herald Tribune…”

Follow copyright laws.
Always attribute work to its author/source, providing links when possible, and ensure you have proper permissions to post photos and videos.

Be respectful.
Strive for accuracy, professionalism and respectfulness at all times on social media.  Remember, you are a representative of Ringling College. Do not engage in arguments on sites and always share accurate information to avoid public confusion.

Remember it’s a National Audience.
Social media content can instantly reach a national audience very quickly. Remember that anything shared within social media, even within a closed network, is not private. It can be shared, stored and spread globally. A good rule to remember is to not post anything that you would not post on the front page of a newspaper or broadcast on TV.  When in doubt, stay away from  topics such as religion, politics, etc.  

Be a Good Listener.
Be sure to listen to social media conversations to have a current understanding of what is relevant and of interest to your audience and community. Sharing relevant information about what is trending in your industry enhances your department’s credibility by informing community members.

Monitoring Comments and When to Report Them.
A social media site without comments isn’t very social. Our motivation is to support free expression and stimulate robust discussion while discouraging misuse of our social media networks. Be prepared to accept and respond to comments. We must respect freedom of speech and not violate First Amendment laws, so posts should not be hidden or removed unless they violate our Social Media Policy on Civil Discourse.  You may respond to negative posts or misinformation respectfully, with correct information, or take a conversation “offline” by responding directly to the poster’s account, rather than using the open forum. Often, these actions will result in the poster voluntarily removing the post or making a correction statement. If you have concerns or questions about comments, or if you see a post that you think requires or would benefit from an official Ringling College response, please contact hsieglin@ringling.edu.  If you see what appears to be a threat and have any concern about safety, please contact Public Safety first, then Communications Office.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request Info