Social media for campaigns instruction

Instruction

Instruction statement

This instruction must be used when planning social media campaigns on behalf of RMIT University. The best-practice advice here helps staff to maximise exposure for campaigns through social media channels while maintaining a reputable, consistent image for the University.

Exclusions

Nil.

Instruction steps and actions

Instruction (including key points)

Responsibility

Timeline

1. Planning

Audience

1.1 Map out the scope of your campaign. Work out which audience you are trying to reach, what message you want to pass on and what you want your audience to do with that information. Goals could include:

  • Communicating with prospective students (i.e. highlighting study options and RMIT’s strengths) or current students (e.g. highlighting learning resources);
  • Connecting with alumni (e.g. helping past students and staff to stay connected and involved with RMIT);
  • Fundraising and attracting research partnerships (e.g. demonstrating ways that RMIT can assist affiliates and partners)

1.2 Know your audience. According to research commissioned by Digital and Customer Experience Strategy (WSIP):

  • Students are the primary audience for RMIT’s Facebook channels, although secondary audiences may include alumni, researchers, academic staff or general staff with allocated resources. Students bring with them an already sizeable knowledge and appreciation for interaction on Facebook.
  • In contrast to Facebook, Twitter sees a number of professional and academic staff tweeting on behalf of RMIT, although the channel remains a key tool for engaging with RMIT’s student population. The majority of current RMIT Twitter accounts promote the university’s curriculum, services, clubs and societies.

1.3 Learn to be a good ‘social listener’, tapping into the wealth of material available online about your target audience. New insights will be added everyday via social media as your audience shares insights, interests and possible connections with RMIT. Monitor conversations, mood and sentiment among your audience and try to tailor your campaign accordingly.

1.4 Think about what success would look like for your campaign and devise a set of metrics to support that. These might be qualitative (e.g. positive sentiment); quantitative (e.g. likes, retweets, links clicked); centred around ROI (e.g. an increase in applicants and applications); or based on the amount and type of traffic to your target page.

Strategy

1.5 Plan content for the entire arc of the campaign: the lead up, the campaign itself and beyond. Build a list of messages you wish to share and content that you want to link to, including rich media. If you have a blog or website, create destination pages where you can direct people on social media requiring more information.

1.6 If you have a budget that has been authorised by your manager, consider promoted videos on YouTube and advertising options on LinkedIn and Facebook. See the Core Channel instructions (for Twitter, Facebook, blogs), the Experimental Channels Instruction and the Presence Channels Instruction for more information. Check with the Social Media team in case you are duplicating promotions already being run across RMIT’s corporate channels.

Channel selection

1.7 Select social media channels that will most effectively assist you to reach your target audience and deliver your message. According to the Social Media Policy, Twitter, Facebook and blogs are considered ‘Core’ channels – key points of interaction with current students, prospective students, alumni, researchers, academic or general staff with allocated resources. Other channels, such as Flickr (classed as a ‘Presence’ channel) and Instagram (‘Experimental’), are ideal for image sharing, although the three Core channels have shown the greatest levels of engagement at RMIT.

1.8 A combination of Core and Presence or Experimental is recommended, rather than Presence or Experimental in isolation. However, avoid spreading your content over too many platforms. Try a more controlled experience, targeting and tailoring only those channels that suit your audience. Follow the instructions for Core, Presence and Experimental channels when tailoring content to each channel.

1.9 Consult the RMIT Social Media Register for accounts that overlap with your area of interest or specialisation. If they exist, consider a collaboration rather than setting up a new account.

1.10 Complete the Request to Open an Official Social Media Account Form available through Digital and Customer Experience Strategy. If this form is not completed, your account will not be recognised as an official RMIT presence, and therefore not added to the Social Media Register or promoted or linked to via the RMIT web presence. On a practical level, the form will help you to plan and define a purpose for your account by asking for a statement of purpose and technical requirements, measures of success, audience, proposed content and life cycle of the account. Completing the form gives shape and structure to your social media presence.

1.11 Alternatively, if your campaign is small or will run for a limited term, you may not require a dedicated social media account that will take up time and resources to maintain. Instead, your campaign might benefit from exposure through RMIT’s corporate social media channels. Contact Interact for assistance with this.


Spokesperson


Before the campaign

2. Activation

2.1 Develop a communications strategy for integrating social media into your campaign. In the lead-up to the campaign, use analytics tools to survey which message types generate the most and least favourable responses. Hone future posts accordingly. Check the day of the week, time of day and content of posts for clues about what might result in ‘success’ as you have defined it.

2.2 Monitor inbound referral traffic from social media sources. Google Alerts are a good way to understand if posts have been shared elsewhere online. On your social media channels, build goodwill within your audience by acknowledging trackbacks, sharing, likes, retweets and so on.

2.3 Consider third-party applications such as Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to coordinate and schedule posts and measure effectiveness across different social networks. Note that some social media analytics tools (such as Bitly) focus on measuring when people click on a hyperlink.

2.4 Encourage followers to interact with your campaign. Consider rewards and incentives for social media activities like geolocated check-ins of Foursquare and Facebook and tweets on Twitter that include the campaign hashtag.

2.5 Be consistent. Make sure your message across all social media is clear, communicable and seamless, including the tone you use to engage with your audience. A jocular tone on one channel but a neutral tone on another may cause your campaign to splinter into different audiences. Branding and design should also be consistent across channels, while also following RMIT’s Brand (Visual Identity) Policy.

2.6 For campaigns, the key principle is sustained engagement. Do not just set up an account and expect people to find it. Depending on the size of your campaign, a well-designed social media strategy should be one element of a wider communications plan. Post, connect, respond, retweet and follow as much as possible. Assign someone in advance to monitor response posts.

2.7 Campaigns usually require intense moderation for a short period of time to create excitement and build anticipation, and then to direct people’s positive attention after the campaign has ended. See the Moderating User-Generated Content on Official Social Media Channels Procedure and Moderating Social Media Instruction for further advice. Ensure that staff receive approved social media training offered by Digital and Customer Experience Strategy through DevelopMe.

2.8 When interacting with students, follow RMIT’s Communication with Current Onshore Students Policy.


Spokesperson


Ongoing

3. Post-campaign

3.1 After your campaign has ended, use Google Analytics, Bitly and other analytical tools to discover what the success points of the campaign were. Share this with the Interact team and the Senior Social Media Analyst to build RMIT’s collective knowledge in social media.

3.2 Monitor the account to transfer the audience for the campaign to a persistent form of contact, which might include a dedicated post-campaign blog, Facebook page or website. Notify your audience well in advance of such an arrangement and offer another way to stay in contact.

3.3 If the intention is to delete your social media account once the event is over, follow the Deleting and Archiving of Social Media Content Procedure.


Spokesperson


After the campaign

[Next: Supporting documents and information]