Social Media

SOCIAL MEDIA

NCTA MAIN ACCOUNTS

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/UniversityOfNebraskaNcta

Facebook Dual Credit:  www.facebook.com/DualCreditNCTA

Facebook Horticulture:  www.facebook.com/nctahort

Facebook Rodeo Team:  www.facebook.com/nctarodeo

Facebook Ranch Horse Team:  www.facebook.com/NCTAranchhorseteam

Facebook Vet Tech:  www.facebook.com/NCTAVetTech

Facebook APS:  www.facebook.com/ncta.aps

Twitter: twitter.com/NCTACurtis

Pinterest: pinterest.com/UNLincoln

LinkedIn: Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture

YouTube: youtube.com

Google +: Google +

THE KEYS TO GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA

The goals of your social media efforts should be to connect with your intended audiences, start conversations, and build community and relationships. It is not just a tool to broadcast or publish.

Be authentic, transparent and honest.

Your content should always be prepared with your audience in mind.

Apply best practices in customer service: social media is a great way to extend customer service efforts for your organization and become more aware of what people are saying about you.

Have fun, be engaging and find what works. Social Media is ever-changing, which allows you the flexibility to test out new ways to connect with your audience.

If you’re interested in creating an official contact tsmith24@unl.edu to begin the process.

GUIDELINES

While social networks are free to set up for your college, department or organization, the work to use and maintain them is not. These are some guidelines for establishing and managing university-affiliated accounts:

  • Your account should include “NCTA” in the name followed by the college, department or unit, e.g.: NCTA Veterinary Technology
  1. We recommend consistency in naming multiple social media channels. When starting your accounts, first consult with Tina Smith to ensure you have the same user name across all platforms.
  • Your account(s) profile picture and subsequent images should follow NCTA brand guidelines and be sized appropriately for each platform
  • Your “About Us” or biography section should outline who you are, the purpose of the social page and link to our Website on ncta.unl.edu
  • Endorsements of third parties: Official NCTA accounts should encourage engagement with and among followers; however, they should reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing or derogatory. Official accounts should post a disclaimer similar to this: “Third-party posts directed to this account do not imply endorsement of that content by UNL. UComm reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing, and/or derogatory.”
  • NCTA has exclusive contracts so think twice before endorsing, mentioning, picturing or linking to competing organizations. This is important especially when taking photos.
  • Each social channel has terms of service and conditions of use. Be sure to read through these documents, as you are responsible for following the rules for each platform.

GETTING STARTED

Determine your goals and audience(s). Then, you can chose the best option:

  1. Is my goal centered around building a community and sustaining a presence? OR
  2. Is what I’m trying to accomplish more of an initiative or campaign that would benefit from a partnership or collaboration with other on-campus account(s)?

If you answered “one,” you will need to decide based on your goals and audience segmentation which social media channel makes the most sense for your group. It is best to start with one channel and focus your efforts to build a community. It will take some time to build your following and you will need to take the time to engage, inform and nurture.

Building your social media presence will require someone’s daily attention as you will have to monitor others’ posts and think about your own (UNL posts 1-2 times per day on Facebook, 10-12 times on Twitter at minimum, while also managing 8 other social accounts). Your team will need to decide how to promote your accounts, relevant topics and themes, frequency of posting (when, what time, how often) and also your plan to engage with the community (answer questions, like posts, retweet, etc.)

BEST PRACTICES

Evaluating effectiveness is helpful when making future content decisions. Having an idea of what content performed well or had a high engagement value, will allow you to better understand your audience and make more calculated content decisions.

Your profile photo/cover image should be appropriate.

You should have a plan for active engagement with followers and answer questions/comments within 24-hours.

Being present and responsive establishes credibility and helps to build your reputation.

Not all comments require a response; use your best judgment on whether someone is asking a legitimate question or just ranting/ being snarky.

Frequency of posts varies based on which platform you are using, but the key is to be consistent.

Don’t save up all your updates and blast them all out at the same time. Keep your audience in mind and share updates when they are most likely to see them. Posting your updates throughout the week/day helps you reach a larger audience.

Having a content calendar with posts planned out in advance is helpful to see what you are posting and when.

Have a plan to promote your account(s).

CROSS-PROMOTE ACCOUNTS

Promote your social accounts on print materials and Websites.

Remind people on one social network that you are also present on other social channels.

Include photos or other rich media as often as possible/necessary. Photos and videos have high engagement value and help tell a richer story.

Don’t auto-sync posts from of your social accounts. There are quite a few ways to auto-post from Twitter to Facebook or Instagram to Twitter. Each platform has its own unique functionality and often times your content will not be well received when things are auto-posted from one to the other. Instead, take an extra minute and re-configure your content and post from the native platform taking advantage of the style and tools for each platform.

HASHTAGS

A hashtag is a great way to track conversations online and engage with your community.

Research before you promote. Do a quick search on your idea for a hashtag and see if it is already being used; you don’t want too much noise on the hashtag you promote.

Keep the hashtag short, simple and easy as possible to type using mobile phones.

Adding a number to the end, is helpful in creating a unique hashtag.

Pay attention to hashtags others are using on campus and join in the conversation. Don’t just create hashtag after hashtag and over-complicate it.

Facebook

NCTA-affiliated pages should all be set up as brand pages and not personal pages. Setting pages up personally and running them for anything other than a personal page is a violation of Facebook’s terms and services. Instead, you should set up a brand page and assign admin to manage it.

Make at least one (1) post per week to your Facebook page to keep your community engaged. You can post more frequently, but the key to a great Facebook page is keeping it up-to-date.

Include photos or other rich media as often as possible/necessary. Photos and videos have high engagement value and help tell a richer story. Linking to news articles is a great way to share news and engage with your audience. Just be aware of the image that auto-displays, if it isn’t appropriate or is cropped, upload your own.

Use short URLs. If you post a link to an article, make sure you shorten it with bitly.com website and delete it once the links load. Big long ugly links will distract your audience from your content.

Facebook has its own scheduling tool. You can use this tool to pre-plan posts and also see how they will appear to your audience. This tool is helpful in being efficient and maximizing your resources.

Encourage conversation. Facebook is a great place to ask your audience a question, have them take part of a poll or just encourage feedback. Let your audience post comments; just make sure you are monitoring them. Some members might post something negative or critical and you should let them. This often allows a chance for you to answer a question or start a dialogue. It is best to let that author know you have heard what they say and try to answer their question or concern with a “reply” or kindly request to take the conversation offline by providing an email address or phone number. The only time you should remove, hide or delete a comment is if it includes profanity or is obscene, harassing or threatening.

Twitter

NCTA-affiliated Twitter accounts should be set up with “NCTA” in the handle. e.g.: NCTA Ranch Horse Team, NCTA Vet Tech etc.

Post consistently. Before starting a Twitter account, managers should have a plan on posting frequently and building a community.

Twitter is for conversations. Twitter is a platform that is based on constant updates and managers should do more than just post updates. Managers are encouraged to monitor their handle and other relevant hashtags and keywords to take part in conversations (@replies, retweets, favorites etc.).

Include photos or other rich media in your tweets. Make sure photos are sized appropriately for the platform and are engaging. Using the native Twitter app, you can upload up to 4 photos in each tweet.

Tweets can have calls to action. Write your tweets to be engaging and exciting and then provide links to more information when necessary. Use URL shorteners to track clicks and also clean up your tweets (and not waste space).

Follow relevant accounts that make sense for your organization. Following those who follow you is a great way to build community, but it is not required to follow everyone back. Thanking users for following you is also a good gesture, however you should do so manually and not set up auto-responders. Auto-responders are not genuine and usually do more harm than good.

Take part in Twitter chats and other weekly activities:

#TBT: Throwback Thursday, include older nostalgic photos.

#MonMotivation: Words of wisdom and other phrases that create some sort of motivation

#FF: Follow Friday, tweet out @handles of other accounts you recommend following

Depending on your area of expertise there may be other chats or weekly hashtag posts, do a little research and join in!

Follow other NCTA accounts. Following other accounts on campus will allow you to cross-promote content, gather ideas and build community.

Include hashtags (keywords) in your tweets. Using hashtags in your tweets helps users find you and increases your tweet reach.

Use apps. Apps like tweetdeck and paid programs like Sprout Social allow you to set up streams of keywords, hashtags and lists so that you can easily manage your Twitter account(s). These programs also allow some analytics features and the ability to schedule posts.

YouTube

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture has a YouTube channel, and colleges, departments and affiliates can request a playlist on the NCTA YouTube channel from Tina Smith. Having a playlist on the official channel increases your overall reach, and improves the consistency and maintenance of your content.

NOTE
Don’t use copyrighted material. Using music, images or other elements that you do not have the rights to can cause your video to be flagged as well as get the YouTube channel shut down. All videos are screened by YouTube and can’t be uploaded if they contain copyrighted materials.

Videos should include the proper information:

Descriptive title: The title helps users find your video in the YouTube search engine.

Video description: This description helps users find your video in the YouTube search engine and other search tools.

Call to action: This is usually a Website or place that allows the user to find more information.

Relevant keywords or tags: This helps users find your video on YouTube.

Include NCTA or Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in your video file naming for better SEO (search engine optimization) i.e.: NCTA_AwesomeVideo.MP4

Captioning is required for videos. If you have a script send it along with your video files so all closed captioning can be included.

Instagram

Show your story. Instagram is a free photo and video app that allows users to quickly display relevant content in a simple square photo or video that can then have various photos filters simply applied to it.

Share across platforms. Once you have created an instagram photo or video you can easily share it on other social platforms.

Use hashtags. Like with other popular social networks, hashtags (keywords) are great for building a community. Be sure to include popular university hashtags and do some searching and find other relevant tags in the Instagram community.

Use captions. Captions are a great way to explain a story or video.

Tag your location. Tag where the photo was taken and users searching by location can see your photos.

Tag users. If Instagram users are present in your photo or you have curated a photo, be sure to tag the user and give them credit.

Explore contests. Instagram contests are quite popular and easy to do. Encourage users to share a photo with a specific hashtag or comment on one of your photos to win a prize.

Use apps. Online apps like iconosquare.com allow you to comment and like photos, pull analytical information and track hashtags. It is a great tool to do everything, but upload the actual photo/video.