University marketing and communications presented a session of Short and Snappy: Writing for the Digital World on July 15, 2014. This interactive training focused on the distinct content needs of websites, blogs and social media and how leveraging users’ expectations for each platform can enhance online communications.
Your website: Where users go to get information
This section of the workshop focused on identifying a website’s audiences, setting goals for interaction and formatting content so that it can be easily consumed.
Test your website’s organization by asking someone to find a piece of information on it. How easily does that person locate the information you requested? What path does he/she take to find it?
Consult with other people who are involved in your website’s maintenance and messaging. Together, identify your audiences and goals. Write them down so that everyone stays on the same page.
Follow consistent formatting strategies (which were covered extensively during the presentation) to ensure that information on your website is easy to consume.
Your blog: The perfect place to tell a story
Users approach blogs with a broader goal. Rather than searching for the answer to a specific question, they’re using blogs to learn more about the organization’s message and environment. Telling engaging stories on your blog is an important way to support your website’s goals.
Remember that users will notice how recently you’ve updated your blog. Updating at least once per week tells readers that you’re enthusiastic about your subject and have a lot of good news to share.
Engage readers with classic storytelling techniques (which were explored through an exercise on writing the six-word story).
Keep the online communication formatting strategies in mind; they work for your blog posts, too.
Your social media: A way to create new impressions
Social media offers an ideal channel for encountering new people, revealing new qualities and creating new kinds of interactions with people who are loyal to your brand. It should also be part of your strategy for sharing news about events, achievements and opportunities.
Best practices for social media include adopting a long-term strategy, focusing on good content and posting consistently.
One of the biggest challenges of managing social media — the feeling that you’re talking to everyone while talking to no one — can be addressed by defining your ideal audience. The presentation included an exercise on this process.
Web and new media will continue offering training opportunities on communicating in the digital world.
Why should your department or organization join social media? The office of web and new media discussed the strategy behind joining social media and best practices for managing your accounts during Social Media 101.
Going where the people are
From marketing to public relations, social media:
Empowers you to be your own journalist and get your story out.
Allows you to connect with people where they are.
Allows you to build relationships with people who are interested in your organization and activities.
Can empower people to be ambassadors for your brand.
Each social media platform has a unique user base, meaning that different platforms may allow you to reach different key audiences for your brand. Demographics for popular platforms are below:
Key practices for all platforms
Integrate social media into your communications plan. Set goals for your accounts.
Adopt a long-term philosophy. If you decide to commit to a page, stick with it. Post frequently and consistently.
Content is king. Write like a journalist: Master the headline and lead
Be authentic and infuse personality into your posts.
Regularly use photos on Facebook and LinkedIn, occasionally on Twitter
Use hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
Tag relevant people, places and locations when possible
Whenever possible, provide a link for more information
Connect with your followers offline by promoting your accounts at events, hosting contests, etc.
Review our basic tips for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram by downloading the presentation slides.
Register for more social media trainings
Want to learn more about social media? Consider registering for these upcoming trainings:
Help us celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates by sharing about it on social media. If you are graduating or attending graduation to celebrate with someone, we want to hear about your experience!
We encourage you to join the online conversation before and during commencement by posting about it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tagging your posts with the official hashtag: #BearGrads.
Make your post social media savvy
Tag the post with the official commencement hashtag: #BearGrads
When you post to Facebook, boost your status update by sharing it with a photo or video.
Nothing beats a first-hand perspective! If you attend commencement, consider sharing a photo from or quote about your experience.
Facebook cover photos
Brand your Facebook profile or page with a custom Bear grads photo. Click the image you like below to save the pre-cropped, full-size image.
Brand your Twitter profile with a custom Bear grads photo. Click the image you like below to save the pre-cropped, full-size image.
Photos for the new Twitter look
Photos for the old Twitter look
Recognize the students in your area who are graduating by downloading a “Congratulations, graduates!” poster for your office. One poster option provides customizable space for featuring your graduates.
Sample social media posts
Congratulations to our 560 #BearGrads! We’re proud of you!
Advice to #BearGrads: Don’t just #FollowYourPassion at Missouri State. Hone it in your career.
Can’t make it to commencement? Watch the ceremonies live online at http://new.livestream.com/mostate/ #BearGrads
Hey graduate – What’s your favorite college memory? Share using #BearGrads.
Graduating on Friday? Share your photos from the day using #BearGrads. Congrats!
Sharing about commencement on Facebook allows for some additional customization. The sample posts provide content recommendations based on our best practice tips for optimizing link sharing on Facebook.
Congrats to the more than 560 new Missouri State alums! Join the celebration by attending a commencement ceremony on Aug. 1 or watching live online via Livestream http://new.livestream.com/mostate. #BearGrads
It’s summertime, and your blog can help you catch some of that search-engine sunshine! Right now is a great time to build a strategy for your blog and plan how to keep it updated and fresh all year long.
Invite a guest contributor
You’re going on vacation but you don’t want the blog to rest, do you? Schedule a post for while you’re gone, or ask a guest writer to contribute to your blog.
A new point of view might add an interesting perspective. Reach out to someone with a unique specialty. Send out a request for possible contributors – you may be surprised at the response.
Before handing over those reigns, give the contributor some tips about how you usually do things –
Do you use internal headings? How many?
What types of photos do you incorporate into your posts?
Include suggestions about using bullets and hyperlinks for greater clarity.
Having guest contributors can work year round; just consider what level of access each person should have to your blog. You can request changes to author and editor permissions by visiting the blogs site.
Topics for summer
If you or the contributors are struggling for content in the summer, consider:
Introducing new faculty/staff/graduate assistants for the new academic year
Explaining some of the research/publication projects that have been keeping faculty busy
Asking for feedback on programs, facilities, specific course work and seeing if change is feasible
Talking about the impact of a recent alumni
Probing into how your subject area touches the community or the world
Blogging tip: Media resources
Adding great photos and videos to your blog posts can make your posts more visually appealing especially when viewing on handheld devices (no one likes reading heavy text on a small screen). Tell your stories through photos (cell phone shots work great on a blog). If you need a picture quick, visit the Marketing Toolkit.
Points of pride
Feel proud of all you do for the campus community! This summer, consider highlighting:
The number of students who are participating in an internship this summer
The percentage of recent graduates who have gone on to graduate work
The types of great jobs your recent graduates received