Before You Get Started

Social media platforms can be an excellent tool for reaching and engaging key audiences. An effective social media presence requires careful planning, clearly outlined goals and objectives, and dedicated time and effort. A successful account takes time to maintain and requires employee resources to develop engaging content. Inactive social media is confusing to audiences and reflects poorly on the college.

If you think that social media might be helpful for your department, office, or program, consider the following before creating a new profile: 

Determine if a similar account already exists: See if there are any existing social media accounts related to your department, office, or program. If so, can you leverage those social media pages — which already have a built-in audience — for your needs? If there is already a social media profile in existence for your department, program, or office that you do not have access to, contact Content and Social Media Manager Jessi Burns to discuss the best next steps.

Define your goals and objectives: How does social media fit with your overall goals? What results do you hope to achieve? How will you measure success? Goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time Bound.

Determine your audience: What group(s) of people do you hope to reach? With so many social media networks out there, you may be tempted to join them all. By identifying your audience, you can connect with the right audience on the right platform.

Identify your platform(s): With your key audience and goals in mind, what platform(s) will serve you best? Start slow and don’t create accounts on every social media site just because you can or just because it's popular at the time. It’s better to have a robust, lively presence on one (say, Instagram) than to have mediocre, inconsistent content on several sites. Make sure you have the time to create the content required for the platform you wish to join (i.e. TikTok requires much more time to create and edit video content vs. Facebook takes much less time to find an image and write a caption).

Determine your communications strategy: Does your group/department have a communications strategy? How does social media fit into this strategy? There should be an over-arching communication plan (and goals, see above) in place first; social media should be just one tool used to implement that plan.  

Decide on staffing: Who, specifically, is going to find, create, and post content and monitor your channels? Managing social media does not have to be a full-time job, but you do need to set aside time for planning, writing, listening, responding, and measuring.

Think about long-term sustainability: How often will you be able to post? Will you be able to post to the account year-round? Will you have enough content to maintain consistency in posting? Setting up an account, writing a few posts, and then leaving it unattended for long periods of time is harmful to your brand and CC’s.

Plan your content: What, specifically, are you posting/sharing, and why? How often will you post? Do you have lots of unique, engaging, shareable news stories? In the case of Instagram, do you have a supply of eye-catching images and graphics to share? New, engaging content is critical to thrive in social media.

Decide how you will measure success: Determine how you will evaluate success for each channel as it relates to your purpose and goals. Is it increased traffic to your website? Better communication with students? Increased event attendance? Increased engagement on your posts through likes, shares, and comments? Each social network has its own reporting tools that provide data for you, but you’ll want to decide which numbers matter for your goals and objectives.

Review CC’s Social Media Guidelines: To ensure CC’s overall social media presence upholds college standards, there are specific Social Media Guidelines in place that all CC-registered social media pages must follow. Take time to review these guidelines and make sure you understand and are able to follow them.

Consider a test run: To get a good sense of what it takes to manage your social media presence in the long-term, come up with a content calendar and create one block’s (four weeks’) worth of content. Write up every post, create every graphic, track down every photo and video. Then decide if that amount of content creation is sustainable for you and/or your team.

Get approval: Before creating an account, secure the necessary permissions from your department or office head. In addition, contact Jessi Burns in the Office of Communications, who will help you create a social media strategy, make recommendations for meeting the college’s branding and social media best practices, and help register your account(s) and launch your pages. Once approved, your new account(s) will be added to the college’s Social Media Directory.

Report an issue - Last updated: 01/20/2022