Thursday December 1, 2016

To engage or not to engage — that is the social media question

By Michelle Tedford

Social media is most effective when we have timely, sustained interactions with our audience. But what do you do when comments come zooming your way? Respond to every one? Duck and hide?

We have conversations with our clients about how to decide which comments or tags should be responded to and how. We also share with them how to watch out for and share posts by others that could be of interest or concern to the greater UD community.

We’ve now put that conversation in a chart format to make it more accessible to a wider audience. (Thanks to UMich Social for sharing their chart with us.)

The goal of the social media engagement protocol is multifaceted:

• Help our social users feel more comfortable engaging with their audience and understand their role in overall UD engagement.

• Provide post scenarios so organizations and individuals can develop response protocols.

• Increase the number of informed social users who can help identify possible of issues of threat or risk that should be referred to others on campus.

• Increase the cross-communication among campus social users by encouraging tagging and collaborative solutions to audience queries.

Long chart short: You do not have to respond publicly to every mention or tag. But consider the value in responding and your opportunity to deepen engagement or repair a relationship — 140 characters can hold a lot of power. Even if you choose not to respond publicly, consider a private message or forwarding the post on to another party. This is especially important for posts you see that identify a possible threat, personal injury or damage to UD’s image.  

 Examples of types of posts you may decide to respond to:

• Alumnus, campus member, center or department receives an award

• Student tweets that her class is very good — or very bad

• Our professors share expertise on a news topic

• There is trending news in Catholic higher ed

• Trolls are looking to spear UD’s name

• A prospective student wants to schedule a tour

The wifi is out

• The library is chilly

• The gazebo is drafty

• Someone spilled pop on my seat (and me) at the Arena

• Student writes something that indicates he could be in a mental health crisis

• There is a threat to an individual, property or the institution

• Posts appear to violate student or employee conduct policies

We invite questions and comments and are happy to talk through scenarios you encounter. You can always screenshot an engagement and forward to or private message us on any of our channels. We’ll update our chart as new content and contacts are added. Please look for the date in the lower right corner of the PDF to be sure you have the most recent file (last update 1/17/17).

Thanks to everyone working to increase the awareness and interest in UD’s people and programs through social media. Keep tweeting!

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