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Social media guidelines and support

Social media enables Trinity to connect and engage with a range of audiences at home and around the world. Through social media we can let these audiences know what is happening at Trinity from student and university events to news about new courses, research breakthroughs, and student, staff and university awards.

Who better to tell these stories than the students and staff that make them happen and make Trinity the great university it is? We encourage staff and students  to use social media to talk about their Trinity related activities and achievements both on university and personal accounts to spread the news about the amazing opportunities the university offers and great work that is done here.  Your stories and posts might convince a prospective student to study at Trinity, encourage alumni to support the university, strengthen the reputation of the university, and help develop the awareness of Trinity globally. 

In these guidelines you'll find information about social media and how it can be used for university related activities. There are also links to existing Trinity social media channels and details of what support is available to help you get started with your social media activities. You will also find relevant policies, which should be reviewed before using social media.

Social media can assist the following university activities:

  • Alumni relations

 

  • Student recruitment    
  • Draw traffic to our website

 

  • Research dissemination
  • Staff recruitment

 

  • Tell our story

 

  • Brand awareness

 

  • Managing enquiries and acting as a point of contact for customer service

 

Some things to consider before setting up a social media account

Who is your audience for your social media activity?

A simple question, but key to consider. Just think of how you would want to engage with a prospective undergraduate student compared with an alumnus and you will see why this question needs to be dealt with before social media accounts are setup.

What resources do you have to run your social media account(s)?

Time is the main resource where social media is concerned. Who will be doing the day to day running of the social media accounts is an important consideration. Are you or the person allocated the task of looking after the social media accounts in a position to commit to and give time to  keep updating profiles with appropriate content, engaging with your followers as well as monitoring and responding to queries when necessary? We address this more later in the guidelines.

What do you hope to achieve though social media?

This can be a difficult question to answer but it is key to guiding you in your social media plans. Is it student recruitment, awareness, or getting people to an event? What you are trying to achieve will probably help direct you in what platforms you decide to use e.g. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc., what content you post on those channels and what voice you use to talk to your audience etc. It may also be the case that setting up social media channels is not the right action depending on the case.

How will you measure social media success?

It's important to measure the results of your social media activities, by learning and measuring what engages your audience, social media platforms works best to reach them and when they are online. This will help you to develop your engagement with your audience. Measurements will be different from channel to channel and can range from the number of people who visit your webpages linked from your social media profile, to how many people engaged with or shared a post, came to a promoted event, signed up to a course, right through to sentiment analysis of comments.

Tips for getting started with your social media activity

Engage with your followers

Social media is as it says in its name – social, it is not only to be used to push out information, so don't just use it to publish messages. Engage with people on your channel, answer direct messages or posted queries as soon as you can, say thank you and listen to their responses.

To help build an engaged audience it is recommended that you post content regularly on your social media. It is recommended when beginning social media activities that you post at least three times a week on Facebook and Twitter. Also gathering and planning content to post requires times. As your engagement grows post something every day during the working week where possible and occasionally putting something out during evenings or weekends can also help.

Your voice

Social media is about having meaningful conversations online between real people, so if you make the effort to be human on your social profiles your followers will appreciate it. This means not being afraid to use informal but professional language. Social media's success is built on being open and honest, so make sure you take that attitude too. Be clear about your connection to Trinity and your role.

It's a good idea to get to know the language, tone of voice and agreements of the social media platforms you plan to use or post on. This will show your audience that you understand how the community you've joined works and that you know what you're doing.

Good content

Putting together good content can require some planning, so think about what material you are going to post and prepare it in advance where possible. You might find it useful to have an ongoing schedule of content or content calendar to help ensure your channels are kept up to date and enable you to plan for any campaigns or specific news or events. This can also help you foresee busy periods or gaps in content which can be dealt with in advance.

With so much activity on social media, it can be a challenge to get people's attention. If you make the effort to be interesting, useful and relevant to your audience, this will help you to engage with them. Ask your followers questions too – this will encourage even more interaction and shows that you are listening.

While it can be tempting to save time by posting one piece of content across all your social media channels, this is not recommended as each channel has different audience and different tone of voice. Also this practice is usually obvious to followers and it can make them disengage with you, it's best to tailor your content for each social platform you use.

It is advisable to only use material that you have permission to post, don't break copyright laws. Think carefully before you post – if you are not sure if something is accurate or appropriate, don't publish it. It's important not to post any unlawful, offensive or inappropriate content or links to other sites that contain such content.

Be visual

Visual content such as photographs, videos, infographics and other form of imagery work well on social media and can help tell your story or get your message across. Research show that posts accompanied with imagery achieves 35% more engagement, so use them where you can. It is good to check how something might look on each channel when you are starting out, as photos in particular can appear in different sizes on different social media platform and different devises.

Responding to queries

Social media is a two way channel and it is important that you engage with your audience especially when they post queries on your account page or by direct message. It is best practice to answer a query where is has been posted such as on your Facebook page where possible, with the information required. If you don't have the details direct them to the correct person or webpage for more information. This information may also be of interest or help to your other followers.  If needs be you can response privately on direct message but always let the person know that you are have replied to them by direct message

Response times to queries are also important. Queries should be answered as soon as possible and within 24 hours at the latest during working hours.  If you are unsure how to respond to a particular query you can contact us for advice.

Monitoring

It is vital that official university social media accounts are monitored on a regular basis and that inappropriate posts are removed as soon as possible.  Also if someone posts something that causes offence or embarrassment, a polite request for removal should usually suffice. If the problem continues, don't hesitate to use the take down procedures in the university's social media policy.  

Remember anything you post online reflects on the university so ensure you behave appropriately at all times. In particular, libellous comments, racism, sexism and swearing and other offensive language should all be avoided. See policy links. It's difficult to delete something from the internet. Even if you do ‘delete' a post, chances are it can still be found, saved and shared. It's best to be fully aware of what you're posting and use common sense when deciding if to post it. Also making sure your spelling and grammar are correct is important - a university channel that has spelling and grammatical errors would reflect badly.

Remember

It is important to remember you are representing Trinity through official work accounts so please keep this in mind when engaging on social media.

Mistakes happen, people understand this! If you do make a mistake on social media, just correct or remove it and apologise if necessary as soon as possible. Also, if you edit posts as part of your correction, it's good practice to outline what you've edited. Making sure your spelling and grammar are correct is important - a university channel that has spelling and grammatical errors would reflect badly.

The role of social media account administrators

If you set up a university affiliated social media site, you become the administrator for that site on behalf of the university. It is important that at least one other member of staff shares administrator responsibilities for the site and has access to the login details in order to ensure continuity and to help with administration and monitoring during periods of leave etc., this is why it is necessary to name two administrators when requesting the setup of the account.

Administrators of social media channels are responsible for ensuring the account complies with all Trinity's policies and with the terms and conditions of the social media platform and the university's branding. They should also ensure that house rules for each platform and disclaimers are in place and that it is regularly updated and monitored.

It is vital that official university social media accounts are monitored on a regular basis and that inappropriate posts are removed as soon as possible.  Also if someone posts something that causes offence or embarrassment, a polite request for removal should usually suffice. If the problem continues, don't hesitate to use the take down procedures in the university's social media policy

For queries relating to Trinity’s social media policy and channel branding please contact us.

Remember anything you post online reflects on the university so ensure you behave appropriately at all times. In particular, libellous comments, racism, sexism and swearing and other offensive language should all be avoided. See policy links. It's difficult to delete something from the internet. Even if you do ‘delete' a post, chances are it can still be found, saved and shared. It's best to be fully aware of what you're posting and use common sense when deciding if to post it.

Creating a university social media account

If you feel that social media could enhance your work at Trinity, discuss your ideas with your Head of area/school. Please note before creating a university affiliated social media account or any account that could reasonably be perceived to be associated with or representing Trinity College Dublin, you must get approval from your Head of School/area. It may also be useful to look at how other schools and departments in Trinity are using social media. Approved sites will be included in the university's Social Media Directory where appropriate. Please contact us if you have any queries relating to this directory.

If you have a specific query relating to whether your area should establish a university social media channel please contact us

If you wish to set up an official Trinity social media account for your area/school/course please contact us

Support available

Along with managing the university's central social media accounts we provide guidance and support to the administrators of Trinity affiliated accounts and those considering setting up social media accounts. This includes support for queries in relation to

  • which channels are suitable in relation to the school/area's objectives
  • branding guidelines – naming and visual identity
  • content curation and planning
  • channel administration in relation to the university's social media guidelines and policy
  • dealing with inappropriate posts and content, difficult queries
  • training  

Training

Social media training for staff can be organised e.g. administering a Trinity university social media account; practical training for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and content curation. For further information please contact us.