So you're thinking about creating social media accounts for your department or organization. Are you sure you need it? Since social media platforms are typically easy and free, it seems like an easy decision. But a successful social media strategy requires research, clearly outlined goals and objectives, smart tactics and a commitment to regular updates. We encourage you to ask and answer a few questions first:

Do you fall under a larger group that can assist you?
Before starting your own account, see if there is an existing social media account for your department or group (e.g. Academic Affairs, McDonough Leadership, Athletics), and see if the existing account will help you reach your desired goals. They are already at an advantage because of their established and larger following. Ask them to share your information and see if you gain the engagement you desire.

Do you have a communications strategy?
Does your group/department have a communications strategy? If not, you need to develop one. Social media is not a magic pill, but rather one piece of a plan.

What are you trying to accomplish?
If you hope to promote an event or share news, submitting content for consideration through an established communication channel — email, Campus Calendar, existing social media, news releases — is probably a better option. Social media requires daily maintenance and a person (or small group of people) who wants to engage with your audience.

Who is your audience?
Understanding the individuals you want to communicate with and need to communicate with will help you decide if social media is really what you need.

Do you have unique, interesting and shareable content? 
You have to do more than just post a photo or an event once in awhile. You have to give followers a reason to keep following.

Do you have the time and resources? 
You don't need someone who spend their entire workday managing your social media accounts, but you need to have someone who takes ownership and is willing to write, respond and evaluate the analytics.

What are your goals?
You need to have goals or you are just wasting your time. If you can establish goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound then you can make social media work.

What is your message?
This is tough to answer because social media is all about making a connection. Your audience may want to hear your messages, but they will let you know over time.

Is it in the best interest of Marietta College?
Please remember that you are representing Marietta College and what you say on social media be in line with the College's mission and branding initiatives.