How To Run A Successful Social Media Program: MSU Style
MSU is one of the biggest schools in Springfield, MO. According to their website, they have approximately 22,800 enrolled students. That is only the current student count, of course, and doesn't even begin to cover the number of alumni and other people who would be interested in what's going on at the University. That's a lot of people to communicate with. Not all of their students get their news and events from the Universities various social media accounts, but quite a few of them do. And their social media follower numbers reflect this. On Twitter they have 10, 334 followers, on Facebook, they have 49,318 Likes. On Youtube, they have 2215 subscribed to their channel. They are on several other social media platforms including:
It's a big job to run all of these social media accounts. Helping to carry the burden is Jessica Clements, MSU's New Media Specialist, who spoke at our July Social Media Club meeting.
You might say, "They're a big brand. They have to do things different." Yes, that's true. With a lot of social media accounts and only a handful of people in charge of them, they absolutely have to do things different. They have to have a plan, they have to be flexible, and they have to have an amazing amount of trust in each other, or it would all come crashing down around them. Even if you're a small or medium-sized business, you can learn a lot from the way MSU runs their social media program.
If You Fail To Plan...
So, let's talk about that planning. After listening to Jess talk about the different ways they prepare to tackle their social media campaigns, I think this is the team's main strength. Here is what they do to make sure their campaigns and daily activities run smoothly.
- A yearly strategy/goal meeting provides a guide to prepare for the big events of the year, and how they will be handled.
- They take each of the big events and develop campaigns around them to help focus the content.
- The University has multiple social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, etc., such as the alumni or public affairs. The team uses the different accounts to help get the word out.
- They've also developed a set of best practices to use when asking other for promotion help.
- They are also big proponents of scheduling out posts ahead of time, and utilize Sprout Social to help achieve this.
Any or all of these could be used by a small or medium-sized business to help execute their social media campaigns more effectively.
Flexibility Is a Desired Trait
The second strength of the MSU Team is flexibility, and I'm not talking about the kind you get from doing Yoga. The flexibility they possess comes in the ability to change what they're doing at a moment's notice. This is a key factor during those big events, such as move-in week. Students may have specific questions or complaints that need to be addressed as quickly as possible. Having the ability to handle these events and respond in real-time is a huge asset to the success of their social media program. It also goes a long way to engendering good will between students and the University.
Trust Is Key
And the final strength that makes MSU's social media team stand out is trust. Because they are running multiple social media accounts with only a handful of people, they need to have an amazing amount of trust in each other. Knowing that the person responsible for the job will get it done, frees up the others to concentrate on their own work.
More Tips and Tricks
In addition to the three qualities listed above, the MSU team employees a bevy of tips and tricks to get the job done. They are:
- Having fun with their social media accounts, such as doing a mini-campaign around May the 4th and Talk Like a Pirate Day.
- Communicating daily.
- Using and promoting hashtags to help keep track of conversation around events such as #MSUBelong and #GoMaroon.
- Using tracking tags on urls (web addresses) to track the effectiveness of various social media accounts during campaigns.
- Recapping after the campaign is over with each platform's stats.
- Letting their community handle responses to non-urgent questions.
If you want to run a successful social media program, you could do worse than to incorporate these traits and tips from the MSU social media team.