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Getting Started on Social Media

Social media channels are great for building a community and awareness.

Here’s how to get started for your department or program.

  1. Define your goal. What do you want to accomplish, with what audience (prospective students, alumni, research partners), over what time frame? The answers to these questions will help you choose a platform. If your need is temporary—e.g. to promote a single event—ask for support from the university’s official accounts.
  2. Decide which network to be on. Think about which ones will help you achieve your goal. Determine if you should be using multiple networks. If so, we do not recommend that you link multiple networks. Note: Digital Communications does not recommend starting a Snapchat account. Contact social@uml.edu for inquiries about Snapchat.
  3. Develop a strategy. Determine who will be responsible for maintaining your network. Decide how frequently you will post and consider using an editorial calendar.
  4. Set up your account. University Facebook accounts must have a minimum of two individuals with administrative privileges. Once a university account reaches 100 followers, administrative access must be granted to Digital Communications. This prevents accounts getting locked out if the maintainer leaves the university.
  5. Stay on brand. Add the UMass Lowell logo and/or cover images. The UMass Lowell logo should not be altered in any way.
  6. Bio and/or About section. Include a description that explains what your program or department does and what your audience can expect from your page. Include a link back to the university or your department website. If applicable, include the main university’s handle for affiliation.
  7. Posting. Use discretion. Keep in mind that these are not your personal Instagram, Twitter or Facebook accounts. You are representing your department and the university. As such, you should post information that is informative and productive in nature. Social media is not an outlet for complaints, frustration and criticism about the university or the administration. The university reserves the right to remove, at any time, at its sole discretion, any content posted on a blog or social network that it deems in violation of university policy or local, state or federal law. See Social Media Guidelines for more on posting on social media.
  8. Engagement. Social media platforms allow some type of engagement. Generating conversation is one of the benefits of social media. When you engage in social media, you need to be ready to potentially get criticism in a public domain. Be prepared for positive and negative feedback and have a plan with how to respond to both. For example, on the university social media channels maintained by Digital Communications, we don’t engage in negative, unconstructive comments unless it’s to correct inaccurate or misinformation. On Facebook, you have the option to block, delete or hide posts. Your primary objective is to protect the university, your department and yourself. See the Social Media Toolkit for more on what to post for engagement.
  9. Promoting your channel(s). How will you promote your social media presence? You can include them on all your print materials. Let Digital Communications know when you are posting regularly and have at least 100 friends/followers, and we will link your accounts on our social media pages, customize the icon on your department website or add a feed to your landing page. Email contacts, add your handle to print materials. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter have icons that can be used in electronic and print materials.
After you’ve completed the Getting Started steps please email social@uml.edu to have your department or program pages added to the Social Media Directory.