Social Media Framework

 

The University’s use of social media provides an opportunity to:

  • convey our distinctive position,
  • enhance reputation,
  • build brand,
  • support student recruitment.

A key part of the approach is placing engagement in the hands of people qualified to do so, effectively and strategically, with Marketing Communications responsible for training and support, monitoring and management.

The Social Media Framework

This approach to social media has been devised to support the University’s position as a leading UK university. Social media is an ideal channel to communicate this position, as by its nature it is collaborative and offers a medium to build on and share the University’s reputation for research and teaching excellence and a first-class student experience. There are five components to the framework:

  • Clearly defined audiences and goals,
  • Managing reputation through quality of content,
  • Added-value content that is original and of ‘university quality’,
  • A managed approach to identity in social media,
  • An integrated approach to communications.

1.    Clearly defined audiences and goals

While listening and engaging with our communities is beneficial, they are not ends in themselves. If we are to truly generate return on investment from our social media efforts, we need to be clear on the purpose of engagement and our end goals. To gain approval to launch an official social media presence you will need to be clear on:

  • its purpose,
  • the communication issue that it is addressing,
  • the demand,
  • the plan for engagement, including content planning (what will you say and when),
  • how success will be measured. 

The Marketing Communications team can assist you through this process. You may find the Social Media Framework worksheet a helpful place to start. To request an official social media site, contact Vic Russell ext.1244.

Target audiences and communication aims

Communications should be tailored to meet the needs of the audience. Examples of key target audiences and the purpose of engagement are presented below:

Potential students

The goal of our social media activity for this group will be to contribute to our key indicators: open day bookings and prospectus requests. While we will define other, important metrics such as portal sign ups, video views, Facebook likes etc. our ultimate goal will be to convert this interest into high-quality recruitment. The Student Recruitment team will play an important role.

Current students

Our social activity will be focused on facilitating the sharing of positive messages about student experiences, both to enable current students to act as brand ambassadors and to manage the University’s reputation. Recommended metrics include positive sentiment ratings, range and frequency of comments, student satisfaction scores, engagement with potential students (recommendations) and the authority of those providing word of mouth.

Opinion leaders

Our social media activity will reinforce the University’s academic quality and research and teaching excellence, along with its position, brand and values, to increase positive perceptions of the University. We will select activities that showcase these qualities and develop metrics that measure their impact, such as views and downloads of key documents or communications, or connections formed with key individuals.  

Alumni

Our social media efforts will be devoted to making alumni feel appreciated and connected. We will facilitate networking opportunities, build links and develop a sense of community. The majority of this social media activity will be undertaken by the experts in the Alumni team.

Public

Our aim is to improve the University’s reputation and the Leicester brand. Strategic use of content plans and content pillars will help communicate core values, and an integrated approach to creating and publishing content will help increase understanding of Leicester’s distinct position.

2.    Managing reputation through quality of content

The fact that we are a leading university should be reinforced through the quality of the content that we create and share, and the pedigree of those creating it. This is particularly relevant to official corporate communications and content created by academics.

Those contributing on behalf of the University should add value for people by engaging in conversations about the areas that they are “university quality” in.  We shall strive to ensure that the quality of all content embodies the quality and values of the institution. This will contribute to the stature and legacy of the brand.

We will engage with a wide audience in a clear and transparent manner. Participation will be open to all, within defined parameters clearly communicated in our policies and guidelines that will be designed to ensure a fair, safe and respectful environment. We will listen to our communities and use the knowledge gained to improve the products, services and experiences we provide for them.

3.    Added-value content: original and of ‘university quality’

We will seek to create a community around us by offering people something original and of a quality that they will value. This approach is designed to deliver an increase in a significant, tuned and strategic signal over noise.

4.    Managing identity: corporate and personal accounts

Our conversations on social media impact on the University’s reputation. For this reason guidelines on managing identity within work-related social media have been developed.

We manage our identity on social media just as we protect our visual identity in print. The social media visual identity helps ensure an integrated approach to our communications. Please make sure that your sites comply.

The principles of managing identity apply to all work-related accounts but are particularly relevant to Twitter. The table below provides guidance on profile options when setting up a Twitter account.  For full details see the Direction on Twitter Account and Identity guidelines and the Twitter Best Practice guide. Contact Vic Russell in the Marketing Communications Team (vlh14) ext.1244 for more information.

Are you Tweeting in an official work capacity (e.g. as your role, or as a research centre) Acknowledge you are employed at Uni in your biog Reference uni in your account profile (use agreed naming format) Make it clear in the biog that the views are your own Use official  Uni Twitter identity (background)
Yes (exclusively) Yes Yes No Yes
Sometimes (mix of personal and work) Yes No Yes Yes - if your site is in the name of a dept or service
No - if your account is your own name or it is personal
No No No Yes No

5.    Integrating social media into communications plans.

Social media is just one element of the marketing mix and shouldn’t be seen as a standalone channel but as part of a wider communications mix. Social media is particularly suited to achieve certain communications objectives. It should be part of the communications mix when the objective is to:

  • build community and relationships,
  • build credibility and trust,
  • harness word of mouth,
  • create awareness,
  • share information.

Our Approach

We will convey our brand values in the manner and tone of our engagement. We will:

  • Embrace transparency - we will use real names and where possible seek to identify people as well as departments or businesses. We will make clear our affiliations with the University.
  • Be honest –Listen and engage constructively where appropriate.
  • Build trust – Listen before acting.
  • Integrate our social media activity with our broader Marketing Communications.
  • Use metrics that add value and show quality of interactions rather than pure quantity.

Before creating a social media presence please familiarise yourself with the University requirements in the Social Media Communications - guidance and best practice document.

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For all other enquiries, please contact the External Relations Division by email:
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