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Tips for Survival & Success in Social Media

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To be successful at social media takes not only time and some strategy, but it also takes an outgoing personality. If you've been described as a people-person or friendly, you probably have what it takes. Or you may be a connector -- someone who enjoys making connections and providing helpful information. In any case, you'll need to have some personal or professional experience with social media before hosting an account on behalf of ODU.

Don't start a social media effort unless you have the time and resources needed to maintain new content on a regular basis. Do not allow your social media pages go inactive.

Be authentic in your postings.

Exercise common sense in any online activity realizing that anyone can access and view what you have posted.

Bear in mind that the internet remembers. Search engines and other technologies make it virtually impossible to take something back. Be sure you mean what you say and say what you mean.

Evaluate the accuracy and truth of your posting before making it public. If you find out something you've posted is untrue after you post it, retract and correct it as quickly as possible.

Avoid lengthy approval processes for comments and if possible, make commenting automatic. Better to delete something inappropriate after the fact than discourage someone from posting at all.

Respond to comments as quickly as possible.

Be a leader and set a positive tone. Respect the opinions and privacy of your students and colleagues.

Avoid online confrontations and conflicts. Feel free to respectfully disagree with a position but please do not attack the person as it reflects poorly on both the individual and ODU.

Social media is all about connecting, not pushing a message. Encourage open conversation - listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Allow negative comments (delete the spam) and seek to respond rather than censor. To be a good participant, you must first be a good listener.

If it gives you pause, then pause. If you are about to say or post something that makes you even remotely uncomfortable, take a minute to review your guidelines and think about your post. When in doubt, discuss it with your supervisor or a staff member in the Office of University Relations.

Avoid giving specific advice to individuals on their personal situations. If you must advise someone specifically, take that conversation offline.

Use proper grammar and proofread before you press that post button! It's perfectly okay to use internet jargon and memes, but make sure you are doing so in an obviously tongue-in-cheek manner.

Use logical and easily-searched usernames and/or page names. Whenever possible, include "at Old Dominion University" at the end of your name to allow your page or group to have a better likelihood of appearing in search results.

Use branding language whenever possible and appropriate.

Follow, like, re-post and re-tweet other ODU social media pages and posts.

Include contact information on your accounts and pages.

Keep an eye on who is engaging within your community. Try to establish "relationships" with your regular posters by remembering names and previous conversations. Relationships will help limit the potential for negativity and cultivate your best advocates. Block inappropriate profiles or users who violate the rules of engagement posted on your page.