Skip to main content

Starting a Channel

Before creating your social media presence on a new channel, we recommend answering a series of questions and developing a detailed strategic plan to guide your work and determine if and how social media will help reach your goals

Consider the following questions and important considerations.

  • Goals: How can social media specifically help you accomplish your overall goals?
  • Audience: Who is your primary audience, and is social media the appropriate channel to reach them? Is your audience large enough to warrant a channel? Consider what relevant information you have to share, and what your audience wants to know.
  • Resources: Managing a social media account is time and labor-intensive. Do you have the proper resources (e.g. staffing, bandwidth, tools) in place to develop written and visual content, as well as to publish and monitor reaction to your posts every day? You will need to establish specific roles and responsibilities for your social media channels, such as who is overseeing strategy, content creation, community management, social listening, monitoring and reporting, as well as who can serve as back-ups.
  • Partnership: Have social media platforms for your school already been established, and can these existing platforms promote your content, rather than create your own presence? Could you achieve your goals by teaming up with another department or unit?
  • Volume of Content:  Can you produce the necessary amount of content at a high enough level of quality? Content should be posted regularly. Most channels need a regular posting cadence, and some channels may need multiple posts per day. Examine your ability by creating a content calendar, and fill out at least the first four weeks. Remember that every piece of content generally requires a visual to perform well, not just words and/or a link.
  • Platform Selection: Which social platform(s) are best suited to accomplish your goals and attract and engage with the audience you want to reach? Each channel is unique, and different demographics use social media channels in different ways.
  • Data Analysis: How do you define success for your social media presence for the first month, the first six months, and the first year? Plan to assess on a regular basis whether your social media is fulfilling your established goals and meeting your specific measures of success (e.g. clicks, reach engagement, sentiment, etc.).
    • To determine whether you are meeting your goals on each channel, consider using content management, social listening, planning, publishing and analytics tools to measure success. There are a variety of tools from free to paid, depending on your needs and budget.
    • Sprinklr is utilized by OGMC as well as the majority of schools and units on campus. Contact OGMC social media team for Sprinklr information and pricing.

Creating a New Profile: Naming Conventions

  • Carefully consider the name, handle and vanity URL of your account, and be sure that it reflects a professional title and consistent branding with the name of your school, unit or department.
  • Full name should include Northwestern and the handle should incorporate Northwestern when possible. While “NU” is not the preferred shorthand of the University in external communications, it could be acceptable in a handle or username‘s shorter naming conventions.
  • Fully complete the user profile to clearly represent your school, department or area of focus, including clear visuals, a bio and tagging @NorthwesternU.