6 Things We've Learned from Social Media Mashups
We've been doing a lot of work in this area with a number of universities at this point, and we've learned a lot. The funny part is that none of what we've learned has to do with how a mashup is managed, designed or created. It all has to do with how it provides VALUE to the university. These 6 things are the biggest factors that affect the success of your mashup.
1. You have to promote them. Like any other page on your university website, if you don't help people get there, they won't. A SMASHUP is no different. You can't create this wonderful interactive page, and not promote it in your website. It just doesn't work that way. You have to TELL people how to get there. Create a cool image like YSU did, and put it in your university website footer. You'll easily promote it from EVERY page!
2. You have to have quality content. Do you care about content that isn't relevant to you? You can't expect students to care either. This kind of goes without saying, so I'll move on to the next one.
3. You have to have a lot of content. It's ok to start small. Maybe you just have a couple official university-wide accounts that are done really well. That's great. But, it can't and won't last forever. Showing that you have a lot of active accounts that provide a lot of content shows that your university is dedicated to social media in a big way. People want and like to see that.
4. You have to have frequent updates. Don't you love Twitter accounts that have a last update of 265 days ago? Me neither. If you're going to do it, do it right and keep those suckers updated. Show how you interact with students. Give away a t-shirt from the department every now and then. Keep people engaged, otherwise, you're doing it wrong.
5. You have to have a plan. Are you going to incorporate more location based social media and have students check in on campus? Are you going to have a Twitter contest? Have an idea of what content works where. For example, maybe for all student organization events, you're going to create the event on Facebook, then use Facebook and Twitter to promote it. But all content does not work in all media. Save the long editorials for blogs. Use photos on Facebook. Use Twitter for quick updates, alerts and reminders. The worst is when schools connect all accounts together, then none are original. Imagine a mashup with a Facebook feed and a Twitter feed on the same page, and all the recent updates are the exact same content. If this is you, you're doing it wrong.
6. You have to have standards. Ever heard of a social media policy? You should have one, especially if your university is one of those that is constantly discovering new rogue accounts from different departments and entities across campus. Some of the schools we work with require all accounts to follow a set of standards before they can be featured on the social media mashup. It's a good way to just set a baseline for acceptable conduct and make sure everyone is on the same page.
What are some of the things you've learned through your social media mashup or just working with social media at the university level in general?