On the Cooper Center Facebook and Twitter pages, the Media Team makes three types of posts: awareness, content release, and accessibility.
Awareness posts share publications, events, press releases, and research releases related to the Cooper Center. In order to populate our channels regularly, we may include postings from similar institutes and news organizations on issues of importance to our subscribers and clients.
Content release posts consist of the videos and podcasts created by the Media Team, which also bring greater awareness to the Cooper Center’s work. If the videos or podcasts focus on topics relevant to a particular Cooper Center unit, these posts will be subject to the unit director's approval and are not published until both the content and post are approved.
Accessibility posts aim to highlight an individual's work at the Cooper Center in order to make a more personal connection with the clients and community we serve. Some of these posts are part of our ‘Faces of the Cooper Center’ series, which showcases a different employee profile every week on the Cooper Center Facebook and Twitter page. The employee profiles include a headshot, a description of the employee’s work, and a short bio. Accompanying each profile will be links to all of the projects and content the employee has created at the Cooper Center. The individual featured in the profile will have approval of all content before posting.
Who is our audience?
The priority audiences for our social media posts include: our clients, public servants who do related work, members of the public who access and subscribe to our work; young professionals and students exploring careers in public service and/or conducting research on related topics; and other social media channels at the University of Virginia.
Why use social media?
There are numerous benefits to increasing the Cooper Center’s social media presence. It brings greater coherence to the Cooper Center identity, drives more traffic to the Cooper Center websites, and informs more people -- including potential clients -- of the Cooper Center’s mission, accomplishments, and current endeavors. It promotes accessibility as well, putting faces to employees’ names and creating a more personal connection with our audience.
According to social media management platform Hootsuite, digital consumers spend nearly 2.5 hours on social networks and social messaging every day. 69% of U.S. adults use at least one social media site, while the average American Internet user has 7.1 social media accounts. Globally, there are 3.4 billion active social media users.
It is therefore no surprise that 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness and that social media drives approximately 31% of all website referral traffic.
For Cooper Center social media posts, we have chosen to use Facebook and Twitter, as they are the top-ranked social media platforms. We will post at 10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as that is when Google Analytics shows the highest amount of traffic on the Cooper Center websites.
The types of posts have different objectives. Accessibility posts aim to show that the Cooper Center's work is made by people for people. We want people to know not just what we do but who is doing the work. We want to show that the Cooper Center staff cares about what they do and are expert, helpful, and approachable.
Awareness posts and content release posts aim to increase awareness of the Cooper Center’s work, as many of our followers on social media may not be aware of the range of events, projects, press releases, and research releases related to the Cooper Center. These posts also can increase interaction with our audience and demonstrate how the Center's various projects and endeavors intersect.
To increase awareness and promote ourselves amongst other institutes, we will cross-post related social media content from other centers/institutes. These posts aim to increase engagement with our pages without having to consistently create new content. It also encourages cooperation among other institutes and centers.
The Media Team will work both by itself and with clients/units to develop effective content strategy to meet specific needs. Here is the outline of how we draft posts.
During the ideation stage, we think of an idea for a social media campaign or a single social media post. This idea may come from the Content Ideas form on the Media Team website, inviting all Cooper Center employees to suggest ideas for social media posts. The form is also featured on the bottom of this webpage. The ideation stage also includes discussing the audience, purpose, message, and actionable steps for the post(s) at hand. If we are planning a larger social media campaign for a specific unit, we will have a content strategy meeting with the director of the unit involved.
The three questions we aim to answer before leaving a content strategy meeting are:
- Who is the audience we want to reach?
- What is the message we want to communicate to that audience?
- What actions can we take to create content that communicates that message effectively?
2. Drafting Posts
The drafting stage consists of collecting assets for the social media post(s), such as general information, links, and photos. It also includes creating pages for websites, drafting copy, and editing pictures for Facebook and Twitter. All text, photos, and links are collected and drafted in Trello for review and approval.
All shared photos on Facebook must be resized to 1,200 x 630 pixels using Photoshop. All Facebook posts have a 1-2 sentence caption and either an image and/or link.
All shared photos on Twitter must be a minimum of 440 x 220 pixels. Tweets must be 280 characters or less. Letter Count helps with creating captions that fit within the character limit. Nonetheless, captions should aim to be as short and concise as possible.
3. Review and Approval
If the social media post or campaign is created for a specific unit, all drafts must be presented to and approved by the unit director. We will send the director drafts of all posts in a social media campaign. For Facebook posts, Bob Gibson reviews the Media Team Facebook page and shares approved posts to the main Cooper Center Facebook page.
If it does not relate to a specific unit, then Miles Greatwood must approve it before it is scheduled for release.
4. Scheduling Posts
All Facebook posts are scheduled in advance on the Weldon Cooper Center Media Team Facebook Page (@coopercentermedia). Bob Gibson is the person who then shares the Media Team’s posts to the main Cooper Center Facebook page. The Media Team does not post directly on the Cooper Center Facebook Page.
Tweets are scheduled in advance by first logging into the Cooper Center Twitter account and then logging into Tweetdeck.
Awareness and content release posts are scheduled for 10 am on Tuesdays, while accessibility posts are scheduled for 10 am on Thursdays. Again, these are the times that the Cooper Center websites have the most traffic.