How to Get Your Social Media Strategy From Zero to Running in One Month or Less

I had the opportunity in November to make a trip to China to consult with my colleagues at Duke Kunshan University. The university itself is in its infancy– only a few years old– and so the communications strategy is ramping up, too. The team at DKU is smart and lively and they work reallyhard, but they needed a little help adjusting course on their social media and coming up with some processes to make everything more efficient.

Just look at these adorable colleagues from Duke Kunshan University!

Here at Duke I stepped into a well-oiled machine set up by my predecessor, so it was a new challenge for me to create a well-oiled machine. The experience gave me a lot of helpful knowledge and tools to use in consulting with people who want to get their social media set up in the future.

In that spirit, I’d like to offer you some of my lessons learned:

1. Start by cleaning up.

You probably already have some social media floating around that someone, at some point, started with good intentions. Begin your process by gathering and evaluating everything you have.

  • Make sure you can log in to everything. If you can’t, you may have to do some sleuthing and support calls.
  • Store your passwords somewhere secure, where multiple people can access them. (Duke recommends LastPass for this.)
  • Facebook is different! For Facebook, you shouldn’t be using shared login credentials. You should make sure that your personal profile is added as an admin on the page, and that any other people who need access are also added. Don’t use a fake account for this! (Facebook will shut it down if it finds it.)
  • Make sure you have business accounts (rather than personal accounts) where appropriate, like on Instagram and YouTube.

This whole process could take a while. I spent most of my first week hunting things down, writing things down, setting up systems to keep track of everything, and making sure the right people had access to everything and were trained on how to get passwords and log in.

Colleagues Janet and Snow White get a lesson from Yangyang on the new camera.

2. Create a strategy!

You can do this in a less formal way, but I eventually created a social media strategy document template to use.

3. Get into the nitty-gritty.

Once you’ve got a strategy in place, you’re going to want to think about your step-by-step process and schedule, and maybe a weekly checklist so that you know what should be happening on all of your channels every week. You’ll want to cover:

  • Posting frequency and type (video, image, link, etc.)
  • Password access and other ways to get account access
  • How-tos for scheduling content (Think about using some kind of scheduler like HootSuite or Buffer to help with this.)

If it helps, write all of it down! This is less important if you’re a one-person operation, but very helpful if you have a team of people working on social media or helping out, or you’d like to have documentation for future hires.

Before I left, the team took me out for hot-pot! It was delicious. (And hot!)

4. Don’t forget your other communications!

It’s really important to remember that social media is just one part of your communications strategy, and a lot of what you use can be stuff that you are re-using or sharing from your colleagues. The easiest way to keep track of what everyone else is doing is to have an editorial calendar that everyone looks at and contributes to.

I’ve set up both our Duke communications team and the communications team at DKU on Trello. I find it pretty simple and intuitive to use.

Hope that helps you out if you’re struggling to get your social media headed in the right direction! Start small and just keep plugging away, and always feel free to contact me if you need some more help.

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