Twitter 101: Social Media Council Meeting, Part III

Twitter is where students are. That is a simple fact. Ask any WKU student what social media platform they use the most, and the answer is overwhelmingly Twitter. Students aren’t the only ones using Twitter though; the platform is popular with all demographics and is a great place to interact with your audience. Luckily, harnessing the power of Twitter to boost engagement and market your department or organization isn’t difficult. Here are five quick tips to using Twitter:

1. Define Your Voice & Set Goals
In general, we recommend maintaining a light, positive, helpful tone on Twitter. You want users to feel comfortable interacting with your account! At WKU, we have many audiences: students, alumni, parents, news media, community leaders…who is your audience? What information do they seek? Provide that information in a fun, yet professional way to put your best foot forward.

As with any marketing plan, setting goals is crucial. Creating short term goals (such as having three meaningful engagements each week) and long term goals (gaining 100 followers each month, increasing engagement by 30%) will help measure your success on the platform and help maintain forward momentum.

2. Listen to Your Audience & Interact
Listen to what your audience is talking about. Social media management platforms like Sprout Social, Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite are very helpful in this task. You can search keywords and phrases related to your department or organization, get alerts when a user Tweets with your hashtags, and easily reply/retweet relevant content to your followers.

Then, take it a step further. Interact with followers by favoriting their Tweets, retweeting their praise, and replying to their questions and comments. Interacting with followers is the best way to build a relationship with them. We encourage positive interaction and customer service, but make note: replying to inflammatory comments usually does more harm than good. Unfortunately, Twitter is a platform where users may vent. Make note of the concern though–it could become a customer service issue!
3. Adopt a Customer Service Approach
Customer Service is the #1 way we utilize Twitter at the institutional level. When students have problems, we like to help solve them. Great customer services goes a long way. If you see a problem you don’t know the answer to, send it over to webservices@wku.edu. We’re always happy to help.

Customer service isn’t only about problem solving. Use Twitter to create positive moments for your user as well! Retweets and mentions are a great way to showcase users who are interacting with you regularly.

Extra Tip: Respond as quickly as you can. Twitter is a fast-paced platform and users are looking for a fast response to questions and concerns. Set up alerts and integrate social listening into your workflow to ensure that no question goes unanswered!

At WKU, we strive to help students solve problems by connecting them to departments and services across campus. A little effort can go a long way!
At WKU, we strive to help students solve problems by connecting them to departments and services across campus. A little effort can go a long way!

4. Use Hashtags Strategically
Hashtags are a great way to aggregate content and promote events, departments, and organizations. If you want to use a hashtag, do a quick search to see if anyone else has already implemented it. An easy way to customize your own hashtag? Add “WKU” to it!

Hashtags should be short, smart tags that others will actually want to use. If you’re unsure of what will work, reach out to Creative Web Services. We’re happy to help find a hashtag that would be effective for your specific audience.

Another great tip is to use hashtags that are already in use. We recommend including #WKU, #WKUEvents, or any of the Class Of… hashtags (#WKU17, #WKU19, #WKU2020, etc.) into your posts. Doing so will enable your posts to be seen by the thousands of users already interacting with those hashtags.

@WKUHRL does a great job capitalizing on the clout that #WKU has already established.
@WKUHRL does a great job capitalizing on the clout that #WKU has already established.

5. Make the Most of Your Content
You’ve spent a lot of time creating great content; make sure it reaches as many followers as possible! Incorporating visuals into your posts make them four times more likely to receive engagement. Not so good at graphics? Our publications team can help create stunning visuals to promote your event, department, or organization completely free of charge.

Including a visual with your posts will increase engagement up to 400%.
Including a visual with your posts will increase engagement up to 400%.

Timing is also crucial when posting on Twitter. The average student follows between 300 & 500 accounts, so messages disappear quickly! Look at your accounts’ analytics and repurpose content. If you are promoting a deadline or event, post about it at least once a week during peak hours to get the most engagement.

Twitter is a lively, engaging platform and a great resource to reach a variety of different audiences. Setting goals, remaining dedicated to customer service, and using smart hashtags and visuals will all help improve engagement and better market your event, department, or organization. Have questions or a Twitter success story? We’d love to hear from you! Tweet @WKUCWS & use our hashtag: #besocialWKU!

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