Social media communications planOutline of technologies and methods used by Advancement.Scope of planThis document is intended to be a “living document” — it evolves and changes as thetechnologies and methods of social media do. Iowa State University (ISU) Extension andOutreach utilizes a variety of channels and platforms of social media and monitors newtechnologies, adopting those that fit our communications needs best. While there are numeroussocial media platforms available, this plan only addresses those actively in use.OverviewSocial media continues to be a major focus andgrowing component of the Web, with more userssigning up every day for websites and applications asnew platforms are developed. Social media presentsan opportunity for additional channels through whichISU Extension and Outreach can reach stakeholderswith promotion of news, publications, programs andother resources. In addition to disseminatinginformation, social media offers the opportunity toengage with stakeholders and form online communitiesaround ISU Extension and Outreach. However, socialmedia is not all-inclusive and needs to be part of alarger communications effort.Advancement currently uses several social media channels as means to spread ISU Extensionand Outreach news, as well as post unique content, reinforce the brand and engage withstakeholders. Content is chosen based on audience and relevance, using each channel’sunique strengths to best present the information.Guiding principlesTo ensure that our stakeholders get the most out of their social media experience with ISUExtension and Outreach, Advancement staff is constantly monitoring best practices of socialmedia use and experimenting with content types that work best with each channel.In general, activity by ISU Extension and Outreach on all its social media platforms is focusedon: being authentic and positivebeing used to listen to fans/followersresponding to comments and questionsconversing naturally with fans/followersproviding content that is focused on quality over quantityThe ISU Extension and Outreach accounts already have a solid group of followers and continueto increase in followers and gain new audiences with increases in activity and changes intactics.
General tacticsAdvancement posts content from all program areas through its social media efforts, choosingnews items, links, videos, photos and other resources on an as-needed basis. The goal is not topost a large quantity of content, but to choose quality content that would be of interest to theaudience, and that either strengthens the image or recognition of the brand or has some form offollow up for readers, such as a program they can participate in or information they can use intheir lives.It is recommended that program specialists work with Advancement staff to identify suitablecontent and topics for use with the main ISU Extension and Outreach social media accounts, asopposed to working through separate accounts. Advancement staff monitors Extension-relatedsites for content and also accepts submissions of content for review and posting.On Facebook, any user connected to the ISU Extension and Outreach page can post news,information, links, photos and videos to the page’s wall. Posts made show up with the user’sname.ISU Extension and Outreach pages also have a consistent personality. It is excited andenthusiastic. Helpful and friendly. Personal and engaging. Professional and reliable. These areall traits stakeholders should see in the online, social personality of ISU Extension andOutreach. One main content stream allows for a consistent ISU Extension and Outreachpersonality, strengthening the personal connect with stakeholders.Note: Advancement strongly suggests that ISU Extension and Outreach Facebook pagesshould have an Advancement staff member set as an administrator in case of changes in staff.This also allows Advancement staff to check page usage for analytics, as well as suggestfeatures that may benefit the page.Revised: September 2017Social media communications plan2 Page
Twitterwww.twitter.com/ISUExtensionOverviewTwitter is a micro-blogging platform in which users can quickly and easily send 140-characterupdates; link to photos, videos or stories; and reply toother accounts. Twitter is ideal for engaging with users inreal time and keeping a consistent stream of contentflowing to interested parties. Due to the ease-of-usesharing capabilities, Twitter is also beneficial forspreading news to an audience. It boasts more than 300million monthly users, and 20 percent of the entire U.S.population uses Twitter, per a 2016 Hootsuite report.Advancement usageExtension is currently using multiple Twitter accounts, most of which push out news andinformation through an automated system (like @ISUExtNews, which posts all Extension andOutreach releases). Some accounts are not set up with automatic posts and are being used asan engagement tool. Approximately 55 counties and numerous specialists also maintain theirown accounts.AudienceThe audience of the @ISUExtension account (the only account manually posted to by theAdvancement team) includes followers mostly from the agriculture and food communities.Additional followers include statewide media and other state extension systems. The audienceis continually monitored for changes and active followers. We are also continually looking toexpand our audience and attract diverse followers with diverse interests.TacticsThrough posting and tone, the account is given a personality, or voice, so followers know aperson is behind the account and can be engaged.oooooooEngage followers: Effort is made to quickly answer questions and provide direction to resources,as well as actively “talk” with followers and provide feedback, comments or general conversation.Brand cross-promotion: Special attention is paid to retweet news and comments from other ISUaccounts, such as @ISU AgDM or @IowaStateUNews, to strengthen brand focus.Highlight news/activities/events: Share information and links for upcoming events and activities ornews related to the audience, both statewide and regional.Retweeting/link sharing: Links and updates of followers are retweeted and shared. This helpskeep the account active, and builds relationships and brand recognition with followers.Push media mentions: As ISU Extension and Outreach staff and experts are used as mediasources, links to stories are shared to promote the brand in third-party outlets. ISU Extension andOutreach also uses Google Alerts to find mentions of Extension personnel and programs in stateand regional outlets and then promotes them.Follow trends: Using Twitter is an excellent way to follow trends and topical conversations to helpguide content and news resources. Use searches and hashtags to find relevant posts.Be positive and smart: Here is an excellent rule of thumb for using Twitter. Imagine your motherreading what you post online. Would she be proud of what you were saying in a public forum orembarrassed? If it’s the latter, you probably shouldn’t be posting it. Be smart.Revised: September 2017Social media communications plan3 Page
ionOverviewFacebook is a social networking website which allowsusers to become “fans” of pages and follow the page’sactivity, share the page’s content and interact bycommenting on the posts. Pages can be set up bybusinesses or organizations and used to post news,events, links, photos and video. Pages offer somecustom usability as well. More than 1 billion peopleworldwide use Facebook daily, including 71 percent of U.S. adults with Internet access.Advancement usageThe Advancement team maintains a single Facebook page for ISU Extension and Outreach.Other extension-related pages are maintained by other teams (such as Spend Smart, EatSmart.)The ISU Extension and Outreach page has multiple administrators who work together topost all the content and utilize features which can also include custom tabs. The page is used toshare news, events, links, photos and videos from both county sites and extension-relatedpages that highlight past, current and future items, as well as a look at the ISU Extension andOutreach organization, such as the people and activities behind it. In addition, over 90 countiesand multiple specialists and Extension-related initiatives maintain some sort of Facebookpresence.AudienceThe audience on the Facebook page consists of ISU Extension and Outreach staff, ISU staff,ISU students and extension stakeholders (74 percent female, and 47 percent in the 25-to-44year-old age range).TacticsOne goal of Advancement is to give ISU Extension and Outreach a voice or personality throughthe use of Facebook, offering a way for users to engage and talk back to ISU Extension andOutreach. The Facebook page is also used to showcase a “behind-the-scenes” look at ISUExtension and Outreach, including videos and photos of activities and events. Audiencerelevant news and information is also posted or shared.ooooEngage followers: Effort is made to quickly answer questions and provide direction to resources,as well as actively “talk” with fans and provide feedback, comments or general conversation.Photo/video posting: Facebook is a media-rich site, and as such, Advancement makes use of thevarious video- and photo-sharing abilities on the ISU Extension and Outreach page. Videos andphotos shared are either uploaded and unique to the Facebook page or linked from other sites,such as ISU Extension and Outreach’s YouTube channels.Highlight news/activities/events: Share information and links for upcoming events and activities ornews related to the audience, both statewide and regional, as well as share information during orafter events, like a 4-H photo booth promotion connected with the Iowa State Fair.Push media mentions: As ISU Extension and Outreach staff and experts are used as mediasources, links to stories are shared to promote the brand in third party outlets.Revised: September 2017Social media communications plan4 Page
oooooPromote educational materials: Relevant Extension Online Store items are promoted and linkedto, usually timed to tie to an event, news, etc. Advancement works with the Extension DistributionCenter to promote popular and relevant products through social media.Highlight trends/topics: Portions of hot topics that are relevant to the audience are promoted andshared, linking to resources and news.Brand cross-promotion: Special attention is paid to share news and resources from other IowaState University and ISU Extension and Outreach accounts to strengthen the focus on otherdepartments.Community page interaction: As community pages relevant to ISU Extension and Outreach areidentified, attention is paid to using keywords that pushes the content out to those communitypages.Be positive and smart: Here is an excellent rule of thumb for using Facebook. Imagine yourmother reading what you post online. Would she be proud of what you were saying in a publicforum or embarrassed? If it’s the latter, you probably shouldn’t be posting it. Be smart.Revised: September 2017Social media communications plan5 Page
YouTubewww.youtube.com/user/iowastateextension / www.youtube.com/user/unknowvideosOverviewYouTube is one of the top video sharing websites. The site allows a person to upload videosthat can be viewed, commented on and rated on the site itself, or embedded to other websites.Advancement UsageAdvancement utilizes YouTube for video sharing. The ISUExtension and Outreach YouTube channel is used primarily as avideo hosting site, as video is embedded as content on ISUExtension and Outreach webpages or shared through othermeans. Extension and Outreach also uses the UKnow channel asa portal for informational videos.Advancement uses YouTube as a convenient way to promotevideos to Facebook or Twitter and spotlight new or key videos.Users can also subscribe to the channels and receive the latestExtension videos.It is designed for external communication and videos which advance ISUExtension and Outreach, not internal or training videos.Extension faculty and staff can submit content to Advancementcommunication specialists who can determine whether the content isappropriate to share on the Advancement pages.AudienceThere is not a specific targeted audience on the video-hosting sites. All ISU Extension andOutreach videos are housed here for all program areas and audiences. Interested users canalso subscribe to the channels to receive alerts on the latest videos as they are posted.TacticsNote: Not all videos are uploaded to the ISU Extension and Outreach YouTube accounts. Somevideos, such as an event behind-the-scenes video, may be uploaded and promoted on justFacebook or Instagram, depending on the goals for the video.Revised: September 2017Social media communications plan6 Page
Blogsblogs.extension.iastate.eduOverviewBlogs are a great resource to provide a continuous stream ofinformation, often information not delivered via news release orother means and typically focused on a niche topic. Blogs aremore conversational and stream-of-conscious, frequently linking toother sources and incorporating photos, video, charts and othervisuals. Blogs enable readers to comment on individual posts andengage in conversation.Advancement usageISU Extension and Outreach maintains a portal site which has several active blogs focused onniche topics. The blogs are authored by extension program specialists within a particular topicalarea and not Advancement staff. However, Advancement staff does help with promoting theblogs though other social media outlets. If a specialist has a blog they would like added to thelist, they may contact Advancement staff and request inclusion on the site. The blogs include: Spend Smart. Eat Smart.AnswerLineScience of Parenting Let's Talk. ChildcareSafeFoodLand Use and ZoningAg Decision MakerOther blogs may be and are hosted, written and maintained on other