Social media guides for MIT communicators
These guidelines, written by MIT's Social Media Working Group in 2011, provide guidance to staff, faculty and students who use social media to promote MIT activities, groups or initiatives. You'll find advice on planning, MIT branding, best practices, and tips and tools for engagement and analysis.
We invite you to share your ideas to enrich this guide.
How is social media unique?
The phrase "social media" describes a set of tools, practices and platforms for publishing content and creating interactive dialogues. Social media has unique characteristics that pose challenges and opportunities:
- Accessible technology. Most social media platforms are free and easy to use.
- Conversations. Unlike the one-to-many broadcast model of most traditional media, social media can be characterized by its conversational nature.
- Audience-generated content. The conversations individuals have with you and each other almost always add value to your pages. However, it is a good idea to be prepared by having response guidelines on the rare occasion when someone posts questionable content.
- Immediacy. Content is posted and disseminated almost immediately to a global audience, so think carefully before you post.
- Tone. Successful social media communications do not sound like marketing. They should feel authentic, personal and relaxed.
This last point may be the most important. Generally speaking, a Twitter account or Facebook page that only reposts blog entries or announces events is not as interesting as a page that engages members in conversation or builds a community.