Social Media Editorial Guide
Albion College maintains a presence on most of the major social media platforms. These social channels allow us to spread news, engage our alumni, celebrate student success stories, promote athletic highlights, and share bits of campus life.
The key word is “share.” Social media is a conversation between Albion College and our audiences. And while new social media channels pop up and die off every year, the “sharing” philosophy remains the same.
The Office of Marketing and Communications manages the College’s presence on social media platforms by maintaining a posting calendar and keeping to an editorial strategy throughout the year. While one College employee may manage a particular channel, the entire department gives input and suggestions on what to promote at any time. Social media at Albion College is a team effort.
The Office of Marketing and Communications also works with other campus departments, such as Alumni Engagement, Annual Giving, and academic departments, to help generate worthwhile content.
This editorial guide serves as our how-to manual on the College’s social media presences. The main social media channels are broken down into their own mini guides, and we lump the minor social media channels into one page.
Find Albion social media accounts on our Social Media Listing page.
Other Social Media Channels
While Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr make up the most popular social media sites, they are by no means the only channels Albion College uses.
As a department, we watch for upcoming social platforms, and join them when appropriate. Often, we will join them if only to register our “albioncollege” username. Then, as the site gains users, we have a foot in the platform’s door.
Here’s how we manage some of the other social media sites around the Web.
Albion’s Instagram account is an in-the-moment way to share photos of students and campus events, as well as campus beauty shots. Most College locations are also available when geotagging photos. If a student or alumni appears in the Instagram photo, we tag them as well.
We usually automatically follow anyone on Instagram who follows the college. Also, whenever someone tags the College (using either the @albioncollege username or #albioncollege hashtag), we try to like and comment on the photo.
The College should post a photo to Instagram at least weekly, and more during events.
Instagram allows you to share photos on Twitter and Facebook. For efficiency, we post photos to Twitter every time, but for Facebook we reserve Instagram photos for big events or slow social media days.
A few tips: no food shots, and no blurry shots. Behind-the-scenes photos perform particularly well. Campus beauty shots are universally appealing.
While Pinterest’s target audience and usage (female, fashion, fitness, and food) do not automatically match up with Albion’s, we use the social pinboard site to share visual content and show the quirky side of Albion’s personality.
We generate pins with mostly student-created content, including fun decorations, campus beauty shots, and celebration stories. We also recruit others to pin to our boards when they see content that fits.
Typically, we will post new pins to our boards once or twice a week until we settle on a long-term strategy for the site. As of now, Boards include:
- #instaBrits: student-, staff- and alumni-created Instagram photos
- Albion Around Town: Albion gear spotted in random locations
- Albion Gear: clothing, swag, etc.
- Purple and Gold Decor: Decorations, Albion-related decorations, purple and gold decorations
- Squirrels!: Random photos of squirrels
- Brit’s Wardrobe: Armor, shields, swords, pics of Brit
- Albion Through the Years: Classic photos of Albion
- Around Campus: Campus shots, both student-created and official
We are now experimenting with a more story-telling approach, using #askalbion as a way for students to give advice to prospective students.
Albion College maintains an account on Google+ for the simple reason that, as G+ grows, we need to be ready to launch with a viable strategy.
But for now, we simply occupy space on what could turn out to be a popular platform. Also, it helps with organizing College information (business name, contact information, Google Search ranking, etc.) through Google.
We make weekly updates focusing on major themes and events taking place at the College, and tend to share mostly YouTube videos that outline these themes.
Because there’s no easy way to find out who is adding the College’s page to their circles, we tend to pick people we know (students, alumni, etc.) to add to the page’s circles, and post updates publicly.
Foursquare is a location-based check-in platform that lets users share where they are, earn badges for checking in to places, and posting photos and tips for the location. Albion’s presence on Foursquare is mainly to set up the check-in locations around campus. We offer tips for each location (The Rock: Paint it every day (but not more than that!)), and assign proper names for locations.
Usage is low on campus, but with the Colleges’ Foursquare account we can set up the parameters for users to check-in.
Albion maintains a presence on Vimeo to (a) display automatically-high quality embeddable videos, (b) offer the option to download videos, and (c) offer an non-athletic-videos alternative to YouTube. Many of the more long-term, high-quality videos get posted to Vimeo.
Other Social Media Platforms
Albion will join other social media sites as they emerge, if needed, often to simply secure the College’s username (@albioncollege). Criteria for joining new social media platforms include:
- Size of audience (the “network effect”)
- Number of alumni/students/parents that are members
- Unique offering of the platform
- Long-term viability of the platform
- Long-term strategic opportunities
Find Albion social media accounts on our Social Media Listing
YouTube Editorial Guide
YouTube is Albion College’s primary video hosting and sharing platform. It’s ease-of-use, channel creation options, and in-depth analytics make it a useful tool.
The College uses YouTube to host videos for embedding on the website, sharing in other social media sites, and marketing promotions in email and other campaigns (think of it as an “upload once, post everywhere” solution).
We post all videos to YouTube: athletics, academics, news stories, marketing pieces, event highlights -- everything.
YouTube allows the creation of channels. We organize these channels into major themes: athletics, student life, academics, events, etc. As new videos are uploaded to YouTube, we add them to the respective playlist.
Tags, Headlines and Descriptions
To help with search engine optimization (SEO), “Albion College” should always appear in the video title, followed by a description of what’s in the video. Usually it’s descriptive, such as “Homecoming Highlights 20XX.”
For descriptions, shorter is better. If it’s promoting a particular department or promotion, we include a link back to the albion.edu website. We also try to list any individuals who appear in the video. If royalty free music is used in the video, we include the artist, title of the song, and link to the artist’s website.
Albion’s YouTube account is set to automatically include tags relating to the College, but others should be added that fit the context of the video. This also helps with SEO.
YouTube automatically creates a video preview screenshot for each video uploaded, but often the three default choices are unflattering or blurry. It's best to take a good screenshot of the video, representing a true preview of the video (often someone's face, or the title screen of the video), and upload that as a custom preview.
For good at-a-glance "video shopping," we will often create a custom preview using a photo from the video shoot and a title -- usually created in photo shop to HD specifications (1280x720).
Key Takeaways for Albion's YouTube Presence
- YouTube is Albion's use-everywhere video hosting solution
- The College uses strategic titles, tags, and descriptions to help with findability
- Channels help organize videos into themes like student life, athletics, etc.
Visit Albion's YouTube Channel
Flickr Editorial Guide
Flickr is a social photo sharing site, allowing Albion College to post pictures in galleries grouped by events, activities, themes, athletic teams, and academics.
The Office of Marketing and Communications links to Flickr galleries on the website for appropriate events and happenings, such as Homecoming and Commencement galleries.
Collections are groups of Albums, and are comprised of larger theme-based categories: Academics, Athletics, Alumni, Student Life, etc.
Albums are groups of individual photos that represent a theme, event, class, athletic contest, or initiative. Photo galleries could include “Commencement 20XX,” “Albion Britons vs. Hope - Football 20XX,” or “Campus Tour.”
Galleries should be separated by year, when possible, for website link purposes (“See last year’s Grand Getaway photos”).
Because Flickr serves as the main College photo gallery, we encourage the sharing and downloading of photos.
Each photo contains a download link in the “Actions” menu (called “View All Sizes”). This is how viewers can see the full-res version of each photo, and download it to their computer.
Processing and Uploading Photos
Marketing and Communications archives photos after they are taken. Often, for immediate sharing, we will publish them to other social platforms like Facebook.
Once this is done, we upload photo sets to Flickr and share the link to the gallery through Britonline, Twitter, and other social networks.
Tags and Descriptions
Flickr helps organize photos through tags. We use tags like “alumni,” building names, the event name, the season, the year, and over-arching themes like “student life,” “academics,” etc.
It helps to have captions with each photo for context purposes. Tools like Adobe Bridge and Lightroom let us write descriptions into photo metadata so that we only have to write them once.
Key Takeaways for Albion's Flickr Presence
- Flickr helps organize photo albums based on events, themes, and activities
- The College uses Flickr to share photos with constituents, on the website, and through social media
- Flickr keeps a record of uploaded photos through tags and captions
Visit Albion's Flickr Gallery