As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. And, it takes a strong and active university committee to successfully run social media at a large research institution. Or, something like that 😉
Universities are notorious for having committees for EVERYTHING. There’s a committee for this. And there’s most certainly a committee for that. Committee life can be painful, but the Social Media Committee at Colorado State is different.
Right players are at the table
We’ve all been on committees that are simply too large and they become unwieldy and therefore ineffective. Admittedly, CSU’s Social Media Committee is large but each person on the committee plays a valuable role.
Twenty-five individuals from key units across campus sit on our social media committee. They represent all eight colleges and major units (Admissions, Athletics, Alumni, Advancement, President’s Office, Student Affairs, External Relations, and Outreach). Committee members are also the folks who are actually managing the social media for their units. This is EXTREMELY important because they’re the ones crafting the tweets, making sure Facebook posts are on point and carrying the hashtag campaigns through. We’re all speaking the same language.
Each of the offices represented on the committee are doorways into CSU and are responsible for interacting with key audiences (prospective students, current students, faculty/staff, alumni, donors).
Going strong since 2009
I purposefully created the Social Media Committee back in the day in order to get campus buy-in and support as we stewarded the university’s journey into branded social media communication. The committee was instrumental in creating the university’s Social Media Policy and building the framework for how we use social here at CSU.
Since its founding, the committee has been all about navigating what’s happening in the social and digital space while guiding the campus community to be successful in this sphere.
Taking it old school. We actually meet. In real life.
We could use virtual meeting technology like Google Hangouts or Skype but there’s something about meeting monthly in-person that gives the committee an edge. And, we meet in a conference room that could be described as “snug” once we’re all in there but there’s a sense of closeness and “we’re in this together” mentality.
We do this a couple of different ways. During our monthly meetings, committee members will of course address upcoming campaigns and messaging opportunities, but we also make it a point to have some #showandtell pieces where we talk about what worked (and what didn’t) in the past month. It’s a great opportunity for us to cheer on successes from the group and solve problems together.
The committee also hosts professional development trainings and workshops for the larger campus community several times a semester. Committee members also often times offer one-on-one consultations for folks in their areas.
Finally, we write for this very blog!
We have a listserv
That’s right. As simple as it sounds, having a dedicated email distribution list for the committee has been a helpful communications tool. I highly recommend setting one up.
The Social Media Committee is like our extended work family. And bonus, we genuinely like one another. A couple of years of ago, Jen Smith dubbed the social media committee meetings as “recess” because unlike typical work meetings it was treat to go hang out and learn with friends. You know it’s a successful committee when we’re all using the same hashtag for big events like Homecoming and graduation, AND we like to hang out with one another.
In fact, we’ll occasionally host after-hours social gatherings for the committee. This week we’re hosting the 1st Annual Rammys Award where we’ll recognize outstanding work by the committee.
Relationships are key
The backbone of running a successful campus-wide social media strategy is based on real-life relationships. I’m truly grateful for the community of social colleagues and friends here at CSU.