Social Media: Strategy and best practices
Ohio State social media, in a nutshell
Ohio State's social media is a benchmark among institutions of higher education. Here's where we're most active—and what we do there.
Facebook.com/OSU has more than 670,000 “likes,” putting us among the top universities in the nation in terms of popularity. Our best content is visual, timely, and truly social: Image of the Day and O-H-I-O, two user-submitted photo products, are among the most popular items we post.
@OhioState has more than 165,000 followers. On Twitter, we focus on sharing news, promoting other university accounts and interacting with users. We use #OSUnews and #OSUevents to populate the news section of osu.edu.
Ohio State’s LinkedIn University Page has over 300,000 followers. The majority are alumni who love to see photos of campus and hear about the latestresearch or university news. With University Page geotargeting options, LinkedIn is also a place we can promote regional alumni events.
With more than 85,000 followers, Instagram is a way to share the sights and sounds of campus. During an Instagram takeover from President Drake or Buckeye football games, real-time photos give users a feel for what it means to be a Buckeye.
1. Share Ohio State's best stories, in line with our brand and digital properties.
Social media brings Ohio State's best digital storytelling to an audience beyond osu.edu. University social media channels are consistent with digital properties in voice, tone, look and message. Ohio State is an institution, but should not feel "institutional" on social media; we are friendly, conversational and down to earth, just like Ohio State itself.
2. Keep it social: Listen and learn.
Social media success depends on sharing, listening and interacting. Ohio State actively engages with social media users—whether that's tweeting at an incoming student who's excited about her acceptance letter, responding to questions posted on our Facebook page, or liking great Instagram photos. Some of our best social media campaigns come from watching what Buckeyes do on their own and thinking about how we can tweak and/or amplify to tell Ohio State's story.
3. Mobilize to act as One University.
Ohio State's strength is in its breadth: When we pull together, we can give our social media content maximum punch. That's why you'll see @OhioState retweet other university accounts, for instance, or ask for help sharing high-priority items. To further collaboration on campus, we've created a list of our most-used hashtags.
4. Take risks. Then, monitor and measure.
Ohio State social media is "always in beta." In fact, many of our most popular digital products have come from taking risks. Our social media culture is one of trying new things and watching how they do. Using HootSuite, we can learn more than ever about what works—and use that information to tailor our approach as needed.
5. Timing matters.
What's the best way to get big interaction on social media? Time our content right. Whether it's giving users a pre-game "O-H!" or sharing news about university health research on New Year's Day, our best-received content is carefully planned and timed.
Ohio State communicators use a series of hashtags in an effort to uniformly catalog the university’s most important stories. Here, a sampling of some of the most common:
From research articles to grants to a new president, there’s a lot of great new happening at Ohio State. For sharing Ohio State news, we ask accounts to tag #OSUnews. When @OhioState tweets or retweets a tag with #OSUnews, it will appear on osu.edu, under the News & Events section. (Sample tweet)
Just like news on campus, Ohio State has hundreds of events going on each week. By using #OSUevents, we can post and share relevant events on social media. Want to get your event on osu.edu? Tag it with #OSUevents, and we will consider retweeting to get it in the News & Events section on the homepage. (Sample tweet)
Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye. We use this tag to engage alumni – asking them to tell us why they’re a #BuckeyeForLife. Something that started out as an organic hashtag has turned into a natural way to express Ohio State pride on social media. (Sample tweet)
Show spirit using this hashtag. Heavily focused on all things “athletic,” this takes off during football season. You’ll see @Brutus_Buckeye and @OhioStAthletics heavily using this tag, but it’s a social conversation happening all over the world. (Sample tweet)
It’s proven: Buckeyes are everywhere! Just search the #BuckeyesAbroad tag – you’ll find hundred of photos and posts of Buckeyes all across the world. (Sample tweet)
From concerts to Oscar-winning alumni, Ohio State uses this hashtag to generate conversations around all things art at Ohio State. (Sample tweet)
From a Buckeye motorcycle setting a speed record at 93.5 mph to a timeline showing innovation at Ohio State through the years, we’re showing how Ohio State is using technology to change the world. (Sample tweet)
One of Ohio State’s discovery themes is health and wellness; this tag promotes conversations about healthy initiatives, news, events, etc. around campus. @OhioState has used it for the tobacco-free campaign, National Public Health Week, and health-related research. (Sample tweet)
Whether it’s time or money, Buckeyes give in big ways, and we’re telling these stories of generosity on social media. We use this tag to promote giving opportunities, as well as recognizing those who pay forward. (Sample tweet)
A special moment in every Buckeye’s life: commencement. During the weeks leading up to commencement, Ohio State and graduating students use #OSUgrad to share photos, memories, stories and Buckeye moments using this tag. For 2014 spring commencement, we put together a Storify as a way to capture the special day via social media. (Sample tweet)
From the day a student receives his/her acceptance letter through his/her first year at Ohio State, we use #new2OSU to show incoming students that there really is a community at Ohio State. Scrolling through this hashtag on Twitter, you’ll find students posting photos of their new BuckIDs, interacting with other new Buckeyes and posting about how Ohio State really does feel like home. (Sample tweet)
The television spot for the 2014 football season, “This is Ohio State,” only begins to tell the university’s story in 30 seconds. On social media, we're using the tag to tell Ohio State's great stories. From TBDBITL to a beautiful photo of campus to a story about research, Ohio State has a plethora of unique stories, and we're using this tag to tell them. (Sample tweet)
Buckeye Voices is a university blog created to share great stories from senior leaders, alumni, faculty, students and staff. From Ohio State’s annual tradition of outreach during Bowl games to Dr. Valerie Lee’s visit to Nelson Mandela’s house, the blog collects and amplifies the perspectives, insights, academic pursuits and initiatives from across the university community. (Sample tweet)
President Drake's 2020 Vision for the university is composed of three main areas: access, affordability and excellence; community engagement; diversity and inclusion. On social media, we use this tag to tell how the university is moving forward and putting the 2020 Vision into action. (Sample tweet)
Social media: Five takeaways
Getting started using social media? Here are some things to consider:
Find your voice.
Who are you talking to? What’s your voice? What are you trying to accomplish? Think about this before you start an account. If you have several admins, make sure they’re writing with a common voice.
Ohio State accounts are “always in beta” and constantly evolving. Originally, we thought Facebook would mainly share Ohio State events with students. It’s become a photo-driven medium to connect with an audience that’s largely nostalgic about campus.
Listen and learn.
From O-H-I-O to #BuckeyeForLife, some of the best ideas come from listening closely. Keep it “social” by watching, learning from, and amplifying the best finds from your audience. (Likewise, remember to connect with your colleagues.)
Content trumps tools.
Social media tools are great ways to help you accomplish your goals. Think of them as a means to an end: telling a great story in a way that helps you connect with people.
Remember the bottom line: Promote Ohio State.
As with everything we do, remember that our goal is to share something good about Ohio State. Keep the institutional position in mind—and think about how you can creatively share Ohio State’s best stories.
In this article
Engage with us!
Want to learn more about social media at Ohio State? Come interact with us! University Communications hosts monthly meetings to discuss best practices.