Supervision of social-media channels at the Virginia Institute of Marine science is the purview of the News & Media Services office. Please [[v|vimspr,consult with us]] for best practices before considering the use of social media for strategic communications at VIMS.
Oversight of accounts
Internal units at VIMS that wish to start their own social-media account should first contact [[v|vimspr, the VIMS social-media manager.]] Please be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Who is your intended audience?
- What is your goal?
- How will you measure success?
- How frequently do you plan to post?
- What type of content do you plan to post?
- Who will be the primary administrator? Is there a back-up administrator available when needed?
- Will the administrator monitor the account on a daily basis to reply to any questions/concerns?
- Is there a compelling reason for not using the VIMS website and/or our existing social-media channels?
General resources for social-media strategy, guidelines, policies, and best practices can also be found on the William & Mary website.
The purpose of social media at VIMS is to:
- increase awareness of our three-part mission of research, education, and advisory service
- engage target audiences by sharing content that clearly shows the value we bring to society and the environment
- promote a community of engaged "brand ambassadors" for VIMS
- reinforce our brand and messaging
- drive traffic to the VIMS website
- create a sense of community with both internal and external audiences
- notify external audiences of upcoming events and provide access to logistical details
- alert traditional media outlets to newsworthy stories
The social-media community at VIMS values:
- responsiveness to stakeholders
- active feedback from stakeholders
- conversation, the exchange of ideas, reflection
- user‐generated content
- content that is shared via retweets, likes, and comments
- communication that offers a sense of place and thus differentiates VIMS from other social-media sites
- fun! (the chance to show a culture beyond our reputation)
General policy related to social media at VIMS includes the following:
- make every effort to ensure our content is factual and based on scientific evidence
- encourage reasonable dialogue and offer a balanced perspective and multiple points of view
- provide proper attribution when citing or sharing content produced elsewhere
We do not
- advocate, persuade, sanction, or prescribe actions concerning legislation or policy issues
- use or allow comments that contain hate language
- allow posts that would be offensive to a reasonable person
- use profanity, or placeholders of profanity, in posts
- allow comments that are personal attacks against public figures, or members of the VIMS community
When you use social media on behalf of a unit at VIMS, your channel should reinforce the VIMS brand. Consider the following:
- everything you post on social media affects VIMS’ reputation; either enhancing the institutional brand or detracting from it
- we expect high editorial quality. This includes limiting typos, grammatical errors, and subpar content
- pages should use compelling images that reflect the work of that unit
- whenever possible, add @Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Facebook), @VIMS_News (Twitter) and @vainstituteofmarinescience (Instagram) to your social-media posts (this adds legitimacy and ties your channel to a strong brand)
- do not feature the VIMS logo as your profile photo, as users could mistake the page for the main VIMS page
The News & Media Services office will continue to focus on:
- systematic use of content tied to central themes and messages of VIMS
- measurement and return on investment
- experimentation with Facebook ads
- sharing engaging user-generated content
- enhancing live events via social-media tools
Content is king. Make it great. Great social-media content:
- is factually accurate
- shows the institute in a positive light
- leverages our wealth of visual imagery to make an emotional connection with audiences
- encourages interaction via shares, comments, likes, and other forms of social-media connectivity
- uses relevant hashtags to reach a broader audience
- is not verbose (Shakespeare was right that "Brevity is the soul of wit.")