Social media and public engagement Nick Wade Corporate Communications


Social media and public engagement

Nick Wade

Corporate Communications

We started around 2 years ago, with no real idea why...

Now we have grown into a powerful online presence:

• Twitter: 3 rd most followed university in the UK

• Facebook: Most ‘liked’ university in Scotland

Has grown into a really key part of our communications strategy and how we work day-to-day in Media Relations.

Has grown into a really key part of our communications strategy and how we work day-to-day in Media Relations.

• Potential students

• Current students

• Alumni

• Public

• Media


Bridges the gap between reaching mass audience whilst developing personal relationships.

Facebook alone gives us the potential to reach >6,000,000 people.

• University Facebook messages regarding last week’s storms reached 82,000 people in one day.

Easy IP trended around the world on Twitter last year with an online presence that last for months.

Evidence of the groundswell that social media can give news; the potential audience is huge.

• Social media offers:

• The opportunity to relate to people in a personal and engaging way.

• The opportunity to develop personal relationships with followers, talk to them directly, in real time, and have a bit of fun.

• The chance to gauge grassroots opinion and garner feedback

Remember WHY? Before HOW?

If you are thinking about social media for public engagement, please be sure that it is the answer.

Easy to set up, difficult to maintain. It is no silver bullet

– sometimes it causes more problems than it solves.

Make sure that you have the manpower and the content to make it work.

Facebook, Twitter, blogging, each offer different pros and cons...think carefully which route you want to go down.


• Broadcast

• Monitor

• Merge


• Pages vs. Groups

• A brilliant forum for engagement through:

• Video

• Audio

• Images

• Links

• Apps

• Pages include really useful insights, which are really helpful in breaking down your fans, and seeing what content people are really interested in.

Likes by nationality

Interactions by language

To blog or not to blog?

Blogs are great at building up giving you the space to be creative and a bit more expansive with your work.

Think a lot more about the design and tone of your blog – more or less formal?

Get involved with the blogging community. Follow others, comment on like-minded bloggers site, trade content

Not all posts will be masterpieces so publish and be damned!

Podcasting & videocasting

• Would your content lend itself towards other forms of blogging?

• Youtube/iTunes U

Tone of voice

Your role when publishing on social media is to be accessible, understandable, open and friendly.

Handy checklist:

Does it get straight to the point, and say it clearly, without unnecessary jargon?

• Does it come across as professional, but in a personable way?

• Does it show an understanding of your audience’s needs and aspirations?

• Is it how a leading university should communicate?

• Is your language upbeat and lively, but not ‘cheesy’ or ‘try-hard’?

Social media guidelines

All social and digital media involves publishing and a few communication and legal issues.

Corporate Communications have developed a set of social media guidelines that offer advice for some of the legal pitfalls around this area:

• Appropriate language

• Confidential information

• Data protection

• Sensitive and/or controversial research

Worth looking at before you start...

More information

• You can find out more information about the University’s tone of voice in our Brand & Visual Identity guidelines .

• If you have any other questions, please let me, or another member of our media relations team know:

• Top tips

• Keeping it up to date

• Choosing your channel

• And finally...

Content is king