New Social Accounts: Who’s Going to Walk the Puppy?

A social media account is like a pet. Here are three things to consider when a department wants a new one.

3 minutes
By: Katelyn Mills-Erickson

So, you want to start a new social media account for (fill in the blank) department. Are you sure?

Think of this as when kids ask their parents if they can finally get a dog. They promise to walk it, feed it, look after it, et cetera. When the rubber meets the road, what happens? In true sitcom fashion, the parents (usually the mom who was totally against the dog in the first place) step in to pick up the slack. But what happens when there is no parental oversight?

That brings us back to the question. Are you sure you want to take on the responsibility of a new social account? Are you sure you’re capable of taking on this account? Let’s review some of the responsibilities involved and map out your answer.

1. You need a full-scale, solid strategy. 

To put this bluntly, you shouldn’t have an account because everyone else does. You need to have a strategy and goals in place. Who is the audience, what is your purpose, and what content does your audience need that they aren’t getting elsewhere are great questions to get you started. 

From there, you need to look at the types of content you want to share, how to create or find the content you want, the frequency with which you post, and so on. This is a lot of work! Are you prepared to do this before you even start?

2. You need dedicated resources. 

First and foremost, you need a staff member who can take on this work. This isn’t the “other duties as assigned” type of work. If you want to run a successful account, you need someone who understands social media and what it means to run a quality account. This person also needs to have the time to run the account. From developing and executing a strategy to collecting and creating content, this is not the area to skimp. 

Additionally, you’ll need the tools of the trade: think cameras, editing software, scheduling and analytics tools, Canva, et cetera. In addition to the person and the time, do you have the budget?

3. You need to commit to the brand. 

This one is often overlooked, but you need to have 100% commitment to maintaining the brand of the organization as a whole. No matter what department you’re representing, you are also a representative of the brand. A solid department account should be built on the strategy and work of the primary account. 

This should be a collaborative effort between offices: follow the brand guidelines, memorize the style guide and the hex codes, and maintain the voice. It’s all about cohesion. Much like when students explore the university website, there should be a natural flow between accounts. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

If you’re still questioning how you’ll be able to pull this off, it’s time to network with other offices. Propose collaborations with other established accounts and highlight worthwhile activities or information that could be shared. There are dozens of ways to create and distribute content without needing to run your account. 

After all this, if you’re still in favor of creating an account, go for it. Or at least feel empowered to craft a proposal to present to the powers that be. Congratulations, you’ve put in the time, effort, and energy to get started. Best of luck, and let me know how it goes!

Katelyn Mills-Erickson

Katelyn Mills-Erickson


Katelyn (Katie) Mills-Erickson is the manager for communications and marketing in the office of admissions at the University of Iowa. Her hobbies include crocheting, baking and scrolling through TikTok.

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