Social media is a powerful tool in today’s digital communications landscape and one of many that you can use to support and promote your work. Through the Law School’s accounts on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, X (formerly Twitter), and YouTube, the Office of Communications, Marketing, and Public Affairs shares:
- News about the Law School.
- Faculty, student, and alumni achievements, experiences, and expertise.
- Information about Columbia Law’s campus, curriculum, and programs.
- Other news and stories relevant to the Columbia Law community.
We encourage all faculty members and internal groups (e.g., research centers, student organizations, administrative departments) interested in developing a social media presence to read through the following recommendations and contact our office to help craft a sustainable social strategy that meets your specific goals. Email [email protected] to suggest content to be considered for Columbia Law’s social media accounts and to consult with our office before launching new accounts.
Before You Get Started
Ask these questions to help decide whether starting a social media account is the best option for you or your program/initiative.
- What do you want to accomplish? Write out your goals as you would for any other project. Consider, based on what you know, whether social media is the best tool to help you meet your goals.
- What is your target audience? What is the best platform to reach them? Meet your audience where they are, whether that’s a specific place on campus or on a specific online platform.
- Do you have enough time and resources to manage a social media account? How will you measure success? Cultivating a following, creating content, and staying up-to-date on social media platforms takes commitment. Have a realistic sense of how much time it will take to plan, post, and measure your success on a social media platform before creating an account. Ensure you have the people you need to run the account.
- Do you have enough content to sustain your account? Consider whether you will have to create content, how long you plan to run the channel (weeks, months, years), and how laborious it will be.
- Are there existing channels that already connect with your target audience? The Communications office, for instance, manages multiple communications channels, across digital and print platforms, including e-newsletters, social media accounts, the Law School news website, and lobby monitors in Law School buildings. It may be more effective to utilize established platforms to amplify your message than to create your own account.
Email [email protected] for more assistance with specific strategies based on your goals and social platform of interest.
- Maintain transparency.
Only messages posted from Columbia Law School’s main social media accounts are considered official Law School communications/social accounts. Clearly state your connection to Columbia Law and do not indicate or imply that you speak for the Law School as an institution or use Columbia Law School branding without prior permission from the Communications office.
Be honest about yourself or your group. Ensure that your name, image, bio, and links accurately represent who you are.
- Post consistently.
Social media sites run on algorithms that are built to favor active accounts that post at least a few times each week. To be effective and to build an audience, you should post regularly.
- Act professionally.
People viewing your account will associate your account with Columbia Law School. Consider how your posts reflect on you, members of the Law School community, and Columbia Law School itself.
- Respect others and their property.
If you are posting photos, videos, audio, or other content that you did not create, ensure that you have the proper permissions for publishing them. Credit others for their work as appropriate.
- Honor privacy.
Before you post a photo or tag the accounts of private individuals, confirm that they are comfortable with being featured or mentioned in a public-facing post. Moderate any comments that violate the privacy of individuals and report them to the platform as necessary.
- Confirm the accuracy of your posts.
Verify that what you are posting is true. If you make a factual error, correct the post if possible or delete it entirely. Issue corrections as needed.
- Follow accessibility guidelines.
Ensure that your posts can be viewed by persons with disabilities. Review and use the accessibility features of the platforms that you are using.
- Optimize your photos and videos for social media.
Each platform has ideal dimensions and sizes for photos and videos that are uploaded to their applications, and these specifications can change over time. Be mindful of how the assets you’re publishing will appear to users on mobile and desktop platforms.
- Consider the platform.
Social media platforms have specific advantages and disadvantages. Use your goals and target audiences to inform the platform that you use. Become familiar with the individual tools available to you on that channel and structure your strategy based on what the platform allows you (or doesn’t allow you) to do.
- Speak authentically.
Use a tone that is appropriate for the group you’re representing and for your audience. Share news and photos that are relevant to your group’s mission.
- Be timely.
Promote events with enough time for people to register to attend. Ensure that posts that you share, especially scheduled ones, don’t refer to outdated news.
- Use your best judgment.
Consider how your posts could be received by the public, including by people who don’t know you and who don’t follow your account. Bear in mind that posts can be taken out of context and that posts can spread widely and quickly across social media.
- Ask for help!
Reach out to Columbia Law’s social media team for information about setting up an account, best practices, or any other questions concerning social media at Columbia.