Author: Shannon Rinkinen

Grow Your Social Media Audience

It’s seldom as simple as launching a Facebook or Twitter pageand boom—there’s your captive audience. It takes a little time and a lot of effort. Here are a few ways to gain quality Michigan Tech fans and followers:

  • Integrate social media into your larger communication plan; setting goals and tracking metrics keeps your social media targeted and strategic.
  • Add social icons and a call to action in your printed collateral and e-newsletters. Tell your audience what kinds of content they can expect and where to go (URL) to like/follow the page.
  • During events, ask folks to like and follow your pages. Leverage the opportunity to grow your social media audience when you are speaking to several hundred people—who happen to already love the University. Ask them to take our their smart phone and hit ‘like’. Seriously. Give it a try!
  • Ask the campus community to like and follow your pages in a Tech Today post. You might even consider quarterly reminders.
  • Like and follow other Michigan Tech accounts. Upon launching your accounts, this is one of the best, first steps (after you load your page with a bit of content).
  • Regularly like and follow key industry, research, or partner pages. Interact regularly to stay visible. Remember, social media is not just a megaphone to
    shout messages—it’s a real conversation.
  • Perhaps the most important way to expand your reach is through consistent, quality content. Check out our Social Media Field Guide for more best practices and ideas (2017 edition coming soon!).

What are some of your tried-and-true ways to grow your Michigan Tech social media pages? Email

Shannon Rinkinen
Brand and Social Media Manager

Creating a Social Media Content Calendar

“What should I post on social media?” It’s one of the most common questions the social media team at Michigan Technological University hears. Most folks understand a stagnant social media page isn’t favorable, so most people are anxious to regularly produce compelling content that will engage their audience. Here are some things to consider when planning content for your Michigan Tech-affiliated social media pages:

Make a Calendar

Maybe you begin by planning a week out, maybe a month or a whole year. Perhaps your content calendar is a paper or text document, or maybe it’s Excel or Airtable (that’s what we use). Planning your social media out helps you look at the big picture: what is your goal for the page (s), what do you want to communicate, and how regularly? Bonus: A social media content calendar also helps legitimize your social media efforts to your supervisor.

Start Small

Maybe you commit to posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Hold yourself accountable with an actionable goal. If you find yourself with more rich content and an engaged audience, expand to other days and times, or even multiple times per day (Michigan Tech averages about two Facebook posts per day).

Get to Know Your Audience

When you’re planning social media content, think about who your audience is and how they might consume their digital media. Share content based around what you know about them. For instance, if your target demographic is working professionals, perhaps they are more likely to read a news blog when they wake at 6 a.m. vs. 1 p.m. Recognize the times your audience is most likely online and the times they are most likely to engage, may differ.

So What Do I Post?

Think about your content as a mix. Categories might include our academics, student and faculty profiles, athletics, research, campus life, the local area (Houghton, Keweenaw), outdoor adventure, diversity, honors and rankings, weather (our alumni love hearing about this!), and outreach. Decide what categories fit your department or area’s goals and how frequently each should be highlighted.

Look for Freebie Posts

Your content calendar should be agile enough to jump on current University news and events. If the main Michigan Tech pages post a research story, consider resharing it. If the Huskies win big, reshare. It’s an easy way to curate more content. Also look for user content, that is, the stuff students and faculty share about #MichiganTech. It might be a neat photo or a blog post. (Just be sure to get permission from the owner first.)

What works for you on social media? Feel free to share:

Shannon Rinkinen
Brand and Social Media Manager

Promoting Your Michigan Tech Event

You’re working hard to plan an event at Michigan Technological University. Now all you need is people to show up. How do you make that happen? Pro tip: it takes more than a Facebook event page. Here’s a few nitty-gritty event promotion tips for our Michigan Tech campus community:

Begin Promotion About Two Weeks Out

This means your assets, like designed posters, should be completed two (or more) weeks before the event. Of course the bigger the event, the more lead time required.

As much information as humans consume these days, it can take three or more methods of communicating the same message. What modes will you use? Consider:

  • Michigan Tech’s Event Calendar
  • Submitting news to Tech Today
  • Social media—pages you administer and partnering groups or departments
  • Table tents in the Memorial Union and dining halls
  • Posters throughout campus
  • WMTU
  • A press release to local media
  • Email blast
  • Newsletter mention
  • Postcards or quarter-sheet flyers

Tend to Your Event Page

If you go the Facebook event page route, kick-start traffic by inviting relevant Facebook friends. Your Page can launch and ‘share’ the event page, but then you can go and individually click ‘invite’ to your target audience. Click, click, click. Yes, it can feel tedious. Then ask your audience to do the same. Click, click, click. As the event page grows, consider sharing content right in the event. Your attendees will get a notification each time news is posted. There’s even a spot for a designed cover image (.png, 784 x 295 pixels) to make your Page feel extra special.

Your Audience Will Forget

Who can remember anything from two weeks ago anyway? It will take a lot of reminders. A week out, then the day before, and even the day of the big event. Keep your event top of mind, and ask a few ‘event ambassadors’ to help rally the troops, too.

Lead with Why

Keep messages short, sweet, and to the point. Who, what, where, when, and why. Creative tip I picked up from Jess Brassard: lead with the why. And don’t forget to ask a colleague to proofread your work before it publishes, prints, or posts.

Need social media or event promotion help? Just email

Shannon Rinkinen
Brand and Social Media Manager

Four Steps to More Professional Facebook and Twitter Posts

Social media seems spontaneous and off-the-cuff. And for most of us, personally, it is. Professional social media pages representing brands like Michigan Technological University, however, warrant planning, editing, and attention to detail. Here’s four easy ways to make your Michigan Tech-affiliated social media posts look more professional.

Delete that Dangling URL

Did you know in Facebook posts, after you paste the long URL and an image populates, you can highlight and delete the link? The image itself becomes clickable. It creates a cleaner-looking post. Give it a try!

URL left in Facebook post
URL left in Facebook post
URL removed from Facebook post
URL removed from Facebook post

Give the Header and Sub-Head a Once Over

Let’s say you’re sharing Michigan Tech news. After you paste and delete the link, you can hover over the headline section and edit as needed. It’s a common area for errors and typos to creep in, so it’s prudent to clean it up prior to posting.

Header section, as populated See how it trails off . . . ?
Header section, as populated. See how it trails off . . . ?
Header section, edited
Header section, edited

Edit Your Post. Then Edit Again.

Even professional writers need editors and proofreaders. Inside Michigan Tech’s University Marketing and Communications, no post is published before going through at least two sets of eyes. Ask a colleague to review your social media drafts—look at spelling, grammar, brevity, accuracy, and tone.

Embrace Link Shorteners

Scope out other higher-ed social media and it’s easy to see; the best brands are using third-party link shortening services like,, or TinyURL. These platforms are very intuitive, and can be free to use. For Michigan Tech’s Twitter, you’ll see we’ve even started using a branded shortened link. Fancy!

Questions? We’re happy to help with your department or area’s social media. Please email or

Shannon Rinkinen
Brand and Social Media Manager