Fraternity & Sorority Life: Social Media Best Practices and Things to Avoid
The social media and public relations departments of any industry have the power to maximize engagement between brands and their target audiences, but the same departments have a responsibility to be socially aware and follow a code of ethics for every piece of content they post to social media platforms. These code of ethics should serve as guidelines of what to do, and what to avoid. These guidelines should also serve as an outline of how to respond to a crisis or problem situation that derived from a brand’s social media presence or post.
Throughout my undergraduate career, I was very involved with my sorority which led me to my current day job of working at my sorority’s headquarters as a national collegiate advisor where I oversee 17 chapters/universities all over the country. Throughout this experience I have realized what sororities and fraternities (and pretty much any type of organization in an undergraduate institution) should and should not do when it comes to social media. Below are a list of best practices and things to avoid when it comes to sorority and fraternity life. This can be better known as my recommendation on a code of ethics:
Social Media: Best Practices
- Enhancing the Profession: In today’s world, sorority and fraternity life is viewed under a magnifying glass and has more negative connotations than positive. Social media efforts in this field should enhance the sorority and fraternity experience, and showcase how greek life can be transferable to any job in any industry. “Social media should keep publics informed and educated about the issues surrounding the profession, share best practices and case studies” (PRSA, 2015). Sorority and fraternity social media accounts should be relevant to the current collegiate audience, while keeping alumnae and other community members engaged and informed.
- Diversity and Inclusion: Organizations associated with sorority and fraternity life attract members from all different walks of life; Every one of these organizations is made up of collegiate and alumnae members with diversity of thought, diversity of culture, diversity of race, diversity of field of study, and more. Local (and national) organizations should be remissed if they did not show all of their members to their fullest extent. Sororities and fraternities are made up of a variety of members, and the commonality between those members are their sorority or fraternity affiliation — this should be showcased and celebrated in an organic way!
- Know your audience: It’s the responsibility of local and national organizations to create and promote content that resonates with their audience members. Most of these audience members are collegians, alumnae, and other community members affiliated with a specific college of university. “Social profiles are frequently viewed as sales tools instead of powerful customer service platforms for building brand loyalty and customer care. By solely pitching products rather than having meaningful conversations with your followers, you could miss opportunities to address customer experience problems early on” (NPPA). Social media platforms that promote the sorority and fraternity experience need to be able to address the needs of current members while also answering any questions or concerns from alumna members.
Social Media: Things to Avoid
- Inappropriate Content and Language: Most sororities and fraternities are in a college setting with students in their early twenties. The content that is posted and the language/captions that relate to that content should always be appropriate. Risqué photos including bikini/bathing suit pictures don’t necessarily promote the amazing opportunities that greek life has to offer. In addition to these types of photos, content including alcohol or drugs should never be posted, especially when members are not of age. The use of inappropriate language/cursing should also be avoided at all costs. Sorority and fraternity life should promote the great qualities that their members bring to the table, not the opposite.
- Local and National Politics: Member organizations affiliated with greek life don’t (and should never) endorse any political candidate or political party on a local or national level. Individual members part of these organizations are encouraged to be active in their communities and take part in local and national elections, but the organizations themselves should never affiliate with politics or allude to supporting a certain party. Each sorority and fraternity on a local and national level include members with a variety of religious and political affiliations, and these organizations should not side with any one over the other. With that being said, these organizations should help our in their community when they can and are allowed to post content relating to helping any social justice movements or affinity group — these are completely separate from politics and should not be politicized.
- Negativity Towards Other Organizations: The last thing any member organization part of a national sorority or fraternity council should do is post negatively about any other member organization affiliated with these similar governing councils. Because sorority and fraternity life is viewed sometimes in a negative light, sororities and fraternities should be lifting each other up and supporting one another wherever they can. Along with having great relations with other organizations affiliated with greek life, these organizations should also support other organizations on their university or college campus. When a fraternity posts negatively about other organizations, it’s a terrible reflection of themself and does the opposite of what most sororities and fraternities values encourage their members to do.
Social media and marketing efforts are difficult, and avoiding crisis adds to the difficulty of the job. Sororities and fraternities should try their best to promote the amazing aspects of the experience: philanthropic endeavors, networking opportunities, constant support systems, and a priority on academic excellence. Greek life should follow a code of ethics to help them promote the positives of their own organizations while also outlining the social media points to avoid which will steer them away from promoting the negatives.