Social Media Toolkit

Considering social media for your department

Social media platforms are typically easy and free (or at least inexpensive to use) but a successful social media strategy requires research, clearly outlined goals and objectives, smart tactics and dedicated effort. If you are thinking that participation in social media might be helpful for your department, first think about these questions:

What would you like to accomplish?

If you want to promote an event or share news about your department, a website or an e-newsletter, submitting content for VUMC’s existing social media sites might be a better choice for you. Social media outposts such as those on Facebook and Twitter require daily maintenance and a desire to engage with others.

Whom do you want to reach?

Figuring out the type of people you want to have a conversation with will help determine which platforms are best for you.

What is your message?

This is a trick question. Social media is all about connecting, not pushing a message. To be a good participant, you must first be a good listener. Your online community will tell you what they want to hear from you.

Do you have what it takes?

To be successful at social media takes not only time and strategy, but it often takes an outgoing personality. If you've been described as a people person or friendly, you may have what it takes. Or you may be a connector — someone who enjoys making connections and providing helpful information. In any case, you'll need to have some personal or professional experience with social media before hosting an account on behalf of VUMC.

How is this in the best interest of Vanderbilt University Medical Center?

Any activity in social media on behalf of Vanderbilt should directly and measurably align with VUMC’s strategic mission and priorities.

According to the social media policy, any social media accounts representing Vanderbilt University Medical Center or any of its components must be developed in consultation with or reviewed and approved by the VUMC Strategic Marketing Department or social media delegates in the schools of Medicine and Nursing. This process begins by understanding your business objectives for the account, which must align with the medical center’s missions in education, research and patient care. You may begin the process by requesting a consultation.

Approved VUMC social media accounts require at least one designated moderator, who signs a moderator agreement that specifies terms and conditions for posting content and moderating comments. Moderator agreements are renewed annually, and accounts are subject to review to assure that they are successfully meeting objectives and have not grown stagnant.

This page was last updated November 13, 2013 and is maintained by