Goals and Strategies
Social media enables the university to share what is happening on campus with the world, but more importantly, lets us hear directly and immediately from students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, fans and friends about what is important to them.
This “conversation” is what makes social media so different from traditional forms of institutional communication.
It's important to have well-thought-out strategies, goals and tactics for your social media presences before you get started.
Social Goals and Strategies for VanderbiltU
These are the goals and strategies for Vanderbilt's main channels; the specific goals, strategies and tactics for your specific school or department may differ, but they should support and be aligned with the university's goals.
1. Tell the Vanderbilt Story. Our goal is to promote what sets Vanderbilt apart, and to encourage fans to become brand ambassadors. That is why we share human interest stories about our students, faculty, staff and alumni. For these posts, we keep our tone mostly light-hearted and create content that shows the Vanderbilt personality. Because we are located in Nashville, America’s “It City,” we also share highlights from our booming hometown. We also, whenever appropriate, elevate our community’s posts about the university using the main university channels, thereby giving them additional recognition while sharing high-quality, user-generated content with our audiences. Some of our best stories/posts come from watching what our students do on their own. That is why we encourage our community to use our branded hashtags such as #vandygram, #VU2026, #VU4Life and #AnchorDown.
2. Listen, engage and learn. Our goal is to be aware of the sentiment towards the Vanderbilt name and brand, and try to positively influence it. We constantly track conversations about Vanderbilt so that we can listen and respond as needed. We strive to participate in these conversions by responding, providing customer service and sharing compelling stories that engage our audience. We analyze previous conversions and reevaluate to improve future communications.
3. Share Vanderbilt’s best content to raise brand awareness. Our goal is to increase awareness of Vanderbilt University among various audiences that include prospective students, current students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, the Nashville community and beyond. We leverage our social media platforms to engage our audiences as we introduce and reinforce the Vanderbilt brand. The best way to encourage our audiences to engage with us is to create content that is timely and relevant. Whether it’s sharing news about a student-created coffee app on National Coffee Day, or giving our Commodores a pre- or post-game “Anchor Down,” our best-performing posts are timed carefully in conjunction with what’s going on in our community, our country and our world. In addition, all of our efforts are designed to support the initiatives and vision of the university.
4. Act as “One Vanderbilt.” One of Vanderbilt’s strengths is its size: ten outstanding schools and colleges all connected by a compact central campus. Our goal is to work together and give our social media content maximum effectiveness. That is why @VanderbiltU often retweets and reposts content from our faculty, staff, alumni and other university accounts. See a list of all affiliated university accounts. Consider following and sharing from these accounts as appropriate.
5. Share Research. Our goal is to position Vanderbilt as a leading research institution among its peers by sharing research stories. That is why we share videos, experts in the news, undergraduate research stories, faculty profiles, awards and recognitions and interdisciplinary news in order to highlight the great work that’s going on at our university.
6. Communicate in a Crisis. We use social media platforms to ensure that emergency communications reach our community in the quickest way possible. We convey information to our students, faculty, staff and community during an active emergency, provide information in the aftermath of an emergency, and serve in conjunction with texts, alerts and website information. We also use social media to monitor conversations about controversies and crises and use that information to inform our overall communications strategy in relation to those events and topics.
Vanderbilt has a presence on several social media platforms that reach over a quarter of a million people. Here's an overview of you’ll find where we are, what we do, and why we do it.
Our best Facebook engagements come from content that contains compelling imagery or video, is time sensitive, and is truly reflective of our “voice.” Athletics, campus imagery, and timely research news stories are some of our most popular post topics.
@VanderbiltU focuses on sharing research news and promoting information relevant to the larger Vanderbilt and Nashville communities, and participating in topics that the whole world is talking about. In addition, we strive to interact with our audiences and encourage conversations.
Instagram feed and stories are the primary ways we share a visual day-to-day of what it’s like on campus. The #vandygram hashtag provides a way for our users to share photo and video content with us. Whether it’s a photo of your pet sporting the latest Vanderbilt gear or a selfie flashing the ubiquitous thumb-and-forefingers “Go VU” sign, share your best visual content using #vandygram.
YouTube.com/Vanderbilt is home to all official Vanderbilt University videos. Each of our colleges has its own playlist, within our channel. YouTube populates the video section on the main university news site and the footer of many top-level pages like the Vanderbilt homepage.
Vanderbilt’s LinkedIn page is great place for students, faculty, staff and alumni to connect. The channel with our largest number of followers focuses on major news and research about big initiatives and events happening at Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt’s TikTok channel is the best place to find day-in-the-life videos and campus beauty shots as well as cutting edge research and news you can use.