The companion to the Student Social Media Academy:

Chapter 6: A Values-Based Strategy for Social Media

Summary of Exercises

This chapter 6 exercise has thirteen parts:
  • Values Sources
    Create your own discernment roadmap, consider your own values and institutions values.
  • My Community
    Who are you specifically here to serve—current and ideal? Based on your current position and/or career objectives, use the table to determine the primary audience and secondary sources that are part of the equation. Who has influence on your work?
  • Know, Be, Do
    An exercise to reflect on engaging and activating your audiences on social media is called Know, Be, Do.
  • Community Engagement and Stakeholder Activation
    Spell out your target community and stakeholders, matching each with a communication tool, any privacy settings you’d require for this connection.
  • Digital Tools and Strategic Communication
    What digital communication tools are you already active and comfortable on? What is your low-hanging digital fruit for curating presence and community?
  • Social Media SMARTs
    Use the SMART method to come up with two objectives. After you’ve gone through each part of the discernment framework, update your goal in the table. Want some feedback and/or accountability?
  • Real-Time Digital Contribution
    Let’s get you warmed up to crafting a plan for what to post for one specific day. Select one day in the future, and come up with ideas for content.
  • Map the Mission
    Look at your institutions mission and value statement and come up with ways to integrate social media into those spaces.
  • Intended Purpose
    How would you describe your life purpose? What are the major drivers for you working in higher ed?
  • Discernment in Your Digital Leadership Process
    Strategizing your purposeful digital leadership presence puts you through a process to discover what tools and tactics are best suited for your community in order to make an impact today and in the future. In order to detect your social media strategy overall, as well as for each platform, use this section to collectively document why and how digital engagement platforms will help you reach your goals.
  • Six Strategy Considerations
    The four pillars of discernment for digital leaders fill up three quarters of what completes a values-based, purpose-driven social media strategy. The final step is creating a realistic and flexible plan, as well as implementing social support systems that bring your strategy to life.
  • Creating a Purposeful Plan
    For a future week, plan out in detail a social media plan that connects a platform with people and purpose.
  • Craft Your Tech Terms and Conditions
    This topic deserves its own book, as your health and wellness are definitely being impacted by digital tools and online interactions. As a digital leader, you need to develop and prioritize your technology terms and conditions.

Download this exercise below, either using Google Docs or PDF version.

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Next Steps

Now head to our book community, the Digital Leadership Network found at, and find the chapter 6 topic, where you can share a few of your reflections, discoveries and actions on any of these exercises.

The Digital Leadership Network is a community of learners reading the book Digital Leadership in Higher Education.

Chapter Resources

This rewind of my path of technology adoption outlines major shifts in tech tools over the last 40-plus years. Use my timeline as a jumping-off point to reflect on your own relationship with technology.

Josie Ahlquist

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Rebekah Tilley

Assistant Vice President, University of Iowa Center for Advancement

Rebekah Tilley is the assistant vice president of communication and marketing for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement (UICA). In that role she supports fundraising and alumni engagement efforts for the university, including its CASE Gold winning Iowa Magazine, and serves UICA in a variety of strategic communication efforts.

Previously she was the director of strategic communication for the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business, and the director of communication for the University of Kentucky College of Law. She is a Kentucky native and a proud alum of the University of Kentucky.

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