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Social Media Tips and Guidelines

University Communications currently uses three social media platforms to manage the University of Richmond’s top-level social media presence: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. However, campus units are also using LinkedIn, Flickr, Google+, and other sites successfully.

The following tips have been compiled through internal and external social media research and are considered the best practices for University social media administrators.

Account Setup
  • Choose a name that clearly identifies your campus unit’s connection to the University by including “University of Richmond,” “Univ. of Richmond,” or “U. Richmond,” followed by your campus unit’s official title. For more on naming, see the Social Media Policy.
  • Select profile and header images that represent your campus unit and/or establish a “sense of place” connection to the University. For information about using University logos as social media profile or header images, see the Social Media Policy.
  • Include a brief description of your campus unit in the “About” or “Bio” section.
  • Include your campus unit’s contact information, website, and other social media sites in the appropriate sections.
  • In Facebook, use the “Timeline” feature to give your campus unit depth and longevity by adding important milestones.
Functionality
  • Use a hashtag (#) to categorize your posts and tweets. Hashtags are a fun way to add emphasis to your content and they can increase visibility. For example, using #SpiderReunion in your post or tweet will bring it up alongside similarly tagged content in a search of the #SpiderReunion hashtag. Note there is no space between the symbol and the term.
  • Tag other users on the same platform by typing the “@” symbol followed by their profile name. Since several campus units have accounts on multiple platforms, it’s important to pay careful attention to the profile name and platform you are trying to tag. Similar to hashtags, there is no space between the symbol and the name.
  • Use URL shorteners to free up character space. Sites that will shorten your URL include tinyurl.com, bitly.com, goo.gl, and hootsuite.com.
  • Connect your campus unit’s social media accounts to share content across sites. Keep in mind that while it is sometimes appropriate to share photos and posts across different platforms, each platform should also contain unique content.
Content
  • Be concise. Research shows shorter posts and tweets perform better.
  • Share news and information about your campus unit.
  • Post about topics of interest to your followers.
  • Share/retweet posts from your followers and counterparts when content relates to your campus unit.
  • Include photos when applicable. Be sure to gain permission before snapping and posting a photo of an individual or small group. You don’t have to ask large groups for permission. For more on posting photos, see the Photo Policy.
  • Review content for appropriateness, check all links, and proofread carefully before posting.
Strategy
  • Clearly identify your social media objectives, tactics, and measurable goals for each platform. Review and update your strategy regularly (as needed.)
  • Develop a “voice” and tone based on the platform and your campus unit and audience.
  • Post and tweet daily or several times per day.
  • Live post/tweet when attending University events.
  • Be present and pay attention. Regularly monitor your page for questions, comments, and controversy.
  • Mediate when necessary, but stay mindful of different perspectives, opinions, and feelings.
  • Delete rarely. It’s not necessary to remove negative comments or feedback; however, it is a good idea to delete spam, and abusive or profane posts.
  • Be engaging. When appropriate, interact with your audience by asking questions or for feedback or submissions.
  • Use “calls to action.” This can be as simple as including a link or button (e.g., volunteer, registration, subscription, etc.). Take it a step further with surveys, special offers, and giveaways.
  • Post photos and visuals as often as appropriate. Research shows visual posts outperform text-heavy posts.
  • Know your audience. Browse through your followers regularly to learn more about them and their interests.
  • Like/Follow members of the campus community who post or tweet about your campus unit.
  • Like/Follow counterparts at other colleges and universities, as well as bloggers and news media who report on information relevant to your campus unit.

Content Ideas and Submissions

We welcome news and content submissions for the University's social media channels from all faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. You may send your ideas via direct message to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, or via email to the University Communications office.

University Communications reserves the right to decide which submissions will be published.