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General dos and don'ts


  • Know your platforms: Each social media channel (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.) has benefits and limitations. Familiarize yourself with each before initiating a new channel, and consider whether you have the time and resources to create and publish content on a regular basis.
  • Listen: Find and monitor the conversations already taking place in the social media sphere about the university, your unit and your area of interest.
  • Influence: Identify and follow key influencers in your area of interest or industry and learn what they consider valuable within the social media realm.
  • Engage: Develop creative ways to provide value to your audiences through exclusive content, offers, advice, multimedia and more.
  • Convert: Persuade your audience to act on behalf of the university and your area, whether it is information sharing, relationship building or influencing outcomes such as participation in a research project.
  • Measure: Ensure your social media efforts are set up for success by establishing measurable goals and returning to them regularly. 
  • Do research: Take the time to listen to the unfiltered voices of your audiences to find out what they are talking about before you jump into the fray.
  • Use the right voice: Social media marketing is most effective when it employs an authentic, transparent voice. Use your channels to engage in conversation instead of a platform for pushing out promotional messaging.
  • Stay on brand: Your avatar (profile picture) and cover photo should use images that reflect the university’s current branding. You can request images, as well as logos and graphics, through the Project Initiation form.
  • Play by the rules: Adhere to the terms and conditions of the social media platforms you are using.


  • Make everything public: Keep confidential or proprietary university-related information off social media (including links to internal communications such as Weekly Report articles).
  • Post in areas outside of your authority or expertise: Stick to what you know to position yourself as an expert or thought leader.
  • Use vulgar or condescending language: It’s easier to be less civil when your conversation with someone is not face-to-face. Keep in mind that you represent the university when you engage with others.
  • Share photos of people without permission: Get written authorization to share all images.
  • Take too many shortcuts: When resources are tight, it can be tempting to use auto-populating tools to help fill content (e.g. an auto feed from Twitter that populates your Facebook feed) but use of these tools can result in your channels having content that looks like spam instead of original, authentic dialogue. Instead, plan your posts ahead of time and schedule them in advance if possible, using a social media management tool like Hootsuite.
Project Initiation Form
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