Social media posting best practices
Administrators should post content with the understanding that it will likely be redistributed through the internet and other media channels and viewed by the general public. If deleted or modified, older versions may continue to exist online. Share only information that is appropriate for the public.
What should you post in social media?
Below are some engagement ideas and tips to consider when posting content to your social media properties:
- Announcements / shout outs
Announce upcoming events and welcome guest speakers or artists. Congratulate achievements by students, faculty or alumni and highlight important dates.
Posts that include images get more engagement (especially on Twitter and Facebook). On Facebook, photos get more likes, more comments and more click-throughs than text-based posts. Share photos of campus buildings and scenery, events or students and alumni. (e.g., post "a week in photos" or highlight pictures taken by the Brock community and give them credit). Check out Brock University's Flickr page for photo ideas.
- Upcoming events
Promote campus events and school pride. Share events that student groups are organizing and encourage others to attend. Build anticipation leading to an event or announcement by counting down days, sharing behind the scenes photos, or other relevant content.
- Stat / fact / ranking
Highlight Brock's inclusion in a ranking list (e.g., MacLean's university rankings) or a fun fact about the University.
- Tips and how-tos
Offer your audience some tips, advice and how-to tutorials. For example, when exam time is approaching, share a blog post about seven ways to stay healthy during the stress of exams.
- Third-party content
When appropriate, share third-party content like blog articles, videos, photos and news articles if it relates to your department, office or upcoming event.
- Questions, polls, fill in the blank
Research shows that question posts get more comments on Facebook, but fewer likes and shares. (e.g., "What's your favourite place on campus to study?" or "If you were president for a day, what would you change?"). Include words like "should", "would", "which", "who", and "when". Note: questions with "why" and "how" make users think more to articulate their answer and may not receive as much comments.
Like photos, links appeal to social media users. On Twitter, links are more likely to increase your number of retweets than your engagement rate. Whenever possbile, content should link back to the brocku.ca University website (for example The Brock News stories and press releases). Increase the liklihood of engagement by coupling the link with a question for opinions. Consider using a url shortner when adding links to track the performance of your links. Further, social media should not be used to commuicate complex procedures and policies. Point to an area on the University's website with further information or provide contact information to a staff or faculty member who deals directly with the area of interest.
Incorporate a video attachment. Check out Brock's YouTube channel for inspiration.
- Giveaway / trivia / contest
Offer a prize if fans take some action or post a comment. Consider starting "Trivia Tuesdays" and ask questions about Brock, its history, or any topic that's relevant. "Caption this photo" -style contests bring in many more comments thatn regular posts. (Please remember to abide by Facebook's promotions guidelines)
- Score / result / pre-game
Give updates on Brock Badgers' scores, upcoming games and athletes.
- Keep it short
Tweets and Facebook posts that are shorter, tend to garner more engagement. Keep tweets to less than 100 characters or 120 to 130 characters if you're incorporating links. On Facebook, keep posts between 80 and 250 characters.
- Don't forget critical information
Don't forget to include critical information in your post including dates, times, links, eligibility, etc.
- Include a call to action
Phrases like "click on the link below", "register online", "sign up today", "share your thoughts" will encourage people to interact with you.
- Plan around the seasons and holidays
Share content relevant to upcoming holidays and seasons. Take a look at the University event calendar to see if there are any events planned. Ask followers what their holiday traditions are. Post a seasonal-themed Facebook cover photo. Do a web search on unique holidays like "national kindness day" and encourage your followers to participate.
- Ask for the retweet
Your tweets have a higher chance of being retweeted if you ask for it, and even higher chance if you actually spell out the word "retweet". (Pick and choose posts to ask for a retweet).
- Include hashtags
Tweets with hashtags get twice the engagement. But keep hashtags to a minimum. Always include #BrockU in your tweet and if you like, choose one or two others.
- Offer a coupon or discount
If you're a revenue-generating department, use social media to offer your fans exclusive discounts or coupons. According to reports, 42% of Facebook fans like a page in order to get a discount or coupons and coupon-based campaigns received the highest engagement rates.
- Take the conversation offline
Social media is only a starting point. Create meet ups, tweet ups and other offline events to get your community together and interacting with your organization and each other.
Dos and don’ts to keep in mind when posting:
- Use social media as a megaphone: resist the urge to use social media as a fire hose of University news and events - to solely push promotional messages.
- Auto-post: you can replicate content across platforms, but keep in mind the different communities and audiences you are reaching. Refrain from using tools to automatically populate content, such as auto feed from Twitter to populate your Facebook feed.
- Delete negative comments: a negative response is still a response. Life is not all sunshine, puppies and rainbows and social media reflects this. However, DO delete comments that are spamming, hateful, deceptive or contain foul language. See Brock Univeristy's Facebook page guidelines for more information.
- Post confidential or proprietary information about Brock University, students, employees, or alumni. Be aware and follow FIPPA and student's privacy.
- Post embarrasing content: Do not post content that might be embarrasing to an individual or that could be contrued as placing an individual in a negative or false light.
- Post content that is vulgar or condescending.
- Post content in areas outside of your authority or expertise.
- Use language that is vulgar or condescending.
- Use an authentic, honest, transparent voice.
- Be respectful: Use a civil tone and mind your Ps and Qs. Do not engage in arguments or post inflammatory comments or statements in response to any negative or derogatory comments about Brock University, its employees, services, or units.
- Follow the terms and conditions of the social service you are using.
- Experiment on your own personal social channels first: pick one tool to focus on, get really good at it, and then consider expanding. Start using the tools you have used effectively before diving into something else.
- Have a personality: people talk to people, not brands.
- Use humor: it makes you seem more human.
- Add value: share infomation others would find interesting or beneficial.
- Correct mistakes: If you unintentionally post something online that is incorrect, correct it visibly and publicly as soon as you can.
- Involve students: ask them for feedback and ideas for content.
- Obtain consent (preferable written) before posting images of identifiable individuals.
- Use social media to drive people back to your website: it’s the one place where you control everything.
- Follow and listen your followers: take what students, alumni, parents and community members are saying to guide your content. In Twitter, consider monitoring hashtags like #BrockU, #GetInvolvedBU, etc. More information on social media monitoring and listening.
- Manage expectations: answering a tweet at 2 a.m. can seem like dedication, but your followers will begin to expect this of you. Try saying hello in the morning when you sign on, and goodbye when you sign off.
- Use social media to test: get feedback on photos, stories, event ideas, etc.
- Develop and nurture relationships.
- Be present: being present is different than having a presence. Make sure you are monitoring your social property and are present to answer questions and engage with your followers.
- Report back to your leaders: we are the eyes and ears of the University. Report back any interesting findings.
- Tie social media activities to institutional goals: forget measuring social media by the number of fans you have. This is great, but the best measurements link to University or department goals.
- Determine your content strategy and create an editorial calendar: you can use a simple excel sheet, Google or Outlook calendar or search online for a free tool.
- Market your social media channels offline: promote your social media presence in your brochures and other print materials. More information on marketing your social presence.
- Integrate your social channels on your website.
- Be mindful of the copyright and intellectual propery rights of others and the University. More information on copyright.
- Consider student groups' before sharing their content: student groups have different interests, attitudes and opinions than offical Brock University accounts. Before retweeting or sharing content, make the the content is accurage and reflects the University's position.
- Consult the social media co-ordinator on use of logo and graphics. More information on social media icons and design.
Do you think anything else should be added to this list?
Email Brock University social media.