Social media guidelines

When participating in social media, it’s important to always be upfront and honest about who you are and what you represent. Use sound judgement and common sense before you post or comment, and follow Brock’s Code of Conduct and Respectful Work and Learning Environment policies, the Student Code of Conduct, and all other applicable policies.

Be honest and transparent

  • Authentic, honest, respectful, transparent voice
  • Don’t engage in arguments
  • Have a personality; use humour
  • Write in an active voice, using exciting and unique verbs
  • Check with supervisor about circumstances when you’re empowered or need approval to respond to users
  • Don’t delete negative comments that are about Brock, however, comments that are considered a form of hate, harassment, oppressive, deceptive, contain foul language and/or discriminatory towards your audience should be removed

Post accurate, concise and useful information

  • Monitor your platforms regularly
  • Writing for the web should be quick, concise and easy to follow for screen-weary eyes
  • Use plain and simple language
  • Avoid technical speak and acronyms
  • Contribute information that will add value
  • Have all of the facts before you post
  • Check for errors, spelling mistakes, broken links
  • Check that content is AODA compliant (closed captioning for videos, alternative text for photos and videos when applicable)

Create variety in your messaging

  • Ensure accuracy: Don’t create expectations you can’t fulfill (click bait)
  • Make your message pop: Include things like alliterations, strong language and numbers
  • Ensure it resonates: Speak your audience’s language, what resonates with them and their values, morals and helping the greater good
  • Keep it short and to the point

Be respectful

  • Always respect the dignity of others and engage in civil and thoughtful discourse
  • Don’t post content or use language that is vulgar, hateful, deceptive, condescending, profane, discriminatory or embarrassing
  • Always give proper credit for other people’s work before you publish
  • Don’t post content that is outside your authority or expertise

Maintain confidentiality

  • If you discuss a situation involving individuals on social media, be sure that they cannot be identified
  • Obtain consent before posting identifiable information like a photo of a Brock student
  • Take conversations offline or in private message after first addressing it publicly with one message requesting a private message

In an emergency or crisis situation

  • Administrators of official Brock University social media accounts are asked to share only official information provided by the main Brock University social media accounts
  • Remain silent otherwise and direct all inquiries to the official Brock University pages

Social media handles

Also known as your username and what your audience will use to find you on social media. Accounts should have ‘BrockU’ or ‘Brock’ in the handle. Exceptions will be made on a case by case basis, i.e. if your area/department name is too long. All of your social media pages should use the same handle.

Before opening a new page/changing your handle, do your research on each platform to ensure your handle is available. If your handle is taken, please consult with Cate Basic on what your second chosen handle will be.

Hashtags

Hashtags are applicable on Instagram and Twitter: #brocku #brockuniversity #experiencebrocku #brockuisbeautiful #brockbadgers #badgerpride #ourhomestc #stcath #investinstc #niagara

Social media design

Avatars

All official Brock University social media pages must have the Brock logo as it’s avatar. Sub-brands such as Brock Sports, the Goodman School of Business, Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Cool Climate and Viticulture Institute, and Youth University will have their own avatar that is specific to this sub-brand. If you require the logo or assistance with uploading it to your page, please contact Layton Risto.

Profile bios

We encourage a standard biography on your social media pages, followed by a sentence or two that is unique to your area (where space allows).

Examples:
‘Official Instagram page of Brock University. Tag your pics with #brocku #brockuisbeautiful or #experiencebrocku

‘Official Twitter account of the Brock University Badgers. 115 championships and counting.’

Cover photos/videos

Cover photos apply specifically to your Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn pages. High quality photos provide the most impact. Ideas include seasonal photos of campus, people (students, staff, faculty, alumni) at an event or engaging in an activity. People should be smiling to give the photo life and energy.

Cover videos have been introduced to Facebook. This option requires additional resources, but can be achieved by repurposing existing video content. Cover videos do not support audio, so videos must be able to stand on their own without sound.

Cover photos/videos should be updated at least once per semester (September, January and May) and at the most every month to ensure variety.

Optimizing your page

Please note the following photo dimensions and saving tips for each:

Facebook

  • Cover photo: 820 x 340px, export for web optimization (JPG), resolution should be no more than 99KB
  • Cover video: 820 x 312px, export at H.264, must be 20 seconds minimum and 90 seconds maximum
  • Shared photo: 720px, 960px, 1080px or 2048px (square) or 1080 x 1920px (portrait) all JPG
  • Shared video: 720p, mp4 or MOV format

If you are creating a Facebook photo album and bulk uploading JPG photos, resolution and size can remain as they were taken, and Facebook will automatically compress the photos while still maintaining good resolution.

Instagram

  • Timeline photo and video: 1080px (square) or 1080 x 1350px (portrait), as little as 1080 x 566px to 1080 x 1350px (landscape)
  • Story: 1080 x 1920px

YouTube

  • Cover photo: 2560 x 1440px, export for web optimization (JPG), resolution no more than 2MB
  • Thumbnail: 1280 x 720px, export for web optimization (JPG or PNG), resolution no more than 2MB
  • Video: 1080p recommended, but 720p will also work. Closed captioning required for AODA compliance

Twitter

  • Cover photo: 1263 x 421px, export for web optimization (JPG) at full image resolution
  • Shared photo: 1024 x 512px, export for web optimization (JPG) at full image resolution
  • Shared video: 720p, mp4 or MOV format, maximum 2:20 in length

LinkedIn

  • Cover photo: 1536 x 768px, export for web optimization (JPG) at full image resolution
  • Shared photo: 2078 x 1080px, export for web optimization (JPG) at full image resolution

Why does content matter?

  • People are very wary of advertising
  • The average person sees 3,000 to 20,000 ads and brand messages per day (Forbes)
  • Developing amazing/valuable content is a great strategy to have your audience trust and listen to you
  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3x as many leads (DemandMetric)

It’s not about selling

  • Your content shouldn’t be an advertisement; it is not about you
  • Nobody wants to be directly sold to – stop selling, start helping

Build a value exchange

  • Content should be authentic, relatable and valuable to your audience’s life
  • Purpose of valuable content is to build trust and loyalty before selling: What problems are your audience trying to solve? Answer them and they will thank you
  • When it comes time to make a decision, there will be a positive response towards your brand

Develop your expertise in the Brock brand voice

  • Knowing and living the brand tone and voice helps develop personal relationships with your audience
  • Authenticity is key to building trust: Emotions are difficult to read online – be empathetic, kind and respectful to build trust

Spend more time on messaging (title and/or captions)

  • The messaging is the first thing your audience will see and it determines whether or not your piece will be read
  • Perform A/B tests with the same content by posting the content multiple times using different messaging to see what resonates most with your audience
  • Brainstorm a few messaging options differing in lengths and tone before posting
  • Ensure accuracy: Don’t create expectations you can’t fulfill (click bait)
  • Make it pop: Include things like alliterations, strong language and numbers
  • Ensure it resonates: Speak your audience’s language, what resonates with them and their values, morals and helping the greater good
  • Experiment: Don’t be afraid to use emojis or trendy phrases that your audience can relate to

Think about what matters to your audience

  • Video accounts for 2/3 of social media behaviour with attention span reaching a 7 second benchmark
  • Strong connections keep students
  • Create content that is captivating, is shareable and will generate discussion
  • Constantly connected: Content that is instantaneous, accessible, authentic and has an emotional or global impact resonates the most with our audience

Distribution of content

When tailoring messaging and content to your different platforms, keep this in mind: Content is King. Distribution is Queen.

Think about what you’re posting and where it is the most appropriate to post:

  • Is it appropriate for it go on social media?
  • Is this information helpful to my audience on this page?
  • Which platform(s) will have the most impact for this content?

When selecting platforms to post on, think about the community that social media platform fosters. There is no hard or fast rule on this, but generally speaking, these platforms are designed to:

Facebook: Keep you connected to your family, friends, acquaintances, favourite brands and up-to-date news

Instagram: Original content creation and user-generated content, refined photo and video content

Snapchat: Private messaging platform between friends, public-facing original content creation, lighthearted, fun and often humorous

YouTube: Original and refined video content creation, often viewed during an extended period of time due to ‘click hole,’ millennial version of watching TV

Twitter: Keep you connected to your family, friends, acquaintances, favourite brands and up-to-date news, operates like a digital newspaper

LinkedIn: Network with professional contacts, job search, up-to-date news all within the business, career and professional development industry

Questions?

For additional tips, questions or to set up a social media strategy meeting, please contact Marketing and Communications.