Managing social media accounts can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to strategize your social media as well as easy tools to streamline the process.
Image Identity – The Shield
Every social media channel used by a university unit is a first impression for our audience. We’re a diverse group and our different social media channels should reflect the different voices that speak for the University of Arkansas.
However, we want our audience to know when they are speaking to an official university account. For that reason, we require all social media channels to feature the shield on their social avatar in a clearly identifiable way.
Part of our identity lies in the tone or voice we use to represent our departments or the institution. Use approachable language that avoids slang or jargon. Consider how the language you use affects or enhances the credibility of the organization.
A motto often used when dealing with social media is that you can "relax your tone, but not your standards." This means you should keep updates conversational and friendly, but always be a source of information and never uninformed speculation.
You’re welcome to use any image you think best illustrates the tone of your account on social media. Just overlay the shield in the corner of your avatar.
You can streamline and manage multiple social media accounts through a Social Media Management System (SMMS.) These are set up to help you send messages to multiple platforms all at once. Additionally, a SMMS can increase reach, boost engagement and hopefully take some workload and stress off of you.
A free and easy SMMS is Hootsuite. This tool has several features perfect for managing and monitoring multiple accounts. With Hootsuite you can post to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, Foursquare and Google+.
You can also integrate with YouTube, Instagram, Tumblr and Storify through their directory. The platform includes features to monitor other social media channels and even tracks analytics.
Only have 1 hour per week to work on Social Media? No problem. HootSuite allows you to preschedule everything at your convenience.
Tips for Posting
When posting the same message to multiple accounts, you need to keep a few things in mind.
First, know that you probably have the same followers on several accounts. Be sure to change your message up for each channel so that the same user does not get bored seeing the exact same message multiple times.
Also, include different actions for each channel. If you are posting to Facebook, ask followers to ‘Like’ or comment on the post. For Twitter, you could ask followers to retweet or reply using a specific hashtag.
If it is Instagram, you might ask followers to also use a hashtag with a photo they take related to the original post.
When dealing with naming for social media accounts, it is a good idea to keep a couple things in mind.
- Keep names short to make it easier for followers to find you.
- Stick with the trends of the organization you are associated with. We recommend the use of “UA” or “UARK” in your name.
- See more examples at the University of Arkansas Social Media Directory.
Guidelines and Comments
HIPPA and FERPA
Never divulge the health status of a student or anything that pertains to their grades on an official account without the student’s express permission.
Posting co-worker’s condition in social media
Never post personal details about a co-worker’s or supervisor’s medical condition on social media outlets affiliated with the University. If the person is a public figure, work with University Relations to draft a public statement about that individual.
Responding to offensive language or inappropriate comments
The University of Arkansas welcomes the community’s contributions (comments, photos, wall posts, etc.) to official University of Arkansas Social Media outlets.
You may post the following statement on your official social media page when appropriate:
“We encourage civil debate about important ideas and respect commenters’ freedom of speech. We reserve the right to remove all offensive and unrelated comments on our social media outlets. You can contact the administrator at [insert contact e-mail address]”
A Word About Emergency Communication
Do not post speculative information during a crisis. Refer all traffic to the university’s official accounts. The twitter account, @UArkansas, is the lead social media channel for the university in the case of an emergency situation.
Contact University Relations immediately if you discover erroneous information about an unfolding crisis.
Taking Photos on Campus
The University of Arkansas is a public space. You are allowed to take any photos you wish on campus as long as the subject doesn’t have an expectation of privacy.
A photo taken in a dorm would likely be intrusive, but a photo taken in the Arkansas Union, is probably fine. You should always try to get verbal permission from the subject of your photo.
It’s best to avoid taking pictures of children on campus unless you have verbal or written permission from their parent.
Be aware that the following policies affect social media usage on campus. We’ve summarized them, but for the fine-tuned legal points, please look at the language of the policy itself.
- University Graphic Identity #208.0 – Official accounts must follow the university’s graphic identity standards.
- Code of Computing Practices #201.0 – General principles regarding usage of computers and other digital resources.
- Public Information and Media Relations #217.0 – Major campus-wide policies and news should first be reviewed by University Relations. Sports and agricultural publications are exempted from this policy. The Associate Vice Chancellor for University Relations (or her designate) is the official spokesperson representing the campus with the external media in all emergency situations, or those situations that may have potentially negative implications.
- University Websites and Online Communications #225.0 – Only official webpages can use the university’s logo. University Relations has the right to review official websites for consistency of design, appropriateness of language and site architecture.
- Employee Conduct, Use of Property & Facilities (Staff Handbook - 9.2 on this page) – University equipment should only be used for work-related purposes.
It’s always best to use images create to provide visuals to your social media posts. Images taken by you will be more timely and specific than stock art.
However, here is a good article that details some of the issues around using stock art.
And here are two excellent sources of stock art: