Social Media Guidelines

Social media is commonly encountered in the context of applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr where text, media, links, and opinions are shared, discussed, and redistributed. Social media is generally an accessible outlet to spread the word on your organization, program, or self. 

The guide below will assist you through the basics of social media platforms, analytics, etiquette, and branding for a College of Arts & Letters related faction.

Consultation

For one-on-one consultations regarding any and all questions about social media, please submit a Marketing Request Form with the College’s Marketing and Communications office. 

Platforms

Twitter is a news platform, primarily used to share the most recent content, news, and opinions. The purpose of a Twitter page is to keep your audience current with the group. Because the lifespan of a tweet is less than a half hour & the platform has a 280 character limit, it’s important to only post the most current and concise information.

Twitter Tips:

  • Tweet with engaging images (of people, with vibrant colors, and high resolution)​​​​​​​
  • Tag relevant users (other initiatives/colleges/departments/professors ...)
  • Use hashtags
  • Write concise copy (there is a 280 character limit - but the shorter the better!)
  • Retweet related content to the college or department
  • Use language that a general audience can understand. Avoid jargon.​​​​​​​


Facebook is also a news platform, with a focus on networking with alumni and older audiences, like parents of students. Unlike Twitter, Facebook doesn’t have a character limit and you can post a bit more in-depth information. Additionally, your “news” can also be a bit dated, it is not as fast-paced as Twitter.

Facebook Tips:

  • Always use short, concise copy
  • Always use images, even with article posts (upload a relevant image if the article does not auto populate with one​​​​​​​​​​​​​​)
  • Take advantage of video content - shorter content is more attention grabbing
  • Promote your events (see CANR's Facebook Event How-To)


Instagram is a casual image-based platform that will make your group’s web presence more human and appealing to younger audiences, like students. Instagram also has a 60-second video feature and stories. Your followers are more unlikely to “repost” on Instagram than they are on Twitter or Facebook. The focus for Instagram is strengthening your brand. 

If you need assistance creating an icon or choosing a photo for your social media pages, please submit a Marketing Request Form. To learn more about specific Instagram features, visit our Instagram Stories 101 slideshow below.

Analytics

To know how successful your platforms are performing, each above-mentioned platform includes built-in analytics. 

If you are interested in a more in-depth perspective of your social media accounts, you may be interested in using a social media management system like Buffer. With a social media management system like Buffer, you are able to schedule content, manage all of your accounts in one place, and track your engagement and interaction (likes, retweets, followers, impressions, etc.). 

Etiquette 

Managing multiple social media profiles can be hard enough, but managing both personal and business profiles can get confusing. To avoid posting personal or inappropriate things on your professional profiles, try using a social media management system or you can use different browsers. For instance, use Google Chrome for personal profiles and use Safari or Firefox for your business profiles. 

In academia, using the correct title (Academic Specialist, Associate Professor, Assistant Professor, etc.) is imperative to avoid offending or misrepresenting your subject. Before posting, look up your subject on MSU’s people search, here you will find your subject’s full title if they work for the University. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do I need to use social media?
A: Social media platforms are an excellent way to build community, send messages to and engage with your target audience with branded content. Use social media to promote your department events and accolades, engage with students, prospective students and alumni. A polished social media presence also makes for a well-rounded, reputable institution and gives credibility.

Q: Do I need to have a presence on all social media platforms?
A: It is not necessary to create a social profile on every platform. Assess the target audience you are trying to reach and the type of messages you are trying to send to discover which platform works best to achieve your social media goals. Members of our Marketing and Communications office are available to help assist you assess your audience and goals. 

Q: How will I know if what I’m doing on social media is working?
A: Successful social media posts perform well, meaning they receive a high number of likes, shares and comments. Analytics are available natively through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Social media management systems like Buffer are also available.