Best Practices

Put your best foot forward in social media

Social media has its own rules—and it pays to know what they are. In general, follow these guidelines:

  • Be authentic. Use marketing messages sparingly—unless you want your audience to tune out. Mix it up with content that engages your followers.
  • Be personable. Just because you represent an official IU unit doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun. Lighten up—it’s social media.
  • Be thick-skinned. Don’t take attacks on your unit personally. Try to correct inaccurate information or direct followers to someone who can help, rather than go on the defensive.
  • Be responsive. If someone asks you a question or criticizes you, do your best to respond as soon as possible—it should take no more than one business day.
  • Be curating. While you will need to be acontent creator—especially when you start out—eventually you want to encourage  your followers to create the content for you, thereby becoming ambassadors of your brand. 

Picking the right multimedia elements


Facebook places a higher priority on videos and on curated news stories from other outlets. Photos also do well, but copy-only posts typically do not, unless you are using them to communicate during an emergency situation.


Instagram rewards those who post beautiful, dynamic images. While anyone can create an Instagram account, the administrator should be someone with a good eye for visuals and a smartphone with a decent camera. You can also post videos of up to 60 seconds.

Linked In

Include a photo or video in every comment and share.  You can also use infographics in data-heavy stories.


Snapchat is a photo- and video-first app. You can either send a "snap" to individuals or add them to your Users can add photos to story, which collects all of your content in one place. Every post—even those posted to stories—disappear off the app in 24 hours unless you save them to your memories album.


While copy-only tweets are perfectly acceptable on Twitter, those with photos or videos do better. Infographics are also a useful tool for explaining complicated or data-heavy stories, and aren’t too difficult to design thanks to low-cost, online tools.


YouTube is a video platform that also allows for live-streaming of events. Just beware of any background audio at live events, which can result in copyright issues and subsequent deletion of your video from YouTube.