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 a content 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

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

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

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.

Twitter

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

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.

Posting the best content

A variety of post types do well on Facebook. Some of the best are:

  • Pride posts
  • Humorous or emotional posts
  • “Humans of New York”-style narratives
  • Videos less than 30 seconds in length.

Remember that Facebook uses an algorithm where the success of one post can positively or negatively affect the success of your next post, so be selective about which content you post.

Typically, images of individuals don’t do well unless they’re striking portraits or feature A LOT of people in a group shot, which will encourage followers to tag friends in the image. Landscape and building images do well, but those should be tempered with images that show a “human” side to your unit.

Because Linked In is a platform used primarily by professionals, Industry insights, updates with links to stories, job postings, and list or best of stories tend to do best.

This platform is made for fun. Celebrities on campus, behind-the-scenes footage, and doodle contests (followers are asked to doodle an image in response to a question on the app) tend to do well. Users can also submit geofilters—a sort of artistic border or stamp for photos submitted in a particular area—but getting one approved by Snapchat be tricky. 

You might be tempted to go with copy-only, newsy posts, but other types do better. Consider posting tweets with photos or videos, retweeting contests or polls, and using Buzzfeed-esque headlines (8 things you never knew about the School of Awesomeness). 

Videos are all you'll find here. The ones that do best are how-tos, funny, or emotional videos.

  • Don’t forget about your profile name. Your avatar is an image, and it never stands alone. Your profile name (some people call this a handle) will always appear in plain text beside the avatar you create. We recommend spelling out your school, department, or unit name wherever possible in social media profiles, for example, in the name, username, and bio fields. This allows you to be even more minimal with text in your avatar.
  • For schools, departments, and units on the IUPUI campus, always include IUPUI in your profile name, for example: Kelley IUPUI or IUPUI Purdue School of Engineering. You do not need to include the IUPUI acronym in the avatar itself.