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Social Media Guidelines

Social Media

The Basics

Social media is an extremely effective way to engage students, alumni and the community and showcase the work of your department or organization. Maintaining a social media account for an organization is very different than maintaining a personal account.

Employees who run social media channels for their departments should be aware that their accounts are representative of the university and should keep the following recommendations in mind.

Getting Started

Before starting a social media account at Texas State, ask the following questions:

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What are your goals?

Have a clear plan and purpose for an account before you start. Each account should have its own purpose and intended audience. How does the purpose of your Twitter account differ from your Facebook account? Have a clear idea of what you hope to accomplish from having each account.

Is there an existing official account that might better serve your purposes?

There are dozens of social media accounts listed on our social media directory. Rather than creating a new account, building a following and creating regular content, consider using an existing account. A small number of strong accounts will reach a larger audience than a large number of accounts with few followers.

Who will manage your account(s)?

Running a social media account is a 24/7 job. Be sure that your account administrators are comfortable managing the account after hours. Also, consider long-term sustainability.

Student workers are great resources for assisting with account management, but it is best to have a full-time faculty or staff member to oversee the long-term management of any social media account you open.

What will you post and how often?

In order for your account to be successful you will need to post at least three times a week. Social media is a visual medium. Be sure that you have enough time/resources to create visually engaging content in the form of photos and videos.

How will you evaluate success?

Be familiar with the analytics provided by each social media platform. The number of “likes” and “followers” can be a misleading metric. Just because you have a large following doesn’t mean your posts are widely seen.

How will you track the number of engaged users? What constitutes success according to your department’s goals?

We Can Help

If you have determined that you would like to create a new social media account, contact us and let us know of your plans prior to creating an account. We are here to help you, answer your questions and guide you as you launch your account.

Social Media Style

Please use our social media style guide to achieve a consistent, flexible style in your social media communications. The university's Editorial Style Guide is also a valuable resource.

Social Media Principles

Social media is constantly changing. New networks launch daily, each with a different goal, language and culture. It is impossible to create permanent guidelines that will address all of these changing issues. However, there are a few universal principles to follow for social media success:

Be Engaging

Don’t leave the "social" out of your social media. This is not a broadcast medium. It is important to converse with your audience and address their needs directly. When your followers mention you on social media, engage with them whenever possible. 

Be Positive

Negative comments from followers are a part of social media. If a follower has a legitimate complaint, respond to these comments in a positive and helpful manner. It’s OK if you don’t know the answer, but be sure to direct the person to someone who does.

Delete negative comments only when derogatory or foul language is used. Comments from solicitors should be removed. People consistently posting rude or argumentative comments (trolls) should not be engaged. If the problem persists, consider banning the user from your page.

Be Consistent

Post on a regular basis. We recommend at the very least once a week on Facebook and Instagram and four to six times a week on Twitter, not including comments and replies. If you don’t think your department can post that often, you should not create a social media account.

Be Human

There are many tools that will enable you to automate and schedule your posts. However, while these tools may seem like a convenient resource, they greatly diminish the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

No one likes to call a company on the phone and not be able to talk to a real person; the same goes for social media.

Be Responsible

Use common sense and good judgment when posting to social media. We invite campus organizations and departments to find an authentic, human voice and create an open, casual dialogue; however it is important that each account represents Texas State and speaks with the voice of the university.

If you are not sure if a post is appropriate, err on the side of caution and don’t post. Remember, all social media posts are available to the public, including the media. Conduct conversations in private and direct messages as if they were public.

Respect Copyrights

Social media administrators are expected to follow all copyright and intellectual property laws when posting to any social network. UPPS 01.04.27 contains a detailed description of this policy.

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