Social Media Guidelines & Policies
These guidelines and best practices apply to all social networks. For network-specific guidelines, see each network's individual section.
Engage your audience with good content and communication
- Post a variety of relevant, valuable, and engaging content. Don't use your account as a megaphone; start a conversation on topics that matter to your audience.
- Quality over quantity! Uninteresting content will hurt you, especially on Facebook (whose complex filters will start to hide your posts). Only post when you have something worthwhile to say that you think will resonate with your audience.
- Look at your audience's engagement to strike the right balance of content. (Which of your posts get the most likes, comments, and shares?)
- If you can, monitor sites throughout the day, over the weekend, and after business hours. Make sure the person doing this has approval from their supervisor to work outside regular hours.
- Respond in a timely manner to those who reach out to you, especially if they are asking a question.
Be personal and on-brand with your language
- Use "we" and "us" to refer to your department and "you" for your audience. This keeps the conversation personal. Never use "I" when speaking on behalf of the university.
- When referring to the university, always use "Cal Lutheran" instead of "CLU" (except in cases where it is part of a proper entity name, such as CLU Magazine).
Be mindful of the details
- Carefully check your posts for spelling, grammar, and other issues.
- Deleting a post or comment doesn't mean it's gone forever. People can take screenshots, leaving a permanent record.
- Editing an existing post or comment is sometimes possible, but it usually leaves a publicly accessible record of the edit history.
Act in an official manner
- You must adhere to university conduct, policy, and brand guidelines. You may not use the university logo in any capacity without express consent from University Marketing. Contact marketing@CalLutheran.edu if you have any questions.
- Posted content must reflect Cal Lutheran's views, not the administrator's.
- Be honest and transparent in all interactions. Remember that all posted content is available to the public, including the media.
Measure success in a meaningful way
Success in social media is not measured purely in numbers. It's not about amassing the most followers or likes, but rather focussing on the quality of engagement. This can be tough (if not impossible) to condense into a spreadsheet report. You'll often have to rely on your gut instinct as to whether you are truly connecting with your intended audience. However, there are a few questions whose answers can give you an idea of how you are doing on certain networks:
- Facebook: What was the post's engagement rate? (This is the percentage of people who saw your post and engaged with it in some way.)
- Twitter: How often do people reply or retweet your content? When you post links, how often are they clicked? (Use bit.ly to track the number of clicks your links receive.)
- YouTube: What percentage of viewers watched the whole video? How far into the video did most viewers make it? (We find that 1.5 minutes is the maximum length that people pay full attention to.)
Build your audience organically
You will need to build your audience organically. There's no way around this. Use your current channels of communication to let your audience know about your social media presence in a way that is natural. Think less like, "We have a new social media channel! Follow us just because!" and more like, "To stay updated on new happenings, follow us on Twitter." During live events, share how people can interact with you by putting your social media information on materials and mentioning your presence during introductions or closing remarks. Posting pictures after or during an event is also a great way to drive engagement and build your audience.
Don't use gimmicks or cut corners
- You may not purchase any services that artificially inflate your statistics, such as followers, likes, and favorites. Social media is not a numbers game.
- If you have a presence on multiple social networks, do not use any auto-cross-posting services. For example, don't have your Facebook posts automatically posted to your Twitter account. This will often cause formatting errors and will come across as inauthentic to your audience.
- Do not use click-bait or like-bait language or techniques. These include "You'll never believe what happens next!" types of link descriptions and "LIKE this to show your support!" direct calls to action.
Cross-promote where possible
If your content also concerns another university entity that has an official social media presence on the same network, be sure to tag them in the appropriate manner, if possible. (You usually type a @ symbol to bring up this feature.) This cross-linking allows for easy sharing and benefits all parties involved. For instance, instead of simply saying "Cal Lutheran" in your status update, tag the main university's account. It will look like these examples:
- Facebook: Huge turnout at California Lutheran University for the big game tonight!
- Twitter: Huge turnout at @CalLutheran for the big game tonight!
- Instagram: Huge turnout at @callutheran for the big game tonight!
Use a content calendar
Whether you manage one or multiple accounts, a content calendar can help you keep track of what messages you're posting and when you're posting them. There is no single solution for creating a content calendar, so use whatever works best for you and your fellow account managers. This could be a common spreadsheet, a Google Doc, an Outlook calendar, or even just a simple whiteboard.