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Faculty of Arts & Science

Arts & Science News

Social Media Guidelines & Tips

The Faculty of Arts & Science Communications Office hosts several social media accounts – Instagram, Facebook and Twitter – that are used to help promote A&S achievements in education and research. Many A&S departments, centres and programs host their own social media channels as well.

This document is meant as a resource – not rules or policies – for those units that use social media as part of their work in Arts & Science, or are thinking of doing so.

Please let us know of any new accounts you create and we’ll follow along! We can also add you to the A&S social media directory.

Getting started – ask yourself:

  • Why am I creating a social media account?
  • What does my department/unit want to communicate?
  • What are our goals?
  • Who is our audience?
  • What is the best platform(s) to use to reach our audience?
  • Who will manage our channels?
  • Social media can be time-consuming – is there someone in your department that is able to spend time posting, reviewing and responding in a timely manner and keeping channels current and relevant?
  • How will we measure our success?

Be transparent:

It’s important to state which A&S unit you’re representing. Bios on social media platforms provide a good opportunity to let your audience know who you are and what your account is about.

Bios should include:

  • Unit name, Faculty of Arts & Science, University of Toronto.
  • Your website URL.
  • Each social media platform provides specific dimensions for “logos” – it is important to follow these so your logo is viewed clearly and does not appear cropped or distorted.
  • Use your official name across all of your social media channels to reduce possible confusion.

Example:

Arts & Science is the most diverse division at #UofT, offering an unparalleled breadth of programs in the humanities, social sciences and sciences.

What to post:

What you post will depend largely on your social media goals. Some examples might include:

  • Upcoming events, opportunities, and programs.
  • Important date reminders.
  • Interesting stories about your faculty, staff and students from A&S News, U of T News and external media.
  • Congratulations to faculty, students and staff when they receive awards or prizes.
  • Compelling photos or video. Images add to a post by providing additional information, and they help to increase engagement.

Ensure quality of posts:

  • Only post information that you’ve verified and know to be accurate.
  • Make your writing friendly and engaging, concise and clear.
  • Review content before posting. Typos and grammatical errors reflect poorly on your unit.
  • If you do find an error, correct it immediately.

Shorten links:

  • Use short links whenever possible in bios.
  • There are a number of tools you can use to shorten links. Uoft.me is recommended. With uoft.me you can add a key work to make your URL more descriptive.
  • On Instagram, in the description of your posts, direct followers to ‘see link in bio’. Edit your profile to include a short link for the webpage you’d like your followers to be directed to.

Social media etiquette 101:

  • Respect and obey privacy legislation and copyright laws. Never post confidential information. Ask permission before posting someone’s photo.
  • Read and follow the terms of service and acceptable community engagement guidelines for each social media platform you use.
  • Give credit where due. Tag or mention other agencies, departments, units or faculty that are included in the article you’re linking to.
  • Be social! Many departments, faculties and academic units have social media accounts. Like, follow and comment to support each other!
  • Respond to comments and questions in a timely manner – generally speaking within 2-3 hours during business hours.

Maintain and monitor your accounts:

  • Assign responsibility for maintaining the accounts to an individual – a good writer with good judgement – who will post and review accounts regularly.
  • Create a social media content calendar for each social media platform. Include items that occur regularly (weekly, monthly, annually). For example: if your department hosts a public lecture during a specific month each year, put that in the calendar. You can then plan ahead and develop campaigns to encourage attendance and create buzz.
  • Use platform analytics to assess your goals and measure your reach and engagement.

Listen:

To be a successful producer of social media content it is essential to also be a consumer.

  • ‘Listen’ to online conversations to maintain a clear and current understanding of what is relevant and of interest to your audience.

 Respect:

  • Always be respectful of the social media community and the differences of opinion that may be expressed.
  • Do always correct misinformation. Spam is fine to delete, as are inappropriate, vulgar, threatening, and irrelevant posts.
  • If you see a post or comment that makes you uneasy or that you think may require an official response, please contact Arts & Science communications.
  • In your ‘About’ section, it is a good idea to post a statement outlining expected conduct and consequences.

Treat your account like a public forum!

  • Remember that anything you post on social media can and will be shared. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on the front page of a newspaper.

Have fun!