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?
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
- 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.