Social Media Best Practices

The UA Little Rock Social Media Guide is designed to outline and clarify the proper and effective use for social media accounts representing university departments, colleges, and other units.

These guidelines will continually evolve as new social networking tools emerge.

Overview

  • Employees who run social media accounts for their departments should be aware that those accounts are representative of the university and should adhere to UA Little Rock’s Social Media Guidelines.
  • Everything posted is public. Assume that each tweet, post, video or picture that you post is public and available forever.
  • Do not mix your personal views and activities with those of the university.
  • Be careful and accurate. Check your facts and review spelling and grammar before posting. Do not disclose private information about yourself or students.
  • The account login/password should only be shared with those who are approved as account administrators. Set a strong password that includes letters and numbers, and avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary.
  • Be human. Be conversational. Use hashtags when appropriate. Tag other accounts when appropriate. Reply, retweet, and/or like posts/pics that mention you.

Content

  • It’s important to post content that is interesting and relevant to your audience. This might mean linking to a UA Little Rock News story about a professor’s research, or posting images from a Greek Life event, or sharing a photo from a recent student art exhibition. It’s important to post a variety of content, but photos and videos typically have the best engagement.
  • For Facebook, posting a link (with a caption) is also effective, but text-only updates receive the least amount of engagement.
  • For Twitter, consider including an image with your tweet. A tweet with an image included will grab more attention from your followers than a text-only tweet.

Frequency

  • There is a balance between posting regularly and over-saturating your followers with content. We recommend posting to Facebook at least several times a week. Channels that focus on short, quick updates (such as Twitter and Instagram) benefit from more frequent content. Twitter followers expect to see tweets daily.
  • It is very helpful to create an editorial calendar for the semester/year so you can plan ahead and be proactive. Create a calendar that includes the events or deadlines/reminders that your department has. You can also take note of university-wide events, such as graduation, homecoming, spring break, finals, etc. Then you can plan your social media content ahead of time, instead of the day of the event.

Timing

  • Posting on weekends and evenings can be very effective. Insights show that UA Little Rock’s Facebook page receives the most engagement during the afternoons and evenings. Thursdays and Saturdays are the most active days, but those active days might vary depending on your audience. It is helpful for you to review your account’s insights/analytics.

Moderation/Responding

  • One of the most important things to remember is that social media is a dynamic, two-way communication channel, and should never be used as a “bulletin board.” Think of social media as an open door to your office. When a user sees a business or organization has a social media account, that is essentially an invitation for them to “come inside.”
  • Ask questions. Respond to comments. Create conversations. Remember to check the account on evenings or weekends when many students might send you a message or post a question. If you do not have time to answer their request right that minute, it’s important to respond with, “I am looking into this and will get back to you soon,” or something similar. If people post a question to your account, they expect a response. Let them know you are there and that you care. This level of customer service goes a long way with students and their parents.

Deleting Comments

  • As a general rule, we do not recommend deleting others’ comments/posts unless they have violated the rules of the platform (discriminatory, defamatory, profane, obscene, etc.). The best way to handle negative comments is to let your community come to your defense. Deleting comments generally creates more problems than it solves, and transparency is always the best policy. Facebook does allow you to “hide” a comment – this makes the comment only visible to the original poster and his/her Facebook friends. It is acceptable to delete posts that are promoting services or products.

Expectations

  • While managing a social media account can be fun and effective, it often ends up being more time-consuming than people realize. If you find that you cannot maintain your account, we recommend deleting the account.
  • It sends a negative message if a current or prospective student visits your Facebook page/Twitter account and sees that it has not been updated in months. Imagine if a student was outside the student center and excited to come in, but upon entering, he or she sees the building is empty and no one works there. Ensure that your account does not turn into a “social media graveyard.”
  • The Office of Communications and Marketing has the right to ask that your university-branded account be deleted if it is not updated regularly or if it fails to adequately and positively represent the university.