Social Media Guidelines

Social media is a personalized and efficient way to reach and interact with UC Davis students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. Social media is a great way to encourage student participation, and to quickly spread news and information to followers and fans.

Content and posts are governed by:

General

Social Media Etiquette

Be cordial and polite in posting. Don't post about personal thoughts and issues. Keep posts professional and related to your program.

When someone gives feedback to posts or questions asked, or if someone posts their own questions or comments on the wall, respond in a timely manner, ideally within 48 hours, or followers may lose interest.

You have the right to remove a post immediately if it violates the Principles of Community or is deemed inappropriate, obscene, derogatory, unrelated to your department or spam. You may also remove a post that is phrased in a negative, unproductive way.

However, the goal is to be transparent—people want to know they are being. If possible, respond in a positive, productive way.

Facebook

Do you need a Facebook page?

Before reading up on social media guidelines, determine if your department or group needs a Facebook page. In general, campus departments can benefit from having a presence on Facebook but should consider the level of commitment required. Is a staff member or student available to designate as the social media person? What are your strategic communication goals, and does Facebook help you reach those goals? A Facebook page will typically be effective for garnering interest in a program or department activities only if the account is posted to at least twice per week. Below that level, users won't see your Facebook page as interesting or interactive.

Joining Facebook means you become part of the campus's social media community and are able to cross-promote departments and programs.

Timeline Posts

Use posts to announce and promote individual programs and general news and events, and to encourage feedback, questions and comments. Anecdotal evidence indicates that statements, rather than questions generate more likes, comments and sharing.

Announcing new, interesting information about your program or items related to the program is also a good way to share more with the students and to remind them of what your program has to offer.

When referring to other campus programs or events, it's helpful to tag the other programs in the post to increase traffic and interest to all relevant pages. To do this, type “@” followed by the program name. (For instance “@Campus Recreation”). The department will show up in a drop-down menu below, and you can select it. This allows a hyperlink to show up on the post that will link viewers to the other program’s Facebook page instantly.

Status updates are good for posts containing less information. Providing a link is an efficient way to give people an option to learn more.

Announce something new about a program to keep people interested—anything from a new class to new furniture: whatever you think will get people involved or commenting and sharing on Facebook.

Guidelines to "Post" Structure

If you're posting more than once per day, try to space them out (i.e. an hour apart) so people don’t get annoyed at seeing too many posts on their newsfeed. People have the option to filter/hide pages in their newsfeed—too many unsubstantial posts could lead to the user filtering the posts or “unlike” the page.

It is usually best to make posts brief but interesting. Be short and concise. Again, respect is the key.

Create a Post

When posting you should always use a high-resolution photo or video along with your copy. Click the “Share a Photo or Video” option at the top of the page to do this. Select "Upload Photos/Video." Upload the image or video you would like to use. Next, write your copy in the text box that appears.

Sometimes links are long and take up a lot of characters. You can use the website bit.ly to shorten links so they don't appear to go on forever, are easier to view, write down, and manage. For example, bit.ly can shorten a link from: "http://campusrecreation.ucdavis.edu/cms/internal.aspx?uid=1602088e-17e6-4ea0-b550-525c2851c431" to "http://bit.ly/hXnes7."

Shortening links is helpful when posts have character limits. Posting dates also takes up characters in the post, so shortened links allow for more characters to be used for other information.

Post Management

If someone posts on the timeline about something unrelated to your program, you may delete it. Default settings allow all users to post on the timeline, but this can be changed where users are not able to post on the timeline, and only administrators can.

Proofread all posts before posting them to make sure they adhere to the campus style guide and Principles of Community.

Posting once a day or a few times a week is a good way to maintain active viewers and page interest.

Events

Creating an event is helpful for providing more detailed information. It is also a good way to let fans know about events because it will show up on their home pages if they say they are attending. Events also create a sense of connection and commitment for people who are attending. You can also send message updates and new event information to all attending guests.

Notes

If you want to post a greater amount of information on a page for a longer period of time, you can create a note. A notification of a new note will appear on the wall so fans will know it is there, and it will stay active on Facebook until you delete it.

Pictures and Photo Albums

Posting pictures in albums is a way to get people to interact with the page, especially if you take pictures of an event and announce that they can tag themselves.

After an event, pictures should be uploaded/posted in a timely manner or people may lose interest in viewing them. After posting the pictures, you can refer to the event’s success and perhaps mention an upcoming event, encouraging people to attend.

Profile Pictures

You can use any profile picture that portrays your program.

Fan Page Naming

To make your page easily identifiable and found through search, your page name must begin with "UC Davis." For example "UC Davis Campus Recreation," "UC Davis ARC," or "UC Davis Craft Center." This is the most efficient way to ensure people will encounter your page when searching for it.

Vanity names. Once you have earned more than 100 fans (likes) you can create a custom name. University policy suggests using "ucdavis._____________." For example: http://www.facebook.com/ucdavis.campusrec.

Twitter

Twitter can be a great platform for getting out the core of your message to students. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters and allow the user to mention other accounts by using their handle with the @ symbol. Hashtags are useful for adding your Twitter posts to a conversation around a particular topic, such as #UCDavis and #GoAgs.

Frequency

Twitter moves quickly. A departmental account will want to tweet anywhere between once per day and five times per week to keep the account active. However, posting up to three times in a single day is also acceptable for Twitter.

Photo and Video

Twitter supports the inclusion of photos and videos with tweets. When posting on Twitter, it is best practice to always include a high-resolution photo or video to engage followers.

Instagram

Instagram is a great platform for sharing strong visuals that support your strategic communications about your area. Instagram posts allow users to mention other accounts by using their handle with the @ symbol. Similar to Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags to add posts to a conversation around a particular topic.

Frequency

To keep an Instagram account active, it would be ideal to post to the Instagram between five and seven times per week with up to two posts maximum in a single day. Common times to share on Instagram are 9 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m.

Photo and Video

Posts on Instagram require either photo or video content. Instagram users typically expect creative and high-resolution visuals. The standard dimensions for an Instagram photo is 1080x1080 pixels.

Snapchat

Snapchat is a messaging application that allows users to send limited-time photos and videos to one another as well as to their personal “Story.” Users can add creative elements to their photo and video content such as text and location-based filters.

UC Davis Takeovers

UC Davis Strategic Communications collaborates with university partners to feature content on the UC Davis Official Snapchat account. For more about this, reach out to Strategic Communications.