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Social Media Best Practices

Marketing and Communications


Follow the rules - make sure you follow and understand the policies of the social media sites you are using.

Be transparent - identify yourself. Do not post under an alias other than yourself.

Be respectful - your comments should not be offensive or disrespect others. Obscene content, profanity and personal attacks are not tolerated. Do not use copyrighted or trademarked materials without permission from the owner.

Be accurate - verify your facts before you post. It is better to check with a source before posting something than to make a correction or deletion later. Link to where you received your information when possible. If you make a mistake correct it quickly and visibly.

Encourage dialogue - to keep on topic, spam/off topic and promotional comments will be deleted.

Think before you post - there is no such thing as "private" in a social network. Comments can be copied and pasted. Search engines can find posts years after they are posted. Be sure not to post personal information, yours or others on the web.

Maintain confidentiality - Do not post confidential information about UWinnipeg, its students, staff or your fellow employees. Use your judgment and follow university policies such as FIPPA and PHIA.

Represent UWinnipeg properly - Make sure your supervisor has allowed you to post on behalf of UWinnipeg. Choose images and icons that follow our graphic standard guidelines [PDF]. 

Do not use acronyms
Do not use acronyms such as UW - ISS when naming your account. This makes it hard for the public to distinguish what your account is about. There are a lot of universities that use UW to shorten their names (University of Waterloo and University of Washington). 

Get consent
When posting images, make sure you have the consent of the person before posting their image on social media. To get a copy of a photo release form, please contact communications@uwinnipeg.ca. Do not post an image that you are not the owner of. 

Think about your audience
When posting content, think about your audience. Are your followers students or staff or a mixture? Post content that will be useful or of interest to them. Highlight students who are doing research, post upcoming faculty lectures, and add photos of events you have on campus.

Keep your content fresh
If you are posting the same message numerous times, mix it up. Provide regular updates, but don’'t overdo it. Do not post the same message over and over as it will look like you are spamming. It is okay to post the same topic in a number of social networks but make sure you make the post fits that audience.  Do not link status updates to post automatically from one social media account to another. 

Use a URL shortener
When linking to content on Twitter, use a URL shortener like bit.ly. This gives you more space for content. Bit.ly also provides analytics for your links. You are able to track how many people have clicked on your link. This is a good way to measure the amount of activity your tweets are getting.

Schedule your posts
Do not post all your content at once. Consider scheduling your updates throughout the day, to avoid spamming your followers. Facebook and Twitter both allow you to schedule posts in advance. 

To schedule a post on Facebook you must be on your main Facebook page and not in the newsfeed. Once you are finished creating your post, select the drop down arrow next to "Publish" and select "Schedule". Select the date and time you wish your post to be published. After clicking schedule, you will now see a message on your timeline saying you have "(number) of scheduled posts. See posts". When you click on see posts, you will be able to see a list of upcoming scheduled posts. On Twitter, you have to use an external client such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to schedule posts.

Interact with your audience
Social media is a conversational tool. Interact with your users, post content that encourages feedback and interaction. Include visual content such as photos and videos to increase engagement. When sharing news about your department, drive traffic back to the university's website by providing a link to the news release or announcement.

Monitor your site often and respond to comments or questions in timely fashion. Use discretion and judgment when monitoring comments from people. Remember you are posting on behalf of the University of Winnipeg.

Administering your account
Make more than one person be an administrator of your accounts. In case someone leaves the department, there will always be another person to manage the account. You can assign various roles for each person. They vary from being able to post content or being able to view statistics of the page.

Promote your account
To gain followers start promoting your account internally and externally to students, faculty and staff. Include it in various marketing materials you produce such as newsletters and posters; add it to your departmental website and post it to your other social media accounts.