Social Media Resources

Social media is an important tool for fostering a sense of community online. Across the University, individuals and departments use a variety of channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube to connect with students, colleagues, and the wider community. The purpose of these guidelines is to promote proper usage of social media within the University community and to provide resources and support to help you manage your accounts.

Best practices for creating social media accounts

Each social media network has different audiences, purposes, cultures, and approaches. They also have different written and unwritten codes of conduct. When posting content, think about your audience. Are you communicating to students, 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.

Before creating a social media presence for your office or department, please consider the following questions:

  1. Is there an audience that will be interested in your content?
  2. What type of content do you intend to post to your channel?
  3. Are existing University channels sharing similar content?
  4. Will you be able to provide consistent, unique updates over time?
  5. Is it possible to use existing accounts to distribute your content?

If you decide to create a social media account, you become responsible for administering the account (the account administrator). If you create an account on behalf of a group, you need to select an account administrator.

Account administrators shall consider the following recommendations or requirements:

  1. Notify the Marketing and Communications Department with the name and contact information for the account administrator(s), as well as the URL for the account. Marketing and Communications does not make this contact information public.
  2. Actively monitor the account on an on-going basis, during business hours, or for a specified, publicly stated time period (e.g., 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday to Friday).
  3. Create and regularly post meaningful content aligned with the University’s brand standards.
  4. Maintain the account in accordance with the Guidelines and applicable Policies outlined in Section III of the Guidelines.
  5. Adhere to social media best practices and naming conventions when creating your account name and visual identity to maintain a unified University community voice and visual presence. Contact Marketing and Communications to request UWinnipeg branded social media icons for your channel(s).
  6. Make more than one person an administrator for your account(s). In the event an individual leaves the department, this will ensure another person is available to manage the account. You can assign various roles for each person. They vary from posting content to viewing page statistics.
  7. Do not use your University password as your social media password. If your social media account is compromised, your account will be at risk.
  8. Use a URL shortener such as bit.ly when linking content. This gives you more space and provides analytics for your links. You are able to track how many people have clicked on your link.
  9. Refrain from using social media to engage in media pitching or media interviews. If you are contacted by a member of the accredited media about a post or comment on a social networking site, refrain from responding and contact Marketing and Communications.
  10. Connect with Brandon Logan, our Digital Communications Officer, for personalized social media training.
Social media channels

Consider which channel is most appropriate for your content. A variety of platforms that can be used for different purposes include:

  • Facebook: Diverse audience. Allows longer-form content, but is less immediate than other channels. Good for strong visuals and engaging posts.
  • Twitter: Quick and immediate. Used to communicate with the audience directly and immediately.
  • LinkedIn: Professional environment that has a very specific audience and is great for specific goals (e.g., recruitment), but not ideal for a general social presence.
  • Snapchat: Currently the fastest growing platform. Similar to Twitter in its immediacy, but it requires more robust content creation from the community manager.
  • Instagram: Highly visual platform. Good for creative profiles that have access to strong visuals. Perfect for art/media related accounts.
Setting up a social media account

See the following pages for platform-specific guidelines:

When setting up a social media account, consider the following questions:

What is the name of your channel?

To avoid confusion and optimize your discoverability across search engine results, include "UWinnipeg" as a keyword across your handle, account name, account bio, etc. Although unit names and character limits will guide your implementation, the ideal naming convention for University of Winnipeg account handles and names would be "UWinnipeg" + "__" where "__" represents your unit or account differentiator (e.g., UWGradStudies).

While using UW is not as ideal as UWinnipeg, it is acceptable if there are character limits.

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.

Visual appeal and brand unity are important considerations for your social channel setup. Contact Marketing and Communications to request UWinnipeg-branded social media icons for your channel(s).

What are your goals?

It is important to have structured and clear goals when launching social channels. You have to define whether you are working to:

  • raise awareness (impressions);
  • generate audience activity (engagement); or
  • establish an online portal for the audience’s information, education or a combination of both.

Who will run your channel?

It is important to have a dedicated account manager who develops content, responds to requests and monitors activities. The account manager will be responsible for generating content and responding to the audience.

How frequently do you plan to post?

It is important to maintain a social presence once a channel is established by engaging with audiences and generating unique content beyond re-Tweets and re-sharing articles. An inactive or a stagnant social media account can damage a brand as much as not having an account.

General recommended frequency of posting:

  • Facebook: 3-5 posts per week
  • Twitter: Daily
  • Instagram: 1-2 posts per week
  • LinkedIn: 2-3 posts per week

What monitoring tools will you use?

All platforms provide built-in monitoring and analytics. To fully capture the discussion and maximize your social media strategy, consider additional tools such as Sysomos, HootSuite, Sprout Social, etc.

From which other University channels will you need support?

New channels take time to set up and to attract followers. Consider which additional channels within the University’s social infrastructure are most appropriate supports for your channel.

Who is your audience segment within the University social infrastructure?

The University has a variety of social media channels. Some deliver messages to a wide audience, while others are very specific. It is important to identify your audience segment, to maximize your social media strategy.

Best practices for departmental social media accounts

Use sound judgement and common sense in all online communications.

If you are unsure about your content, voice, or approach, monitor the online channels where your audience is talking about you (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, or other social media channels). Before setting up an account, understand the best practices and culture that regulate users for the proposed platform.

Be Transparent – Identify yourself. Do not post under an alias. Accurately represent your office or department, and verify your facts before you post. Link to where you receive your information if possible. If you make a mistake, correct it quickly and visibly.

Be Strategic – Approach your social media communications with a clear plan and line of responsibility. Create a social media strategy for the academic year that states your account’s goals, voice, audience, content, and administrator(s).

Be an Ambassador of UWinnipeg – The University is an open, inclusive, and progressive institution. Posts and comments should be inclusive, respecting and reflecting the University’s diverse community.

Add Value – Give your audience meaningful content that reflects your office or department’s area of expertise. It is OK to post the same topic on a number of social networks, but if you are repeating content, we encourage you to change the image and wording to mix things up and keep it interesting.

Engage – Encourage dialogue by frequently monitoring conversations and promptly responding to questions, comments, and incidents.

Schedule – Create a content calendar or theme calendar and schedule your updates throughout the day. To schedule a post on Facebook, you must use your main Facebook page and not 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, an external client such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite must be used to schedule posts.

Track – Generate regular analytics reports: knowing what is performing well and what is not can help you improve your strategy. You can use in-platform tools (e.g., Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics) or external analytics software. The University of Winnipeg uses Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, and Twitter Integration to measure and optimize our online content. Read our Web Privacy Notice for more information. If you have any additional questions about analytics, contact Marketing and Communications.

Be Discerning – Do not get involved in every discussion. Sometimes, not saying anything (but still closely monitoring the discussion) is the best course of action.

Prioritize – Do not burn out your content: prioritize what you want to discuss daily, weekly, and month to month.

Respect Sensitive Information – Do not share anything that is not public knowledge or may result in harm (financial, reputational, physical, legal, regulatory, etc.) to individuals or the University. Use your judgment and follow University policies such as FIPPA and PHIA.

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.

Think Before You Post – Stay on-message and on-brand and consult with a manager if unsure. Never post, re-tweet, or distribute:

  • Spam
  • Off-topic or unprofessional remarks
  • Profanity, obscene content, or personal attacks
  • Copyrighted or trademarked materials without the proper permission
  • Images of people without the proper permission.
    • 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.
  • Obtain the necessary approvals for contests
  • Student giveaways or contests must meet all legal contest requirements. All contests must state that they are not affiliated with the platform they are being posted on.
  • Respect Trademark and Copyright laws. Your posts and user-generated content posted to your account must never infringe others’ copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity or other third-party rights.
Best practices for personal social media accounts

The line between professional and private social media usage can be easily blurred. Be conscious about mixing your personal and business lives. Even when communicating online, you are not exempt from the laws and regulations governing personal liability.

When using University electronic resources for personal social media use, make sure you are following University policies and guidelines, listed below. A good approach is to post only what you would say during in-person conversations with colleagues.

Protect your Privacy

  • Avoid Oversharing: Think about how your information, photos, and geo-location data could be used by others. Once posted, it is on the Internet forever.
  • Check Privacy Settings: These settings can be confusing and change often. Be safe: If you don’t want your mom or boss to see it, don’t post it.
  • Enable Two-Step Verification: Two-Step Verification, also called Two-Factor Authentication, provides an extra layer of security to protect your social network accounts.
  • If You See Something, Say Something: If you witness bullying or inappropriate content online, do not respond. Instead, report the incident immediately:
Related policies

The University does not have a single, specific policy regarding social media.

There are numerous University policies and guidance that address individual conduct and internet usage. Read and understand these policies and guidance documents before creating a University social media account or posting on University social media. Below is a list of relevant policies and guidance documents. Go to the University policies website to see the complete list of university policies.

Online safety

The University of Winnipeg is committed to public facing scholarship and media work. We are also committed to supporting our faculty, instructors, and graduate students who do this work. If you are harassed, trolled, or doxxed while working, there is help available. In the event of offensive content, complaints, or emergency issues, contact the appropriate university department for support:

  • Consult with your immediate supervisor.
  • If the issue is a privacy or concern, contact the Information and Privacy Office for guidance.
  • If the issue is related to harassment or discrimination, contact the Human Rights and Diversity Office. You can call their confidential hotline at 204.786.9161 or contact Stacey Belding at s.belding@uwinnipeg.ca
  • If the issue is related to sexual harassment, the University’s Sexual Violence Response Team. You can visit their website, phone or text them at 204-230-6660 or email svrt@uwinnipeg.ca.
  • Confirm identity, if possible, and either preserve the content that forms the subject of the complaint (i.e., take a screen capture of the offending material and the account that sent it), or ask Security Manager Clyde Moore to access and retain the material as evidence before blocking the harasser.
  • If you are experiencing harassment or violence online, counselling is available. University of Winnipeg employees have access to Wellness Resources, including the ability to connect instantly with a professional counsellor from the University of Winnipeg’s Employee and Family Assistance Program.
  • Contact Tech Services for Information Protection Guidelines and follow their advice on cyber security and protecting your identity online. For more information email servicedesk@uwinnipeg.ca
  • You can take steps to protect your digital identity. We recommend you set up two-factor authentication on your accounts, use unique passwords, and regularly check and adjust your privacy settings.
  • If you have additional questions, contact the Marketing and Communications Department at communications@uwinnipeg.ca