Guidelines and best practices for managing SFU social media accounts

Tone and etiquette

Be Personable

Show your personal side. Maintain a casual and conversational tone without being inappropriate.

Be Timely

Communicate information in a timely manner. Plan in advance as much as possible. Create a content calendar if your content volume is high enough.

Be Accurate

Provide accurate information to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Be Transparent

It’s important to be honest and open with your audience. If you don’t yet have the information they need, say so, and let them know to stay tuned for more.

See SFU’s Editorial Style Guide for user-focused writing tips.

Content plan

Decide what content you want to post or share and how much of each topic and format.

A good ratio is to share:

  • 25 per cent of your own content.
  • 75 per cent of the content from your community and related information.

Post on each of your networks throughout the week. It’s more important to post or share quality content than simply a higher quantity.

Starting frequency

Facebook: three to five posts/week.
Twitter: eight to to 10 posts/week.
Instagram: three to five posts/week.
LinkedIn: one to three posts/week.
SnapChat: three stories/week.

Some channel analytics can show you when your audience is online. If possible, schedule posts around these times.
Monitor your content to see how your audience responds to it. Adjust your content and posting frequency accordingly.

Build your audience

To increase your followers:

  • Follow people in your target audience and like their posts.
  • Follow stakeholders and influencers and share their content.
  • Ask your audience questions and respond to their feedback.
  • Monitor and apply trends.
  • Buy ads or promoted posts.
  • Use #hashtags to reach a wider audience.
  • See what other SFU channels and universities are doing.
  • Advertise your social channels on your website, posters, business cards and brochures.

Respond to your audience

Responding to your audience helps increases awareness to your posts, builds trust and rapport, and generally helps others feel comfortable engaging with your content. The most frequent types of comments you’ll encounter are: compliments, complaints, questions, and misinformation.

Compliments: Even positive comments should be replied to when possible. Thanking someone for a complimentary remark is not only polite, but a great way to encourage others to join in on the conversation. It will also help to increase views to your post.

Complaints: A daily reality on social media, complaints are unavoidable and come in all shapes and sizes. Respond with a solution to their concern, refer them to someone who can help, or encourage them to move the conversation from Facebook to direct message or email. If you experience a complaint from a “troll,” or little to no value can be added by replying, let it stand.

Questions: Questions should be answered in a respectful and timely manner. If you have the information to accurately provide an answer, respond. If you don’t, seek out the solution and respond when you do. Keep in mind, replying to a question doesn’t mean you're replying to just one person. You're speaking to everyone who visits your page. If someone is asking a question, it’s likely others would appreciate the answer as well.

Misinformation: Whenever possible, politely correct inaccurate information with facts.

When engaging with your audience:

  • Be respectful and polite. Respond as if talking to a friend.
  • Admit mistakes. Users know there’s a person behind the account.
  • Attempt to answer questions in full. Even if you don’t have the answer, acknowledge all parts of the question.
  • Be approachable, conversational and authentic.
  • Never blame your audience. If you think they’ve misunderstood something, explain gently and source your information when possible.
  • Monitor posts and follow up on the conversation.
  • Be aware of social media terms of use and general codes of conduct.
  • Monitor comments of concern closely to determine how the community responds.
When to delete, hide, or let comments stand
In general, avoid deleting comments. The goal for our social media accounts should be to be as transparent as possible. When you delete comments, you run the risk of eroding the trust of your readers.
Delete or hide comments when they:
  • Break the community guidelines of the social media network. For example, they are offensive, defamatory or threatening.
  • Include confidential information.
  • Share photographs or video taken without consent.
  • Are spam, or of a self-promotional nature unrelated to SFU.
Let comments stand when:
  • They are entirely without merit or value.
  • Responding would encourage further negative response.
  • There is no value in replying to both the commenter and the wider audience.

SFU social media accounts must be aligned with SFU policies

Information shared on SFU social media accounts is shared on behalf of the university.  Staff or faculty members managing SFU accounts and sharing information to them are subject to all relevant SFU staff and faculty policies.

In a crisis

A crisis might include dangerous weather conditions, an active threat on campus or a natural disaster. In the event of a crisis, suspend all planned posts and follow SFU’s main social media accounts and the #sfu_communicators SLACK channel for information on what to share on faculty and departmental accounts.

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