Social media best practices

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 questions and comments helps your audience feel heard and fosters a two-way relationship.

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.

Crisis communications

A crisis might include dangerous weather conditions, an active threat on campus or a natural disaster. Suspend all planned posts in the event of a crisis or emergency.

Watch SFU’s main social media accounts and share critical information.