Best Practices for Social Media

Here’s the deal: Social media and best practices are constantly changing and evolving. What works today, may be outdated tomorrow.

When you have a question about best practices, your best bet is to search online. Be sure to filter the search results to the past month or year.

Consider your sources. Experiment with posts. Pay attention to what resonates with your audience and how they respond. Adjust.

Below are some general best practices. This is not an exhaustive list. For more information, read the university’s Social Media Guidelines or follow the links in the right column.

General Best Practices

  • Post regularly to keep your audience engaged. Don’t post too much or you run the risk of people feeling spammed and blocking you. Recommended practice:
    • Facebook: one post per day; no more than two posts a few hours apart
    • Instagram: one to two posts per day (early morning; mid-afternoon)
    • Twitter: roughly seven tweets, including retweets, per day
    • LinkedIn: one post per day
  • Don’t post for the sake of posting. Keep your posts interesting, engaging and relevant.
  • Have a plan. Think ahead. Schedule posts ahead of time using tools, such as Facebook’s built-in tools, Tweetdeck, Hootsuite.
  • Proofread your posts. Read them out loud before posting. Use spellcheck. If a coworker is available, ask them to check the post for mistakes.
  • Be respectful and positive. Put your best face forward. If you’re posting on a university affiliated account, you are representing the university to your followers.
  • If you are expressing a personal opinion, clarify that you aren’t posting on behalf of the university.
  • Engage your followers in the comments. Like things. Share things.
  • Think and pause before you respond. If the issue has potential to escalate or you have any doubt about what you are about to post, talk to your supervisor or contact University Communications.
  • Leverage your resources. We’re all in this together. Message other university staff when you have a post that might work on their accounts.
  • Have more than one administrator on a page. If someone leaves the university, you don’t want to end up with a zombie account.
  • Change your password at least once per year. Change it every time you have a change in page management or share a password for a takeover.
  • When starting an account, check to see if there’s an existing account for your department, office, organization, etc. If there is, contact the administrator of that account to see if you can contribute to that account rather than starting a new one. Contact the director of digital communications with questions.
  • If you create a hashtag and ask followers to use it, then you need to use it too. Be specific and brief. Run searches online to be sure a new hashtag isn’t being used for another purpose already.
  • Be consistent with hashtags. Preferred hashtags include #WillametteUniversity, #WillametteU, #WillametteLaw, #WillametteMBA, #WUAdmit, #Willamette175, #WUBearcats and #OneWillamette (athletics), #Willamette2020 (class specific posts), #WUBearcats (athletics), #WillametteMBA, #WillametteLaw, #WUAA or #WillametteAlumni.
  • Follow through: If you say you’re going to do something online, such as, “Use our hashtag and we’ll post your photos on our account,” do it.
  • Become familiar with Willamette’s Social Media Guidelines and conditions for the Social Media Directory.
  • Pique viewers interest immediately. Viewers don’t have patience on social media.
  • Use text: Most people watch videos on Facebook without the sound on.
  • Tell a story. Keep viewers interested to keep them watching.
  • In general, brief — less than a minute — is better, but videos that keep viewers engaged can be longer.
  • Live video is a different animal. These videos can be longer as you need time to build an audience.