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 What works today, may be outdated tomorrow.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 Policy 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.
  • 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, Sprout Social.
  • 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 or commenting as a university affiliated account, you are representing the university to your followers. Write in the voice of your office, department or organization. Save your opinions for your personal social media accounts.
  • 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 Marketing & Communications.
  • Leverage your resources. We’re all in this together. Message other university social-media curators 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 social media with questions.
  • Be consistent with hashtags and use the ones that fit with the topic of your posts. Here are the hashtags to use regularly.
    • All posts about Willamette: #WillametteU, #WillametteUniversity
    • Please include the class year of the student(s) or graduates featured in your posts: #Willamette2023, #Willamette1996, #Willamette2019, etc. 
      • Over time, we hope this will be a fun tool at reunions to help recall a class’ full Willamette experience.
    • Law: #WillametteLaw
    • AGSM: #WillametteMBA
    • Claremont School of Theology: #WeAreCST, #IAmCST
    • Admissions: #WUAdmit
    • Athletics: #WUBearcats
    • Alumni: #WillametteAlum, #TeamWillamette
    • Service-oriented posts: #TeamWillamette
    • Travel-oriented posts: #WorldwideWillamette
    • International Education: #GlobalWillamette
    • Career Development: #JobsForWU
    • Hallie Ford Museum of Art: #HallieFordMuseumOfArt #hfmaWU
    • Sustainability: #SustainableWU, #WillametteZena (for Zena posts)
  • 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 or owned by another school. 
    • We aren’t the only WU, so check any hashtags with WU in them to be sure another university doesn’t already own them.
  • 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 Policy and conditions for the Social Media Directory.
  • Pique viewers interest immediately. Viewers don’t have patience on social media. Don’t start with an introduction or logo. Begin with the meat of the video.
  • Use text and captions: Most people watch videos on their smartphones without the sound on.
  • Tell a story. Think visual storytelling and use compelling images. Keep viewers interested.
  • 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.
  • Do not switch between vertical and horizontal shots in the same video. Choose one or the other and stick with it. Use vertical video on Reels, Instagram stories and Snapchat.
Willamette University

Marketing and Communications

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6667 voice
503-370-6153 fax

Back to Top