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Best Practices

a student sits in front of the @TXST sign in the ASBN breezeway

Social Media Principles 

Social media is constantly changing. New networks launch daily, each with a different goal, language and culture. It is impossible to create permanent guidelines that will address all of these changing issues. However, there are a few universal principles to follow for social media success:

Be Engaging 

Don’t leave the "social" out of your social media. This is not a broadcast medium, it requires engagement. It is important to converse with your audience and address their needs directly. When your followers mention you on social media, engage with them whenever possible. 

Be Positive 

Negative comments from followers are a part of social media. If a follower has a legitimate complaint, respond to these comments in a positive and helpful manner. It’s OK if you don’t know the answer, but be sure to direct the person to someone who does.

Delete negative comments only when derogatory or foul language is used. Comments from solicitors should be removed. People consistently posting rude or argumentative comments (trolls) should not be engaged. If the problem persists, consider banning the user from your page.

Be Consistent

Post on a regular basis. We recommend at the very least once a week on Facebook and Instagram and four to six times a week on Twitter, not including comments and replies. If you don’t think your department can post that often, you should not create a social media account.

Be Human 

There are many tools that will enable you to automate and schedule your posts. However, while these tools may seem like a convenient resource, they greatly diminish the effectiveness of your social media efforts.

No one likes to call a company on the phone and not be able to talk to a real person; the same goes for social media.

Be Responsible 

Use common sense and good judgment when posting to social media. We invite campus organizations and departments to find an authentic, human voice and create an open, casual dialogue; however it is important that each account represents Texas State and speaks with the voice of the university. If you are not sure if a post is appropriate, err on the side of caution and don’t post. 

Remember, all social media posts are available to the public, including the media. Conduct conversations in direct messages as if they were public. Do not disclose private information or conduct official business over social media. Refer official business through appropriate channels such as email.

Respect Copyrights 

Social media administrators are expected to follow all copyright and intellectual property laws when posting to any social network. UPPS 01.04.27 contains a detailed description of this policy.

Don't use photography or video that isn't yours or isn't licensed. This includes music in a video.

 

General Recommendations 

These recommendations are meant to increase the maximum effectiveness of Texas State’s social media accounts and encourage a consistent, flexible style.

The university’s Editorial Style Guide will also be useful when writing for social media, as will our social media brand guidelines.

Frequency of Posts

Facebook: At least 3 times a week. No more than 3 posts per day. 

Twitter: At least once a day, not including replies. Space posts out by at least 30 minutes.

Instagram: At least once a week. For maximum engagement, posting at least every 2-3 days is recommended. Do not post more than 2 times per day. If you have multiple photos you want to share, take advantage of Instagram's carousels, which allow you to post up to 10 photos and videos at one time. 

Don't spam 

Don't post repetitive content frequently.

Mobile posts

Be careful when posting from your phone in order to avoid typos. Always take an extra moment to look over your post again. Whenever possible, get someone else to review your post before sending it.

QR codes and URL shorteners

Do not post QR codes on social media. QR codes are not effective online. Use links instead. While using a URL shortener will not give you more characters on a Twitter post, it transforms long links into shorter, more manageable ones. 

Visuals 

The use of photos and videos are highly encouraged to increase engagement and share-ability. Posts with only copy will not reach as many people because there is nothing to catch their eye with. 

Events 

Events can be covered in a number of different ways. If you are focusing on increasing attendance and participation, promoting your event ahead of time is encouraged. 

Talking about events as they happen makes your account more engaging and enriches your content. Some suggestions for covering live events include streaming your event live via Facebook LIVE, Instagram LIVE or using Periscope on Twitter. Live videos can consist of a stationary camera or they can incorporate a moving camera with a directorial strategy that tells a story by showing the audience what you want them to see or by verbally explaining to them what they are seeing.   

Whichever strategy you use for live videos, keep your audience engaged by continuing to provide purposeful content. 

If you are interested in covering an event live but want to have more control over what is being captured, Snapchat and Instagram Stories are excellent tools. 

Collect high-quality photos during your event so you can post those photos live or at a later time. Talking about events afterward helps increase brand awareness and is an alternative to posting live if you are unable post while the event is ongoing or you need more information to make your post more impactful. 

 

Crisis Communication 

Be aware of major news stories and how current events might affect your posts. This is especially important for any posts scheduled in advance. In the event of a major tragedy, you don’t want to accidentally post something that would seem insensitive or inappropriate. Always review what you have scheduled and reschedule or delete posts as necessary.

During an on-campus emergency, only relay information from reliable resources such as:

Texas State UPD (@TxStateUPD)

Texas State University (@txst)

Transportation Services (@TXST_Transport)  

City of San Marcos (@CityofSanMarcos)

If there is a situation involving a specific building such as Alkek Library (@alkeklibrary), retweeting information from their account about closures or notices is encouraged. 

Cross Posting vs. Cross Promotion

Cross posting is posting the same content on every social media channel and is not encouraged. Cross promotion means crafting a unique message for each channel to better connect with each user base.

Tips for optimizing your content: 

  • Use a different photo asset with platform-specific dimensions. 
  • Stagger your posts so that you aren't posting the same content in the same hour. If possible, stagger your content so that your Twitter post runs on one day and your Facebook post runs on another. 
  • Not all content needs to be shared on every network. Consider your audience and how fast you want them to see your message.