Social Media Account Guidelines, Standards, and Strategy
Official USF social media accounts represent the university and must adhere to standards set forth by the Office of Marketing Communications. Official accounts include all accounts representing a department, program, school, college, institute, division, office, team, or team. Authorized accounts should include the university name and logo or symbol on their profiles. University-wide standards for creation and management are described below. Regular review of this document is encouraged.
Proposals for account creation should be presented to the social media manager in the Office of Marketing Communications. A strategic review will take place and the proposed account will be considered for inclusion in USF’s main social media directory. USF social accounts must adhere to the university’s brand guidelines and accessibility standards.
Social account management frequently requires monitoring and maintenance outside of normal business hours. Content should be updated regularly and customer service questions or concerns, especially via direct message, should be responded to within a reasonable amount of time.
- Each official social media account should have direct oversight by a full-time USF employee, even if daily management is undertaken by interns.
- Accounts should be registered to a shared or general email address so that multiple individuals have account access.
- Passwords and logins should be easily accessible and available to account managers and OMC staff.
- Regularly communicate with USF’s social media manager and appropriate marketing strategist.
- Managers should create regular content that is engaging, on-brand, and within university standards. Content should align with the respective department or program's goals.
- Managers should contact OMC staff to discuss posts that address controversies or hot topics.
- Managers should monitor relevant data and analytics to ensure growth and high performance of their account.
- Managers should never inject personal opinion into official account posts.
- The USF name should not be used to endorse products, political candidates, or political parties.
- Managers should refrain from using profanity, content that violates copyrights, or content that does not properly credit a source.
- Content that is offensive to marginalized groups and contradictory to USF’s mission will be immediately deleted. Accounts posting this type of content will likely be deleted and managers may face disciplinary action.
Be clear and concise. Focus your message. Listen to your audience and understand what is important to them. Choose quality over quantity. Use sentences you can say in one breath.
- Posting at least once per week is typically a reasonable goal for university sub-accounts.. The higher ed average is 3.5 IG posts/week. Regular IG stories with content unique to your program or department is also recommended.
- Choose the best of the best images/video for your feed posts.
- Stay away from graphics that would appear on physical fliers.
- Do not use URLs in captions, unless they are exceptionally short and easy to remember.
- Photos perform better than graphics.
- Understand how your content will fit together on your profile grid.
- Accounts can be updated daily, often multiple times per day. The half life of a tweet is approximately 30 minutes. Higher ed average is 9.6 per week.
- Video performs especially well on Twitter.
- Creating Twitter threads can be an effective way to tell stories when you need more room for words or multimedia.
- Updating three to four times per month is reasonable for university sub-accounts.
- LinkedIn’s largest age group is 46-55. This is compared to Instagram’s largest age group of 25-34.
- The tone of prose is typically conversational, warm, and professional.
- The audience make-up is wide ranging (alumni, students, faculty, staff, etc.) LinkedIn boasts USF’s largest group of main account followers.
- LinkedIn is a good place to amplify faculty/student accomplishments and scholarly work.
- One to two posts per weekday is recommended. The higher ed average is 6.8 per week.
- A good place to share relevant news articles (USF News or other outlets) and student/program accomplishments.