Social Media Best Practices

Here are University Communication's guidelines to support SPU-sponsored social media accounts, including those for departments, divisions, schools, areas, and offices at the University.

Quality over quantity

  • While consistency is important, nothing will disengage your audience more than filler posts. Scaling back your number of posts in order to increase the quality of the content may grow your affinity and engagement with your audience.
  • Each social media platform uses an algorithm to deliver posts to followers. Within minutes of a post going live, the channel measures how the audience is reacting. If the post is highly engaged, it will be shown with more frequency. For a post that is not as highly engaged, it will be buried lower or not shown at all.
  • In 2018-19, UC intentionally tried posting relevant content at least 1-2 times a week and saw a 14% growth in followers and 10% more engagement on Instagram.

Deliver value

Social media followers discern value and interest of content at a faster pace. They are increasingly savvy and have endless options for high-quality accounts with content tailored to their interest particularly among:

  • Gen. Z (Anyone born after 1997. The youngest, most ethnically-diverse, and largest generation in American history, comprising 27% of the U.S. population.)
  • Millennials (Also known as Gen. Y. Members of the generation following Generation X, or two generations after the 1946 to 1964 baby-boom generation, audience members unfollow accounts that don’t deliver value in their posts. Help prospects see themselves at SPU by focusing on campus life and current students.

When you’re posting, ask yourself, “What is this offering my followers”?

  • For the SPU brand accounts, we strive to engage, inform, represent authenticity and diversity, evoke pride, and, at times, entertain.
  • Show, don’t tell. Focus on storytelling over selling.
  • Give your audience more of what they like and respond well to.

Give, give, take.

  • The majority of the time, you should be offering your followers something they value. This is the key to success. Not what you think will work or what you’re interested in, but what the followers are actually interested in.
  • Your “asks” (registrations, applications, contests, etc.) will be more successful when you’ve built brand affinity through valuable content.

Fit into your audience’s feed

Authenticity is key. Use these rules of thumb:

  • Ask yourself “why would students care about what I’m about to post?”
  • Will this post fit into my target audience’s feed, or will it stick out because it’s “selling”?
  • Does this have a human touch?
  • Be in the moment. Balance posts planned months in advance with in-the-moment (real-time coverage/day-of event recap) content.
  • Use emojis sparingly and thoughtfully.
  • Balance the elements of the SPU experience you represent.

Follow the pack

  • Follow the accounts of those you’re trying to reach (students, etc.) and those you can imitate (similar departments at other universities, etc.).
  • User generated content — borrow follower’s content and repost. Always ask permission and give credit. (Asking them to send you their original photo may be helpful since re-posting screenshots will lower the quality of the photo.)
  • Cross-promote other campus’ campaigns and initiatives. When we amplify each other, everyone grows!

Respond to questions and engage feedback

  • Implement a departmental process for quickly answering social media questions. Like and comment on responses, and stay positive. 
  • If things get contentious, take the conversation to private message or offline. Be mindful that direct messages are often made into a screenshot and reposted.

Keep your profile page fresh

  • Routinely sweep for outdated “about” information and links.
  • Work with your UC communications specialist if you have questions about your profile photos or cover photos.

Use the best photos and images available

  • University Communications stores and shares photos through SmugMug. Contact Graphic Designer Lynn Anselmi for further access to galleries for specific events.
  • Here are the channel-optimized aspect ratios you should use to crop your images for each platform. You can use a photo editor to resize photos:
    • Facebook: 1200x630
    • Twitter: 1024x512
    • Instagram: 1080x1080
    • LinkedIn: 1350x705 (or 2400x1256)
  • Make sure your copy is in SPU style

    • Please review the SPU Brand Identity and Style Guide. Familiarize yourself with best practices in SPU’s copywriting and reach out to your communications specialist if you have further question.
    • Less text in your caption means more likely students will read it!

    Keep it compliant

    • Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness, and respect for colleagues, students, and University supporters. Consider the University’s social media policy and your own personal reputation when posting to social media.
    • All accounts should support the University’s mission, goals, programs, and sanctioned efforts.
    • Administrative access and passwords for SPU-sponsored social media accounts should be available to multiple staff members in each department. Develop a protected wiki or spreadsheet with accounts and password information.
    • Remember to caption all your videos (we recommend using and add descriptions to photos when available. This is to comply with Americans with Disability Acts requirements.

    Post Checklist

    • Hashtag #SeattlePacific included
    • Other hashtags included where relevant: #GoFalcs #spubound
    • @Mention or tag relevant parties
    • Photo cropped for platform
    • Grammar checked
    • Location selected
    • Tagged appropriate accounts
    • URL optimized as custom or address, where appropriate
    • Video is captioned or photograph is described in image description box if available.