UD Guidelines

This is a brief overview of social media guidelines for the University of Delaware community. Please be aware that all guidelines on this website are current and should be honored in place of older versions of the guide.

Best practices

Emergencies

If there is a safety concern resulting from a post on an account you administer, contact Public Safety immediately. After contacting Public Safety, send an email to socialmedia@udel.edu with a screen grab of the post.

Engagement

Have a conversation with the audience—do not treat social media as a billboard. Encourage followers to share their stories, thoughts, news and memories.

Monitoring

Check accounts at least daily—even over the weekend and holidays as users are still active. Do not delete comments unless they are in violation of a UD policy. Be a resource and answer questions posted by users on the page. Turn negative conversations positive by highlighting UD’s efforts through news, such as that on UDaily.

Etiquette

Use good judgment when creating posts as content can go anywhere on the Internet. Remember—posts on official UD accounts represent the University.

Interaction

Pages and users should have positive interactions with one another. Keep sidebar conversations offline. For example, if a UD employee or another page administrator notices information is incorrect, send a message or email to offer the correction. Posting it on the page discredits both the page(s) as well as the user.

Tone

Create posts for the appropriate audience. For example, the UD Alumni accounts post in the voice of an old college pal, while @ITatUD’s posts are presented as alerts and technology updates.

Content Creation Checklist

Prior to submitting a post on one of UD’s social media platforms, consider the following:

OUTLET: Is social media the best outlet for this content?
Sometimes social media may not be the most effective or appropriate tool. Consider if this topic should be put on a website or sent in one of UD’s weekly emails instead.

AUDIENCE: Is this written for the right audience?
Think about the tone and content. Posts for employees versus students can be the same message but should be written differently.

INTEREST: Would I be interested in this post?
If you would not click the “like” button, comment or retweet your own post, why would others? Be educational, informational and/or funny.

FREQUENCY: Am I saturating the audience and their news feed?
Make sure you’re not just “looking for something to post.” The audience appreciates seeing only the top-tier information rather than everything that happens.

TIMING: Am I submitting my posts at optimal times?
Posts that contain information about an event occurring too far into the future or that happened in the past may not resonate.

CALL TO ACTION: What do I want my audience to do?
Pick one specific ask. Make sure it is reasonable and easy for followers to do. If it takes more than one step, reconsider the ask or how to do it.

RESPONSE: Do I have a response for negative comments?
Nobody hopes for this, but sometimes comments are negative. Have a response in mind when crafting the post—especially if it’s controversial or an extremely positive message.

LINKS: Did I link where appropriate?
Consider where you’re directing the audience. If a link is needed, make sure it takes them directly to where they need to be.

MULTIMEDIA: Can I integrate a photo or video?
Posts with multimedia tend to get more interaction than those that are purely text, so include quality multimedia when you can.

SPELLING: Did I check the spelling and grammar?
Sounds simple, but followers love to point out errors. Use spellcheck and watch the punctuation.

TAGS: Did I use the official UD pages and hashtags? Did I use enough/too many?
Limit tags/hashtags to two or three per post. Refer to the UD hashtag list. Tag other Facebook pages with larger followings when appropriate.

Crisis Management

In the event of a crisis or campus emergency, social media is used as a vital communication channel.

Information posted on social media channels during such an event should direct followers to the UD homepage and possibly UDaily. All accounts should follow the lead of the main University of Delaware accounts on Facebook and Twitter

Depending on the severity of the situation, UD’s Office of Communications and Marketing will disseminate key messages to primary page administrators to be posted on social media platforms.

While this is not the time to create unique content, social media can be utilized to share information with a broad audience. In the event of a crisis, contact socialmedia@udel.edu for approved messages.

Administrator Guidelines

These guidelines are for primary and secondary account administrators at UD.

ATTRIBUTION: When appropriate, tag or repost from primary and secondary pages to increase cross-promotion.

AUDIENCE: Always think of the audience first. From tone to topic, all posts should be written for them.

BALANCE: Post a variety of content (e.g. questions, videos, pictures, trivia, contests) to keep the audience interested.

EQUALITY: Since there could be dozens of content contributors on each primary page, give fair play to each unit—do not favor one over another.

EVENTS: Announcements of events should link to @UD, the University’s events calendar.

FREQUENCY: Each primary page should post an average of two times a day. Secondary accounts should post at least once.
Note: Retweets and conversations are excluded from this count.

MULTIMEDIA: When possible, post directly on the page so the user does not have to leave the page to view content.

TEACH: Help contributors who may be missing the mark with their posts to maximize everyone’s efforts. Page administrators are seen as the experts at UD and, therefore, should guide contributors.

ENGAGE: Social media is a two-way street, so communicating with followers is a must. Do not treat social media as a megaphone or a way to broadcast news. Reply to questions/comments and ask the audience what they think.

MEASURE: On a monthly basis, review the number of followers and posts in relation to engagement levels. Representatives will be expected to submit these metrics annually at the campus-wide group meetings.

Branding

OCM has created a set of guidelines that include templates which are consistent, yet customizable to give the audience visual confirmation that an account is official and part of the UD community. This enables each account to have its own personality with a professional UD finish.

Accounts must be branded with UD’s guidelines to be considered “official.” If you have a UD account that is not branded with UD’s guidelines, please contact socialmedia@udel.edu for assistance. Do not attempt to replicate or alter the templates.

Account icons

Primary accounts use already-existing UD marks. Secondary accounts should use the icon template, which consists of a photo (customizable) with a blue UD circle in the lower left corner. Units that have corresponding accounts on multiple social media platforms should use the same profile picture across all platforms. Once an account icon is created, the icon should remain the same indefinitely. Please work with OCM to use the template.

Twitter headers (updated)

In April 2014, Twitter debuted a new layout resulting in changes to the visual appearance of a user’s profile. Units should continue to use their previously branded Twitter account icons in the new format, but will need to reconsider their Twitter header. In the new format, Twitter headers are 1500 x 500 pixels and take up a large rectangular portion at the top of a user’s profile (much like a Facebook cover photo). OCM will no longer provide a template for Twitter backgrounds within this new version of the site, so please choose an original, professional image that works in this space. For assistance in finding the right image, please contact OCM. All account names, handles and bios should remain the same.

Facebook cover photos

When Facebook introduced Cover Photos, it recommended that users “fill this wide, open space with a unique image that represents you best.” Use a photo that does not include borders, text or any type of graphical treatment. There is no template for this so please work with OCM to select a professional photo that works well in this space.

Page names and bios

With the exception of student organizations, all official University of Delaware accounts should include “UD,” “University of Delaware” or “Blue Hens” in their name. The “about” or “bio” section of accounts should mention UD or the University of Delaware and link to an official website hosted on udel.edu. All branding must follow the standards in the UD Brand Style Guide.

You participate in the University of Delaware's social media accounts at your own risk, taking personal responsibility for your comments, your user name, and any information provided. Please do not post personal information such as phone numbers and addresses.

Comments advocating illegal activity or violating copyrights or trademarks are prohibited. Comments expressed on the University of Delaware's social media accounts do not reflect the opinions or position of the University of Delaware or its officers and employees.

Email socialmedia@udel.edu with questions.