CSUN’s social media properties aim to inform and engage multiple constituencies: current students and parents, alumni, employees of the university, prospective students and their parents, our community, and patrons of specific programs, centers and campus entities. When posting to social media properties like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, be sure to focus on your audience, your message and your call to action.
Because the main purpose of these messages is to inform followers, the words are incredibly important. A formal, yet loose, tone is important because of the different constituencies with which we are engaging. We don’t want to turn off anyone from reading because they don’t agree with the way the message is being transmitted. Too rigid, we might lose student interest; alternately, language that is too loose or informal could alienate an older audience.
On Facebook, the post should ideally be no longer than three to four well-constructed sentences (two or three on Instagram), followed by a link that’s been truncated using a bit.ly-type shortener. On Twitter, the ideal number of characters is 120 of the allowed 140. That way, when being retweeted, there will be room for the sharer’s thoughts.
The use of hashtags is constantly being changed. However, sticking with these three best practices will ensure the most efficient use of space:
- Keep hashtags short, ideally no more than eight characters.
- Keep hashtags relevant. The hashtag is now seen as a pure form of thread construction and an efficient way to communicate with large audiences.
- Consistency. Make sure to use the same hashtag — with the same spelling and casing — across all social media platforms. This will unify them to make a cohesive campaign.
Images and video content are vital to the success of social media posts. You will see a diminished level of engagement when a Facebook post goes out without an image. The algorithms of social media sites prefer images, and it will also be more likely to catch the eye of a user. That means more sharing of your content.
Images and videos should be at a sufficient resolution (72 dpi or higher) and the dimensions should be at a 2:1 ratio (960x640 is a common dimension). The images and videos should ideally capture the confident, elevating impact CSUN has on our students and region.
Use of CSUN iconography and logos should only be used following the overarching identity guidelines.
CALL TO ACTION
Delivering a strong call to action is the most important reason to use social media and spread your message. While posts that are fun or quirky — like pictures of the famous campus squirrels — can generate engagement, they should be posted sparingly compared to relevant, useful content. Develop or share content that you feel is most important to your reputation. Whether it’s an article about a professor being published in a prestigious journal, or an event to which you’d like to invite the campus, it’s important to get as many of the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when and why) in the post as you can, plus the link for more information.
In addition to the above facets of posting, there are a few other points to create the best social media presence.
- Avatar and background images should be clear and easily identifiable.
- AP Style is used in content on all of CSUN’s main social media properties.
- Sharing content from other properties should be relevant to your message and audience.