Main University Accounts
Twitter (for News): NebToday
LinkedIn: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
Social Media Directory
The social media directory serves as a place to quickly find social media accounts for entities across campus. This page also allows you to submit your account to be added to the directory.View the Social Media Directory
Social Media User Group
The Social Media User Group is a cross-campus group comprised of faculty, staff and student workers who have social media or digital communication as part of their roles and/or responsibilities. Members receive a e-newsletters with tips, social media happenings on-campus and updates from the industry.
The Keys to Great Social Media
Your social media efforts should focus on connecting with your intended audiences, starting conversations, and building community. It is not just a tool to broadcast the latest updates from your department.
Your content should always be prepared and shared with your audience in mind. Identify which audiences follow you on which platforms and tailor the content to those audiences by platform. A platform with a student-focus will call for different imagery, copy and content themes than one with a faculty-focus, for example.
Be authentic and transparent. This aids in community building and will encourage conversation amongst your followers.
Apply best practices in customer service. Social media is a great way to extend customer service efforts for your organization and become more aware of what people are saying about you. If your followers have questions that you can answer, try to answer those comments and/or direct messages in a timely manner.
Have fun, be engaging and experiment with new forms of content. Social media is ever-changing, which allows you the flexibility to test out new ways to connect with your audience.
While social networks are free to set up for your college, department or organization, the work to use and maintain them is not. Here are some guidelines for establishing and managing university-affiliated accounts:
- Your account should include "Nebraska" in the name and “UNL” in the handle. Example:
Nebraska Research - @UNLResearch
- We recommend consistency in naming across multiple social media channels. When starting your accounts, first consult with UComm to ensure you have the same user name across all platforms.
- Your account(s) profile picture/social avatar should represent the university and be either your social
lockup created in the lockup factory or another image that
accurately represents your college/department/unit. Individual units are NOT APPROVED to use the
Nebraska "N” by itself on any background or in any other format for the purpose of a social media or digital
- The Nebraska "N" with a white background is reserved for the Athletic Department (@Huskers).
- The Nebraska "N" with a red background is reserved for the University main account (@UNLincoln).
- Because athletics accounts utilize lockups on white backgrounds, academic units and academic units and other non-athletic departments/offices (ex: Housing, Health Center, etc.) should use a red background when using their lockup.
- Campaign-related and special-use handles may be requested and will be evaluated on their merits. General phrases drawn from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln branding statement are reserved for University use.
- Your “About Us” or biography section should outline who you are, the purpose of the social page and link to your website on unl.edu.
- Endorsements of third parties: Official university accounts should encourage engagement with and among followers; however, they should reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing or derogatory. Recommended replacement: The University of Nebraska System has developed community guidelines in accordance with this which are available here. Official accounts should link to these guidelines or post a disclaimer similar to this: “Third-party posts directed to this account do not imply endorsement of that content by the university. UComm reserves the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing, and/or derogatory.”
- The University has exclusive contracts with some brands such as (Adidas, Pepsi and First National Bank), so think twice before endorsing, mentioning, picturing or linking to competing organizations. This is important especially when taking photos or running contests with unique prizes.
- Each social channel has terms of service and conditions of use. Be sure to read through these documents, as you are responsible for following the rules for each platform.
- If you’re interested in creating an official account, set up a free social media consultation to start the process.
First, determine your goals and audience(s). Then, you can chose the best option:
- Is my goal centered around building a community and sustaining a presence? OR
- Is what I’m trying to accomplish more of an initiative or campaign that would benefit from a partnership or collaboration with other on-campus account(s)?
If the first option fits your goal, you will need to decide which channel makes the most sense based on your goals and audience segmentation. It is best to start with one channel and focus your efforts to build a community. It will take some time to build your following and you will need to take the time to engage with your audience, inform them and nurture the relationship.
Building your social media presence will require someone’s daily attention as you will have to monitor others’ posts in addition to managing your own. Your team will need to decide how to promote your accounts, what topics and themes are relevant for the platform/audience, frequency of posting (when, what time, how often) and also your plan to engage with the community (answering questions, liking posts, retweeting, etc.)
If your answer to the question was option two, you should email email@example.com and start a conversation with UComm. We can help you create a plan to best accomplish your intended goals and reach your audience.
Develop a plan: Your social media plan should be a subset of or an addendum to a broader strategic/integrated communications plan. A good plan should:
- Guide how you will use your social channel(s)
- Outline how you will measure and evaluate effectiveness
Measure effectiveness: Evaluating effectiveness is helpful when making future content decisions. Having an idea of what content performed well or had a high engagement value, will allow you to better understand your audience and make more strategic content decisions.
Stay on brand: Your profile photo/cover image should follow NEBRASKA brand standards and all sections of the “profile” should be filled out correctly and completely.
Engage: You should have a plan for active engagement with followers and answer questions/comments within 24-hours. Being present and responsive establishes credibility and helps to build your reputation. Note: Not all comments require a response; use your best judgment on whether someone is asking a legitimate question or just ranting.
Be consistent: Frequency of posts varies based on which platform you are using, but the key is to be consistent. The algorithms of some platforms, like Instagram, reward you for a consistent posting schedule.
Let your content breathe: Don’t save up all your updates and blast them all out at the same time. Keep your audience in mind and share updates when they are most likely to see them. Posting your updates throughout the week/day helps you reach a larger audience. Having a content calendar with posts planned out in advance is helpful to see what you are posting and when.
Spread the word: Have a plan to promote your account(s). Think through how best to tell your audience you are in the social space.
Be accessible: Ensure everyone can enjoy the content you're sharing by adding alt text to any photos you share and captions to videos. Photo alt text should describe the photo or graphic accurately and include any text so someone with low vision or a screen reader can understand it. Avoid using text-heavy graphics if you can't provide the full copy in the alt text.
Consider promoting your social accounts on print materials and websites.
Remind people on one social network that you are also present on other social channels. This could be done by adding information in your profile description or cross-posting content (when relevant to both audiences) and prompting your followers to visit that page: "Follow @UNLincoln on Instagram for more."
Don’t auto-sync posts from of your social accounts. Each platform has its own unique functionality and often times your content will not be well received when things are auto-posted from one to the other. Instead, take an extra minute and re-configure your content and post from the native platform taking advantage of the language, style and tools for each platform. This also helps you keep your audience, which may vary from platform to platform, in mind. Additionally, social media handles may differ from platform to platform, so they could be broken if you auto-sync posts with tagged social handles.
A hashtag is a great way to track conversations online and engage with your community.
Research before you promote. Do a quick search for your intended hashtag on social and see if it is already being used. You don’t want too much noise on the hashtag you promote as it will be harder to weed out the content relevant to you so you can engage with it.
Keep the hashtag short and simple and when putting multiple words together, ensure it doesn't spell anything inappropriate. Capitalizing the first letter of each word in a hashtag can help ensure it is read correctly, particularly if someone is using a screen reader.
Symbols do not work in hashtags so stick to letters and numbers.
Don’t just create hashtag after hashtag and over-complicate it. Pay attention to the hashtags others are using on campus and join in the conversation when it makes sense.
#UNL and #LNK are popular hashtags. Using these in your copy increases your reach and helps build community.
Platform-Specific Best Practices
University-affiliated pages should all be set up as brand pages and not personal pages. Setting pages up personally and running them for anything other than a personal page is a violation of Facebook’s terms and services. Instead, you should set up a brand page and assign an admin to manage it.
Make at least one post per week to your Facebook page to keep your community engaged. You can post more frequently, but the key to a great Facebook page is keeping it up-to-date.
Include photos and other rich media as often as possible. Photos and videos have high engagement value, catch your followers' eyes and help tell a richer story. Linking to news articles is a great way to share news and engage with your audience. Just be aware of the image that auto-displays, if it isn’t appropriate or is cropped, upload your own.
Use short URLs. If you post a link to an article, make sure you shorten it with a Go URL, bit.ly or, if you're using a content management platform, shorten it in there. Long links will distract your audience from your content. Note: because these are auto-generated letters/numbers, it's always a good idea to ensure your shortened link doesn't inadvertently spell anything inappropriate before sharing it.
Facebook has its own scheduling tool. You can use this tool to pre-plan/schedule posts and also see how they will appear to your audience.
Encourage conversation. Facebook is a great place to ask your audience a question, have them take part of a poll or just encourage feedback. Let your audience post comments; just make sure you are monitoring them. Some members might post something negative or critical and you should let them. This often allows a chance for you to answer a question or start a dialogue. It is best to let that author know you have heard what they say and try to answer their question or concern with a “reply” or kindly request to take the conversation offline by providing an email address or phone number. The only time you should remove, hide or delete a comment is if it includes profanity or is obscene, harassing or threatening. For more information, visit the Social Media Guidelines developed by the University of Nebraska System here.
University-affiliated Twitter accounts should be set up with “UNL” in the handle. ex: @UNLCampusRec, @UNL_CoJMC, etc.
Post consistently. Before starting a Twitter account, managers should have a plan on posting frequently and building a community.
Twitter is for conversations. Managers should do more than just post updates and are encouraged to monitor their handle and other relevant hashtags and keywords to take part in conversations (@replies, retweets, etc.).
Include photos and other rich media in your tweets. Make sure photos are sized appropriately for the platform, are engaging and include alt text with a description of the photo.
Tweets can have calls to action. Write your tweets to be engaging and exciting and then provide links to more information when necessary. Use URL shorteners to track clicks and also clean up your tweets.
Follow relevant accounts that make sense for your organization. Following those who follow you is a great way to build community, but it is not required to follow everyone back.
In addition to university- or department-specific hashtags, you can take advantage of community hashtags which will help push your reach and plan/organize your content. Examples include:
- #TBT: Throwback Thursday encourages sharing of older nostalgic photos
- #MondayMotivation: Share words of wisdom and other phrases that create some sort of motivation
Depending on your area of expertise there may be other chats or weekly hashtag posts. Do a little research and join in!
Follow other university accounts. Following campus accounts will allow you to cross-promote content, gather ideas and build community.
Apps like tweetdeck and paid programs like Hootsuite or Sprout Social allow you to set up streams of keywords, hashtags and lists so that you can easily manage your Twitter account(s). These programs also allow some analytics features and the ability to schedule posts.
The University has a single YouTube channel, and colleges, departments and affiliates can request a playlist on the YouTube channel from UComm. Having a playlist on the official channel increases your overall reach, and improves the consistency and maintenance of your content.
Note: Don’t use copyrighted material. Using music, images or other elements that you do not have the rights to can cause your video to be flagged as well as get the YouTube channel shut down. All videos are screened by YouTube and can’t be uploaded if they contain copyrighted materials.
Videos should include the proper information:
- Descriptive title: The title helps users find your video in the YouTube search engine.
- Video description: This description helps users find your video in the YouTube search engine and other search tools.
- Call to action: This is usually a website or place that allows the user to find more information.
- Relevant keywords or tags: This helps users find your video on YouTube.
Include UNL or University of Nebraska in your video file naming for better SEO (search engine optimization) ex: UNL_AwesomeVideo.MP4
Consider the thumbnail on your video. Upload a photo (or select a frame from the video) that is high quality and clearly shows what is happening. This is the image that people will first see and may determine if they watch the video.
Captioning is required for videos. If you have a script send it along with your video files so all closed captioning can be included.
If you are posting a video (preferably from MediaHub) to your university website, closed captioning and other accessibility protocols must be followed.
Visually engaging content is important on every platform but perhaps most important on Instagram. The app allows you to share information in a few different ways.
- Be engaging: Photos posted to the feed should be visually engaging and high quality (don't post blurry photos). Because it is primarily a photo-sharing app, Instagram is a great place to source UGC (user-generated content). Using community-taken photos is a great way to help build community and encourage others to upload their own photos. Just be sure to tag them in the photo and give them credit in the caption.
- Use hashtags and locations: Tagging where the photo was taken and using relevant hashtags can help your posts reach a new audience. You can also use these features to search for UGC that you may be able to repurpose.
- Add a caption: Captions are a great way to tell a story from the photo or engage with your followers. Consider asking a question or even hosting a giveaway to encourage followers to comment.
- As always, be sure to include alt text to describe the imagery.
Your Instagram grid is your profile where all of the content you post to your feed are compiled into rows of square photos.
Because this is one of the first things a person may see before following your page, ensuring it looks clean and consistent will help you attract new followers. One way to do this is using a consistent photo filter across all of the posts you upload. You can do this using an in-app filter or use a photo editing program like VSCO or photoshop to apply the same filter to your photos Also be aware of how your photo (or graphic) may crop in grid view. You may adjust text on a graphic or the size of the photo to ensure it looks good in the grid.
Unlike content you share to the feed, Instagram Stories only last 24 hours before they disappear. This is a great place to share updates and reminders, in-the-moment event coverage and more. To get the most out of Stories, consider the following:
- Use Giphy stickers: UComm has created a library of university-specific animated stickers you can use to liven up your stories. Just search "unlincoln" in Stories and select the one you want to add.
- Test out other stickers: Stories has several "stickers" you can add to your stories that will help engage with your followers. From polls to questions to quizzes, these can help you get to know your audience.
- Use location tags and hashtags: This allows those viewing your story to tap through to the location or hashtag and view similar content
- Tag other accounts: Tagging relevant accounts in your Instagram Stories allows those accounts to reshare the content to their own stories.
- Link to other content: If what you're sharing benefits from a little more background, add a link to a webpage so followers can learn more, register for an event, etc.
- Caption your content: If you're sharing videos with people talking to the camera in Stories, be sure you're adding captions. Instagram has a sticker that auto-populates the captions; just be sure to read through them and make edits where there are errors.
- Highlight top stories: If you have Stories that you want to make sure your audience can re-watch, think about highlighting them to your Instagram Grid. Content like resources, takeovers, weekly events, etc. are great content to make sure your audience is able to consume again
Similar to TikTok, Reels is a way to share short-form videos. This is a great alternative to starting a TikTok account because you already have an audience established and you can test the capacity/ideas before diving into an entirely new platform.
The University maintains ONE Snapchat account (UNLincoln) to tell the story of the university and interact with followers. The account is managed by University Communication and is available for specific groups/units/colleges to “take it over” to deliver key messaging or share content live from campus wide events; however, with how usage of Snapchat has changed, collaborating on Instagram Stories will allow you to reach a greater audience.
Individual campus units are NOT approved to have their own accounts. If you would like to collaborate or apply for an account exemption, please firstname.lastname@example.org.
UComm maintains a proprietary video delivery network that is optimized for use on unl.edu websites: mediahub.unl.edu
Videos that are to be included on unl.edu websites should be uploaded to MediaHub in addition to YouTube as MediaHub videos will play without restrictions in other countries where YouTube may be blocked.
Mediahub also provides users a service to "order captions" by using a cost object number. This will generate a SRT file that you can upload to social platforms to make your content inclusive of all online audiences.
Have a question, idea or need assistance? You can always contact the university social media team by email@example.com.
TikTok is a video sharing platform similar to Instagram Reels. The content and culture of the platform is very specific and will take time to learn and apply in an authentic way.
Building an audience on a new platform is always time-consuming but especially in the case of TikTok. The videos will also be time-intensive. Because the algorithm is unpredictable, you'd have to be really consistent on posting (and up on the trends/language on the app, which change very quickly) to get the most engagement.
If you're thinking about setting up a TikTok account, please reach out to UComm prior to discuss strategy. Before setting up a TikTok, you should test content on Instagram Reels. Reels is similar to TikTok, but if you already have built a community on Instagram, it ensures you have an audience to see your videos. Testing content on Reels first gives you a chance to see if it's something you have the capacity for, get a handle on how short-form video content works and see how an audience you already have reacts to it.