MAIN UNIVERSITY ACCOUNTS
Twitter (for News): twitter.com/NebToday
LinkedIn: University of Nebraska–Lincoln
SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTORY
Review social media accounts on campus or 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 of faculty, staff and student workers who in some capacity have social media as one of their roles and/or responsibilities. The group meets once a month to discuss new social media topics. Members also receive a bi-monthly enewsletter on social media happenings on-campus and updates from the industry.
THE KEYS TO GREAT SOCIAL MEDIA
The goals of your social media efforts should be to connect with your intended audiences, start conversations, and build community and relationships. It is not just a tool to broadcast or publish.
Be authentic, transparent and honest.
Your content should always be prepared with your audience in mind. Make it easy for your audience to have a good experience with what you are sharing.
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.
Have fun, be engaging and experiment. Social Media is ever-changing, which allows you the flexibility to test out new ways to connect with your audience.
If you’re interested in creating an official account, set up a free social media consultation to start the process.
While social networks are free to set up for your college, department or organization, the work to use and maintain them is not. These 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 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 avatar.
- 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).
- 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. Official accounts should 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.
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 you answered “one,” you will need to decide based on your goals and audience segmentation which channel makes the most sense for your group. 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, inform and nurture.
Building your social media presence will require someone’s daily attention as you will have to monitor others’ posts and think about your own (UNLincoln posts 1-2 times per day on Facebook, 10-12 times on Twitter at minimum, while also managing 8 other social accounts). Your team will need to decide how to promote your accounts, relevant topics and themes, frequency of posting (when, what time, how often) and also your plan to engage with the community (answer questions, like posts, retweet, etc.)
If you answered “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.
Your social media plan should be a subset of or an addendum to a broader strategic/ integrated communications plan. Two basic tenets of a good plan are:
- It should guide how you will use your social channel(s) and
- It should outline how you will measure and evaluate 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 calculated content decisions.
Your profile photo/cover image should follow NEBRASKA brand standards and all sections of the “profile” should be filled out correctly and completely.
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.
Not all comments require a response; use your best judgment on whether someone is asking a legitimate question or just ranting/ being snarky.
Frequency of posts varies based on which platform you are using, but the key is to be consistent.
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.
Have a plan to promote your account(s). Think through how best to tell your audience you are in the social space.
Promote your social accounts on print materials and Websites.
Remind people on one social network that you are also present on other social channels.
Include photos or other rich media as often as possible/necessary. Photos and videos have high engagement value and help tell a richer story.
Don’t auto-sync posts from of your social accounts. There are quite a few ways to auto-post from Twitter to Facebook or Instagram to Twitter. 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 style and tools for each platform.
A hashtag is a great way to track conversations online and engage with your community.
Research before you promote. Do a quick search on your idea for a hashtag and see if it is already being used; you don’t want too much noise on the hashtag you promote.
Keep the hashtag short, simple and easy as possible to type using mobile phones.
Adding a number to the end, is helpful in creating a unique hashtag.
Pay attention to hashtags others are using on campus and join in the conversation. Don’t just create hashtag after hashtag and over-complicate it.
#UNL is a popular hashtag as is #LNK (Lincoln). Using these in your tweets increases your tweet reach and helps build community.
Sign up for the weekly Social Media Round- Up email listserv to stay on top of the latest trends and other happenings in the social media world. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added.
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 admin to manage it.
Make at least one (1) 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 or other rich media as often as possible/necessary. Photos and videos have high engagement value 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.unl URL or bit.ly and delete it once the links load. Big long ugly links will distract your audience from your content.
Facebook has its own scheduling tool. You can use this tool to pre-plan posts and also see how they will appear to your audience. This tool is helpful in being efficient and maximizing your resources.
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.
University-affiliated Twitter accounts should be set up with “UNL” in the handle. e.g.: UNLCampusRec, UNLCAS etc.
Post consistently. Before starting a Twitter account, managers should have a plan on posting frequently and building a community.
Twitter is for conversations. Twitter is a platform that is based on constant updates and managers should do more than just post updates. Managers are encouraged to monitor their handle and other relevant hashtags and keywords to take part in conversations (@replies, retweets, favorites etc.).
Include photos or other rich media in your tweets. Make sure photos are sized appropriately for the platform and are engaging. Using the native Twitter app, you can upload up to 4 photos in each tweet.
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 (and not waste space).
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. Thanking users for following you is also a good gesture, however you should do so manually and not set up auto-responders. Auto-responders are not genuine and usually do more harm than good.
Take part in Twitter chats and other weekly activities:
#TBT: Throwback Thursday, include older nostalgic photos.
#MonMotivation: Words of wisdom and other phrases that create some sort of motivation
#FF: Follow Friday, tweet out @handles of other accounts you recommend following
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 other accounts on campus will allow you to cross-promote content, gather ideas and build community.
Include hashtags (keywords) in your tweets. Using hashtags in your tweets helps users find you and increases your tweet reach.
Use apps. Apps like tweetdeck and paid programs like 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 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.
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) i.e.: UNL_AwesomeVideo.MP4
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
Show your story. Instagram is a free photo and video app that allows users to quickly display relevant content in a simple square photo or video that can then have various photos filters simply applied to it.
Share across platforms. Once you have created an instagram photo or video you can easily share it on other social platforms.
Use hashtags. Like with other popular social networks, hashtags (keywords) are great for building a community. Be sure to include popular university hashtags and do some searching and find other relevant tags in the Instagram community.
Use captions. Captions are a great way to explain a story or video.
Tag your location. Tag where the photo was taken and users searching by location can see your photos.
Tag users. If Instagram users are present in your photo or you have curated a photo, be sure to tag the user and give them credit.
Explore contests. Instagram contests are quite popular and easy to do. Encourage users to share a photo with a specific hashtag or comment on one of your photos to win a prize.
Use apps. Online apps like iconosquare.com allow you to comment and like photos, pull analytical information and track hashtags. It is a great tool to do everything, but upload the actual photo/video.
The University maintains ONE Snapchat account (UNLincoln) to tell the story of the university and interact with followers. The account is managed by University Communications and is available for specific groups/units/colleges to “take it over” to deliver key messaging or share content live from campus wide events.
Individual campus units are NOT approved to have their own accounts. If you would like to collaborate or apply for an account exemption, please contact the University Social Media Manager by emailing: email@example.com.
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 wbsites should be uploaded to MediaHub in addition to YouTube as MediaHub videos will play without restrictions in other countries where YouTube is blocked.
Have a question, idea or need assistance? You can always contact the University social media specialist by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.