Best Practice

Voice & Tone

Our University tone of voice is about being confident and accessible. It’s important to establish a consistent voice that conveys the personality of your College, School or Department. Consider your target audience(s) and create a voice that will appeal to your followers. Social Media is largely informal, so it’s okay to be conversational and relaxed. This will obviously depend on the content you’re posting but don’t feel like you have to be ‘corporate’ with all your communications. As a University, we’ve moved away from this approach - we encourage you to be more relaxed with your Social Media communications. Be creative and have fun with it!

If you have multiple Social Media administrators for your accounts, agree on what your voice is going to be so you’re all using the same one. By having lots of different styles, you’ll confuse your audience.

And it’s always worth bearing in mind that you’re representing UofG in the Social Media space, so let the University’s brand and culture help and guide you.

Mix Things Up

Variety is the spice of life and the same is true for Social Media platforms. Mix up your content as much as possible. Offer your followers a blend of articles, photos, videos etc. This will help keep your content fresh and your audience engaged.

Photos and videos often achieve the greatest engagement. And don’t forget you don’t always need to be sharing your own content. Your community will appreciate you utilising user generated content. Most people (especially students) love seeing their materials shared on an official University page (but just remember to ask permission and credit the individual!)

Call To Action

Every piece of content you share on your social media channels should ideally have a call to action attached to it. Ie a link to an article, sign up for an event, watch a video, read more etc. There should be a point to every piece of content you publish. Even if it’s just letting your audience know about an event happening or that a research paper has just been published.

Keep the Social in Social Media

Social Media is about building and nurturing relationships, so concentrate on connecting with your audiences and employing different ways to engage with them. It’s important to find a balance between creating content and engaging with your followers on a regular basis. If they ask a question, make sure you provide a timely answer. If they comment on a post, reply back and thank them for their contribution. It’s not always appropriate to write a response, but even liking or ‘favouriting’ it shows that you actively listen to them and appreciate their input.

A good analogy is when you’re having a conversation with a friend or colleague, you wouldn’t just shout facts at them - you’d ask them questions and have a two-way conversation. The same applies to Social Media - engage with your community by striking up conversations with them. This could be through questions or polls - be creative!

Less in More

Unlike Twitter which forces you to be succinct with its 140 characters limit, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks don’t provide a character restriction. However, it’s always better to keep your messages as short as possible. Generally the quicker you can get your message across, the higher the engagement will be. Again this will depend on your subject matter - it’s hard to condense technical research into two sentences but see what you can do!

Over Posting & Sharing Can Turn Your Followers Off

While it’s important to post regularly so your followers stay connected, posting too often can turn your audience off. Never post just for the sake of posting. It’s far better to focus on sharing content that is of value to your community and will reflect well on your brand and overarching Social Media strategy .

Actively Listen - Think Before You Join Conversations

You don’t have to be a part of every conversation that mentions your research, Department, College, or the University. Some topics will be contentious and best avoided - always remember that if you are running an official account (as an individual or group) that you’re representing the University so you don’t want to be embroiled in highly inflammatory or contentious issues. It’s absolutely fine and sometimes advisable to just listen!

Transparency

Openness and transparency are very important in the Social Media space. Be as honest and transparent as possible. It’s far better to acknowledge mistakes or when you don’t know the answer. Don’t ignore difficult questions (unless they’re rhetorical or abusive) - normally you can defuse even the most difficult situations by confronting them. This includes responding to posts that may not have tagged you directly. Using the search functions within the platforms themselves or social listening tools you can often pick up potential pr issues that you can respond to where appropriate. You’ll often find people use Social Media as a soapbox to complain and when you show you’ve heard them and replied to their issues, they’ll be satisfied.

For serious issues or Social Media communications that might have reputational implications for the University please contact Emma Gilmartin emma.gilmartin@glasgow.ac.uk

Accuracy

Take care to check your facts and grammar before you hit ‘share.’ The content that you post is public, so never post anything that you would not be willing to see published or broadcast or that would infringe copyright or intellectual property (ie if a research paper hasn’t been published yet). If you make a mistake, acknowledge your error and correct it as quickly as possible.

Any messages that might be perceived as the ‘voice’ or position of the University should be approved by the Communications and Public Affairs Directorate - media@glasgow.ac.uk.

Negative Posts and Trolls

The open nature of Social Media exposes you to negative reactions and comments as well as positive. While it’s tempting to delete negative posts, this is not usually advisable (unless they are very abusive). Deleting comments can often exacerbate situations and in some extreme circumstances can create public relations issues. The first thing you need to do is to decide whether you should respond or leave the comment. Sometimes leaving the comment is a better option rather than opening up a can of worms. Often you’ll find that your community will respond for you and defuse the situation without you needing to intervene. It’s a good idea to keep an eye on how conversations develop and intervene or respond accordingly.

Avoid engaging with ‘trolls’ who try to goad reactions. If you’re not sure how to respond to a negative interaction (particularly if it’s of a serious nature) then feel free to contact the Social Media team for support.