Best Practices for the Use of Institutional Social Media Platforms

Before You Get "Social," Ask Yourself...

  • What is the purpose of using Facebook, Twitter, etc., for your department or program? Develop a plan with specific goals. (If the goal is to increase awareness of your department, your plan will be different than if you want to increase communication with your constituents.)
  • What content will help you reach your goals? Develop a schedule for the content, and then develop the content.
  • Do I have time to create this content and monitor it daily? Social networking can gobble up time, especially when you are first developing your SLU presence. Make sure you can commit to keeping up your social site.

Suggestions for Naming Your SLU Social Media Presence

  • The name of the page/site/network should reflect the specific University entity it will represent. Include the name of the department, college, school, center, etc. (There can be exceptions to this rule, depending on the intent of the page. In some cases, a completely unique name might be effective.)
  • Sites exclusively named Saint Louis University and SLU and names containing Billiken are reserved for the University.
  • The name should represent Saint Louis University as a prestigious place of higher-learning.
  • Abbreviations should be avoided if possible. Remember, one of the goals of social media is to garner the attention of new visitors. They may not be familiar with common SLU-related abbreviations.
  • Certain social media sites offer the ability to create a profile as a person. Unless the presence is representing a specific and unique individual, please use other options for referencing groups, departments or organizations. (For example, creating a Facebook Page for a group is preferred over creating a Facebook Profile.)

Suggestions for Content

  • Post content that will help you reach the page's goal. Stay on topic.
  • Create several posts ahead of time, and keep a running list of content ideas. However...
  • Do not "over-post" (post too often). Over-posting is frequently viewed as "spam" and viewed negatively by the recipient. In turn, this can reflect negatively on the University. If you have a lot of good content to post, find a way to spread it out over several days or weeks (as long as the content doesn't become dated or irrelevant).
  • Write posts and responses professionally. Keep the same tone and voice throughout.
  • Avoid controversial subjects and any subject not in line with the University's mission.
  • The University welcomes members of the SLU community to participate and communicate in social media but reserves the right to remove off-topic, abusive or hostile entries.
If you allow comments or posts to your social networking site from others:
  • Configure the site settings to hold comments for your review before they are posted, if possible.
  • Monitor your site at least twice daily for posts submitted from others networked with the site. 
  • Respond as soon as possible to other people's posts and comments.
  • Any questionable content posted by others should be removed as soon as possible.
  • Avoid engaging in controversial subjects and any subject not in line with the University's mission.

If you have questions about using social networking sites on behalf of SLU, the University marketing and communications department can assist you.

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