This guide is for HSU employees who have a role in coordinating social media on behalf of a campus unit. It might also be helpful for those considering the use of social media for their unit, or supervising those with social media responsibility.
The strength of social media is that it is personal and interactive. That makes it a valuable tool for communicating directly with audiences that have a specific interest or involvement with your unit, and for building stronger engagement by those audiences. However, sometimes the informality of social media can be a challenge. It is vital to remember that you represent both your unit and the University, and you should maintain the same friendly, professional standards you do in person.
If you have questions about your unit’s social media, you may contact Marketing & Communications at 826-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Standards and Guidelines
- Partisan political views, commercial endorsements, and hate speech are not allowed on any HSU-affiliated social media channels.
- HSU will address issues that violate established HSU guidelines.
- Use of University logos and visual identity on social media channels must comply with the Campus Graphic Standards.
- Do not share confidential information on a social media channel.
- Be respectful of copyright and be sure you have permission to post someone else’s work and give credit where credit is due. Copyright laws apply in social media just as they would elsewhere.
- The university frequently reposts HSU-affiliated content. If you don't want the entire campus to see it, don't post it.
- Admins are responsible for proactively moderating constructive comment sections.
Before beginning a social media communications project, consider the following points to help you determine the best way to proceed.
- What do you want to communicate and why?
- What interests your audience about your unit?
- What’s the best social media channel for your unit?
- Who will maintain your social media channel?
- What are your goals and what experience would you like to provide your audience?
Launching your Social Media Channel
Prior to officially launching your social media channel, register your social profile to include your new site in our University Social Media Directory.
Use a department email account connected to the humboldt.edu email system. Do not use a personal email address.
Offer information that others can use, interact with, learn from and talk about.
(these would vary by department, audience and the goal of your social media channel)
- New internship/job opportunities
- Campus events-where to go, what’s happening, how to get involved
- Highlighting a student/faculty members success—what did they do and how did it benefit the HSU community, society, etc.?
- What to bring to your new dorm room—what do new freshman need, where can they find it in town?
Be easy to find
Choose a name that includes Humboldt State or HSU. Be sure to include all of your unit’s contact information in the profile section of your social media channel. Include a URL for your unit’s official Humboldt State page or another official HSU page, like http://humboldt.edu.
*Always identify Humboldt State in your name first, then a unit name, so people can easily find you.
Be in tune with your audience
Understanding the individuals you are communicating with is essential to a successful social media effort. Asking questions and conducting informal surveys are easy ways to learn more about your potential audience. Even better? Have a clear picture of the people you’re targeting and the kind of information you’ll share before you sign up for an account.
The question is: WHO are you speaking to and WHAT are they interested in?
Relevant, timely and courteous content
You know your unit’s strengths better than anyone, and your unit has valuable information, tips and other content people will value and find interesting. Once you add something unique, social media really starts to pay off.
Alumni audience: Tips to improve your LinkedIn profile and get employers’ attention.
Admissions (prospective new student audience): Helpful tips on how to conquer that college application. What are admissions counselors looking for?
Wildlife (current students): Wildlife internship opportunities—where are they and how do students apply?
Be interactive with your community
The ultimate goal of social media is to create a conversation or community among people who have something in common. Keeping that in mind will lead to a better experience with social media. Provide interesting information about your unit’s area of expertise. Ask questions. Answer questions.
Be social. Interact and have fun!
Choosing a social network channel
Humboldt State University recommends the following social networking channels. Of course, you’re always welcome to try something new and see if it works for your unit.
Best use? Building and engaging a community around your unit. According to MediaBistro.com, more small organizations found it easier to engage their audiences with Facebook versus Twitter, which are two of the most widely used social media channels.
Tips for using Facebook
With all social media networks, you want your posts to be relevant, timely and offer something of value, whether that’s news, information or entertainment.
If you don’t have anything interesting to post, it’s OK to skip your updates for a time. Think quality over quantity.
Complete your profile: Be sure to include your organization’s name, biography, contact information and web links in the profile so you can be easily found and contacted.
Actively maintain your page with fresh content. Like anything, if you nurture it, it will grow.
Maintain variety: Keep people’s attention with exciting and interesting content. Make it a “fun” experience for your audience. Tell them or show them something “uncommon.”
Choose the right kind of page. On Facebook, be sure you select the right option when creating your account.
- Individuals should have “profiles”
- Organizations (units) should have “fan pages”
- Small collections of people who share similar interests should have “groups”
Be visual: Posts with images and video are more appealing than those with just text alone. They grab the eye!
Be brief: Posts with fewer characters are more likely to be read. Strive for no more than 2-3 sentences.
Be diligent in “tagging” other pages or posts: It’s like inviting friends over and will help grow your network and build relationships. Tag who you’re with, who you’re mentioning or where you are. Your audience wants to know so they can relate to your experience...or join you.
"Grab some grub and head over to the Quad for the Homecoming BBQ today, 12-2pm. Remember to bring your HSU ID card to get your complimentary Lumberjack Burger!" - at Humboldt State University Quad
"PACK THE GYM! Visit the alumni table at the HSU Jacks Men’s Basketball game tonight for your green & gold spirit wear and take a photo with Lucky Logger. Free photo downloads available on our Facebook page this evening." -with Humboldt State University Lumberjacks @Humboldt State Gymnasium.
Recommended software: Facebook.com account, photo-editing software.
Best use? Organizing and sharing a large amount of photos. Do you have photos from years worth of graduation ceremonies, alumni events or social on campus gatherings you’d like to organize? With Flickr you can arrange photos into “sets” and “collections.” For example, last year’s graduation photos can be a set within the larger collection of all your graduation photos.
Tips for using Flickr
To share or not to share? Depending on your settings, Flickr can automatically make your photos public or private. See Flickr’s Help page for more information on privacy, sharing and more.
Recommended software: Flickr.com account (or Yahoo.com account), photo-editing software. Flickr Uploadr to easily upload large batches of photos.
Best use? Quickly sharing news and information with your audience. Twitter is a social network channel that allows you to engage in live conversation. Tweets are limited to a maximum of 140 characters to keep conversations direct.
Tips for using Twitter
Find people to follow: By following others, you’re more likely to attract attention to your organization’s Twitter feed.
Re Tweet (RT): ReTweeting is sharing something that another user posted to Twitter. ReTweeting relevant posts is a good way to share information with your audience.
Way to go HSU Alum, Gary Fisher! RT @GaryFisher Just landed my dream job with Pixar. Shout out to Humboldt State University for preparing me for my career in animation.
See you at the show! Free entry with an HSU ID card. RT @Times-Standard Check out the HSU CenterArts Centennial Von Humboldt Play tonight at the HSU Van Duzen Theatre. This is a specialty performance with great reviews.
Be consistent: Tweet on a specific topic with frequency. This helps keep your audience engaged. Decide how many tweets you want to make per day or week and stay committed. Have something to say, though.
Respond to others with @Replies: Because Twitter is a good way to share news and information, there are plenty of opportunities to engage others in conversations on those topics. Reply to a tweet or a question directed to you by clicking the “reply” button at the bottom of the original post.
@SaraJane "Thanks for following! Have a great visit on campus tomorrow. Be sure to stop by the Depot for a tasty lunch and come see us in the Admissions office with any questions you may have after your tour!"
@HSULumberjacks "Thanks for the score update! We’re cheering you on from home. GO JACKS!"
Connect your accounts: Twitter makes it easy to connect your Facebook, Flickr or other social media channels to its service. That way, everything is in one place and is easier to manage/monitor. Learn more at Twitter’s support page.
Use the #hashtag symbol to make your tweet “search friendly” and to show up in categories of similar discussion. We strongly recommend that you use #HumboldtState on every single post (if you want people to see it, that is). It is, by far, the most-used campus hashtag.
Asking users to use more than one hashtag is confusing and may result in no hashtags at all, so consider only using #HumboldtState
Don’t miss the BIG HSU Centennial Celebration on the Arcata Plaza today from 12-4pm. Activities, prizes and birthday cake galore! #humboldtstate #centennial #arcataplaza"
"Are you a stamp collector? Visit the Marcom table at Commencement for a once in a lifetime opportunity to get a specialty HSU Pictorial Postage Stamp! #humboldtstate #commencement #pictorialpostagestamp #philately"
Know the Lingo: Need to learn more about the Twitter lingo? Twitter’s official glossary can help.
Recommended software: Twitter.com account, official Twitter app.
Best use? Hosting and sharing videos. YouTube videos can be easily be embedded onto other websites and shared on other social channels. Users with a YouTube channel can also share relevant videos with their followers. While there are plenty of video hosting services, YouTube’s ease of use and wide user base make it a top pick.
If your unit has fewer than 5 videos to share with the HSU community, email email@example.com to submit your footage to the Official HSU Youtube Channel. For more than 5 videos, it is recommended your unit creates its own YouTube channel.
Tips for using YouTube
Create & customize a YouTube Channel: YouTube allows users to customize the look and feel of their channel, which is similar to a Facebook Fan Page or Twitter Feed. YouTube users can add logos and graphics, customize colors and add contact information and organization bios.
Add subtitles: Google has text recognition software baked into YouTube, which means adding subtitles to your video is easy. Furthermore, adding captions to your video keeps you in compliance with the California State University’s Accessible Technology Initiative. Learn more about captioning at YouTube’s list of essential tips.
Recommended software: Youtube.com account; video editing software.
Best use? Professional networking, job leads and career recruiting. LinkedIn is a networking site used by professionals worldwide to keep track of former colleagues, connect with new ones and market themselves to prospective employers and clients. The key to getting the most out of LinkedIn is to use your LinkedIn account in the best way possible is to provide valuable, relevant and useful information.
Tips for using LinkedIn
Establish your goals: Why are you on LinkedIn? To find new employees, partners, job leads, contractors, current students, alumni? to be found? to be fond of? a mix? Your goals should drive your entire presence.
Complete your profile, thoroughly: Complete your bio, summary, accomplishments and experience. Continuously update your profile by adding new accomplishments, milestones, awards and professional reference reviews. This enhances your image. Make sure you also have a link to your website (humboldt.edu) and state which industry you are a part of (higher education). These key elements will make it easier for others to engage and interact with you.
Recommended software: LinkedIn.com account