Guidelines and Best Practices

Facebook

Content tips and guidelines: Posts are limited to 63,206 characters, but there is a “read

more” link for posts more than 250-300 characters or 4 lines long.

  • Content to post: Links to articles, photos, photo albums, videos, live videos, status updates, events, gifs (via giphy.com)
  • Hashtags
    • Posts with hashtags see an average of 60% more interactions ( Buffer )
  • Links to articles to share news, announcements and other informational content
    • Link posts that use the built-in Facebook link format receive twice as many clicks compared to links typed into a photo or status update, so be sure to use this option when copying and pasting links into a draft post. You can still upload a custom photo if the one attached to the linked web page doesn’t suit your post. ( Facebook )
    • Studies say that optimal post lengths are short and note that engagement increases as posts get shorter. Suggestions include post lengths up to 40 characters ( Hubspot ), up to 70 characters ( Buffer ), or between 100-119 characters. ( More info from Buffer )
    • Posts with images see 37% more engagement ( Buffer )
    • Posts with exclamation points see 2.7 times more interactions; Posts that ask questions see 23% more engagement ( Buffer )
  • Facebook’s news feed algorithm tends to give preference to posts with photos and videos, followed by links to articles or popular content in your area or a person’s network. Shares and text posts (with some exceptions) may not be given as much consideration by Facebook’s algorithm. There are exceptions when content is particularly popular or trending.
  • Avoid text including “like this”, “share this,” and “click this”. Let the content speak for itself. Your followers will naturally share and click if you are providing content that impacts them in a meaningful or positive way.
  • Rather than asking people to “like a page,” tag other pages and write clear, readable content that why demonstrates followers should like another page.
  • Update your Facebook cover photo regularly. Change your Facebook cover photo to showcase a particular event or campaign.
  • Pin key content to your profile page to increase engagement.
  • Upload videos directly to Facebook rather than linking to a video on another platform (whenever possible). Facebook’s algorithm gives preference to native videos. (Exceptions, of course, include when a video is particularly popular or related to a trending topic.)
  • Consider using emojis and gifs especially if you are trying to reach prospective and current students. ( Buffer )
  • Use experiences of current students to help prospective students picture themselves in your department or college.

Videos: Consider creating short videos without sound or adding captions. Some studies suggest that up to 85% of Facebook videos are viewed with the sound off. ( Buffer )

Photos: Posts with images see 37% more engagement ( Buffer ), so it is crucial to use them strategically. Note the photo crop for article links is 1200x628, so photos that crop well to these dimensions will be used.

Sharing content and tagging accounts: Create a post tagging the other page with new content or re-share their original post. When referencing another college or department, the account tag should be worked into the content of the post so it reads like a natural sentence.

Timing and frequency

  • Be consistent: Post at least once per day
  • Best time to post: 12 PM ( KISSmetrics )
  • Best day to post: Saturday ( KISSmetrics ); Engagement peaks peak on Thursday and Friday ( Buffer )

Twitter

Content tips and guidelines: Posts are limited to 280 characters.

  • Monitor and reply to conversations in your field and industry in addition to replying to posts tagging your account. ( Social Media Today )
  • Share the same/similar content multiple times with varying messages and images. (Don’t be afraid to link to the same News Center article three-four times over the course of a month as long as it’s still timely and relevant.)
  • Observe the character limit while still trying to use proper grammar and spelling. Engagement reduces if users can’t get your message across concisely. Tweets with less than 100 characters tend to get more engagement. ( Buffer )
  • Post Instagram photos separately rather than using the automated “Tweet this” option through Instagram.
  • Consider using emojis or gifs especially if you are trying to reach prospective and current students and younger alumni. ( Read more )
  • Hashtags are crucial to the Twitter audiences. See our list of UNLV hashtags or follow hashtags specific to your field or industry. Tweets with hashtags receive twice the amount of engagement. ( Buffer )
  • We talk about balancing content in our strategy. This extends to the particulars of every account, even Twitter. Balance your posts between retweets, likes, and sharing new content (photos, videos, links, gifs, etc.). If you struggle with finding new content, don’t be afraid to share (and tag) something that you might otherwise retweet. Find photos that showcase spontaneous moments. Monitor industry-specific conversations (even if you aren’t tagged) and respond to questions and feedback.
  • Twitter Moments: Create “Moments” by curating news content and sharing the compiled list. This can be created from your tweets as well as tweets from any other account to give a well-rounded view of an event or topic. ( More )

Videos: Uploading native video: In late 2015, Twitter added support for uploading video directly into a Tweet to provide a more seamless experience for watching videos on Twitter. Tweets with native video (rather than links to YouTube or Vimeo) often receive more engagement because of the ease of viewing. ( More )

Sharing content and tagging accounts: Create a post tagging the other page with new content or retweet the original post. When referencing another college or department, the account tag should be worked into the content of the post so it reads like a natural sentence.

Live Tweeting: When live tweeting, be sure to use a specific hashtag with tweets to distinguish the content and provide an archive of posts.

Timing and frequency: Post 3-5 times per day. Common posting times during the week include between 7-10 AM, 11-1 PM, 5-9 PM. Some students also suggest that brands see 17% more engagement on the weekends ( Buffer ). You can also use free tools like Buffer and Tweriod to see when your followers are online and get recommended times to post.

Instagram

Content tips and guidelines:

  • Show the experiences of current students to help prospective students picture themselves in your department or college.
  • Use #hashtags
    • 1,000 followers or less: up to 11 hashtags
    • More than 1,000 followers: 4-5 hashtags
    • Include recommendations on finding hashtags
    • Instagram is one of the only platforms that support emoji hashtags 
  • Caption space is short. You can fit about three lines (approximately 100 characters) before the “more” link is included in the post.
  • URLs don’t work in Instagram captions so reference links rarely. If you do need to reference a website, say “link in profile” and change your website link in your profile. (However, if your account is verified, you can use Instagram stories to link to a website.)
  • Some studies say that photos with faces in them receive more engagement, but engaging, clear photos are crucial for every post.
  • Consider using emojis in your caption text if you are trying to reach prospective and current students.
  • Don’t forget to use location tags! Users can browse through photos of a location to give insight into what’s happening.
  • Use Instagram stories to share content that is only live for 24 hours. Great for event information or posts that you don’t want to be permanently located in your Instagram feed. It’s also a great way to tag other accounts in your stories or link to a webpage (if your account is verified).
  • Sharing content: Instagram does not offer a built-in repost or share option. To share user-generated content, be sure to ask the user if you can use their photo and include their username in the photo caption. To get the photo, you can screenshot the image, download it using Iconosquare (a desktop website), or use Repost (a separate app) to open it in Instagram.

Frequency: Post 3-5 times per week.

Snapchat

Content tips and guidelines: Create stories that last for 24 hours with 10-second videos or photos.

  • There is no web interface for Snapchat, so the platform is not ideal for sharing links. Instead, capitalize on the “in the moment” content that can have an interesting or funny twist.
  • Use experiences of current students to help prospective students picture themselves in your department or college.
  • Snapchat doesn’t support searching by hashtags but you may include them in the text of a Snap.
  • Text captions are short with only room for two lines of content. If you have a longer message, spread it out into multiple photos and video snaps.
  • The sillier the photos and videos the better.
  • Use appropriate emoji stickers to enhance your content.
  • Users can’t search for accounts so the best way to grow your following includes sharing your username when you post a new story on your other social media accounts or partnering with other Snapchat accounts to promote your username.
  • Growth and promotion: Snapchat does not offer any built-in search tools or official suggested accounts to follow, so the best way to grow your userbase is to showcase your username or Snapcode through other forms of marketing, such as already established social media accounts.

Frequency: Post 2-4 times per week.

Appendix: Measuring success on social media [UMC Use Only]

[Note: This section is for University Marketing & Communications use only to specify our social media goals in terms of statistics.]

Facebook

Post reach: Facebook measures reach by looking at the number of people who saw a post’s impressions, which are the number of times a post was displayed.

  • What to look for: 200,000 minimum organic post reach each month
  • Certain types of posts (for example, links vs. photos) will reach different quantities of people. It’s crucial to share a variety of content to make sure our average reach is consistent or gradually increasing from month to month. If it’s not, we can change the quantities of post types to continue reaching more audiences.

Engagement: The number of people who interact with a post or page by liking, commenting, sharing, or clicking a photo or link as well as other interactions.

  • What to look for: 4-5% engagement rate each month
  • Similar to reach, certain types of posts will engage different quantities of people. By monitoring which posts receive more engagement, we can be sure to target that content and engage our audiences.

Followers: The number of people who like our Facebook page.

  • What to look for: Consistent increases every month

Twitter

Impressions: The number of times a tweet was served in a timeline or search.

  • What to look for: 175,000 minimum impressions each month
  • Certain types of posts (for example, links vs. photos) will reach different quantities of people. It’s crucial to share a variety of content to make sure we are reaching our audiences.

Engagement: The number of people who interact with a post by retweeting, liking, replying or clicking within the tweet.

  • What to look for: 2% engagement rate each month
  • Similar to reach, certain types of posts will engage different audiences and quantities. By monitoring which posts receive more engagement, we can be sure to target that content and engage our audiences.

Followers: The number of people who follow us on Twitter.

  • What to look for: Consistent increases every month

Instagram

Engagement: The number of people who interact with a post by liking or commenting.

  • What to look for: 225 average likes per post each month

Followers: The number of people who follow us on Instagram.

  • What to look for: Consistent increases every month

Snapchat

Story views: The number of unique views per story and per story segment.

  • What to look for: At least 85% should watch the story from beginning to end and a minimum of 70% of followers should watch a story

Followers: The number of people who follow us on Snapchat.

  • What to look for: Consistent increases every month

Policy Guidelines

These procedures are for social media administrators to follow when deciding how to handle user discussion and conversation on official University social media sites.

Hosting discussion and open discourse: UNLV hosts numerous social media accounts to engage in two-way communication with our audiences and actively solicit feedback. Criticism is part of open conversation between our public University and its community. As a social media administrator, your role is to host conversations and interact with users, even when they voice complaints or disagreements. In various circumstances, it may be appropriate to take the following actions:

  • Refer them to specific services that can help their needs.
  • Pass on the complaint or concern to your supervisor and/or the specific department or unit it concerns. The first sign that an issue exists may be through social media, giving the University the opportunity to address it.
  • Acknowledge incorrect information in a professional and respectful manner and direct the user to a website for clarification.

Deleting posts: See the Social Media Policy for types of content that may be deleted. Unlawful communication, political endorsements or promotions, and spam is content that directly violates the social media policy and can be deleted or hidden immediately. Document all interactions and retain records for the current fiscal year plus one year.

In some cases, a user may post questionable content that’s not directly in violation of the social media policy which should not be deleted or hidden. Depending on the context of the comments, social media administrators can choose to reply to the user with a link to the social media policy asking that the user be respectful of it. However, in some cases it’s best to allow self policing by the community and to not engage in the discourse. Review these templates and resources for thoughtful social media discussion.

Blocking users: See the Social Media Policy for types of behavior that may warrant blocking a user. Provide one notice before formally blocking a legitimate user from any social media sites. Notify the user that they may appeal the decision by sending an email to socialmedia@unlv.edu.

Blocking shall be done on a temporary basis, starting with a period of 30 days. If the offending behavior recurs after the first 30 day period passes, the social media administrator may provide one additional notice before blocking the user for a second time for a period of 60 days. If the offending behavior still continues, the social media administrator can choose to permanently block a user. Before blocking a user, the administrator of the social media account shall consult with the Division of Integrated Marketing and Branding, and they will consult with the Office of General Counsel and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX as needed. Spam or bot accounts may be blocked without warning and permanently.

Social media administrators should review each platform’s list of blocked users and accounts every month. Document all interactions and retain records as follows:

  • 30-day and 60-day blocks: Current fiscal year plus one year
  • Permanent block: Permanently retain records

Reporting users: See the Social Media Policy and review a site’s Terms of Use for types of content or behavior that may be reported. If comments or behavior violates a social media site’s Terms of Use, social media administrators should use each site’s functions to report it. This can be done in addition to deleting posts and blocking users depending on the severity of the content. Document all interactions and retain records for the current fiscal year plus one year.

Documentation: In the event of a policy or guidelines violation, screenshot all comments and correspondence, including both public and private messages. In addition to screenshots, note the date, poster information, what was removed, and the basis for removal with a reference to the University’s social media policy.