Getting started with social media

The Marketing team manage the main University social media accounts. Departments and services are able to set up and manage their own social media presence, if they have the capacity to do so. Contact us if you need support or advice: social-media@york.ac.uk

A tool kit with additional hints and tips for social media content and management is available to staff on the Wiki.

Before you start

Before you get started, there are a few things to think about:

  • Does an account for your department already exist? (check the directory)
  • Can you dedicate time to manage the account and post useful content on a regular basis?
  • Who are you trying to speak to? Who is your audience? 
  • Which platforms is your target audience using and is this the best way to reach them?
  • Who will manage your social media account in the long-term?

If you are concerned that you won’t be able to manage an account, it’s absolutely fine to not have one.

Setting up a new account

When setting up a new account, make sure you sign up using a non-personal York email address (eg department-name@york.ac.uk or admn account). This makes it easier to share access to your account within your department. When sharing account logins, also make sure you use a password manager such as Lastpass.

Creating a suitable username/url

University departmental and service team social media accounts should start with ‘uoy’ followed by your department or service name (no space) eg UoYsociology or UoYLibrary. This helps people to locate your account easily and shows that it is affiliated with the University.

When using Facebook or YouTube, your page name should be ‘department name, University of York’ eg ‘Department of Physics, University of York’ or ‘Physics at the University of York’.

Profile avatars and header images

Only the main University accounts can use the shield as a profile image or avatar (eg @uniofyork / facebook.com/universityofyork). Departmental and service social media accounts must use centrally-designed avatars on their profiles. Please see our social media design standards on the wiki for more information (York login required).

FAQs

What content should I post?

Make sure any content you share is relevant, valuable and interesting to your target audience. Anything you post should relate to the department or service you represent. Examples of appropriate content could be:

  • University news
  • department award successes
  • posts about events on campus eg Open Day
  • reposts of content which is of interest to your audience eg funding opportunities

An image alongside your post is always recommended as it brings the content to life. Make sure that you have permission to use any photos or imagery prior to posting it. Take a look at our social media image guidance on the wiki for more advice.

You are providing a voice for the University. Engage with your audience on topics that will be of interest to them, but stay neutral and don't take positions/opinions on topics which may be seen to be controversial.

Remember not to reveal any confidential or sensitive information. And for data protection purposes we advise that when attributing a quote to a student, that you only use their first name.

How should I engage with my audience?

Social media enables a two-way communication with your audience so it's important you interact with them, answer any questions and respond to posts in a timely fashion.

Where appropriate you should try to respond to posts directly addressed to or mentioning your account, even if it's correcting them about something that's wrong or responding to a negative comment.

When communicating with students keep things friendly and take part in discussions but stay sensible and maintain boundaries.

You may receive questions and requests that don't relate to your department or service. If the answer is straightforward you can answer them or signpost where they will be able to find the information or who they should contact.

How do I deal with inappropriate or spam content?

There is the possibility that people may post inappropriate or spam comments on your Facebook posts or Instagram images and it's important to moderate these. If they do not comply with our guidelines or the social media platform's own user guidelines there are ways to hide or remove them. 

Staying safe online

There is guidance available on how to stay safe online and on social media:

What should I do if my account gets hacked?

If you believe someone has gained unauthorised access to your social media account:

  1. Take immediate steps to secure your account:
  2. Apologise to your audience and/or remove any unauthorised content which may have been posted.
  3. Work to avoid recurrence of the unauthorised access:
    • change your password
    • consider setting up verification procedures for the account, such as two-factor authentication

Related social media guidelines and policies

There are several sets of guidelines and policies for staff and students which refer to use of social media: