Getting started on social media
Before creating a new social media account, it is important that you have a social media strategy in place to ensure it is being used in the best way possible.
Social media accounts should not be created for individual events, limited initiatives or activities associated outwith the University. If you want advice on how to promote an event or limited initiative on social media, contact the University Press Office who will be able to assist.
Any affiliated account should be managed by at least one member of staff. Students are welcome to help manage accounts but should not be the sole operator.
Social media is a platform of third-party channels which allows individuals, groups, organisations and businesses to create online pages, known as profiles, to represent them online.
On a social media profile, you can share information about yourself and post opinions, news articles, images and videos to other profiles who follow your page. Your followers are able to interact with your posts by liking, commenting and sharing them on their own page.
The most common social media channels are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. However, there are a wealth of other channels which offer different features and target different audience demographics.
The University of St Andrews wants to develop, broaden and sustain the audiences who engage with the University and the pursuit of knowledge for the common good. The University aims to use social media to inspire, challenge and engage in the following ways:
- by provoking critical thought and encouraging discussion and debate
- providing access to sources and information
- engaging with big societal questions
- listening to feedback and ideas
- promoting access to opportunities
- encouraging online audiences to explore deeper content
- promoting the values of respect, inclusion, and transparency.
The University of St Andrews has official social media accounts on the following channels:
- Facebook - used as a community channel for sharing University news, research and events.
- Twitter - used for sharing University news and contributing to online conversations.
- Instagram - used for showcasing the St Andrews student experience.
- LinkedIn - used primarily by Development to share alumni news and events.
- YouTube - used to host official University videos for sharing online.
In addition to the official University accounts, many Schools, departments, professional units, research centres, societies and sports clubs have affiliated social media accounts. These accounts are not managed by Corporate Communications; however, they do represent the University at a public level.
Should you have any concerns or questions about using social media, you should email email@example.com.
Social media is a good tool for engaging with online audiences and creating conversation points. Common purposes for using social media at the University include:
- sharing University news which has been published on the news website
- advertising upcoming events
- providing research updates
- promoting specific subjects and courses.
If you are considering creating a social media account, you should first ask yourself what you would use it for. You should not create an account just because you think you have to.
Running a social media account requires a significant investment of time and resource. Social media is always on, and people can engage with your page at any time of the day. Before creating an account, you should assess whether the requirements of running a page will be beneficial.
If you require a social media account, you should first create a social media strategy.
Creating a social media account
There is a range of social media channels available, but the most common channels are Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It is important that you pick the channel most appropriate to your objectives outlined in your strategy. Do not feel the need to be active on every channel because you think you should. You should pick one channel that is best suited to your needs and develop this into a strong channel before creating another channel.
The name of your social media profile is how users will find you on social media, so you must pick a name which is reflective of your School, unit, centre etc. Due to character limits, it is not always possible to have your full title as your profile name, so you may need to abbreviate the title while still being descriptive.
You should avoid cryptic names, complicated acronyms, special characters (for example, underscores and dashes) and numbers. This will make your name memorable and easy to describe to people when promoting your channel in person.
If you have accounts on different channels, it is best to have consistency between the names so it is easier for users to find and interact with you. Before creating an account you can search for available social media usernames on domain name checkers.
Most social media channels require you to include a biography (bio) which outlines who you are and what your page is about. Different channels have different character limits for the biography section, so you will need to adapt your biography accordingly.
You should include the following information in your biography:
- who you are (name of School, department, centre, unit)
- the main purpose of your channel
- affiliation with the University of St Andrews
- relevant link to your website, blog, University web page, etc.
University of St Andrews Library posting resources, events, and Library news! We can answer Tweets Mon-Fri, 9-5.
Your social media channel will require you to include profile and header photos or videos. You should select one which represents your School, department, unit, etc. This could be your logo or picture of your building. If you want to include the University logo on your social media account, then you should refer to the corporate identity guidelines.
Different channels display profile and header images differently, so you may need to edit your image accordingly to fit in with their guidelines. Find out more about social media image sizes.
Some channels also allow for you to have a video instead of an image. If you have an appropriate video, you can upload this instead of an image.
Any new social media account should be registered with Corporate Communications. The University maintains a central, up-to-date directory of all social media accounts affiliated with the University. Having your account listed on the central directory allows Corporate Communications to be aware of your page, increasing the chances of your content being shared on the central social media pages.
To register your account, email firstname.lastname@example.org the following information:
- name of the new account
- names of the page administrators
- email address linked to the social media account.
It is also your responsibility to inform Corporate Communications if any details of the channel change (for example, the page is deleted or the administrators change).
As with any login credentials, these should be kept in a secure place. At least two people should have access to the login details in case access is needed in someone’s absence.
It is good practice to change your password regularly, and it is essential that it is changed whenever a person who has access to your page leaves the University or no longer requires access.
If your account is hacked or compromised, it is your responsibility to inform Corporate Communications immediately. You should change your password if possible, take screenshots of any unauthorised content, then delete the content from your channel.