Guidance and support

Top Tips

What works well on one platform might not perform as well on another. This is often due to different algorithms, audiences, and content themes. Here are some tips worth considering when you’re creating content for each channel, based on insight from The University and the wider social media community.

Instagram

  • Instagram is made up of three content formats: Instagram feed posts, Instagram Stories and Instagram Reels. Before curating content for Instagram, it is important to understand the difference between these formats and the different approaches they require: 
  • An Instagram feed post shows up in your followers’ feed and in your profile grid. You can share photos and videos that are up to 60 minutes long, although we would recommend keeping videos between 10 seconds and two minutes to maintain engagement. 
  • Instagram Stories allow you to share photos and videos to your ‘Story’ which disappear after 24 hours. Each video or photo lasts a maximum of 15 seconds, but you can share multiple video clips across several 15-second frames if you need to communicate a longer message. We would recommend keeping this to 5-6 frames to reduce the drop off rate. You can save Instagram Stories to your profile by creating a ‘Highlight’. You can request full Instagram Stories takeover guidance from the Social Media Team by emailing socialmedia@leeds.ac.uk. 
  • Instagram Reels are a way to share short video clips on Instagram. Videos can be a maximum of 60 seconds, but we would recommend keeping them short to maintain engagement. When you post your video, it will appear in the ‘video’ tab in your profile grid. You can choose to share the Reel in your main profile grid and followers’ feed or link to the video through Instagram Stories, but this is optional. When you post your Reel, you will be given the option to create a profile cover. We would recommend creating a cover, especially if you’re posting to your profile grid and feed, so your followers can immediately see what your video is about. It is good practice to use the same style of profile cover for all your Reels, so they look cohesive in your profile grid. 

Facebook

  • Facebook posts should be exciting and aspirational. The accompanying copy should be concise and meaningful as shorter posts often receive better engagement.
  • Lead with visuals – whether it’s video or image-based, visual posts perform better than written content. If you’re sharing an image alongside your post, keep it simple and don’t have too much text in the picture. If you’re sharing a video, it should be a minimum of 15 seconds long.
  • If you’re sharing a link to a web page, Facebook will automatically generate a link preview by scraping the metadata from the page. If a suitable image doesn’t pull through, you can post an image and include the link in the body copy of the post.
  • Facebook is becoming more and more community-driven, with posts often sparking a discussion or response in the comment section. Monitoring and replying to these will help build and maintain a community among your followers.
  • Much like Instagram, Facebook has a story feature. Posts to your story are available to view for 24 hours, after which they disappear. You can either create your content natively within the stories function or upload existing images, videos and graphics from your library. If you’ve got a longer message to communicate, break it down across multiple frames but keep it to a maximum of 5-6 frames to reduce the drop-off rate.

Twitter

  • Twitter is a place where individuals and institutions alike often share, discuss or break news and current events, so this should be kept in mind when creating content for the platform. Trending topics offer an opportunity to join a conversation with your unique perspective or link back to your own message.
  • Tweets are limited to 280 characters so posts should be engaging and concise, but embedded videos or external links can be used to signpost to further information. The thread function can also help you share more in-depth stories or messages across multiple posts.
  • Tag active accounts that might retweet or engage with your posts where suitable. Handles (the @username) can be included within the Tweet copy or tagged in the media if you are sharing an image within your post. Try to use no more than three bits of blue to keep your post clear and effective – e.g. 1 x handle, 1 x hashtag and 1 x link.
  • Use relevant hashtags to help widen the reach of your tweets and help your audience find you while they browse similar content.
  • Pinned Tweets can be used to direct followers or viewers of your profile to important information or successful posts.

TikTok

  • TikTok’s ‘main’ feed is known as the “For You Page”, this is an optimised stream of videos from across the platform that has been curated for you, not only users you follow. In order to increase your chances of appearing on the “For You Page” it’s important that you adopt best practice.
  • TikTok is a trend-driven platform. Adopting current trends, where relevant and appropriate, can be an effective way to generate positive engagement.
  • Videos can be as long as three minutes, but we would recommend keeping them short, to maintain engagement.
  • Use video covers so users visiting your profile can immediately see the topic of the video, and to create consistency on your profile grid.
  • Don’t forget to use the caption feature to make your video accessible.
  • Regular posting is important to grow your presence and maintain good engagement.

Linkedin

  • The tone of voice should be professional and friendly.
  • Focus on future news, innovation and announcements.
  • Encourage direct outreach and engagement with community mentions and user-generated content.
  • If you are sharing video content, try to keep it short (less than three minutes) and share it natively on the platform.
  • As of recent months, videos are no longer prioritised over text-only or photo-based posts. We would encourage you to share your post with a photo as this makes it more visually interesting and increases the chance of a user engaging with your content.
  • Content on LinkedIn tends to have a longer shelf life than other channels, and you can expect clicks on posts up to seven days after publication.

YouTube

  • YouTube consists of two types of users: video creators and viewers.
  • YouTube is all about user-generated content and providing an engaging platform for viewers to consume the content of video creators.
  • On average, a YouTube video is about 12 minutes long. While your video is likely to be shorter, long-form video content requires time and resources to produce.
  • It is advised to work with one of the video suppliers or liaise with the social media team before commissioning any video content for the University’s YouTube account.
  • Based on your goals and key messages, consider the style of your video and what you would like to achieve.
  • If you would like to request a video upload to the University’s YouTube account, please fill out the request form.

 

FAQs

I need help with Google Analytics 

You can find information about using Google Analytics under the ‘Website’ section of the Communications website. For further support with Google Analytics, please get in touch with the Web team at webcomms@leeds.ac.uk

How can I commission communications assets? 

If you want to use an external supplier to commission work, you must select an authorised supplier from the Supplier Frameworks. There are three supplier frameworks for communications work: Photography, Creative, design and video, and Printing. 

How can I make sure my social media content is accessible? 

An SRT file is a plain text file that adds subtitles to a video. If you’re commissioning video, make sure to ask the supplier to supply an SRT file alongside the video file.

When posting photos on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn, you have the option to add ALT text; this is a short text description of the image you’re sharing. It’s important to add this to your posts to ensure your content is accessible to those who use a screen reader.

Consider using contrasting colours when creating an infographic, or sharing text on Instagram Stories.

Managing social media queries

If you are receiving challenging social media messages to a University account and are having difficulty managing it, please get in touch with the social media team via socialmedia@leeds.ac.uk and we will be able to support you. 

 

Additional Resources

While we hope you’ve found this guidance useful, it’s by no means comprehensive. There are plenty of external resources that can help provide further technical guidance or platform specific information.  

Twitter Help  

Facebook Help 

TikTok Support 

YouTube Support 

LinkedIn Help 

Sprout Social Support

OD&PL 

A number of training and resources are available to help develop your digital literacy. You can find out more on the Digital Practice Leeds website.