Our six social media principles

The University follows a set of key principles which apply to all social media platforms and their respective owners:

1. Go to your audience

Building a new following on a new social channel takes a lot of time, resource, and budget. The University has a wide range of existing profiles, so take a look at the major accounts already in use in your local faculty or school. There may also be external accounts which you can collaborate with, to directly reach an established audience. Leveraging existing audiences will always be quicker than creating a new community, however if you do decide to create a new profile, we advise having a clear understanding of what social media platform you are using and why, and have a plan for growing awareness of your profile among your intended audience.

2. Safety and security

Keeping your accounts safe is important. You should ensure your passwords are secure, complex and regularly updated. The IT website offers guidance on selecting a strong password and managing it securely.

If you establish a University-related account, you are responsible for ensuring its legacy. If you leave the University or transition to a new role, you must transfer ownership to a colleague or close the account.

3. Personal vs professional

When establishing your new channel, you need to decide if the account represents:

  • your own identity as the account holder or
  • a group, institution or body in the University’s name.

Often, and particularly in an academic environment, dedicating time to developing your own personal account can be more valuable than setting up numerous professional accounts for projects or groups.

Personal accounts are more ‘portable’ than institutional accounts, meaning that if you move on, you take your personal accounts with you.

Ensure you have clear contact points and responsibilities for the account, including agreed plans for how to escalate any issues and out-of-hours cover.

4. Relevance and value

Most social media platforms determine how content is displayed to users. The underlying principle to getting your content to the most people is relevance and value.

Ask yourself whether content you create is both relevant and valuable to your user. Using that as a quality check before you post will ensure you are sharing content that is truly newsworthy and useful for your audience.

For example: a post stating that libraries will be shut over Easter is relevant to current students, but also including a link to ‘online resources and 24-hour IT clusters’ adds value to the content.

Your account should only exist if your feed offers value to your audience, faculty or service. Poorly maintained social media accounts without a clear audience and content strategy are potentially brand-damaging for the University and will be an ineffective use of time.

5. Design

Social media content relies heavily on its aesthetic quality. Our technical design guidance will assist you in the creation of content which makes the most impact.

Accounts which use the University’s name should follow our design and branding principles, upholding brand consistency and a standard of quality which reflects our history and stature.

Don’t forget: many laws around copyright of images and video apply online as they do elsewhere, so ensure you have the correct permissions for everything you use.

6. Measure success

Social media success should be measured by the impact it has against your objectives. You should regularly consider whether the content you are publishing is helping to achieve your objectives, and if not, it may be worth re-visiting your content strategy to ensure your content is timely, relevant and adds value.

Paid activity on social media

Advertising on the University’s social media accounts is coordinated by the Digital Marketing team. If you are interested in using digital advertising – on social media, or other digital channels – contact digitalmkt@leeds.ac.uk.