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Communications and Public Affairs


What to Post

Content is king on social media and what you say and show is the story of your unit or department. Here's how to create appealing content that speaks to your fans and followers.

Know Your Audience

Take the time initially  — and all the time — to scroll through your social media feeds to see what your followers are talking about and engaging with. To break through timeline and feed clutter, you can't be a branded megaphone. Your content should always be geared toward your audience. Think about how you can add value to conversations already happening and what conversations you can start and lead. Be helpful to your audience and watch your following grow.

Speak to Your Strengths

People will engage with your content at a higher rate if they see you as the expert on whatever topic you post about. For example, during flu season, messaging around the importance of getting your flu shot makes more sense coming from student health services than other units. Content related to health is more trusted from accounts that are directly tied to campus health and wellness.

Curate Your Content

Studies show short postsphotos and videos drive higher post engagement. If you can convey content in fewer words or with a compelling photo, do it. Even if your platform doesn't have character limits be choosy with words. Here are some length recommendations for major platforms:

  • Twitter (140 character limit): 70-100 characters
  • Facebook: 40-119 characters
  • Instagram: 70-140 characters

Use links and URL shorteners. Let your link convey information and make your social content just long enough to whet your audience's appetite. Dozens of free link-shortening websites help you reduce the length (and ugliness) of URLs and make them look more official. We recommend bitly.com if you don't already have a favorite.

Carolina is the state's flagship university so proper spelling and grammar are beyond essential. A good rule of thumb? Write once and proof twice (or three times) before publishing, tweeting, snapping or posting from your unit account. 

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#hashtags

Hashtags should be very brief. Where appropriate include “UofSC” — like #UofSCWelcome and #UofSC — or promote annual events like #TigerBurn. To include a year in your hashtag, just drop the first two digits of the year to save characters and make it easier to remember — like #UofSC20. 

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YouTube Is Not All That

Managing multiple platforms takes time and effort. If you don't have a YouTube account, you can upload any video you create native within most social media platforms. You'll probably get side effects of higher views and engagement, too.

 

Keep it Clean

Assume that any content posted to a social media account will be redistributed by the general public. Employees or representatives of the university should exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for colleagues, associates and the university’s supporters, community and social media fans. 

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Take the High Road

Employees and representatives of the university should refrain from engaging in dialogue that disparages colleagues, critics and other institutions of higher learning.


Comments directed at individual fans or page users should be respectful and never written in a manner that can be interpreted as combative, demeaning or negative. Content should not:

  • show (or be perceived to show) someone getting hurt, attacked or humiliated
  • something that might be considered racist, bigoted or demeaning to a particular group of individuals
  • something that depicts activity that is (or may be perceived to be) illegal, such as drug use
  • or something that could otherwise show the account holder or university in a negative light

Content should not be posted that might be embarrassing to an individual or that could be construed as placing an individual in a negative or false light.

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Authenticity Matters

Never, ever tell or ask followers to share or retweet a post. Create content that is compelling enough for your followers to want share it on their own. 

 

Study Analytics

Analytics are a key component to building a successful social media presence. Evaluate what is working and what isn’t on a regular basis to create engaging content. You can access free, native analytics on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Paid tools like SeenMoment and Sprout Social can provide deeper account insights.

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Patience, Grasshopper

Every post can't be a homerun. You may not gain 100 new followers every week. Building a strong social media presence takes time. Often more time than many are willing to give.