Social Media

Social Media Standards

  • Give your profile an appropriate name. The Policy for Official Social Media Use at IPFW (ITPC 10-1) states that all university official social media outlets must include “IPFW” in your public profile name or handle. IPFW can be included at the beginning or end of your public profile name.
  • Use an appropriate header image. Most of the key social media outlets, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, provide space for an engaging cover photo or header image at the top of your page. Use this space to engage your audience and show them something visually interesting that relates to your outlet’s purpose. Visitors should immediately recognize that your outlet is part of IPFW. Remember to use your department’s university signature at the top-left or bottom-right corner of the image.
  • Follow editorial, photography, and visual design standards. Social media blends writing, photography, and visual design with marketing and community. It also represents IPFW to your unique audience. Following the editorial, photography, and visual design standards gives your social media outlet extra polish and shine, making it resonate with your audience and reflect well on the university.
  • Provide a detailed ‘About’ section. It is important to fill out your social media profile in its entirety to ensure the user knows your purpose and can easily find you in search. Keep in mind, the Policy for Official Social Media Use at IPFW (ITPC 10-1) states that the full university name, “Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne” must appear in the social media outlet’s “About” section, regardless of character limitations.
    Note: The university uses an en dash (–) in its full name; not a hyphen (-) or em dash (—).

Best Practices

  • Evaluate current channels. Through what channels do you currently distribute messaging? Determine how social media could work to enhance your efforts in those areas. The idea is to integrate social media into an overall marketing and communications plan, rather than put it in a silo.
  • Determine your motivation. What outcome(s) do you hope to achieve by integrating social media into your overall marketing and communications plan? Each department or office will have its own motivations, both broad and focused: connect with new audiences, expand awareness, increase registration, cultivate community, etc.
  • Set measurable goals. How will you determine whether or not you reached the desired outcome? Decide which key performance indicators (KPIs) will best measure the success or failure of your efforts, such as virality, growth, and/or engagement rate.
  • Understand your audience. Answer the following questions to create an audience persona, which will guide your content strategy:
    1. Who is it you are trying to reach? List demographics and psychographics here: age, gender, location, occupation, income, family, likes and dislikes, leisure activities and hobbies, etc.
    2. Where can you find them? Research what social media outlets and devices your target audience uses most. Survey those from within your department or office who match your audience persona, or use reputable research to gather national statistics. (See the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project - Social Media Update 2014 [PDF])
  • Choose an outlet. You must be present to establish a presence in social media. It’s tempting to open an account on every new social media outlet, but this creates virtual ghost towns—outlets that were opened and immediately abandoned. Start by finding out which outlet your target audience uses most. Once you feel you have cultivated community engagement there, explore their second favorite social media outlet.
    Keep in mind, the Policy for Official Social Media Use at IPFW (ITPC 10-1) states that all university official social media outlets must include “IPFW” in its public profile name or handle.
  • Register your official university social media outlet. Once you have created a new social media outlet, follow these steps to register your official university social media outlet:
    • Identify the caretaker responsible for the social media outlet:
      • For departments, units, and university-sponsored organizations, the caretaker should be a full-time faculty or staff member. Students should not be designated as the caretakers of a social media outlet for any department, unit, or university-sponsored organizations, with the exception of student government. Caretakers may delegate portions of their duties to other faculty, staff, and students, but the caretaker is ultimately responsible for the social media outlet
      • For student government, both a student and the Director of Special Projects–Student Activities should be identified as caretakers
    • Fill out the Social Media Registration Form. Please include:
      • Name of the sponsoring department, unit, or organization
      • Social media service used for the outlet
      • Outlet login and password
      • Caretaker(s) responsible for the outlet
      • Complete contact information for the caretaker
    • Ensure that the university has administrator access to the social media outlet to support the sponsor and the university in urgent or emergency communication situations.
    • Read through all university policies relating to social media use, which can be found in the Policy for Official Social Media Use at IPFW (ITPC 10-1)
  • Optimize your profile and posts. It is important to fill out your social media profile in its entirety to ensure the user knows your purpose and can easily find you in search. Keep in mind, the Policy for Official Social Media Use at IPFW (ITPC 10-1) states that the full university name, “Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne” must appear in the social media outlet’s “About” section, regardless of character limitations. Note: The university uses an en dash (–) in its full name; not a hyphen (-) or em dash (—).
    Each social media service delivers messaging to the end user in slightly different ways. By choosing to use one social media outlet over another, the user is saying, “This is how I prefer to consume information.” That is why optimizing your posts is so important. The following links offer the most complete and up-to-date information regarding optimization on the most widely used social media outlets:
  • Create a content calendar. Your target audience wants value-added content, but it can be difficult to come up with topics on the fly. Use a content calendar to thoughtfully organize what you want to say for at least a month at a time. A few ideas:
    • Think about your most frequently asked questions and answer them on a blog, or use images and video from other sources
    • Provide tips and tricks that relate to your offerings
    • Give them a behind-the-scenes look at your office or department
    • Share student, faculty, and staff achievements and upcoming events
    Try to keep it conversational, make them smile, and be human. Give yourself time to experiment and figure out what content works and what doesn’t; you will learn what they consider valuable over time.

Checklist

Did you...

  • Give your profile an appropriate name?
  • Use an appropriate header image?
  • Use an appropriate profile image?
  • Follow editorial, photography, and visual design standards?
  • Provide a detailed “about” section?
  • Evaluate your current channels?
  • Determine your motivation?
  • Set measurable goals?
  • Determine your target audience?
  • Choose an outlet?
  • Register your official university social media outlet?
    • Identified the caretaker responsible for the social media outlet
    • Filled out the Social Media Registration Form
    • Read through all university policies relating to social media use found in the Policy for Official Social Media Use at IPFW (ITPC 10-1)
  • Learn how to optimize your posts?
  • Create a content calendar?