Communication Services & Information Technology
University of California
Communication Services & Information Technology

Social Media Best Practices

Social Media Best Practices

Here are some best practices, tips and considerations for using social media channels to communicate on behalf of a UC ANR program or professional.

Branding and identification. Minimums & best practices.

  • Account naming: Please name or describe your account so it is immediately recognizable as a part of the University of California. If not part of the account name, make sure to include the university’s name and your specific unit’s information in your profile description.
  • Choosing an image: Choose an image that most resembles your unit. In general, logos are best for thumbnails and images are best for cover photos in Facebook. If you’re unit does not have a logo, consider making a quick image with your unit’s name or acronym using the UC ANR branding guidelines.
  • Identity management: What is the identity of this account? Is it your unit speaking? Is it your individual, professional identity? Is it your personal identity? Make it clear who you are representing with each account and manage the tone you use and the information you share accordingly and appropriately.
  • Link to your website: Make sure to link back to your unit’s website in your profile.
  • Contact: Provide contact info, preferably a single point of contact, of someone who can respond to further questions and who stays aware of the communications shared from this account.

Know how to respond.

Be prepared to spend some time actually engaging with people via social media. Know how you and/or your unit will respond to:

  • comments
  • spam
  • criticism
  • marketing/ads
    • in general
    • in response to ag tech companies / consultants
    • in response to pesticide/chemical mentions

As a representative of a public university, it is also important to maintain openness. To that end, we suggest that you:

  • not maintain private accounts that are branded with the university likeness. If the account is on behalf of your unit, then it should be visible and available to the public.
  • not abandon an account that is branded with the university likeness. If it is possible, rename the account if you intend to let it languish; if not, then please delete it. Social media accounts that languish without response to comments can be detrimental to your goals.
  • not delete comments solely to censor opinions you disagree with or find unpopular. Instead, find a constructive way to respond that reassures your audience of your ability to stay open and interact with your followers.

Know your medium.

Understand how interactions work in the social media channel you are using. Know its community guidelines, terms and conditions. Be a model user.

Best practices, generally speaking:

  • Identify your audience.
  • Listen!
  • Be informative.
  • Connect, engage and find ways to seek input that is meaningful and useful
  • Remember to provide ways that your community members can interact with you and the information you’re sharing, with links to your website, events, subscriptions, etc.
  • Network with other, related units as appropriate; cross-promote their accounts and your accounts in other social media channels.
  • Expand your audience, by linking to your accounts on your website and in your email signature. Provide your social media info to event participants. Share content that you think other users may share with their friends or followers to expand your influence to new audeinces.
  • Consider copyright and behave accordingly.
  • Evaluate your approach periodically. Examine the analytic tools you have available. Are you meeting your goals? What new techniques should you adopt? Re-define your objective, audience and/or resources if necessary.

More:

Explore UC ANR social media accounts. Find out how your neighbors and coworkers are using social media; consider following them too.

Webmaster Email: djkrause@ucanr.edu