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Social media

At The University of Manchester, we’re committed to making the best use of social media to communicate with external and internal audiences. Through engagement with our different communities, we use social media to help achieve our marketing and communications objectives.

Key University accounts

You can access social media channels from across the University via the social media directory. Colleagues can learn the latest social media best practice by accessing the eLearning materials here (University login required).

Frequently asked questions

How do I set up an account?

If you wish to create a social media account on behalf of the University, please fill in this form, which will be reviewed by a member of the Social Media Leadership Team (SMLT). Before requesting a new account:

  • detail your objectives, what you wish to achieve and why;
  • consider if social media the right channel to reach your target audience(s). Just because your target audience (e.g. current students) might use social media sites regularly, it doesn't necessarily mean they will follow and interact with a new account;
  • consider the amount of time and resource required to manage a social media account. We would recommend putting aside around six to seven hours a week to create content, manage enquiries and complete other tasks;
  • check the directory or do a search on social media to ensure that the account doesn't already exist, or being served by an existing account.

How do I deal with somebody sending abusive messages to a member of staff on social media?

Our University Social Media House Rules outline what we think of as unacceptable behaviour on social media. Using these as a guide, you are welcome to block and report the user sending abusive messages, and would encourage individual members who are being targeting to do so in addition. If the user sending the abusive messages is a member of staff or student, please refer to the below guidance and procedures:

How do I get more eyes on my campaign or project?

We have a few suggestions for staff who want to encourage more engagement on social media, outlined below. For tips on promoting your research, head to our promoting your research page.

  • consider paid promotion. Simply boosting your post on Facebook by £10-50 can reach a much wider audience. Similarly, Twitter promotion can be cost-effective if you target the right audience;
  • create new and engaging content, such as video and GIFs;
  • ask internal and external partners to share your content via their own channels;
  • if hosting a public event, create a Facebook event page and encourage others to tag their friends and family in the post;
  • A/B test with different/shorter/more engaging copy and imagery.

What's the best channel to reach students?

This can entirely depend on what students you are interested in reaching. Are they from a particular academic School or subject area? Are they a certain age group? Do they have similar hobbies? Consider these factors and what types of content students might find useful. .

Generally, Instagram and TikTok tend to be where students are engaging more regularly, particularly with peers. 60% of TikTok’s audience and 30% of Instagram’s audience is aged 16-24 (Hootsuite 2021). That doesn’t necessarily mean they want University accounts to ‘invade’ that space with a promotion or engagement, so choose your channels wisely.

How many hashtags do I use?

This can vary per channel.

  • for Facebook and LinkedIn, we’d suggest very rarely using hashtags, on LinkedIn a maximum of one per post;
  • for Twitter, only use up to three hashtags and ensure that these are hashtags around broad campaigns or events. University-specific hashtags receive very low attention. Also ensure you have researched the hashtag beforehand to ensure it does not promote inappropriate content;
  • for TikTok, we suggest using a number of keywords as hashtags;
  • for Instagram, we suggest up to five hashtags. The key to Instagram hashtags is to do your research and search the hashtags beforehand to ensure that this is the kind of content you want to be associated with and where your audience are. This can be done by simply searching a few hashtags in the search bar.

Please ensure that your hashtags capitalise the first letter of each word and don’t include emoji’s, as to not confuse screen reading software. For example, #WednesdayWisdom not #wednesdaywisdom. See our guidance to accessible social media content here.

How do I feature on the University channels?

Contact the University social media team with details about your campaign or event and we’ll get back to you

How do I create paid adverts on social media?

Social media Faculty leads are on-hand to support with paid promotion. You can find their contact details at the bottom of this page. 

Watch Justin Wilson’s paid social media masterclass here.

What are we allowed to post social media?

Ensure your content is respectful, accurate and relevant to your account and audience. For more guidance, visit this page.

How can I create graphics for use on social media?

Free tools such as Canva or BeFunky as useful tools. We would suggest also looking a subscription to the Adobe Creative Suite (available via IT Services) to create graphics via Illustrator and PhotoShop.

For larger campaigns, you can put a request in with the University’s design team here.

How can I create video for use on social media?

Windows Movie Maker and iMovie are Desktop applications that allow you to edit video for free. Adobe Creative Suite also offers access to professional software Premiere Pro and AfterEffects.

For larger campaigns or events you can put a request in with the Media Services team.

We would encourage all videos to be subtitled. You can subtitle a video by uploading it to YouTube, downloading the .srt file and either using this in the video edit, or when uploading directly to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. You can find more information on how to do that here.

Filming on a smart phone with a tripod is acceptable for creating video content for social media. A webcam of HD quality is also acceptable.

See our guidance on how to optimise your videos on YouTube.

Staff Policy

Our policy provides information on how to use social media effectively and appropriately, as well as manage any risks associated with it. The policy also provides guidance on using social media in research, and what to do if you run a University branded account. 

Student Policy

For guidance on student policies and procedures relating to social media, please visit this page.

Watch our latest masterclass sessions

Communications and Marketing Best Practice Playlist

Click on the right-hand side of the video to choose a session to watch.

Contacts

For more information or guidance on using social media at The University of Manchester, please contact the local representatives listed below. 

NameRoleDept/FacultyEmail

Alistair Beech

Social Media and Digital Communications Manager

Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment

alistair.beech@manchester.ac.uk

Lucy Connolly

Social Media and Digital Communications Coordinator

Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment

lucy.connolly@manchester.ac.uk

Ruby Lowe

Social Media and Digital Communications Coordinator

Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment

ruby.lowe@manchester.ac.uk 

Harry Newton

Marketing and Recruitment Officer 

Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment

harry.newton@manchester.ac.uk

Justin Wilson

Marketing and Campaigns Manager

Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health

justin.wilson@manchester.ac.uk 

Kate Thornley

Faculty Marketing Officer

Faculty of Humanities

kate.thornley@manchester.ac.uk

Kory Stout

Digital Marketing Coordinator

Faculty of Science and Engineering 

kory.stout@manchester.ac.uk

Amy Calderbank

Student Communications Officer

Division of Communications, Marketing and Student Recruitment

amy.calderbank@manchester.ac.uk

Carl Jeffreys

Digital Content Coordinator

Library Marketing Services

carl.jeffreys@manchester.ac.uk

Tom Fern

Senior Communications Officer

Division of Development and Alumni Relations

tom.fern@manchester.ac.uk

For general enquiries please email socialmedia@manchester.ac.uk.