Social media guidance
This guidance will help you use social media safely and professionally, fully protecting yourself and the University.
Choose from the following to go straight to the content you need:
- What is social media?
- How to use social media
- What channels to use
- Visual identity guidelines (on Brand site)
- Social media eLearning materials
- Contact us
Best practice guides
The following guides have been produced by leading social media practitioners at the University and can be downloaded.
- Social media accessibility guidelines
- Social media Advertising Brief
- Social media Customer Service Guide
- Social media account security guidance (updated January 2023)
- International Social Media
- Instagram Takeover guidance (updated November 2022)
- YouTube channel and video optimisation guide (updated February 2022)
Guidance on recognising religious observances on social media
On The University of Manchester’s central social media channels, we share messages to celebrate the below religious celebrations. We encourage you to do the same. To see which holidays we celebrate, what graphics to share, and to download a holiday calendar, head to this link.
What is social media?
This video gives an overview of social media and its importance in our communications.
How to use social media?
When using social media, it's vital that you have clear goals and a plan for your channel, and that you're are fully aware of your responsibilities as a member of staff.
Before setting up a social media account, it’s important to think about what you want to achieve and to define some key objectives. Create a plan based on the following points.
Strategy and goals
Simply, what do you want to achieve? For example – do you want to support or launch a communications or marketing campaign, engage with a specific audience, increase traffic to your website, promote the work of your department, or communicate to external groups? Define your goals and think about how you will achieve them in the short and long-term.
What do you hope to gain and how will you know when you've achieved it? Define success, such as the number of clicks to a webpage, or the number of social media engagements, then detail how you'll measure it and the tools you need.
Define your primary audience as well as any secondary ones you may also have. How do you intend to reach out to them initially? Remember that simply setting up a social media account isn’t enough; you'll need a plan to get users to your channels and keep them engaged.
What content are you going to share? Will it be news or engagement-based content? Think about the types of content your audience group is likely to engage with and share on social media.
Remember, social media is two-way – it shouldn't always be about you. One of the main aims of your content should be to build brand loyalty to the University and encourage two-way communication with your audiences.
Account management and security
Who's going to be responsible for populating, maintaining and monitoring your social media accounts? Ensure you dedicate time and resources to manage your account activity, including creating content and answering enquiries. Store account passwords securely by protecting worksheets or use a tool such as Last Pass. If you share passwords as part of an account takeover, change them afterwards. Use a management tool such as Hootsuite if you're managing multiple accounts.
Evaluation and reporting
Achieving success on social media is a long-term exercise so be prepared to adapt. Monthly reporting is encouraged to ensure you are meeting your objectives and goals, and to understand how your audiences are engaging with your activity. Contact the social media team for a monthly report template.
New account notification
Contact the social media team when you set up your new social account and fill in the new account request form.
The University respects the rights of employees to use social media, not only as a form of self-expression, but also as a means to enhance our reputation. It's important you're aware of your responsibilities as a member of staff and the risks and repercussions of inappropriate use.
Before creating a social media account on behalf of the University, make sure the visual identity reflects the University brand.
Consider whether a particular post may reflect poorly on you or the University. Think about your audience and your message – don’t post content that could be considered to be offensive, defamatory or derogatory, could cause someone to feel bullied or harassed, or could harm someone's reputation. Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on our website or in our prospectus.
Make sure you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a retraction or correction later. Link to your sources whenever possible.
Give credit where it’s due
Don't claim authorship of content that's not yours. Check whether you need permission to reproduce, publish or share information, including photographs, videos or text. Don't post anything that is confidential or belongs to someone else. Check the terms and conditions of the social media platform to make sure you're happy with how your content is going to be used once it is uploaded.
Remember, everything you do online can exist forever
Be aware that posting anything online (even on closed profiles or groups) has the potential to become public, even without your knowledge or consent. You are personally responsible for what you publish and, once it's online, it is very difficult to delete or control how widely the material is shared.
What channels to use
This short film gives you an overview of the most popular social media channels and how they're most commonly used.