Social Media Guidelines

Sam Houston State University encourages the use of social media platforms to connect with our Bearkat community. Social media sites are excellent venues to communicate and encourage engagement across diverse audiences. These guidelines and best practices will help to ensure that university-sponsored social media is both legal and in compliance with university policies.

Are you interested in starting a social media presence for your department/area?
Do you have questions about these guidelines?

Social media contact: Isaac Moen


Guidelines

Branding: For any SHSU Social Media Site, the social media icon and/or profile image must comply with any applicable University branding standards. The social media icon and/or profile image can be a photograph related to the administrator’s entity, an approved art for that entity, or another appropriately branded image. All images should be 72 dpi resolution for the web.

Deleting: Comments, posts and users must not be deleted, hidden or blocked. Administrators of the site should contact the Marketing & Communications department to request authorization to hide or delete any material or to block a user from a site.

Copyright Law: All SHSU Social Media Sites must respect intellectual property rights and federal Copyright law.

University policy: All SHSU Social Media Sites must respect university policies.

Accessibility: All content on SHSU Social Media Sites must comply with Federal, State and University accessibility policies to ensure that the information is accessible and usable by people with the widest range of capabilities possible.

Title IX: Report all Social Media related allegations of sexual misconduct or any form of discrimination. You may contact Marketing and Communications or the Office of Equity & Title IX. Reports may be submitted anonymously online.

Terms of Use: Obey the terms of use for your social media platform. These rules are constantly changing so it is your duty to stay up to date.

Site Management: SHSU Social Media Sites will have a minimum of two administrators to ensure that the site is consistently managed. Passwords should be updated at least twice a year. Sites must be regularly monitored.


Best Practices

Presence and Maintenance

How often should I check the account?
Social media accounts at SHSU should be monitored each day to engage with users, check mentions, review comments and respond to direct messages. Communicate any concerning comments to Marketing and Communications. Social media sites that are not regularly checked or utilized are not permitted.

How often should I post?
The frequency of updates varies for each channel and audience. Use an editorial calendar to plan and schedule content more efficiently. Don’t hoard content and post it all at once. Posting several pieces of content one after the other will not be seen by your audience and will lower your reach/impressions metric.

  • Twitter: Users expect frequent updates. SHSU Social Media sites should have enough content to post every day.
  • Facebook: Users expect regular content. Plan for posting main feed content 3-5 times each week. Facebook stories are a great place to post daily updates, stories are posted for 24 hours and then are no longer available to the user.
  • Instagram: Plan for posting main feed content 3-5 times each week. Instagram stories are a great place to post daily updates, stories are posted for 24 hours and then are no longer available to the user. Reels can be utilized as well.
  • Youtube and Flickr: For a video or photo platform like Flickr or YouTube, where content is less likely to be fed en masse into a user’s stream, update according to how much content you have available. If you have a video a day or a video a month, either is fine. If you have no photos for three weeks before receiving 50 from a recent event, feel free to add them all at once.

Measurement and Analytics

How do I know if a post was successful?
Analytics gives us insight into our audiences and content performance. Impressions and engagement are important metrics in reviewing your content.

How do I find post/site metrics?
Most platforms have several dashboards for content and audience metrics. Some metrics are displayed with or beside the individual content. Some dashboards vary between desktop and mobile applications.

Dedicated Dashboards:

  • Twitter Analytics
  • Insights on Facebook creator studio
  • Meta Business Suite
  • TikTok Analytics
  • Linkedin – Analytics - Updates
  • Youtube Channel Analytics

What is the difference between Reach and Impressions?
Reach is the number of unique people who see your content. Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed. Not all platforms offer the Reach metric.

Content and Community

What writing style is best?
Be personable and accessible, while keeping in mind the guidelines offered here. Having a personality and a voice will help you build your audience.

How do I gain followers?
While it is tempting to use followers as a metric by which to assess the success of a social media site, it is not the ideal measurement. Every community is different. You may have fewer followers, but if you are cultivating a highly engaged community, the number means little. Site followers will grow over time when you engage your audience regularly, show authenticity and post consistently.

What features should I use for content posting?
Depending on your audience and your goals, different platform features may be utilized. In addition to main feed posts, try other features such as stories, reels/vertical video, and polling. When posting stories, tag accounts that you would like to share your content, Instagram does not allow stories sharing without a tag.

How do I use Hashtags?
When used properly, hashtags are a great way for social posts to increase visibility and engagement. Before using a hashtag, search the content that previously used this tag to see if it is appropriate to join that larger conversation. When writing a post description, only the hashtags that are relevant to that post.

Our Common Hashtags
#SHSU
#Bearkats
#EatEmUpKats
#BearkatExcellence
#BearkatService
#SHSU22 #SHSU26

Is my content Accessible?
Be sure to use little or no text on images when posting. Add alt-text to all images and captions to all videos. Write Hashtags in camel case so that they are easier to read. #eatemupkats #EatEmUpKats

More information on Accessibility best practices

What content should I post?
Remember that your social media sites are an extension of your community, this is not a bulletin board of events but a place to engage and foster relationships with your audience. Posting images of people will ultimately be more successful than posting a graphic.