Social media is an ever-evolving community and
communications network, valuable to spreading your message, connecting with
your audience, and elevating your brand.
Despite the frequent addition of new platforms—and
frequent upgrades to existing platforms—standard guidelines exist. Follow these
guidelines to maximize your social media strategy, and also be sure to consult the
university’s appropriate use policy.
Overall Best Practices
- Keep active. Inactive social media accounts look
more out of touch than no social media presence at all. Update your accounts
often and stay engaged with your followers and friends.
- Be brief! Both Facebook and Twitter have limited
number of characters, and they are meant to be quick bursts of info.
- Avoid posting the same status updates on multiple
platforms. Each medium has a different audience, as well as different character
limits, so craft your messages accordingly.
Account Names and Identities
- When naming your account, use the name of your
department, school, or organization. Do not use “Northeastern University”
- Choose the following categorization on Facebook
and wherever else page classification is required: Companies &
Organizations > University
- If you’re near Northeastern’s Boston campus, use
Northeastern University as your location. If you are at one of our satellite
campuses, use that location.
- Link to your own department or school’s
- Note: Some user names—such as your Facebook URL—cannot
be changed, so select carefully.
- Even if you are publicizing the identity behind an account (e.g. John Doe in Marketing and Communications), you should consider keeping a non-personal name (e.g. @NUMarCom) in case of staff turnover or a change of direction or roles.
- If you do opt to use a personal identity and are
selecting a photo as the avatar or icon, be mindful that you are representing
yourself and the university. So please monitor your professional standards when
Icons and Images
Use of NU
- Although “NU” is not typically permitted for university use, it is acceptable for social media use (icons, names, and copy), where space and legibility are at a premium.
- However, an “NU” icon must use Northeastern’s primary colors to differentiate from other “NU” schools such as Northwestern.
Avatars, Cover Photos, and Background Images
- How your page looks is an extension of its content, so be conscious of what personality you are projecting through colors and graphics.
- Do not use the university or college logos—they
will not present properly in these small applications.
- The use of the seal is reserved for the official
Northeastern University accounts run by the Office of Marketing and
- Do not use the athletics or alumni relations logos; they
are reserved for their offices only and variations are not permitted.
- Instead, select iconic photos, such as those of your building or location. You can use the university’s image repository as a photo resource.
- Social media pages are apt to change formats, so
for the most up-to-date image sizes and requirements, check with each
Language and Tone
- Be clear and succinct. Social media is made for
brief statements, not lengthy prose.
- When space is limited, some abbreviations are OK
(e.g. ampersands, using numerals instead of spelling out numbers, easily
understood acronyms like "prof." "univ.” etc.), but try to avoid
text speak (e.g. "where r u going 2 school?"), which appears
juvenile. With Twitter, avoid using @ and # as abbreviations, because they will
- Before using a hashtag (#), search for it on
that social media platform to make sure it is not already in use, particularly
for a topic that would be inappropriate to share with your audience.
- Adapt an active and friendly voice, and freely
use “you,” “we,” and “us” to promote inclusivity and personal connection.
- Consider ending posts with questions to promote
- If someone asks a question and you don’t know the answer, be honest and say you don’t know, but you will either find out or point them to someone who does. If negativity or other problems arise, take appropriately firm—but polite—action as necessary and according to your office’s policy.
- While we want to promote free speech, remove posts
that are profane, in violation of privacy, or otherwise inappropriate.