At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, we recognize blogs and social media sites have become important and powerful communication channels. UWM looks to embrace social media as a means of disseminating information about the University and building a community of connected Panthers. Some guidelines and best practices have been developed to assist you as you venture into the social media world on behalf of UWM. This guide was created to assist UWM faculty, staff, schools, colleges, departments, programs and offices using or thinking about implementing social media on behalf of UWM. These guidelines will help you through the ever-changing nature of social media and social networking tools. Please keep in mind that the guidelines outlined below are consistent with the University’s Acceptable Use Policy.
About social media at UWM
University Relations and Communications oversees the social media presence of UWM. This currently includes, but is not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Twitter. Thinking about creating a social media account that will be associated with UWM? Please contact University Relations and Communications for assistance with setup, strategy, implementation, etc.
Tips on getting started:
- First, create a personal account and then spend some time exploring and understanding how the site works.
- Do your research. Look at what other schools, colleges, departments or similar groups are doing and what has been successful.
- Read up on social media. Check out sites like mashable.com, techcrunch.com and insidehighered.com.
- Get on the firstname.lastname@example.org PantherList. The listserv allows you to connect with other social media professionals across campus. University Relations and Communications will also send frequent social media updates.
- Social media is only meant to supplement traditional forms of media and marketing – not replace it. Do your best to integrate both traditional forms of media along with newer forms of social media.
General best practices
Make sure your posts contain correct information and are complete. Have all the facts before you post. Whenever possible, cite and/or link to your sources. If you do make a mistake, correct it quickly and visibly. Being open about a mistake will earn you respect in the social media community.
When you post on behalf of UWM, be sure to clearly state your role with the organization and the purpose behind your posts. Keep in mind you are posting from a University username that others may not know personally. What you say directly reflects back to UWM.
The University respects the dignity of others and is committed to civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Adherence to these ideals is expected of everyone who represents the UWM community.
Post information that is helpful and useful to followers. Engage with the social media community – reach out to those who are connecting with you and respond to their posts.
Use common sense. When representing the University, refrain from posting personal opinions or comments about sensitive topics. Make sure you have all your facts before you post. Do not immediately respond to posts that are intended to anger or criticize. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it is wise to delay posting until you are calm and level-headed. Remember that posts in the social media world are always public – whether it’s search engines, archival services or someone copying your posts, there’s no such thing as “undoing” a post to a social media network.
Represent the University with timely and “organic” responses within 24 hours. More than one University employee must have administrative access to the account.
Do not post confidential or proprietary information about UWM, its students, its alumni or fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow University policies and federal requirements, including FERPA and HIPPA.
Be careful not to reveal information that could put you at risk for identity theft or any other malicious acts.
Use cross-promotion. Cross-promote the UWM official page. School and colleges should cross-promote departments and departments should cross-promote their school or college. Any alumni or athletic accomplishments should be cross-promoted.
Don’t ignore the negatively toned, frustrated posts. Take it as a service opportunity to provide helpful information. Direct messaging on twitter or email may be needed in some situations, especially if it’s personal information. Posts that are defamatory, discriminatory, harassing, or obscene may be deleted, although it may be advisable to consult with UWM’s Office of Legal Affairs prior to doing so.
Build campus pride
Talk it up that UWM has a vibrant campus where students, faculty, staff and alumni do great things.
Don’t use UWM’s logo or make endorsements on personal accounts
Do not use the UWM logo, wordmark, athletic logo or any other UWM marks or images on your personal sites. Logo and trademark guidelines can be found at: uwm.edu/branding. Do not use UWM’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political candidate or party. If you wish to publish content about UWM, we recommend you include a sentence such as, “The views posted on this site are my own and do not reflect the views of UWM.”
How social media operates at UWM
From our main Kenwood campus to the satellite campuses, to various schools and colleges, to athletics and alumni, each needing a social media presence, how do we coordinate the many voices that represent UWM on social media? This calls for a strategic organizational structure and process for the overall social media presence.
At UWM, we are currently set up using the Hub-and-Spoke Model to help grow our social media presence. It’s important that schools, colleges and departments have autonomy and the ability to make decisions, but there needs to be a central department and person responsible for setting the strategy and ensuring new practices are implemented. This role is based at University Relations and Communications, and it identifies experts across UWM; these are the spokes of the wheel. Hub-and-Spoke uses back-and-fourth communication with a central individual, and then redistributes that information to the other entities, which would have otherwise remained siloed. The social media staff at University Relations and Communications works to distribute hub content to the various spoke contacts.
Social media brand standards
Here are some guidelines to help strengthen UWM’s brand and identity in social media.
If the title of your social media site includes ‘University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’ ‘UWM’ or UW- Milwaukee,’ you should contact University Communications for an image like UWM News below. You may not JUST use the UWM logo, signature, athletic logo, seal or any other UWM marks or images.
If you create a social media channel to conduct business as an individual, continue to use your own name and profile photo. Identify yourself as part of the University in the biography or information section. For instance, Athletics may create twitter accounts using staff names and photos for the purpose of pushing out great athletic information. However, do not use UWM’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political candidate or party. If you wish to publish content about UWM, we recommend you use a disclaimer: “The views posted on this site are my own and do not reflect the views of UWM” in the biography or information section.
For student organizations and other recognized groups, the organization may attach one of the lines below to the national organization’s logo:
- At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
- At UW-Milwaukee
- At UWM
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee logo and the Panther logo are registered trademarks of the University and may only be used by official University offices and departments. These logomarks include the acronym UWM, the two wavy lines, the registered trademark sign, the logo signature, the words University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the letters UWM in any shape or form, and the Panther logo in whole or in part. Student organizations cannot use UW- Milwaukee logos or UW-Milwaukee in the possessive as part of the name of their organizations. This includes web address, emails and social media applications.
To be recognized as an official communication channel of the university, make sure that UWM, UW-Milwaukee or University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is listed in the name. Naming your social media channel is very important. Some social media sites allow you to alter your name after the account is created and others do not.
For Facebook, use University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee or UW-Milwaukee or UWM [insert school, college or department]
For Twitter, use UWM [insert school, college or department] or [insert school, college or department] UWM
For YouTube, use UWM [insert school, college or department] or UW-Milwaukee [insert school, college or department]
For student organizations naming guidelines are:
Permissible examples of registered student organizations name format:
“Sports Club at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee” or “Science Club at UWM” Impermissible examples:
“University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Sports Club” or “UWM Science Club”
Download social media logos
Social media strategy
All social media sites should be monitored and updated on an ongoing basis by the schools, colleges or departments that create them. Create a content calendar to plan your messaging in advance and designate specific content creators.
- Why are you establishing a social media presence?
- What are your goals for this social site?
- What type of information will you post?
- Who is your target audience?
- Who are you trying to engage?
- Is your audience on social media?
- Who will establish the site?
- Who will be an administrator?
- Who will maintain and monitor the site?
- How often will you post to the site? (Sites should be administered every 24 hours)
- How can you cross-promote?
- How will you track and measure your accomplishments to know you met your goals?
- What type of content will you share?
- How will you address inappropriate comments?
- How will you promote your social media sites?
- How will you integrate social media in your overall communications strategy?
Social media tips
Facebook best practices
- Please do not create a “personal” profile for your school, college or department. Always create a “page” or “group.
- Be selective. Only post things that will create engagement and that your fans will want to like, comment or share.
- Make sure at least two people are identified and responsible for your page.
- Customize the timeline, but follow the guidelines in the “Social media brand standards” section.
- Post at least 2 times a week, but avoid posting more than 3 times a day.
- When uploading video, use the .mp4 file and add closed ca
- Cross-promote. Use the @ symbol when referring to other facebook pages and
@University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee when referring to UWM.
- Post rich media like videos, links and photos rather than simple text.
- Act as your page and “like” other pages around campus.
- Analyze your posts. Understand what’s working and what’s not working through Facebook Insights.
Instagram best practices
- Take beautiful and artistic photos and videos.
- Stand out – don’t skip on visual aesthetics.
- Post user-generated content, give the user credit.
- Take unique photos from different locations.
- Tell a great story through visual content and captions.
- Get discovered through tagging, hashtags and geo locations.
- Analyze your photos and video to understand what’s most engaging.
Snapchat best practices
- University account launched in late 2014. UWM’s account is intended to be the only university account.
- By collaborating with schools, colleges and departments, the university only has two official accounts: UWM and Athletics.
- Promote the overall university experience through student life, internships, events and student takeovers.
- Want your event or student featured on the account? Let University Relations and Communication know by submitting your idea!
- Interested in purchasing on-demand geofilters? Contact the social team for more information.
Twitter best practices
- Upload a photo and add a short bio, but follow the guidelines in the “Social media brand standards” section.
- Concentrate first on establishing who you are; begin to build trust.
- Don’t post or retweet tweets all at once, followers may get annoyed. Schedule your tweets throughout the day by using services like hootsuite.
- Post at least 3 to 4 times a week, but avoid posting too much in a day.
- Use the @username when replying or mentioning tweeps and include @uwm or #UWM when referring to UWM.
- Make sure at least two people are identified and responsible for monitoring your stream.
- Retweet as often as possible. If someone says they love your program or event, retweet that.
- Share photos, videos and behind-the-scene information about your school, college or department, and give your followers a glimpse of developing projects and events.
- Ask questions to gain valuable insights about your school, college or department.
YouTube best practices
- Upload your logo as the profile photo, but follow the guidelines in the “Social media brand standards” section.
- Choose a background color that matches UWM.
- Optimize your videos. Give searchable titles, descriptions and tags.
- Title: Use UWM somewhere in the headline.
- Summary: Brief paragraph about the video; include your website URL. Credit
notable speakers and partners in your video description and tags.
- Tags: Always include “UWM” “UW-Milwaukee” “University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee” and as many relevant descriptors as you can think of to attract
- Select the best of 3 available photo thumbnails or upload your own image.
- Video location, under advanced settings, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
- Always include captions. Contact Mary Baylor, email@example.com, for how to guide.
- Include annotations. Easy way to encourage subscribers. Contact Mary Baylor for guide.
- Categorize your video correctly in YouTube.
- Seed your videos. Embed your videos on websites and post to social networks.
- If possible, please include the preferred UW-Milwaukee logo at the end of the video. Contact Mary Baylor for logo animation.
Keep in mind the audience and the quality of your video.
Posts can be removed for any of the following reasons:
- Threatening, discriminatory, hateful or harassing language
- Copyrights or trademark violations
- Disclosure of confidential information
- Endorsement or opposition of a political office or party
- Comments soliciting a product, service or company
Connect with UWM
If you have any questions about posting content on social media sites or opening a network, please contact Tina Keller. Since social media is ever-changing, these guidelines and best practices are subject to revision. We also welcome any feedback from the campus community.