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Doing Social Well

Southern Adventist University embraces the responsible use of social media as a supplemental communication tool for building relationships with students, employees, alumni, parents, and other community members.

Stay connected with Southern online to keep up with the latest from campus. Join in the conversation by using the hashtag #LifeAtSouthern.

While social media offers many opportunities, there are also risks if accounts are not properly managed. It’s important to be strategic to ensure consistent, effective communication of Southern’s brand. 

These resources are to assist in the creation or management of social media accounts representing the university. Southern-affiliated accounts should be managed in a manner consistent with the university’s standards, values, and beliefs, as well as reflect a level of excellence that adds value to Southern’s reputation. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines for interacting with university constituents apply online as they do in the real world.

For content suggestions, questions about Southern's central accounts, or assistance creating a new account or adjusting strategy for a current one, email socialmedia@southern.edu.  

Common Social Media Mistakes and Quick Fixes

Things to Avoid

  • QR codes in images
    • Why? When someone is scrolling and sees your post, they can't scan the QR code to go to the link, even if they take a screenshot. QR codes are most beneficial on printed materials when the user can open their smartphone's camera to scan the code. 
  • Putting a link in an Instagram caption
    • Why? Unlike other platforms like Facebook or Twitter, Instagram does not hyperlink URLs that are placed in a caption. Instead, put the link in your account's bio description and from post's caption, direct viewers to your bio to click on the link. 
  • Reposting the same graphic or photo in your feed repeatedly
    • Why? Using the same graphic as a post repeatedly will decrease engagement and the reach of your posts as viewers who have seen the graphic/image before will begin to ignore it. Additionally, if this is done on Instagram, your profile will begin to look cluttered and not attractive to viewers who visit it. If you want to consistently remind viewers about something that's coming up and grab their attention, consider creating several different variations of the graphic or using several different images to talk about the same thing. 
  • Using a singular personal voice on behalf of the departmental account
    • Why? Captions or comments from a departmental account that use words like "I," "me," "my," etc. are unprofessional. The voice of a departmental account should speak on behalf of the department as a whole. Words like "we" and "us" are ok to use.
  • A student should NEVER be the sole person with access to a department's social media account(s)
    • Why? Two employees are at minimum are required to have administrative access to a departmental account, even if they are not the ones posting to the account. We have unfortunately seen this happen where a student is the only one with access to an account, and when they leave Southern, no one can gain access to the account again. 
  • Avoid creating a regular post (not a story) about an event just a few hours or minutes before it's scheduled to take place
    • Why? Posts often take the course of several days to appear in your viewers' feeds. Posting about an event mere hours before will likely result in the vast majority of your viewers seeing the post after the event has already ended. Instead, if there's a short time before your event beings, try posting about it in your stories. This is a more timely option to reach viewers. 

Things to Try

  • Post images and graphics that are square or in portrait orientation (vertical) rather than landscape orientation (horizontal)
    • Why? A square or vertical image or graphic will take up more real estate on a viewer's screen, making them less likely to swipe or scroll past your post without getting to fully view it.
  • Similarly, when posting videos, opt for videos that have been filmed vertically, such as in a 9:16 format that's optimized for viewing on phones
    • Why? For the same reason mentioned above for graphics and images, vertical ratios will take up more real estate on viewer's phones (where most people consume social media) and are more likely to grab their attention. 
  • On Instagram, mix things up by posting multiple images at a single time (a carousel post)
    • Why? Posts with more than one image typically receive more engagement. This is because when Instagram serves your post to a viewer as they scroll through their feed, if they do not engage (like, comment, share, bookmark) with the post the first time they see it, Instagram will serve the post to them again another time. However the next time the post appears in their feed, the second image of your post will appear to them first, in an attempt to get the viewer's attention with a different visual and entice them to engage with the post. 
  • Use a consistent design style in any graphics
    • Why? This will help make your content recognizable to viewers as they scroll through their feeds and will create an organized and aesthetically-pleasing account, enticing new viewers to follow your content.
  • Track how posts are performing and adjust your strategy accordingly
    • Why? When you look at your numbers (engagements, engagement rate, reach) to see which posts are performing well and which posts are not, you can begin to create more content that your audience resonates with and less of the content that they are not resonating with. 
  • If multiple people are posting regularly to the account, there should be clearly defined roles and a plan for content
    • Why? When there's not clearly defined roles and assignments for content and admins are posting randomly as they wish, the account will feel disorganized to viewers. There should be a consistency, organization, and a unified voice and tone for the account.
  • For videos with someone speaking (including videos shared on stories), add captions whenever possible
    • Why? Adding captions helps keep your viewers engaged and watching when the sound may be turned off on their phones. Additionally, captions help make your content accessible for those who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Ready to launch a new social media account?

First, read through our social media guidelines. Once you're all set to go, register your new account.


Digital Engagement Manager