General Guidance for Social Media Accounts Affiliated with the University of Maine System Website

The University of Maine System’s social media writing follows the Associated Press Online Stylebook (External Site). Because the University of Maine System is an institution of higher learning and an institution that prioritizes accessible web content, consistency and accuracy are important. Please review your web content for errors in style, spelling and grammar.

Guidelines about social media basics can be found below. Because social media is a topic where information shifts rapidly and because of this the information may quickly become inaccurate, please note that this page was last updated on August 12, 2021.


What is social media?

Social media are forms of electronic communication such as websites for social networking and microblogging through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages and other content. Social media includes written words, images, audio and video content.

What are social media platforms?

There are many social media websites (or networks), but below you will find a short list of the most common social media networks and brief audience information about each.

Social Media platforms

Audience and primary age range:

Middle millennials and older (30+)

Best for:

A place to feature stories about the people in the University of Maine System, stories about research that is making a high impact and stories about athletics. High-quality photographs or videos are especially well received on this platform.

Posting guidelines:

Up to once per day, although as few as three posts per week is acceptable. Users can click links on this platform.

Accessibility:

Make sure that you add alt text to all photos and that videos have closed captions.

Do not: Do not expect to reach current, traditional aged students on this platform. This is where you will reach the parents of traditional aged students, adult learners, the broader community, faculty and staff.

Audience and primary age range:

Gen-Z (or Zoomers) and Younger/Middle Millennials (18-35 year olds)

Best for:

Images that are people-centric or campus scenery for the feed. Stories are a great place to put up behind-the-scenes perspectives, promote current and upcoming events or general reminders for followers (e.g. admissions dates).

Posting guidelines:

Post in the feed up to once per day, although as few as three posts per week is acceptable. Post daily and often in the stories to keep your audience engaged. Use up to 13 hashtags in one post. Be aware that links are not clickable in post text.

Accessibility:

Be aware of what is referred to as “CamelCase” in hashtags. Make sure that hashtags have the beginning of each word capitalized. (Example: #AdmissionEvent). Make sure that you add alt text or image descriptions to all photos and that videos have closed captions.

Do not: Do not place text-heavy graphics on this platform. Do not place links in text on this platform.

Audience and primary age range:

Gen-Z (or Zoomers) (18-25)

Best for:

Videos that are humorous in nature and “how-to” or educational video content.

Posting guidelines:

Post in the feed up to once per day, although as few as one post per week is acceptable.

Accessibility:

Make sure that videos have closed captions. Taking into consideration that flashing lights or fast cuts may reduce accessibility.

Do not: Be wary of using copyrighted material on this website, such as popular music tracks.

Audience and primary age range:

All (18-55+)

Best for:

Real-time sharing of news and trending topics. Any promotional material that is timely or time sensitive.

Posting guidelines:

Hashtags and emojis are used frequently here. Always tag accounts in photos whenever possible. Each tweet can only hold up to 280 characters per tweet, so every character counts. Post as frequently as information is available or relevant.

Accessibility:

Be aware of what is referred to as “CamelCase” in hashtags. Make sure that hashtags have the beginning of each word capitalized. (Example: #AdmissionEvent). Make sure that you add alt text to all photos and that videos have closed captions.

Do not: Be wary of spelling and grammar before posting: there is no edit button. Do not use font-generating apps to use stylized font because these fonts are not accessible.

Audience and primary age range:

Millennials, Gen-X, Baby Boomers (27-65+)

Best for:

Business-relevant news and stories about research, company culture and economic impact stories. Job placement statistics and business partnerships are also acceptable on this site. This is a good space to leverage influential alumni or faculty or staff.

Posting guidelines:

Up to once per day, although as few as three posts per week is acceptable. Users can click links on this platform.

Accessibility:

Make sure that you add alt text to all photos and that videos have closed captions.

Do not: Do not share every day campus updates on this platform.

Audience and primary age range:

Everyone (18+)

Best for:

Hosting and archiving public events and videos.

Posting guidelines:

YouTube is among the strongest platforms to increase your search engine optimization (SEO) because it exists within the Google ecosystem. Write an SEO-informed description for every video and place appropriate links in the description to increase brand awareness.

Accessibility:

Make sure that you check YouTube’s auto-generated closed captions for accuracy.

Do not: Do not leave descriptions blank.


What else should I know about social media?

Social media is among the most relevant ways to engage with your audience. Below are a few items to keep in mind while using social media:

Liability

You are responsible for what you post on your own social media platforms as well as University of Maine System channels. Do not disclose financial or confidential information for students, faculty, staff, athletics, research or any other institutional information. Be aware of FERPA guidance when posting to social media.

Do not post or comment about legal matters or when the topic being discussed may be an emergency or crisis without checking in with the appropriate stakeholders in your area.

Accessibility

Ensure that all photos have alt text and that all videos have closed captions. Be aware of color contrast ratios.

Check for accuracy with emergency communications

Social media is a great way to connect with your community during a crisis or emergency communication, but please do everything you can to ensure the information you are sharing is accurate in such times.

Monitor and moderate comments

You are responsible for monitoring and moderating comments or reactions on your page from other users. University of Maine System accounts reserve the right to remove any posts for any reason and will delete posts that:

  • include violent, obscene, profane, hateful or racist comments;
  • use offensive or inappropriate language;
  • threaten or defame any person or organization, regardless of University of Maine System affiliation;
  • disclose personally identifiable information, such as email addresses or phone numbers;
  • include copyrighted material not owned by the University of Maine System;
  • would be considered spam;
  • suggest or encourage illegal activity;
  • advertise or endorse a business or service not affiliated with the University of Maine System;
  • are multiple off‐topic posts by a single user; or
  • are repetitive posts copied and pasted by multiple users.

Brand-conformance

Please see the University of Maine System style guide for brand conformance, or check with your university or institution for logos, colors or other brand conformance materials for your social media accounts.


Social media strategy and best practices

Not everyone who posts or manages social media accounts are social media experts. Below are three quick tips for social media strategy:

  1. Tell the University of Maine System story: Post engaging and high-quality content for your followers. The content should be entertaining, informative and placed on the correct platform for the correct audience.
  2. Grow, contribute to and protect the University of Maine System brand: Use social media to build awareness of the University Maine System and our university brands. Be consistent with the tone and visual brand while also participating in the social conversation surrounding the University of Maine System, the state of Maine, our universities and our local communities.
  3. Manage your digital footprint: Support fellow social media managers across the University of Maine system and collaborate with one another to offer a consistent message. Share resources and best practices and cross-promote collaboration across the system.