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UniversityMarketing and Communications

Social Media Guide

Social media offers powerful channels for communicating, connecting, and engaging with SCU's key audiences. 

Social media is any type of application or website that allow users to create and share content and interact with others in an online community or network.

The Basics of Being Social at SCU

Santa Clara University uses social media as a marketing and communications tool to engage audiences, including but not limited to, prospective students, current students, donors, alumni, parents, faculty and staff, and the broader community, with a number of objectives in mind:

  • To support the University’s mission, goals, programs, and sanctioned efforts, including University news, information, content, and directives.
  • To enable and support student recruitment and retention.
  • To leverage excitement around and build participation in fundraising campaigns.
  • To engage alumni and strengthen alumni relations.
  • To facilitate alumni/student/faculty relations in academic departments.
  • To build pride and encourage dialogue among all community members.

Santa Clara University's Official Social Media Channels

Facebook

Allows users to create their own profile, from which they can add friends, exchange messages, post status updates and photos, share videos and receive notifications when others update their profiles.

Twitter

Users create tweets, or messages of 140 maximum characters, that can be read by other users. Twitter can also be used to share original photos and videos, as well as retweet (or forward) tweets from other users.

Instagram

Social media site where users can share photos taken on their mobile devices with friends and followers.

Pinterest

Users can share and categorize photos (taken themselves or found online) onto “boards.” Users can also follow boards, or other members, based on their individual interests.

Tumblr

A blogging platform that allows users to post multimedia and other content to a short-form blog. Users can follow other users' blogs and set privacy settings.

YouTube

Video-sharing website that allows users to upload videos of their own or watch content submitted by others.

LinkedIn Group (managed by Alumni Association)

A business-oriented social network primarily used for professional networking. Users create their own profiles, which includes past work experience and relevant attributes. Users can also have connections with friends, co-workers, former colleagues, and family.

 

Social Media Site Management

There are many social media sites associated with SCU. Management of official sites is handled as follows:

  • The University’s primary social media channels are managed by University Marketing and Communications.
  • UMC’s  director, media and internal communications aids and advises campus social media content managers who are responsible for the University’s secondary social media channels.
  • University units manage the content posted to their respective department sites.

A note to Campus Social Media Managers/Content Providers: When page editors and administrators, especially students, depart SCU and no longer require access to social media accounts, please update/adjust the Social Media Managers spreadsheet.

 

General Guidelines for Social Media Managers

As an SCU social media manager or content provider, you are encouraged to connect and communicate more effectively with your audiences by following the guidelines in this section. Note that, because of the evolving nature of social media, these guidelines are subject to change. We welcome ongoing feedback and new ideas from the campus community.

Site managers are also encouraged to access the entire SCU Brand Guidelines site for additional social media support structures, including branding guidelines, editorial messaging, graphic identity standards, photography, and more.

Follow the guidelines below when creating a social media channel for a school, center, department, group, organization, or club on campus:

  • Set Your Site Goals. Determine the site’s purpose and establish SMART goals—those that are specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound—and the associated metrics for gauging those goals.
  • Define Your Site Management. Before the site is established, determine who will manage and maintain the site. Someone must be available to not only post new content but also to routinely monitor engagements from followers. Who serves as a backup?
  • Know Your Audience. Identify your intended audience. Consider content type and frequency as well as audience demographics in helping you select the platform. A majority of Santa Clara University’s followers include alumni, current students, prospective students, staff, and parents. Directing content with the aforementioned audience in mind will increase views and engagement on social media.

Based on analytics, our most popular posts often include:

Campus photography: Beauty shots of campus, the mission, buildings, etc., are always very popular posts.

SCU Apparel or Branding: Items that feature our logo are very popular posts across all social media platforms.

Prominent Alumni: Posts featuring famous alums of Santa Clara often collect a large amount of engagement. Followers enjoy seeing former SCU students succeeding post-college.

School Pride: Any national articles that rank SCU as one of the top schools in the nation for any qualification are extremely popular posts.

  • Consider Tone of Voice: Messages should be catered to your intended audience. Tone may vary depending on the audience and platform. Facebook posts contain a more formal tone, while Twitter is casual, especially due to the character constraints on posts and the more ephemeral nature of the posts.
  • Refer to House Style. The official SCU Editorial Style Guide is posted online. Please note that social media may, at times, reflect a more colloquial tone; for example, our social posts use alum (instead of alumna/ae), SCU (instead of Santa Clara University), and am/pm without the periods. We do use the serial comma. 
  • Brand Consistency and Logo Use: Unless endorsed by SCU for a particular campaign or initiative, do not use the Santa Clara University logo, wordmark, or any other Santa Clara images on personal sites. Do not use Santa Clara University’s name to promote any political candidate, product, or cause. Never use SCU logos for personal use. For a more detailed discussion of brand consistency, see the The SCU Brand page. More information about the official Santa Clara University logos can be found in the Visual Identity Elements section of this site.
  • Always Include an Image or Video: Posts with photos or videos related to the status are much more appealing to users and generate more engagement. Make sure to include at least one visual for every post, no matter the platform. Focus on images and videos that are high resolution, clear, and relevant to the other content. See the Photography section of this site for additional guidance on imagery. 
  • Plan and Schedule Posts: Most social media sites allow queuing posts in advance. This allows for edits/enhancements before releasing content to followers. Have a regular post schedule so your audience knows what to expect. Currently, the post frequency for Facebook and Twitter is two times per day, at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Instagram frequency is about four times per week, with more variance in post times. Higher ed data suggest that 15 to 16 posts per month on Facebook is adequate for high engagement. Twitter activity is typically multiple posts per day. Optimal posting frequency can vary by audience, so test and see what works best. 
  • Review Your Post/Check for Errors: Review posts to ensure that everything is spelled and punctuated correctly. Where possible, enlist a second set of eyes to make a final review. Scheduling posts makes it easy to look them over multiple times before they are posted. Twitter is more forgiving with intentional misspellings and abbreviations. Because messages are limited to 140 characters, some words and sentences may be condensed in order to post. Acronyms and abbreviations are acceptable on Twitter, such as "Thx" for thank you. 
  • Monitoring/Managing Comments: Followers will often leave comments and questions on your posts. It is very important that you log on frequently and respond to these comments in a timely manner. Being active on social media will give your page credibility and value, and online audiences often expect and appreciate responsiveness. While comments are welcome on University social media pages and allow individuals to share their thoughts and connect with the online community, social media managers reserve the right to remove comments that are (1) off-topic or irrelevant; (2) inappropriate—including, but not limited to using profanity, racial and ethnic slurs, rude behavior, etc., or (3) personal advertisements. Moderators may also remove or block users who frequently post comments that do not adhere to SCU social media guidelines.
  • Ask Questions: Posting status updates that include a question invites users to respond to you and may increase engagement. In addition, responses will provide you with valuable feedback, which you can use to craft future posts. 
  • Original (vs. shared and embedded preview content): Where possible, OMC uploads images and videos directly within the Facebook post scheduler and includes bit.ly links to track user behavior/engagement in more detail. At the time of writing, this method is preferable to sharing a post or using the native link preview, because it seems to yield better engagement stats. To credit the original poster, we introduce the content with a statement like, “From our friends at XYZ…” and then tag the entity where applicable. 
  • Tag Pages and People: Most social media sites allow users to tag other pages and people when posting a status. Including the active links to the other social media sites helps expose your posts to larger audiences and influence engagement. Tagging is sometimes buggy: be sure you “Like” the page first.
  • Confidentiality, Privacy and Safety. Confidential or proprietary University information should not be shared publicly on Santa Clara University social media channels. Santa Clara University does not monitor personal websites or social media accounts, but will address issues that violate established HR or student conduct rules and expectations. Avoid discussion or speculation about internal policies or operations. Please refrain from reporting on or giving opinions about University topics or personalities that could be considered sensitive, confidential, or disparaging. We are responsible for the public’s impression of SCU.
  • Photo Guidelines. Photos posted on social media should be done so with the utmost care. Before posting a photo, ask permission from the individual(s) included. If there is a child in the picture, consult parents before posting, although we strongly discourage posting pictures of children. Photos must also be appropriate. Do not post any photos that would not be suitable for the University website. Examples of images that should be avoided included but are not limited to: nudity, graphic scenes, and medical and hospital patients.
  • Copyrighted Images. Keep in mind that many photos found on the Internet are protected by copyright and are illegal to post without the creator’s permission. To find content that is safe to use and not copyrighted, we suggest using the Creative Commons You can also find images that are safe for reuse from Google images and Flickr. Under Advanced Search, filter for images that are “free to reuse.”
  • Identifying People in On-Campus Photos. Do not publish student records information. For example, do not publish personally identifiable information (e.g., duration of stay on campus, names, and family connections, etc.). Exceptions may be made if the individual has received public recognition elsewhere where identification was already revealed. Take precautions to protect personal privacy.
  • Do not use SCU’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause, or political party or candidate.
  • Post in SCU’s Best Interests. Do not post sensitive or confidential information pertaining to Santa Clara University. Avoid discussing or speculating on Santa Clara University internal policy or operations. Similarly, please refrain from offering opinions on University topics or personalities that could be considered sensitive, confidential, or disparaging.
  • Be Thoughtful. When posting on behalf of Santa Clara University, remember that you are posting as the voice of the University or a specific school or organization. Before you post a status, consult with a supervisor or dean of the department. If you have any doubts on whether a post is appropriate for a University page, make sure to contact your supervisor.
  • Athletics Posts. In compliance with NCAA Division I Athletics rules, do not acknowledge social media posts or content from incoming students who have claimed to have signed with a Santa Clara University athletics team unless the news has been confirmed by our athletics department. To be safe, do not announce anything athletics related unless it has already been announced by the SCU Department of Athletics. In order to promote Santa Clara’s competitive spirit in athletics, use a tone that exudes optimism, hope, and belief in the team’s ability to win.
  • Sensitive Topics. Sensitive topics may include, but are not limited to, politics, religion (controversial issues), ethnicity, partying, drugs, alcohol, etc. When posting about these subjects, please exercise caution.
  • Be Respectful. Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness, and respect for your colleagues, associates, and the University’s supporters/community (social media fans). Respond to comments and posts with courtesy and avoid posting content that is offensive to others. Do not escalate: remain calm and professional in all correspondence. A healthy dialogue with constructive criticism can be useful, but refrain from engaging in dialogue that could disparage colleagues, competitors, or critics.
  • Do No Harm. Refrain from posting any material that could be damaging to the University or you as an individual, both on or off the job.
  • Be Transparent. Be clear and honest about who you are when posting on social media. If you are handling an institutional entity, messaging should be consistent with University statements.
  • Be Accurate. Make sure your content is accurate and fact-checked before it is posted. Do not post any information that cannot be supported by a legitimate source. Avoid opinion-based posts that are not factual.
  • Exercise Good Judgment. Does it pass the headline test? How would the post appear if it were a news story? What are possible reactions/consequences from the content being public or getting reviewed by colleagues we respect?
  • Be Aware of Privacy Settings (who can see this/do I want them seeing this?). Before you post anything on social media, consider who will be able to view it after you post. Many pages are set as public, where anyone using that form of social media can see your posted content, in order to reach a larger audience. If you do not want or are not comfortable with users outside of your following viewing content you post, make sure to change your privacy settings accordingly.

Measurement and Analytics. A number of third-party sites are available that monitor social media posting activity. Official Santa Clara University social media usage is tracked using multiple platforms. It is highly recommended that site managers review social media analytics to assess content strategy and performance and gain insights about their audiences.

Measurement tools currently used for official SCU sites include:

  • Hootsuite: Schedules Twitter posts and monitors engagement on the University accounts. Hootsuite analytics also offer metrics on link clicks.
  • Facebook Insights: Provides the demographics of followers and of engagers on the Santa Clara University Facebook page.
  • Simply Measured: Tracks top posts, top post types, followers, engagement (likes, comments, shares, percent audience engaged, etc.) on various social platforms.
  • Bit.ly stats: Provides link clicks and platforms from which clicks were made.

Additionally, the University tracks posts on Facebook and Twitter that relate to the six goals of Santa Clara’s Integrated Strategic Plan; these goals are as follows:

  • Imparting a transformational Jesuit education
  • G2. Fashioning a more humane, just, and sustainable world
  • G3. Fostering innovation and entrepreneurship in service of humanity
  • G4. Advancing contemporary theological studies, education, and ministry
  • G5. Increasing diversity, access, and affordability
  • G6. Enhancing Santa Clara’s reputation and national visibility

Algorithms: Facebook’s algorithm determines which posts and content appear on a user’s newsfeed. Since 2015, the updated algorithm has generally resulted in decreased post reach and referral traffic. To combat this, site managers should consider budgeting for Facebook ads to boost select posts (or to promote their page) and increase reach. Factors that influence the algorithm include: Interest (how interested the user is in the creator); Post (the post’s performance with other users); Creator (performance of past posts by the creator among other users); Type (photo, link, status, that the user prefers); and Currency (how new the post is). 

How to Use Our Social Media Icons

The following icon files are available for Universiity download and use. Please contact Nic Bertino in Digital Strategy for more information about using these icons for Web and social media and downloading for use in print pieces.

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