Having a creative vision and skill with editing is no longer enough to properly use social media. Knowing how each social media platform operates is half the battle in making sure your content is an engaging and effective communication tool.
From common use, not all platforms operate the same, have the same audience, nor have a centered focus on what content is the core purpose. Facebook is friend interests and opinion centered, while TikTok drives interests delivered by video format by random users in an algorithm. You may not necessarily need to use more than four, three, or even two platforms to pursue your communication goals. View each platform by section below to learn up-to-date best practices.
Facebook is no longer the most popular form of online communication, but it remains a valuable tool for certain audiences. Facebook offers an effective way to communicate your department or organization’s mission, network, events and build recognition. A Facebook presence also allows reaching a wide audience of prospective students, incoming students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends of the University.
How do I use Facebook for a University entity?
Begin by setting up your organization’s account on Facebook.
Create an “official” page for your UTC organization.
Including “University of Tennessee at Chattanooga,” “UTC,” or “UT Chattanooga” in the title will make it easier for users to find your page.
Facebook has Pages and Groups. Know which one will work for you.
Pages are accessible by the public. They are searchable and can be seen by anyone, even if a person is not registered or logged in to Facebook. Pages are intended for organizations, departments and businesses to connect with interested users.
Groups are helpful if your goal is to create a small community on Facebook, such as a Class Cohort or student organization. Groups can be created by anyone and about any topic as a forum for people to share their opinions and interests on a subject. Groups can be kept closed or secret, whereas Pages are intended to help an entity communicate publicly. If personal communication is your goal, forming a Group is a better option, but is most likely an outdated option for current student demographics.
UTC Social Media Policies require compliance with platform terms of service and by using Facebook, you agree to Facebook's terms and policies. Review here at facebook.com/terms.
Begin posting. Strategies for using Facebook
1. Share to Facebook at least three times a week and keep posts short and sweet. While there is no character limit for posts, always think quality over quantity. Posts with 100 – 250 characters (about two lines of text) get 60 percent more likes, comments and shares than longer posts.
2. Respond to comments, when necessary, every message, even the negative ones. Represent the University with respect and civility, every time.
3. Use one photo per post. Posts that include images are 90% more likely to be clicked on and engaged with.
4. Be polite but real. Social media is a conversation, so keep writing casual but always respectful.
5. Provide value. Share posts that mean something to your followers and offer useful information. Posts without value can cause followers to lose interest in you and worse, stop following you altogether.
6. Monitor the page daily. Check in to your social media page daily and make sure there is no spam, profane language or otherwise questionable content shared to your wall or included in comments.
7. Promote your page. Ask people in your department or organization to follow your page. Network with other appropriate pages on Facebook by following/liking them as your departmental page. (Email [email protected] if you have questions about who you can/should follow.)
8. Use @ when tagging someone. Tagging other appropriate Facebook accounts in your posts can increase discoverability of your post. In the post, type the “@” symbol followed directly by the page you attempting to tag. Ex: “Congratulations @ChattanoogaMocs for having a 3.0 Student-Athlete GPA average!" Your post now will involve the Chattanooga Athletics Department Facebook page with more legitimacy and comradery among campus constituents.
Instagram is a photo-centric social media platform that also features short-term video sharing, coined Reels. Instagram includes a story feature in which people can post videos and images in increments of 15-seconds that disappear in 24 hours, often used for promoting upcoming events or sharing a personal in-the-moment experience. If your account is public, other Instagram users can like your photos, comment on them and send you direct messages. Your “feed” is comprised of accounts and people you follow and sometimes suggestions or advertisements. The “explore”page is algorithm-based, tailored toward those you don’t follow but suggested by Instagram based on your interests as shown by content you interact with.
Why use Instagram?
Instagram is one of the more popular social platforms among people ages 18-29. Instagram offers the opportunity to share highly visual, authentic and unique photos about your department, organization or program. You also can provide an insider perspective by sharing photos or videos and information about your office, services, students, faculty members, staff and more.
How do I use Instagram?
First, download the mobile app on your phone. Instagram.com also exists in a desktop format, however the overall experience is NOT best-formatted for desktop. Here you can also explore other profiles, follow other users, edit your profile, view the “feed”—posts from accounts you follow, or explore pages, posts from accounts you may not follow and even comment on photos all from your web browser/desktop computer. Functions that help utilize the platform to the fullest remain available only via mobile, however.
Connect your Instagram account with other social media networks by using the same handle (account usernames after the @ symbol) to increase recognition on all your social media accounts. Example: all usernames for official UTC accounts are “@utchattanooga.”
Strategies for using Instagram
1. Post often to Instagram. Share at least two posts a week and up to five times a week. Sharing frequently increases traffic and your follower count.
2. Post for your audience’s interests. Algorithm-wise, users are looking for content that will capture their attention within three seconds. Whether this is a photo of a fellow student enjoying time in your class or a quick 20-second Reel of your organization doing what they love, this will create a space worth following.
3. Use appropriate photos and video that share something unique about your department, organization or program to the feed. Using generated graphics is appropriate for event exposure, however, using photos of previous events as the focus yields better results for grabbing attention than using a poster or flier. If a vertical graphic for a poster has been made, use the “Story” function—which is for vertically oriented visuals—instead. Keep your photos fresh for Instagram by following these tips and tricks for taking, editing and sharing Instagram-worthy photos.
4. Engage with other campus users. Double tap to like a photo or tap the heart underneath the photo. (Follow and engage only with appropriate users. Do not use any UTC-branded account to express any personal viewpoints.) Mention other users either in the caption, comments or tag in your posts. Use “@” before another Instagrammer’s username and that user will be notified of being tagged in your post.
5. Respond to inquiries. Show other users you are engaged and paying attention by responding to users’ comments on your posts or direct messages. This will help increase your following and encourage other users to engage. DO NOT ENGAGE WITH KNOWN SPAM ACCOUNTS either through posts or direct messages.
6. Use—but don’t overuse—hashtags. Use the pound symbol, “#” and then a topic or keyword at the end of the caption of a post (example: #utchattanooga #GoMocs #chattanooga #chemistry #collegelife). These will slightly increase discoverability of your video or photos by other Instagrammers via the explore page but avoid using these often inside sentences. As social media culture has evolved, using hashtags as follows reflects poorly on your account: “Photos from the #movienight yesterday with my #engineering and #alphasociety friends, cannot wait to #graduate next month!”
7. Experiment with filters, gifs and similar visual resources. Instagram provides many filters and features to enhance your Reels or Instagram story.
8. Know how and when to delete a comment. FYI: You cannot edit or modify another comment, but you can go into your “comments section" on any Instagram post, swipe left-to-right and activate the delete (trash can) button. Please check UTC Social Media Guidelines and Policy, when it is appropriate to remove a comment when using a UTC sponsored account.
In both 2020 and 2021, TikTok surpassed all social media platforms for number of active users and time spent online engaging with posts. This makes TikTok the reigning top choice for sharing video content with prospective college and university students. To best understand the platform currently, it’s necessary to understand how it became the most-used social media app in the world. Formerly known as Musical.ly, the app originated as a platform for its young users to create lip-syncing, dance routines and comedy parodies on videos of 15 seconds or longer. The platform was bought, re-branded and transformed in an all-in-one video-centric platform for all types of interests, hobbies, and conversations. Coincidentally, COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns around the world drew people in isolation to experiment with creating and sharing short videos on the platform.
Why use TikTok?
TikTok users gravitate toward uniquely engaging videos or those based on their interests in a way similar to Instagram and YouTube users. This presents an opportunity for your organization, group or department to make a perfect first impression with those who are unfamiliar. Creativity is top priority for your content. Creative ideas, skills or humor expressed in short videos should be shared on this platform.
How do I use TikTok?
Begin by downloading the TikTok app on your phone. Just like Instagram, there is desktop functionality for the platform, but it is largely optimized for the mobile experience. How to sign up: https://support.tiktok.com/en/getting-started/creating-an-account
• On TikTok, a username (or handle) and a screen name are separate items. Example: @UTC_COB is the username and UTC College of Business is the screen name. Screen names are limited to 30 characters.
• Be sure to include the following in creating a UTC-affiliated TikTok account: UTC, UT Chattanooga or similar elements of the University name.
• If possible, use existing usernames you’ve established in for your unit’s other social media accounts.
• Carefully selecting a TikTok screen name is very important because this is how most users will search for you. People will most likely not know your exact username and may add spaces into your username that do not exist.
• Hashtag (#) use has changed dramatically since its inception on social media platforms, as algorithms and online culture are moving away from the use of hashtags to find relatable topics or accounts. The search function on TikTok allows for popular videos and soundsusing hashtags trending in the moment to be visible to the entire platform. Still, hashtags remain in use for large advertising campaigns and small relatable phrases or slogans, such as #GoMocs, #utchattanooga, #collegelife. You should use three to five related, and appropriate, hashtags or hashtag phrases in your video captions toward attracting the right niche audience.
• Captions on videos should be limited to 150 characters. At times, context is needed but the video should be fairly self-explanatory. Captions cannot be edited after posting, it is imperative to double check grammar and spelling. Keep captions concise and hashtags minimal, even though the platform has expanded the character limit for captions.
Signing up for TikTok
When signing up to create an official UTC account, use your work email or departmental email account to enable access by others in account backup roles or transfer of the log-in credentials toothers should account management roles change. This is advised for all social media platforms, outside Facebook and LinkedIn which require an existing personal account before being designated an administrator for a professional account.
Customize your profile
Remember to use the authorized profile picture, ‘pfp’ for short, or icon for branding and recognition purposes. You can link to other existing social media accounts such as on Instagram or YouTube. Linking to established accounts on other platforms adds credibility to a new account and can encourage those followers to join your TikTok followers, too.
Using the platform
TikTok enables uploads of videos from 15 seconds long, up to longer videos in three-minute increments; and offers the following features:
• Effects: Filters that also have their own trending section and give users many options, from swapping faces, to using green screens, to slowing down or speeding up video, and so on.
• Story: Direct feature similar to competitor Instagram, the story people can post 15-second videos or images that disappear in 24 hours.
• Sounds/songs: Sounds and songs from other users can be used in your videos.
• For You Page: Referred to FYP, the For You Page is a personalized feed of videos, and stories, based on your interests and engagement. This feature enables TikTok to narrow its wide variety of content for relevance to and the interests of users.
• LIVE: Accounts can live stream themselves on TikTok with an ability for viewers to interact.
• Now: To capture the popularity of an up and coming social media platform, BeReal, this feature allows users to share a photo from both the front and back camera once a day. Like BeReal, timing is set to be random, via notification, so this can be difficult to use for professional/communication use. Once you post your daily 'Now' you can use your fellow friends 'Now'.
• Search Discovery: TikTok’s search function is for searching for accounts, trending hashtags, current LIVE streaming accounts, songs/sounds and viewing ad-targeted content.
• Inbox: The inbox is where account managers get notifications for likes of videos, reactions to comments from your account, mentions, comments, followers gained, quicker view of followers stories and messages.
TikTok’s terms of service include the requirements that users or account managers of any type must not:
• Impersonate others
• Engage with unofficial UTC accounts
• Open a creator fund account to make money
• Publish or comment on others’ private and confidential information
• Publish or comment direct, specific threats of violence against others
• Use TikTok for any unlawful purpose or promotion of illegal activities
• Create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes
• Engage in username "squatting"
• Link to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another user’s browser or computer or to compromise a user’s privacy
• Use obscene or pornographic images either in profile picture or background photo or videos.
Scroll, Engage, Understand your Unique Brand
Just as social media managers should explore other platforms and their suitability to institutional purposes, the same is true of TikTok. This social media platform is hitting its stride in virality and verified accounts from brands are still gaining traction while playing into the atmosphere of the app. Make sure to stick to your goals and understand what’s involved in use of TikTok before diving in. Having fun and showing your audience the fun that your office and department has on campus is the best way to gain an audience.
Twitter is about broadcasting daily, short, burst messages to the world in the hope that your messages are useful and interesting to someone. In other words, microblogging.
Twitter allows only 280 characters per post, or tweet, so you must maximize the characters you have by being creative and concise.
Why use Twitter?
Twitter is an effective tool for organizations and departments at UTC which need to share quick information about meetings, conferences, other events, news, and retweeting UTC-ALERTS when appropriate.
How do I use Twitter?
Begin by creating a Twitter account. https://help.twitter.com/en/create-twitter-account
• On Twitter, a username (or handle) and a screen name are separate items. Example: @UTC_COB is the username and UTC College of Business is the screen name.
• Be sure to include the following when creating your UTC affiliated Twitter account: UTC, UT Chattanooga, etc.
• If possible, use existing usernames you’ve already established in other social media accounts.
• Carefully selecting a Twitter screen name is important because this is how most users will search for you. People will most likely not know your exact username and may add spaces into your username that do not exist. Example: a search for “UTC Athletics” may not find the correct username, @GoMocs.
• Hashtag (#) usage has changed dramatically since its inception on social media platforms, as algorithms and online culture move away from the use of hashtags to find relatable topics or accounts. When phrases or words “trend” with events and breaking news, the trending page and search engine on Twitter no longer grab only tweets with #hashtags. It’s no longer necessary to use hashtags in posts for them to become part of trending topics, but they can still be used for small phrases or slogans, like #GoMocs.
Twitter’s terms of service include the requirements that users or account managers of any type must not:
• Impersonate others
• Publish or post other's private and confidential information
• Publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others
• Use Twitter for any unlawful purpose or promotion of illegal activities
• Create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes
• Engage in username "squatting"
• Use Twitter.com’s address book contact import to send repeat, mass invitations
• Publish or link to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another user’s browser or computer or to compromise a user’s privacy
• Use Twitter for spamming anyone
• Use obscene or pornographic images either in your profile picture or background photo.
Customize your profile
Use the column on the left side of your account page to upload your approved profile picture, pfp, write a short bio and set up the Twitter app on your phone so you can post tweets from anywhere.
The one-line bio will appear with the username and screen name in the search results. Use this section to note your relationship/connection to the university. Using only “UTC” on Twitter will create confusion since the acronym could be used by other universities or users.
Stay below the 280-character restriction: This may seem tricky at first, but incorporating shorthand, hashtags and links helps you provide additional information.
Include OFFICIAL Links: Push your followers to the UTC website and UTC Newsroom articles from Tweets. Tweet links to take followers to further information that cannot fit within the character limit.
Shortened Links: At one time, shortened links were commonly used to fit within the former 140-character limit on posts. Now, shortened links can be considered suspicious, especially if they don’t display a preview header and/or photo. If linking to a specific blog from utc.edu/newsroom, know that the URL does not appear in the actual tweet is sent but it does count toward the character limit.
Tweet frequently: You should tweet every day—with relevant, useful or entertaining information—and you can take breaks on weekends. Various tools are available for scheduling tweets to post. Twitter, itself, offers a scheduling function via its calendar button when drafting a tweet. Tweetdeck.twitter.com is a free tool for scheduling tweets, and it also enables managing or monitoring multiple Twitter accounts simultaneously.
How to use Tweetdeck: https://help.twitter.com/en/using-twitter/how-to-use-tweetdeck
As manager of an institutional account, you should also enable designated user access to your Twitter account by more than one trusted person—starting with your designated backup account manager.
Use visuals in your Tweets: Tweets that include images or video content receive substantially more likes, replies and re-tweets. Be sure to include a photo or some other type of visual content in your Tweets.
Understand why people follow you: Learn why your followers are following you. Track your tweets that perform well, get the most likes, replies and retweets. Understanding the content that drives engagement will enhance your ability to deliver content your followers want—on Twitter and possibly other platforms.
Follow other accounts: Your institutional account should follow other UTC Twitter accounts, along with others applicable and appropriate to your industry, department, office or field of study. Example: The University’s official accounts follow several other universities, important entities, distinguished alumni, influencers and people in Chattanooga.
Re-tweet: Re-tweet content posted by other Twitter accounts that is relevant and appropriate to your organization, department or office.
Hashtags: Hashtag (#) use has changed dramatically since its inception on social media platforms, as algorithms and online culture are moving away from the use of hashtags to find relatable topics or accounts. When phrases or words “trend” with events and breaking news, Twitter’s trending page and search engine no longer grab only tweets based on hashtags. In fact, Twitter has moved on entirely from multiple hashtags in one tweet, which is now considered outdated.
It's recommended you use no more than one hashtag in a single tweet.
Incorporate other Twitter users by tagging them: Example: “Enjoyed a great lunch at @utc_uc (the University Center’s Twitter account) and now can’t wait for @gomocsMBB game tonight!”
Use Other Tools: Managing your Twitter account solely through Twitter.com may become difficult as the app/website goes down often due to heavy traffic. Look at tools like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to help manage your Twitter account.
LinkedIn is a professional networking site that connects people with employers, jobs and colleagues to exchange information, ideas, and opportunities.
Why Should I use LinkedIn?
An organization/office/department at UTC can use a LinkedIn page by creating networking groups to connect with students and alumni and to post job openings for paid positions or internships. For a UTC college/department to create a LinkedIn Company Page, the responsible staff member must first have a professional LinkedIn profile. (See LinkedIn Company Page details below.)
How do I use LinkedIn?
By creating an account and establishing your own, individual LinkedIn profile.
You must use a valid personal email address and fill in all required information fields. This will help you find people and organizations relevant to your own professional interests.
Complete your profile. The more thorough you are, the better you can use LinkedIn’s features. Add your websites, other social media accounts, any published or patented material, résumés and other contact information.
By registering on the LinkedIn app or using the LinkedIn website, you agree to LinkedIn’s terms of service.
LinkedIn’s terms of service include the requirements that users or account managers of any type must:
• Comply with all applicable laws
• Provide accurate information and update as necessary
• Review and comply with notices sent by LinkedIn
• Use the services in a professional manner
Users or account managers must not:
• Post inappropriate, inaccurate, or objectionable content to LinkedIn
• Include information in your profile that reveals your personal identity or personal information such as an email address, phone number or address that is confidential
• Remove any copyright, trademark or other proprietary rights notices contained in or on LinkedIn
• Remove, cover, or otherwise obscure any form of advertisement included on LinkedIn
• Harass, abuse, or harm another person, including sending un-welcome communications to others
• Collect, use, or transfer any information obtained from LinkedIn except as expressly permitted by LinkedIn or the owner of such information
• Share information of non-users without their express consent
• Upload a cartoon, symbol, drawing or any content other than a headshot photograph of yourself in your profile photo
• Use or attempt to use another’s account without authorization
• Falsely state, impersonate or otherwise misrepresent your identity
• Post content that is unlawful, libelous, abusive, obscene, discriminatory, or otherwise objectionable
• Include any unsolicited or unauthorized advertising, promotional materials, or other forms of solicitation
Create a LinkedIn Company Page
A LinkedIn Company Page helps others learn more about your business, brand, products, services and job opportunities.
Note: You must first create an account for yourself and an individual LinkedIn profile with your real first and last name before you can complete the below steps to create a Company Page.
To create a Company Page:
Click the Work icon in the top right corner of your LinkedIn Profile’s homepage.
Click Create a Company Page.
Enter your Company Name and choose a URL. All Company Page URLs will be structured as linkedin.com/company/ [YOUR COMPANY NAME]. Example: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Gary W Rollins College of Business.
• While the name of your Company Page doesn't need to be unique, the public URL for your page cannot be the same as one that exists on LinkedIn. LinkedIn members and search engines will use this unique URL to find your page.
• Review the Company Page URL requirements below.
Check the verification box to confirm you have the right to act on behalf of the college or department in the creation of the page.
Click the Create page button.
• If you don't have a confirmed email address associated with your LinkedIn account, you'll be prompted to add and verify your email address.
Click Get started on the welcome screen to begin editing your Company Page.
• A red error message may appear if you have problems adding a Company Page.
Your Company Page URL:
• Must contain at least one non-numeric character.
• Can be a lowercase alphabet, numeric, hyphen, or Chinese, Japanese, or Korean (CJK) Unicode.
• Must not include more than one consecutive hyphen (example, company--name) and can't have a hyphen at the beginning or end (example, -company-name or company-name-).
• Improper characters will be replaced automatically with a hyphen.
To publish your Company Page, you must include a company description (250-2,000 characters including spaces) and company website URL. Example: The Honors College would make its landing page on UTC.edu its LinkedIn company page URL: https://www.utc.edu/honors-college/
• Keep in mind that it is not possible to preview your Company Page. When you publish the page, it is live on LinkedIn.
Promote your page. Once you’ve created a Company Page, share this information with other employees or students in your department/college and add administrators to the page in case an administrator loses access to the page or leaves your unit. LinkedIn can’t provide Company Page administrator information to members or replace or remove administrators.
Learn more about how to edit your Company Page: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/1591, and how to manage Company Page administrators: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/4783.
Don’t focus on selling your organization/entity. Rather, focus on faculty, staff, alumni or current student success. Provide content that would appeal to them and be helpful to those in their career field(s).
Carry on the conversations. Facilitate group discussions by posting useful information and prompts for future discussions.
Thank people for contributing. If a member becomes a frequent commenter, acknowledge that and encourage them to keep it up.