Social Media, if done effectively, can be a great way to connect with your audience and promote your program/office/department at the University of Southern Maine. If done incorrectly, social media can prove cumbersome and, and more importantly, can potentially harm the reputation of your program/office/department as well as the University.
The University of Southern Maine's overall social media feeds are managed from the Office of Public Affairs. They include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linked In, YouTube and Snapchat.
Public Affairs has created this page with resources to help you manage an official social media account on behalf of your office, school, college or organization. For further questions, whether determining strategy, setting up a new page, branding and so on, please contact the Office of Public Affairs' social media administrator.
Social Media Resources for USM Communicators
The Office of Public Affairs can provide social media guidance to departments/programs by appointment. Below is a presentation on social media produced by the office to help guide individuals in establishing social media profiles. To set up an appointment with the Office of Public Affairs regarding social media, contact USM's social media administrator.
The University of Southern Maine (USM) Social Media Policy is your guide to successfully running a social media account at the University of Southern Maine.
Please view the USM Social Media Policy for information on:
- USM Social Media Presence
- USM Social Media Account Administration
- USM Brand and Voice
- Policy for Followers (or Fans) of USM Social Media
- Guiding Principles for USM Faculty and Staff
- Policies for Facebook Promotions
- And more
USM's Office of Public Affairs will continuously review strategies and best practices for using social media. Since social media is evolving rapidly, the USM Social Media Policy is a document that will evolve over time.
If your office, school, college or organization would like to establish a new social media profile, please contact the Office of Public Affairs to go over goals and strategy. All social media accounts acting on behalf of USM must include the following people as administrators on their page: the Office of Public Affairs' social media administrator and director of communications. This is in place in case of emergencies or for when the regular page administrator needs assistance or to serve as a bridge during times of page administrator transition.
If you have established a social media profile and have not yet added the Office of Public Affairs staff as backup administrators, please contact USM's social media administrator.
If your page represents an official USM office, school, college or program, your page must follow USM brand standards.
The official University logo is a yellow column positioned inside a blue square. It is for use on official, University-sanctioned pages established and managed by the Office of Public Affairs. Individual departments, programs or organizations are not permitted to use the official logo on their social media pages.
All department, program or organization Facebook and Twitter pages affiliated with the University should be properly branded using the avatar below. It is a reverse-color image of the University's official logo for social media purposes only. If you have questions about social media branding, please contact USM's social media administrator.
Select the image or download here.
As of October 2017, cover images for Facebook and Twitter pages no longer need to be branded with the logo overlay. Cover images should be a crisp, clear single image that represents the office/department and the University well.
Naming Your Page:
For all department/school/program/office etc. names used on social media, we are branding them using the following format: “Department/Program/Organization at the University of Southern Maine.” The USM acronym is used by other schools and organizations (such as the University of Southern Mississippi) so always spell out the University's name when used in your page name.
Some examples are:
- School of Music at the University of Southern Maine
- Veterans Services at the University of Southern Maine
- The Learning Commons at the University of Southern Maine
For more information on branding, please view the Social Media Policy.
Get in on the fun by tagging or mentioning the University of Southern Maine or one of its additional social media profiles in your posts on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Mentioning and tagging brings awareness to additional pages from the USM community.
Tagging on Facebook:
To tag USM or an additional USM page on Facebook, type "@" then start typing the name of the page. For this example, we will use the USM Admissions Facebook page.
Once the page appears in the dropdown menu, select it to insert it into your post. You can see University of Southern Maine Admissions appears in bolded text as a link.
In the example above, the "University of Southern Maine Admissions" page has been tagged. Once the post is sent, the Admissions page will receive a notification that their page has been mentioned in a post. From there, the Admissions page can choose to share the post.
Mentioning on Twitter
Type "@" then start typing the name of the Twitter handle you want to mention.
Once the handle appears, select it from the dropdown menu. Then continue with your tweet.
TIP: If you start a tweet by mentioning a handle, put a period before the handle so people can see the tweet. Otherwise, Twitter will think it is a conversation, which will severely limit your reach.
Remember, tagging and mentioning brings awareness to other USM pages, so do so when it is appropriate.
Start the conversation on Twitter and Instagram by using some of USM's official hashtags.
#USMhuskygram: Got a great picture that showcases life at USM? Use this hashtag to share it with us.
#USMspeaks: Use when sharing photos of, thoughts on, or conversations about any lectures you're attending, such as USM's 2017 Gloria S. Duclos Convocation events.
#USMintheNews: Use this hashtag when sharing any information about USM or your office, school, college or organization that may have appeared in the media.
#USMFaculty: Use this hashtag when mentioning USM faculty members in posts.
#HuskyPride: Want to share something that shows off some USM pride? Use this hashtag in your post.
#USMHuskyHello: Use this hashtag for USM Welcome Week at the beginning of the Fall semester
Social Media Post Guidelines
Below is a list of guidelines all social media administrators should follow when making a post on their respective accounts, plus tips for specific platforms to best engage with your audience(s).
- Verify all students/alumni before posting a story about one. The Office of Registration can help verify current students. Contact Larisa Ebinger at the USM Foundation for alumni information.
- Verify faculty/staff if you aren’t sure who they are. Mentions of faculty being quoted in a news article tend to fare better on Twitter, which is more news-friendly.
- Research whether anyone mentioned in a news story or post (including the source) has a Facebook page or Twitter account, and, if they do, tag them. This increases the visibility of both your page and the source’s page. The source will likely share (on Facebook) or retweet (on Twitter), increasing visibility further.
- Understand/speak the lingo of the network you're using, and don’t use jargon where not appropriate. It’s important to be personable, but also professional.
- Research social media trends/hashtags before using them to avoid a public relations nightmare. (Read about DiGiorno’s Twitter fiasco as just one example).
- Be timely, but also be strategic with scheduling posts. It’s typically important to get information out as soon as possible, but it may be worth holding onto a news article mentioning USM until just prior to an event or announcement. Also, verify official news announcements to avoid having to retract them if the change doesn't go through (i.e., announcements pertaining to tuition or scholarships, new programs, campus initiatives, etc.)
- Consider your audience, since certain events or news items may be more appropriate and/or appeal better to a particular group, and not everything needs to be posted.
- Tailor content to the best platform — younger students tend to prefer Instagram and Twitter, while Facebook typically appeals to a slightly older audience. Visual posts work well on Instagram and Facebook, where short, snappy posts work better on Twitter
- Don’t ever automatically cross-post from Facebook to Twitter. This is not seen as genuine and people will dismiss your Tweets almost immediately. Twitter is meant to tease and should not link to Facebook unless it's a last resort (sometimes it's the only place with event information)
- All athletics teams are "The Huskies," regardless of gender (no “Lady Huskies" allowed).
If using a live video feature, events being streamed should be display appropriate content specifically relating to USM (no political rallies or demolition derbies). Videos should also be horizontal; turn the phone sideways prior to starting a video. For more information regarding video, please see our list of photography and videography tips.
- Native links (meaning a direct share of a news source with an image) get your feed a higher edge rank (i.e. more views). Posts with just links in the text are ranked lower. If you don't like the image in the source, you can "cheat" the image to be something other than the default that appears.
- Also, the link pasted in the post can be deleted on Facebook. Once it registers a link, the text hyperlink isn't necessary. Make it a practice to delete the hyperlink as it shows savviness.
- As of October 2017, cover images for Facebook and Twitter pages no longer need to be branded with the University logo overlay. Cover images should be a crisp, clear single image that represents the office/department and the University well.
- Don't fish/beg for likes. Don't ask people to share/like the page. This is not seen as genuine and, as of December 2017, Facebook penalizes pages that routinely ask for shares and likes, making those posts less-discoverable to followers.
- When responding to comments/questions, respond by tagging the person (provided they are taggable).
- Posts in which people have to engage get more likes. Calls to Action (“see more,” “read more,” “find out more” and “learn more,” etc.) will almost always prompt more engagement, as will posts with interactive features such as videos, 3D photos or live video capabilities.
Twitter, especially for our audience, is generally more news- and politics-centric. Photos aren't as important, though they are beneficial. Links to news-related content are a must.
The Offices of Public Affairs and Marketing and Brand Management have compiled a list of photography and videography tips, with an emphasis on event photography and filming, available for your use.
- If you have the budget, you may wish to hire an external photographer. Contact Marketing or Public Affairs for a list of freelance photographers. Photo/Video release policy: for any photos taken that may be used for future publicity, please view the signed release policy.
- Please note that, for social media especially, photos and videos taken using smartphones are more than acceptable to use and post — this is a handy way for you to quickly share content with your followers. Take a look at the photography and filming tips to learn how to take the best photos to meet your needs.
Social Media Directory
A complete list of all social media channels approved as official by the Office of Public Affairs can be found here, or on the more detailed Social Media Directory page.
Note: If you manage a University-affiliated social media channel and it is not listed below, please contact the University's social media administrator).