Social Media Best Practices

Account managers running official University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) accounts are encouraged to review the best practices below. If you don’t have an official account and would like assistance creating one, please refer to this form to make a request. 

Accounts that have been created before receiving approval by the UMB Office of Communications and Public Affairs may be reviewed and notified for not complying with University branding and/or posted guidelines.

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Best practices for Facebook

Get started with these tips:

  • Dimensions: Facebook frequently changes its picture dimensions, so be sure to check Facebook frequently for the latest guidelines.
    • Profile image: Recommended: 360 pixels x 360 pixels; must be at least 180 x 180.
    • Cover photo: Recommended: 1640 pixels wide by 624 pixels tall to maximize image quality; must be at least 400 wide by 150 tall.
    • For profile pictures and cover photos with your logo or text, you may get a better result by using a PNG file.

Please refer to the official UMB Brand Style Guide found on the CPA Communications Toolbox web page.

Any account using University of Maryland, Baltimore or UMB in an unofficial capacity may be pulled down for not complying with University branding and/or guidelines.

Once the page has been created:

  • You can choose to post on Facebook every day, but aim for a minimum of one post per week to remain active.  
  • Develop a content calendar to help plan for your posts. Some possible elements to include in a content calendar are relevant holidays, events, awards, and other occurrences (see the UMB Social Media Guidelines for additional topics for consideration). Use your page analytics to find the best time to post.
  • Don’t link your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that a post on Facebook automatically publishes on Twitter, or vice versa. Each platform has its own target audience and should have its own voice to reflect that. Additionally, when tagging other Facebook pages or Twitter handles, their @handle may differ on Twitter and Facebook, meaning that you would not be accurately tagging them in your post on both platforms.
  • If you are managing Facebook from your phone, there is an app called Facebook Pages Manager that allows you to separate your personal page from the one you manage.
  • Engage with your posts and messages. If someone asks a question in the comments on your post, be active and respond appropriately. You want to build a community with your audience and remain active. The more engagement your posts receive, the more that Facebook or Twitter will deliver that post and your future posts to your followers’ news feeds. Facebook now publicly shares your response percentage, so you want to try to respond to all messages in a timely manner.
  • Tag other relevant approved accounts to amplify your messages, including the main UMB Facebook page. Doing so will help alert other UMB accounts to your post, encourage engagement, and provide an additional element for your followers to click on in the post.
  • Avoid writing long posts when possible. Facebook truncates long posts on the newsfeed and forces readers to click “See more.”
  • Avoid asking for likes, comments, or shares on your posts or page. Facebook deems those kinds of posts to be “engagement bait,” and penalizes pages that explicitly ask for engagement by downgrading the post in its algorithm so it doesn’t appear to as many of your followers, and entire pages will be demoted over time for repeat offenses.
  • Facebook heavily favors video posts, but try photo posts, links, etc. Upload videos directly to Facebook, even if the video lives elsewhere on YouTube. The auto-play feature will help you gain views and reach.
  • Each month, review and report your “Facebook Insights.” Look for trends and allow data to drive your content strategy.

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Best practices for X/Twitter

Get started with these tips:

  • The 160-character X/Twitter bio is your chance to tell the world about yourself or your unit/department. Include relevant hashtags and refer to the UMB Hashtag Guide for direction. Add a location and website to direct users to find out more.
  • Check your settings to see how often you’d like emails or notifications from Twitter. Do you want to know when you have a new mention? New followers? Customize it to best suit your needs.

Once you’ve created an account:

  • Develop a content calendar to help plan for your tweets. Some possible elements to include in a content calendar are relevant holidays, events, awards, and other occurrences (see the UMB Social Media Guidelines for additional topics for consideration).
  • Figure out your voice. What kinds of things will you be tweeting about? Who do you want to be? Localize large stories, tell your readers about relevant trends, etc.
  • Posts that include photos or visuals are four times more likely to be clicked on and viewed. Include relevant, quality images with your posts to enhance audience engagement with your posts.
  • Tweet two to three times per day throughout the day at different times. If it’s a tweet with pertinent information, try scheduling it several times throughout the week at different times.
  • Follow users who are tweeting about topics interesting to your account. If another account has a tweet that you would like to share with your audience, retweet it. You can favorite tweets to show appreciation for the tweet.
  • Engage with your audience. Ask questions and converse back and forth. Respond to questions. Twitter is a two-way conversation tool, not a broadcasting tool.
  • You can choose to “pin” a tweet at the top of your feed, so it is the first tweet people visiting your Twitter page will see. Click on the “more” option on the tweet you want to pin and select “pin to your profile page.”
  • Review and report your analytics monthly using the free X/Twitter Analytics dashboard. You may begin to see trends for posts your audience likes and doesn’t like, and it will help drive your content strategy.

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Best practices for Instagram

Get started with these tips:

  • Instagram, a platform for sharing images and short videos, is one of the most frequently used social media platforms for students. Images of PDFs and posters are not a best practice.
  • First, consider if you have enough visual content to warrant creating an Instagram account. Does your unit have the resources to assign two account managers (one primary, one secondary) that are UMB staff? Can your unit/department partner leverage UMB’s main account and its followers? If yes, please refer to this form.
  • Write a short bio that makes it clear you are affiliated with UMB. Profile photos should be 110 x 110. Because of the small size of the photo, it is recommended that the photo not have too much detail. Add a website to your bio if your organization or department has one.

Once you’ve created an account:

  • Post only your best shots, not every shot. Post one to three times a week and no more than once a day, unless it’s a major event.
  • Photo carousels and Reels are the most engaging content.
  • Respond to comments on your photos. Replying to users’ comments will increase your number of followers and encourage activity and engagement between users.
  • Use hashtags to increase the discoverability of your photo by other Instagram users. Always search hashtags first to make sure they’re appropriate and ones others are using. Refer to the UMB Hashtag Guide for relevant University hashtags already in use.
  • Use filters sparingly. If it’s a more serious post, we suggest forgoing a filter altogether.
  • To delete offensive comments or modify what you wrote, go to comments and swipe left-to-right to activate the delete button.
  • To use photos from your camera roll, select “library” when posting. To take a photo within the Instagram app, select “photo” when posting.
  • Do not use any photos you didn’t take yourself or have permission to use, and share photo credit in the post when necessary. 

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Best practices for LinkedIn

Get started with these tips:

  • When adding or updating your LinkedIn company page images, LinkedIn recommends that you follow these specifications to prevent your images from being auto-cropped to fit the image space:
  • Profile/logo image: 300 pixels wide x 300 pixels tall
  • Cover image: 1192 pixels x 220 pixels
  • Accepted formats: JPG and PNG
  • LinkedIn recommends uploading a high-quality image with as little text as possible to ensure an optimal display on all devices and screen sizes. 

Once you’ve created an account:

  • Companies with logo images get six times more traffic to their pages.
  • When adding images to your page’s updates, please keep the following guidelines in mind regarding image display size:
    • Use a 1.91:1 ratio (1200 x 627 pixels).
    • Image must be more than 200 pixels width. 
      • If your image width is less than 200 pixels, it will not display in the larger image format. Instead, images will appear as a thumbnail on the left side of the post. 
    • Images on mobile will not be cropped. Images of other ratios will show in full with subtle white padding.
  • Maximize your LinkedIn company page for search-engine optimization.
    • Google previews up to 156 characters of your page text, so be sure that your description leads with powerful, keyword-rich copy.
    • On LinkedIn, members can search for companies by keyword, so include words and phrases that describe your business, expertise, and industry focus.
  • Post on a consistent basis to start a conversation, drive word of mouth, and directly engage with your target audience. 
  • Only place hashtags at the end of a post. Use three maximum. Use the LinkedIn search function to see how many people are using a hashtag to determine if you should use it.
  • LinkedIn recommends pages share organizational news, industry articles, or thought leadership pieces — or ask followers to weigh in on hot topics.
    • Your posts will appear on your company page and in the news feed on the homepage of each of your followers across all devices and platforms.
    • Updates posted in the morning usually earn the highest engagement, with a slight bump occurring again after regular business hours. Experiment and leverage LinkedIn’s analytics to see what works best for your page. 
  • Optimize your headlines and introductions 
    • Concise intros and snappy headlines are more likely to result in higher engagement.
    • Ask thoughtful questions to involve your audience. Include a clear call to action whenever possible, like a link.
  • Always include an image or some type of rich media.
    • Images shared on LinkedIn typically result in a 98 percent higher comment rate.
    • Links to YouTube videos play directly in the LinkedIn feed and usually result in a 75 percent higher share rate.