Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

How is the University of Manitoba using social media?

The University of Manitoba integrates social media into its overall marketing and communications strategy and has achieved success using popular platforms: Facebook, Twitter, InstagramLinkedIn and YouTube. Other units on campus are also engaging in social media and you can find them using the Social Media Directory.

We have also launched UM Today as our main source of news content and have developed mobile apps that allow students, staff, faculty and friends of the U of M to connect with our news, events, and resources.

Guidelines for Starting Your Own Channel

Contact Your Client Relations Coordinator: Your first step should be to identify and contact the Client Relations Coordinator (CRC) for your area. The CRC will help you with your social media plan, share resources with you, and introduce you to the Web and New Media team. If there is no CRC for your area, contact the Marketing Communications Office's general line at 204-474-8346.

Identify Your Goals: What do you want to accomplish with your social media initiatives? More engagement with your community? Increased awareness of your events? Feedback on programs? Understanding what you're trying to actually do with your social media presence will help you choose the right tools, and help you measure your success.

Build a strategy: Integrate your social media objectives into your overall marketing and communications strategy. Discern how social media will aid in the overall strategy.

Identify Your Tools: Once you know what you want to accomplish, the next step is finding the right social media tools to achieve those goals. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, all have different strengths and weaknesses.

Identify a Social Media coordinator in your unit: It's easy to start up a Facebook page or Twitter account, the real work comes after. It's extremely important to identify someone in your unit who will be responsible for updating and monitoring your social media presence. A back-up person should also be identified for when the principal person is away.

Create your channel, name it appropriately: Because your social media presence will represent the University of Manitoba, it is important to follow our visual identity guidelines when creating your channel. Please check here for our Visual Identity Guidelines. Also, choose a name that identifies your unit and its association with the University of Manitoba. Check out our Naming Guidelines below.

Grow your channel: Start to populate your channel with appropriate content. Learn how to best display and offer that content. See what others are doing. Spend a week or so growing your channel and getting used to it before launch.

Launch: Time to alert the community that you have your new social media channel. Post a web button that links to your new social media site on your homepage, send an email alert to your email lists, start talking about it to your peers, link to the University of Manitoba’s main social media channels so we can help spread the word.

Tweak: As your social media channel starts to grow and interaction increases, you’ll probably get some feedback on what people like and don’t like. Adjust your channel accordingly. The great thing about social media is that it’s easy to tweak on the fly.

Naming Guidelines

Facebook: University of Manitoba [unit name], e.g. University of Manitoba Graduate Studies.

Twitter: UM[unit name], e.g. UM_Medicine

YouTube: UManitoba_[unit name] or UM_[unit name]

Event Hashtags: #UM[event], e.g. #UMVisionary or #UMConvocation

Guidelines for Posting Content on University of Manitoba Social Media Channels

  • Do not post copyrighted video, music or images unless you have the proper rights and permissions. For more information, visit the Copyright Office website.
  • Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University of Manitoba or its students, staff, faculty or alumni.
  • Do not post private information – e.g. phone numbers, email addresses, credit card numbers, etc. -  of any third party affiliated or unaffiliated with the University of Manitoba.
  • Use our Visual Identity Guidelines when creating your unit’s social media presence.
  • Avoid endorsing commercial products or services, political parties, or religions.

Social Media Overall Best Practices

  • Be Transparent and Be Authentic: It's important to always clearly identify yourself and your association with the University of Manitoba, but it's equally important to be yourself.
  • Be Accurate: What you post online can live forever, so make sure you have your facts straight before posting. Cite other sources when necessary and try to avoid grammatical errors and typos.
  • Listen: Social media is a conversation so keep your ears perked for what your community is talking about. Knowing what's topical and what others are saying about you will help you make more informed decisions on posts and content.
  • Be Active: Don't let your social media channels collect dust. Continue to add content and value to your channels to keep your community engaged.
  • Don't make it personal: Separate your personal life from your professional social media presence, unless it is related and would be of interest to the community.
  • Add value: Make your social media presence worthwhile for others. Bring your unique perspective to the table in conversations, add content that hasn't been seen/heard before.
  • Admit Mistakes: Did you screw up? Admit it quickly and without excuse. We all make mistakes and those of us who are willing to admit it will be forgiven, even online.
  • Deal with negativity positively: Don't be drawn into a confrontation. Ignore those who are abusive and respond with empathy, positivity and any helpful information to those who have had a legitimately negative experience.
  • Be A Leader: Don't be passive with your social media channel, bring energy and passion to your channels.

Moderating Comments on University of Manitoba Social Media Channels

Account administrators reserve the right to review all comments and posted materials and remove comments or materials that do not meet the following guidelines if necessary.

  • Comments should be relevant to the topic
  • Comments should add value
  • Comments should be free of obscenity
  • Comments that are abusive and/or threatening will be removed
  • Comments that are determined to be spam or advertising will be removed

Web Standards, Governance and Copyright Guidelines Links

Web Standards Guidelines
University Web Page Policies
Copyright Guidelines

Contact Us

The Marketing Communications Office team should be notified if you have established, or plan to establish, a social media presence that represents the University of Manitoba. Please contact MCO’s Web and New Media Manager at Michael.Marshall@umanitoba.ca.