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Social Media Style Guide 

The purpose of this page is to outline the style guidelines for Upper Iowa University’s primary and secondary social media accounts. This page is updated frequently. 


Upper Iowa University Primary Accounts

Primary accounts are monitored and updated by the Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM).

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Secondary Accounts

OCM must approve all secondary social media accounts specific to the schools, departments, groups or programs. If you would like to create an account, please visit new account.  To view the list of secondary accounts, visit UIU's social media directory


Social Media Voice

Upper Iowa University speaks with a consistent voice across all its publications, from websites to e-newsletters to advertising. This voice is the embodiment of the University’s unique personality and identity.

Conversely, your tone may vary as you communicate to different audiences via different media. For example, general social media content might call for a particularly informal tone, for example, while information targeted to graduate students or faculty might be comprised of longer, more complex messages.

If you were to imagine the University as a person, tone would reflect the person’s moods and vocabularies while interacting with different people throughout the day. The same person would always be speaking. That consistency is our voice.

Who we are: Student-Centered. Genuine. Committed. Quality. Empowering. We help students realize their potential to make, meet and exceed personal and professional goals. We provide our students with accessible education they need to succeed in the way that works best for them. We empower them and provide the support, education experiences and guidance they need to go from where they are in life and where they want to be. We are committed to giving students an Education Built for Life.

Our tone: Sincere. Progressive. Accessible. We believe in what we do and accept when we make a mistake. We love to be part of conversations and enjoy asking questions. We strive for engagement.

Adjectives: Accessible, coach, passionate, professional, high-quality, innovative, progressive, genuine, supportive, inclusive, global, diverse, close-knit, welcoming, family, inspired, empowering, flexible, collaborative, reliable.

Responses: Should be upbeat, optimistic and positive. Avoid sarcasm, taunting and mockery, including of higher education institutions. Please also refrain from publicly posting/sharing FERPA and similarly protected information without the explicit consent of the student.

Examples: 

Twitter Post Getting ready for #UIUmovein this weekend? Be sure to follow @UIUstudentlife for all the latest information! #UIU22
Twitter Response @JaneDoe That’s great to hear! We are glad you decided to become a #UIUPeacock. Reach out to @UpperIowa if you have any questions. #Congratulations
Facebook Post We’d like to extend a Peacock thank you to all of the students, teachers and UIU volunteers who participated in the Northeast Iowa High School Art Show today. The future looks bright for this group of young and talented students.
Facebook Post Attention Alumni! Return to UIU to complete your bachelor’s or master’s degree and save up to $1,600 during sessions 5 and 6 by saving $400 per 3 credit course. Classes start May 14. See if you qualify > http://bit.l/2Fwhv10.

Ownership of Posts
Messages on all university accounts are posted in the character voice described above. We do not attach personal names or initials to posts - with the exception of social media takeovers, where it is encouraged for the individual to identify himself or herself in a caption or video. 

Positivity and Transparency                                                     
Messages should reflect a positive attitude, but be honest and transparent when information is shared.


Writing Guidelines

Grammar and Terminology
You are encouraged to write posts based on The Associated Press Stylebook (AP), but there are exceptions. Below are a few specific editorial guidelines for social media, especially for platforms with limited character counts.

Abbreviations: Always ask yourself if your audience will know what an acronym means before using it. Avoid using when possible.

Alum: Use an apostrophe and the final two digits of the four-digit year (Jane Doe ’06)

Ampersands: You may use the symbol “&” instead of the word “and” if necessary.

Contractions: Contractions are acceptable (I’m, You’re, We’re)

Dates and Times:

      • Abbreviate months according to AP Style: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.
      • Abbreviate days of the week only if necessary: Mon., Tues., Wed., Thur., Fri., Sat., Sun.
      • Never add “nd,” “st” or “th” to a date.
      • You do not have to use the day of the week with a date.
      • You may cut the year from the date if the event is happening in the current calendar year.
      • You may leave periods out of am/pm: 7 am, 8 pm
      • Use hyphens between years, not the word “to” (1974-1985)

Commas: We do not use the Oxford comma before the word “and”

Emojis: Emojis may or may not be appropriate for your social media account depending on the account’s purpose and tone. Make sure your use of emojis matches the purpose and tone you've chosen for your account.

Exclamation points: Exclamation points have a different connotation on social media than they do in print. They should convey friendliness and excitement and soften the tone of your message. However, limit your usage to one per sentence.

      • Example: We love everyone’s #UpperIowa photos. Keep them coming!
      • Example: Congratulations to all Upper Iowa University graduates!

General Style Guidelines

Facebook Page Names
Use the full name of the college, location, department, group or program for Facebook page names. If possible, include the words “Upper Iowa University”, “Upper Iowa” or “UIU.”

Example: Upper Iowa University - Alexandria, La

Facebook Profile - Alexandria, LA

Example: Upper Iowa University Career Development

Career Development Profile on Facebook

Twitter and Instagram Account Handles 
Handles are limited by character count and naming will have some flexibility. The shorter the username, the better. If possible, usernames should include the abbreviation “UIU”. This brings recognizable affiliation with Upper Iowa University to your accounts. 

Example: @UIUDSM

UIU Des Moines Profile on Twitter

Example: @uiupeacocks

UIU Peacocks Instagram Profile

Example: @uiucheer

UIU Cheer Instagram Profile

Avatars
OCM utilizes the official/main logo on primary university social media accounts. Others use a variation of that logo where the center or department name appears underneath the University logo.To create a consistent look and feel across Upper Iowa University’s social media accounts, avatars should be created by the Office of Communications and Marketing; please email socialmedia@uiu.edu to request an avatar for your accounts. Use the same avatar on all of your social media accounts/platforms. Note: OCM has the right to notify and/or remove incorrect avatars. 

Cover Photos
Choose or capture an image that best represents your area. Make sure it is in a landscape format and it is cropped to the appropriate dimensions. If using a photograph, it must be high resolution and not pixelated. Refer to Sprout Social’s document that lists all dimensions for all social network photo sizes. Please email socialmedia@uiu.edu if you would like to request cover photos for your accounts. Note: OCM has the right to notify and/or remove incorrect cover photos. 

Visuals
Images, graphics and videos should follow UIU branding guidelines. The official brand style guide and accompanying files can be downloaded from myUIU. Go to myUIU > Employee > Office of Communications and Marketing.

Within the myUIU portal, you will find:

      • UIU Brand Style Guide
      • Logo Usage: Logo formats, guidelines, do’s and don’ts
      • Design Elements: Color palette, gradients, motion lines, feature boxes, font usage
      • Collateral Templates: Design guidelines

Cheat Sheet:

Web Color Palette
Dark Blue: #001f60
Light Blue: #8dc7e9
Accent Yellow/Orange: #ffc72a
80% Black: #58595b
Black: #000000
White: #ffffff

Primary Font Usage
Lato: Should be used on all communications materials.
Indigo Blue: Should only be used in headline treatments. 

Lato is available through Adobe Cloud Fonts. Indigo Blue is available for purchase through an external vendor. If you do not have access to these specific fonts, please email socialmedia@uiu.edu

Hashtags

Approved Hashtags
Use approved hashtags. Using the correct hashtags will maximize the reach and effectiveness of your tweet or Instagram post. Use all caps when using #UIU. 

 Hashtag  Purpose
 #UpperIowa or #UIU  For general posts regarding Upper Iowa University
 #UIU17, #UIU18, etc.  For posts intended to engage students of a particular graduating class
 #FeathersUp  For posts regarding athletics or student, faculty or staff achievements
 #UIUFeathersUp  For posts regarding commencement.

Event Hashtags
When creating a hashtag for an event, be sure that it contains a connection to the university. Use all-caps when using #UIU. 

Hashtag Don't Use
#UIUCarnival #Carnival
#UIUGivingDay #GivingDay
#UIULaCrosse #LaCrosse

Example:

 Example of how to use hashtags in a posting


 

Engagement Style Guidelines

Social media is a two-way street and listening to your audience is very important. Here are a few recommendations on how to increase engagement.

    • Talk about your topic (not only UIU)
    • Join question and answer sessions
    • Share content from other pages when appropriate and relevant
    • Personalize your response by addressing each user who mentioned you with their name
    • Show your feelings in a post through emojis to liven up responses and show users your message’s tone
    • Make posts visual and fun with images and videos
    • Add hashtags to posts to not only make your post more interesting but to get search benefits
    • Get customer feedback through use of polls and surveys
    • Post frequently and at the right time