Best practices — content
These content guidelines have been created based on our existing brand guidelines and extensive analysis into the type of content that has resonated with our audiences.
In this deck, you will find best practices that apply to all platforms, as well as specific ones for Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Youtube, Tiktok and Instagram.
Writing for social media
University social media communications should conform to these guidelines at all times.
The ASU writing style guidelines are designed to encourage and ensure consistent composition in university communications, both internal and external messaging. Contained in the guidelines are spelling, punctuation, grammar, formatting and ASU standardized content.
Designed to be inclusive and useful, these guidelines should serve as a foundation from which your tailored messaging is built. Styles will differ and exceptions will be the rule when news content meets advertising content; common sense, your expertise and knowledge of the ASU brand and its unique place in the community will all play critical roles in the final outcome of your on-brand product.
Our writing is based on The Associated Press Stylebook's current edition. It includes some exceptions to AP Style that accommodate ASU-specific terms and practices, and it incorporates some items frequently looked up in the AP guide.
Do not use he/she, s/he or he and she when the gender of the subject is unknown. Instead, rewrite the statement for clarity: If a student requests information, the student should be directed to the correct office.
Note: Observe the same guideline for other such word-symbol constructions, such as and/or, school/college, test(s).
Do not use “I” when responding on social media on behalf of the university. We are a representative for the university — ASU-branded accounts are an extension of the brand, and they do not represent the opinions of the person who’s writing, but instead serve asthe official voice of the university, department or unit. Since we are representing multiple units and individuals, we should use “we.” For example: “Thank you for contacting us. We are looking into this” NOT “I’ll look into this.”
Any time we respond as the brand, we are a representative of the university — we must show professionalism and respect for our audience. We should avoid slang, internet acronyms, poor grammar and any conduct that might show a lack of professionalism. ASU has come a long way from its reputation as a party school — giving the impression that we do not take our communications with the public seriously would undermine the years of work put into our effort of showing the excellent education we offer.
The tone for our brand is: ambitious, bold, visionary, inspiring, aspirational, optimistic, determined, future-focused, authoritative, leading the way, strong, active, capable, committed, purposeful, honest.
Wording should be as succinct as possible, but not simple.
ASU-branded language is direct, clear and sincere. It is not overly clever, catchy, slick or cute. It must be audience-appropriate. Text should be as succinct as possible, and writing should be inspiring, provocative and declarative.
Recommended ASU content sources
ASU has a plethora of content sources at your disposal. Here is an ever-evolving list of content sources where you can find content to share through your social media accounts.
If you are the owner of a content source that’s not listed here, and would like to see it included, please contact the ASU Enterprise Marketing Hub to submit your content source to this list.
News and stories
ASU News is a multimedia news and information website exploring ASU by telling the stories of the people who make up ASU. The audience for ASU News consists of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and other members of the ASU community, so if you’re trying to reach these audiences, ASU Newsis a great resource for you.
ASU Events is the events calendar of record for the university. It is used by students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and other members of the ASU community to discover university sponsored events. Learn more about submitting events to the ASU Events calendar.
ASU Online Newsroom (use left tabs to toggle to tips, educators, students)
ASU brand-level channels
YouTube channel, playlists
Easy way to find top priorities — check asu.edu and look at what’s in the six featured stories modules.
My ASU — Because of the high volume of internal visitors to My ASU, consider this site as your first avenue of promotion for your events and campaigns.
Artwork and photos
Widen is ASU’s new digital asset management system for brand photography and unit logos.
With Widen, searching and finding photos is easier than ever before. The photo metadata is now part of the search and Widen has even partnered with Clarifai, a leader in deep learning and artificial intelligence, to analyze every photo and provide ever more searchable keywords.
You can sign-up for Widen and get access to all these features by simply going to asu.widencollective.com and select the “Login with ASURITE” button at the top.
Unit websites, in no particular order
Inside ASU (this podcast was aimed at the prospective student audience pre-COVID-19 regulations)
School of Molecular Services (science careers)
Platform guidelines — content type
While the type of content will vary depending on who you are trying to reach, these guidelines can serve as a good starting point. Each platform is best for specific types of content:
Feed: student life, campus photos
Video - long format
IGTV: student profiles, grad profiles, announcements, in-depth coverage of topics related to your account
*Video should be strategically created based on the audience that interacts with your account, as well as what they respond and engage to (take advantage of the YT algorithm to decide what is the best content for you)
Research and Innovation stories
University announcements (new construction, naming changes, etc.)
Stories: student takeovers, live event coverage, behind the scenes
Research and innovation
Research and Innovation
Takeovers best practices
Takeovers are, by definition, content that’s not created by the official social media manager, but instead, by a member of the public. In order to ease the creation of these, we have put together these best practices recommendations:
First, ask the audience member that is taking over the account to create a storyboard of what they will be capturing for the takeover. This allows the person doing the takeover an opportunity to think about the kind of story they will be telling and how they will move it forward (intro, plot, climax, end), without the pressure of having to do it live. This removes a lot of the anxiety of having to come up with ideas for the content on the spot. This step also allows the content team to review/approve the takeover before the content gets created.
Use this template — while this is specifically for takeovers, it could also be used as a template to create the storyboard for any IG story. It also includes a few tips for story composition. This template is read-only — to edit it, make a copy of the doc and save it to your drive.
Ask the content creator to not add any tags, graphics or stickers to the final video. Those should only be added when the content is going live, since these elements are clickable, and if they are added as part of the picture/video and saved as a file, they will lose their clickability and create a bad user experience for your audience.
Accessibility: If you are doing video for live coverage or a takeover for Instagram Stories, and your audio has people speaking to the camera, remember to include close captions for accessibility purposes.
Before you begin, download Clipchamp (available for iOS) or any similar app that allows for live captioning of direct-to-camera videos. You can either record the video directly on the app, or upload it to the app once it’s finished for closed captioning.
Remember to remove the app watermark (if applicable), as well as make sure that the fonts and colors that you use for your captions are brand-aligned. Also, remember to check the captions to make sure that the transcription does not contain any errors. If it does, go ahead and edit in the app and then save the final version to your phone. From there, just follow the regular IG story process.
User generated content
Policies and legal resources
These release forms have been cleared by ASU Office of General Counsel for use when requesting user generated content.