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.
- Read more about ASU’s writing style.
- 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 as the 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.