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Social Media Overview
Brand execution guidelines

Social content best practices

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.

Gender neutrality

  • 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.”

Tone

  • 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 brand-level channels

  • ASU Events
  • YouTube channel, playlists
  • asu.edu homepage
    • Easy way to find top priorities — check asu.edu and look at what’s in the six featured stories modules.
    • The homepage tabs for News/Events, Academics and Research also change.
  • 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

 

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. 

More resources: 

Instagram takeover storyboard template

User-generated content

Best practices for user-generated video content — social media

Policies and legal resources

These release forms have been cleared by ASU Office of General Counsel for use when requesting user generated content. 

User Generated Content Terms and Conditions (terms and conditions format)