There are a broad range of social media profiles which are affiliated with the university. These have been created and are managed by staff and students covering all aspects of services that we offer such as courses, business services, sports facilities and societies.

We encourage administrators to consider our guidelines and advice before setting up a new RGU affiliated social media account or profile

Further guidance on social media usage for staff and students:

General guidance

Have a strategy

Look at what’s there already

Before creating an account it is important to do your research and see what pages and profiles already exist. It may be that there is already an account in existence and there is not a requirement to create something new. What are people already saying? What are people saying about you? Who is saying it? List the topics, people and sites that are leading the conversations that are relevant to you.

Define a purpose

You should define the purpose for your social media account. For example you might be looking to raise awareness of a service that the university offers or to engage with a particular audience.

Define your audience

It is important that you define who you want to communicate with. As a university we communicate with a range of different audiences including:

  • Current students
  • Prospective students
  • Alumni
  • Staff
  • Businesses

Knowing your audience will help you to plan the content that you want to share with them.

Plan your content

Identify the content you have to share. Is it primarily news updates, research developments, or networking information? Photographs? Video? List the content you will be sharing via social media.

Set objectives

It is best practice to set objectives and targets for these – for example if you want to generate a particular number of page likes or followers for your page within a set time period. The most important thing is for you to engage with your audience and social media offers those who manage pages all sorts of tools with which you can measure how people are interacting with your content. Staff using social media on behalf of the university should align their objectives with RGU's overarching strategy - A Clear Future 

Evaluation

Set review dates for reviewing your SM/UGC presence’s success, using the goals and measures previously identified. Ongoing evaluation should be part of your strategy.

If you would like further advice on this please contact the central social media team.

Choose the right channel

There is a growing number of social media channels for administrators to choose from when setting up a social media account. They all offer different features for their users. Once you know your audience and what the purpose of the social media account is you will be able to select the appropriate channel to use. The main social media channels that you might choose are below. Some of these offer users different types of accounts depending on their purpose.

  • Facebook
    • Personal profile
    • Business Page
    • Group
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
    • Company page
    • Group
    • University page
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Snapchat
  • Blogs (eg Wordpress)

Other Social Media Channels

Responsibility

When setting up an account that is affiliated with the university you should ensure that someone is responsible for managing the account and activity such as posting content and responding to enquiries.

There is a risk of damaging the reputation of the university if accounts are unmanaged.

It may be useful to create a shared email address when setting up an account rather than use a personal one. This way enquiries can be managed if you are not accessing your personal university emails or you leave the university. If you would like to create a new shared email account then contact IT Support.

Using RGU’s branding and intellectual property

You must not set up a Social Media presence using the branding of the University without gaining prior permission.

The use of the university's brand is carefully monitored and should not be used in any locations or for any purpose that might damage RGU's reputation. Prior permission to use the brand and logo must be obtained from the university's Director of Marketing, Communications and Student Recruitment.

If you would like to use university owned images then you must seek permission from the owner of the image.

If university intellectual property is used without permission and is deemed to be at risk of causing reputational damage then legal advice will be sought.

RGU brand guidelines

Aside from those that are centrally managed centrally, no individual RGU social media account should construe its page as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post—names, profile images, and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.

Hints and tips

Best practices for a successful social media presence

Be friendly

The University tone of voice should be approachable, professional and authoritative. The tone should be conversational and warm: keep it friendly and accessible and write in the first person wherever possible. Avoid trying too hard to be "cool". There is nothing that turns off an audience more on the web than an older generation (even slightly) attempting this. All audiences expect reputable organisations to reflect authority in the language used. 

Be active

Social media presences require diligent care and housekeeping. If you do not have the time or resources to check in on these sites at least a few minutes each day and to post fresh content several times a week, reconsider setting up a social media presence at this time. Your site is only as interesting as your last post – if that post is several months old, visitors will consider it dead.

Be interesting

As a consumer as well as a producer of social media, offer comments on interesting posts and share the good work of others using your channels. Social media is not (only) about sharing your news and success, it’s about sharing information that is of interest to your readers and viewers. Avoid too much self promotion or "marketese" as this will serve to alienate your audience.

When commenting as part of your job, be sure to indicate who you are and your affiliation with Robert Gordon University. If you see a post that you think requires or would benefit from an official Robert Gordon University response, please contact the Communications Office.

Be an expert

The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun is to write about what you know. There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a leading academic expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about.

Be respectful

If you post anything in your role as a Robert Gordon University employee, it will reflect on the institution. Be professional and respectful at all times in your social media channel. Do not engage in arguments or overly-heated debates.

Be transparent

If you are blogging / tweeting / Facebooking in your capacity as a staff member for Robert Gordon University, then make this very clear. One of the great benefits of social media is that the individuals maintaining social media sites personalise large and complex institutions such as Robert Gordon University.

Use your own “voice.” Do not ghost write posts for managers or senior staff. Though the account will be anonymous (i.e. no named staff will be running it) it is helpful to define a hypothetical “voice” so that contributions  from multiple sources are presented in a consistent tone (including consistent use of first and second person).

Be connected

Being a consumer of social media is essential to your ability to be a successful producer of social media content. “Listen” to online conversations on your preferred tools – be they blogs, Twitter, Facebook or anything else – to maintain a clear and current understanding of what is relevant and of interest to the community.

Be vigilant

Be prepared to accept and respond to comments. A social media site without comments isn’t very social. To protect your site, you may wish to moderate all comments before posting. Understand that not all comments will be positive, and respond to negative comments professionally and by providing any additional information that may help resolve the issue. Post a disclaimer on your site stating you reserve the right to remove inappropriate comments. Remove those comments containing vulgar language, those that attack any one group or individual and those that are obviously spam.

Be timely

One of the great benefits of social media is the ability to share information almost instantly with a global audience. This timeliness is also one of the expectations of that audience. Be prepared to move quickly in response to new developments, announcements, or emergencies with relevant information on your site. A short amount of accurate information delivered at the right time can sometimes be more valuable than a full report delivered well after the issue has passed.

Remember, quality matters and everything you do online can and will live forever

Use a spell-checker. If you're setting up a blog and are not design orientated, ask someone who is whether your blog looks appealing, and take their advice on how to improve it.

Think before you post, remembering that anything you share within social media, even within a closed network, is not private. It can and will be shared, stored and spread globally. Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on the front page of the newspaper, or on the BBC Web site.

How to succeed with social media

There is plenty of advice out there on how to engage with social media effectively and appropriately. Here are a selection of sites which can help you beyond getting started.

Moz Beginner's guide to Social Media

What it says! An excellent beginners' guide for anyone needing confidence to get started.

Social Media Examiner

Social Media Examiner, the world’s largest online social media magazine, is designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect with customers, generate more brand awareness and increase sales.

Social Media in Higher Education

The blog of Rey Junco, an American college professor and researcher who studies how social media use affects college students.

Information Commissioner's Office - youth advice

Aimed at helping you protect your personal information online. Useful for any age - although pitched at 'young people'.


If you have any good links to suggest, send them to social-media@rgu.ac.uk.

Who to contact

If you would like to create a new university affiliated social media account then you should complete the below form in the first instance.

Set up a new social media account

A member of staff from the central marketing and web team will follow up with further information for this.

For further information or advice about setting up a new social media account contact social-media@rgu.ac.uk

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