Social Media Strategy
LMU’s social media channels can be an invaluable way to reach and engage our audiences. And every department with a social media channel should have a thoughtful strategy that advances their area goals, the priorities of their division, and the university brand. Use this Social Media Strategy Worksheet to consider and articulate your unit’s marketing strategy on social media.
Note: the Social Media Strategy Worksheet is required for new channels as part of their application. See Get Started with Social Media.
General Best Practices
- Plan first. Consider your messages, audiences, goals and strategy for keeping information timely. It can be time-consuming to maintain more than one social media page, so choose accounts carefully.
- Create a content calendar. Develop an editorial calendar to help plan posts, conceive campaign initiatives, and identify gaps where content may be needed.
- Be concise. Keep social copy short and sweet, while including all necessary and essential information. Shorter posts generally receive more engagement on social media. The optimal character counts for each platform are as follows:
- Facebook: 40-80
- Twitter: 71-100
- Instagram: 138-150
- LinkedIn: 50-100
- Use compelling photos. High-quality, visually appealing photos can be attention grabbing and add additional context to posts. Only use photos that you or the university own or you have permission to use. Add alt-text to your photo descriptions for accessibility.
- Create social-friendly videos. When creating social videos, shorter content tends to get more views and shares. Recommended guidelines include:
- Video length: <:30 recommended, <:60 max
- Square/horizontal: best for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram feed, LinkedIn
- Vertical: best for Instagram Story, TikTok
- Add captions to your videos for accessibility. For questions on captioning social videos, contact Shelbey Galliher.
- Use links. If the content you want to promote exists on the LMU website, link to it. Housing your content on one dedicated web page ensures that followers will receive thorough information and that updates and corrections can be made efficiently and consistently if needed.
- Add hashtags. Include hashtags in your posts to achieve a broader reach, and join conversations happening on social media that are relevant to LMU’s brand. Check the meaning and context of trending hashtags before adding them to your posts, and be judicious with the number of hashtags you use, or your posts can look spammy or get buried in a hashtag search.
- The optimal number of hashtags by platform:
- Twitter: 1-2
- Facebook: 1-2
- Instagram: 9-15
- LinkedIn: 1-5
- If you’re creating your own hashtag for a campaign or event, pick something short – generally 15 characters or less – and easy to remember. Be sure to check the hashtag for uniqueness and any potential negative connotations prior to using and promoting it.
- Check out the LMU Hashtag Guide to promote and join social conversations about the bluff.
- The optimal number of hashtags by platform:
- Give a call-to-action. Give your audience one specific task and make sure it’s reasonable and easy for followers to do.
- Avoid duplicate content. Give people a reason to follow all of your accounts by posting unique or slightly differing content on each page you manage.
- Measure results. Make use of analytics and tracking tools to evaluate posting activity and interaction within a social media account. When sharing links, consider using a link tracking service like Bitly or Tinyurl. These tools will help you to refine your strategy and better understand your audience’s preferences and behaviors.
- Promote LMU. Your content should always tie back to the university. Random, off-topic and irrelevant content can confuse followers and negatively impact your account’s credibility and legitimacy.
Content Guidelines for LMU Channels
- Post frequency: 1-2 posts / day
- Audience: Broad; undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff, alumni, families
- Content types: Links, compelling photos, images or videos
- Post frequency: 2-5 tweets/day
- Audience: Multiple audiences, with flexibility for targeted messages
- Content types: Video, compelling images, articles and news
- Post frequency: 3-5 posts / week
- Audience: Current undergraduate and graduate students; prospective students
- Content types: Strong visuals with minimal or no text, campus scenes, student life and events. Flyers are generally not accepted as small text is not conducive for Instagram viewing and is not accessible.
- Post frequency: 2-3 posts / week
- Audience: Alumni and career professionals
- Content types: Academic and alumni news, career and networking opportunities
- Post frequency: 1 video / week
- Audience: Prospective students
- Content types: Fun, quirky, engaging short-form videos
LMU uses several official social media channels. When creating posts, responding to messages, or sharing graphics, photos or videos, there are accessibility options to consider in order to make your content impactful and accessible.
- Add or edit alternative text on images. Alternative text, or “alt text” describes visual content for those who are visually impaired. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn all have the ability to edit alt text on video, photos and graphics. While some of these platforms can auto-generate alt text, take the time to put in more descriptive language about your image/video. Remember to describe what is happening in the image rather than simply listing what is in the image. Your goal is to provide the visually impaired with the same or similar experience as someone who is sighted. Avoid classifying someone’s race in the alt text or any commentary – keep it neutral and fact-based.
- Caption videos. Add a caption file or use a captioning service to burn captions into your video content.
- Write accessible posts. Use a URL shortener like Tinyurl or Bitly to minimize the number of characters in your hyperlink.
- Create accessible hashtags. Capitalize the first letter in each word in a hashtag.
- Include accessible visuals. Check your images to make sure there is a high contrast of colors to ensure legibility, particularly for those who live with color blindness. Avoid using graphics that have a text overlay (i.e., fliers) unless you want to also put that copy in the body of the post and edit the alt text. Plan out Instagram Stories to make sure they make sense for all users, use the largest possible text size and ensure that the text is legible against your background image.
Instagram Takeovers should tell a story. Stories can include a day-in-the-life, club or activity spotlights, covering events or other forms of storytelling. The following are guidelines to consider and share with LMU students, faculty, staff or alumni who will be featured in a Takeover on your channel.
- The Intro. For the first video of the Takeover, introduce yourself or the college, unit or organization you are representing. We want our followers to know who you are and what to expect from the Takeover. Tell us your name, class year, major, etc. The intro can be a video of you speaking directly to LMU’s followers, or it can be a photo or boomerang with text.
- The Story. Here is where you will show us your LMU experience. Be creative, be yourself, and share what best represents you. Use images and videos to capture YOUR story. Show us different aspects of your day. Please do not use vulgar language, make reference to politics, post anything illegal, or anything you wouldn’t want your parents or professors to see.
- The Wrap-up. Your final clip will serve as the conclusion slide. Thank the LMU community for following along and feel free to give yourself or your college, unit or organization a shout out.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Take photos and videos with your phone held vertically.
- Max video length for each Story clip is :60, but <:30 is recommended
- Start with a brief video introduction. Let people know who you are, what your major is, class year, LMU affiliation and why you’re doing the Takeover.
- Use a mix of content – videos, photos, boomerangs – throughout your Takeover.
- Vary your video backgrounds if you’re able.
- Feel free to feature others in your Takeover, as long as they give the OK.
- Post anything you wouldn’t want your parents or professors to see.
- Share the location where you or your friends live, on or off campus.
- Wear logos representing other schools or brands.