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Best Practices

Social Media Best Practices

Getting Started with Social Media 

Form a strategy. 
Identify your main purpose for social media. Decide who you want to reach (audience), the types of content you intend to share, and your overarching goals. 

From there, start with one social media outlet, such as creating a fan page on Facebook, and work on developing a presence. 

Set your goals. 
Are you trying to communicate a campaign, promote your NSU group/department/program, connect with alumni, create a community for fans, or increase overall awareness and recognition of your NSU entity? Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Common social media goals include: increased traffic to website, reputation management, brand awareness, search engine rankings, and thought leadership.

Make the time. 
Don’t start a social media effort unless you have the dedicated time and resources to maintain new content on a regular basis. New content is critical to thrive in social media communities. Decide who will do the posting and create a schedule that works for your designated social media administrators. Every NSU social media account should have two administrators.

Create your accounts. 
Since every account should have two administrators, if possible use a unit email account (like, or, etc.) to create the social media account. This will help ensure that the social media identity is tied to an organization instead of a person and facilitates others to come in as administrators if/when necessary to change passwords, make updates, etc. as assigned by the unit.

Conduct research. 
Before starting a social media campaign, research other organizations like yours on social media networks for ideas on what works and what doesn’t. Do not feel the need to recreate the wheel. 

Jump in. 
Be an active user. Listen to conversations, engage with comments, answer questions, and keep your account fresh with regular posts.

Measure success. 
Determine what success means for your purpose and goals. Increased traffic to your website? Better communication with prospective students? Number of fans, followers, comments?

A Few Things to Consider

Be authentic. 
Social media is all about people connecting with people and it is a two way conversation between you and your fans. Remember to humanize your social media interactions, decide on the tone you want to use, and create an experience for your followers/fans. 

Be accurate. 
Make sure you have all of the facts before you post. Cite and link to sources whenever possible to help build a community. Also, spell-check and grammar check your content before posting. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.

Be respectful. 
Respect for the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas is critical. Feel free to respectfully disagree with a position, but please do not propagate online confrontation as it reflects poorly on both the individual and NSU.

Be positive. 
A good rule of thumb: if you would not say it in person, do not say it online.

Encourage open conversation. 
Listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Allow negative comments, delete the spam, and seek to respond rather than censor.

Allow comments. 
Even negative comments can have a positive outcome. A good philosophy for comments is to encourage thoughtful discussion, debate and differing viewpoints, with the understanding that all comments made must be civil, respectful, relevant to the original post (i.e.--no spam or sales pitches), and appropriate for your audience. If comments are lewd, libelous, incite violence or are otherwise hurtful or hateful speech directed at either individuals or groups, NSU employees who serve as account administrators reserve the right to delete such comments.

Social Media Toolkit

All Norfolk State University social media administrators should be famililar with and abide by the University's Brand and Visual Identity Quick Guide. It provides important information about our branding, graphic specifications, logo usage, and other critical issues about our visual identity.

In addition, every professional needs a great set of tools, and social media managers have a collection of digital tools available to them that will save time, money, and really enhance the user experience. You may find the following tools useful as you continue to build meaningful relationships with your audience through social media. And most of them are free or have limited free versions. Also, if you use a tool you've found indespenable in your social media admin life, please share the information with us at and we'll try to list it here for your colleagues to use.


Name of tool

What it does



Create online graphics with ease. This will be one of the most valuable tools you will use while managing social media.


(Much like photoshop) edit photos online

Adobe Spark

Create visual stories online with photos and videos

Repost App

Allows you to share posts on Instagram


Organize your projects and share with your team

Sprout Social

Social Media Scheduler


Social Media Scheduler