Social media at the University of Sheffield

These pages are here to showcase our social media activities and help members of University staff get the most out of social media.

Social media accounts are useful tools for sharing teaching, research and ideas.

The University’s central Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube accounts connect with a global audience of current and prospective students, alumni, academics and partners.

Monitoring and measuring

It is important that you review comments and responses on your social media accounts as part of the ongoing management of your channels.

We recommend using Twitter clients like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite to set up keyword searches and review hashtags on the subjects you want to monitor.

You can find more advice on monitoring and measuring social media here.

Platform guides

Here you can find our guidance on how to use social media for the University.

Twitter

Twitter is a social network on which users communicate via short-form 280 character posts, often accompanied by images or videos.

The central communications team use Twitter to:

Our recommendations:

  • Before setting up a new Twitter account, consider whether you have enough time and content to run an active account - you could set up a calendar to plan upcoming content that you would post.
  • In an ideal world your account should have a clear purpose and vision, not overlap with other existing accounts and have specified managers who are savvy with the platform and able to post between five and 10 tweets per day.
  • For increased engagement, tag the relevant people/departments in your tweets. E.g. “Dr @clairecorkhill and her team from @msesheffield and @energyshef are reconstructing a nuclear meltdown in Sheffield in a bid to safely deactivate nuclear reactors in Chernobyl, Fukushima and all over the world. Read more here…..”
  • Follow any relevant academics, journalists, media titles, funding bodies etc. to help get your content into their timelines and increase the likelihood of them sharing your content with their communities.
  • You can use hashtags to ensure that your post is visible when people search for a certain topic (e.g. #Brexit). When deciding on a hashtag, check which ones are already relevant and being used by other people, keep it short and to the point.
  • To ensure your content is accessible, refrain from using too many hashtags or hashtags with multiple words as these can be difficult to read for some people. If you need to use a longer hashtag, make sure it is written in camelcase.

For more advice on using Twitter, here’s a link to their help centre: https://help.twitter.com/

Facebook

Facebook allows you to host a page relevant to your faculty or department. Here you can post updates on research and events going on in your faculty. Other Facebook users can follow your page and engage with your posts by liking, commenting and sharing them.

The central comms team use Facebook to:

Our recommendations:

  • Decide who is going to manage your page - this does not need to be a fully dedicated staff member, but someone that will be able to look at the page a couple of times per day.
  • We would advise you to factor the strongest available photographic and video content into any content plan you create for Facebook.
  • We would also encourage you to share the photo/video content we post on the central Facebook page, YouTube channel and Instagram profile.

For more information on how to use Facebook, check out their Help Centre pages.

Instagram

Instagram is a platform that allows you to share photos to a public page with captions that explain them. You can also post Instagram Stories which stay public for 24 hours before expiring.

The central comms team use Instagram to:

  • Showcase the best aspects of our campus to prospective students.
  • Celebrate achievements of departments/staff/students.
  • Showcase events that are happening around the University.
  • Share content from across other social media platforms.
  • Highlight any campaigns that we are running.

Our recommendations:

  • Instagram works best with strong photographic content so try to avoid posting anything that is low quality. Watch our student contributor ES Kwon’s video series on how to take photos for Instagram.
  • Grid posts can include text and hashtags but does not allow you to include hyperlinks so these should be avoided.
  • You can also choose to add a location to your photo/video. This can be useful in creating another way for users to discover and explore your content and to draw attention to relevant locations.

For Instagram Stories:

  • Make sure the content that you’re posting is created for stories. Videos and photos should be the right size (9:16 ratio).
  • Make sure the text you post on stories is clear and readable.

For more information on how to use Instagram, please visit their Help Centre.

YouTube

The University has a central YouTube channel as well as a channel for each faculty. The central YouTube account hosts key recruitment content, as well as reputational research videos.

If you are a staff member looking to host your video content on any of the University’s channels, please get in touch with your faculty communications representative or with the University’s central communications team.

Staff can also post videos to our own video hosting service, Kaltura. This allows staff to upload, create and curate media items to share with colleagues or with the wider world.
You can find out more about the service, here: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/apse/digital/media

If you are a staff member managing a YouTube channel and looking for guidance, please get in touch with the University’s digital team who will be happy to help with any queries you may have. Email a.twist@sheffield.ac.uk or r.barker@sheffield.ac.uk for more details.

You can also refer to YouTube’s creator website for guidance.

Please do not create a YouTube account on behalf of the University without first getting in touch with Corporate Communications.

When things go wrong

Things can occasionally go wrong on social media and it is important to understand how to effectively deal with any incidents or negative situations that arise.

This can include proactively monitoring searches for any key issues or contentious topics you may encounter and having a plan for responding to negative news stories. It also includes moderating comments on posts and knowing how to manage incidents on live streaming.

Please contact socialmedia@sheffield.ac.uk and mediateam@sheffield.ac.uk with any reputational risks arising from live social media broadcasts.

Find out more about mitigating and managing risks in social media with our ‘When Things Go Wrong Guide’.

Marketing Forum

The University of Sheffield has a forum to enable marketing and social media practitioners to share their experiences with each other, and provide each other with support and guidance. Although the forum is primarily for people engaged with student communications and marketing, the group is open to all staff. Please contact marketing@sheffield.ac.uk if you wish to join.

Digital Drop-In

The Digital Drop-In sessions are a chance to discuss specific problems or ask questions to experts face-to-face. Any questions or problems relating to CMS, cPanel, Google Sites or digital media, information structure and layout can be brought along.

Find out when the next Digital Drop-In is taking place via the web support site.

If you require any further assistance please email us on socialmedia@sheffield.ac.uk.