We Can't Stay Social Alone.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania supports the need for a strong presence in the realm of social media. IUP encourages colleges, departments, programs, groups, and entities to be active on social and to maintain active social accounts to build a community of IUP pride.

To help foster social communities, IUP has developed social media guidelines to ensure that any and all interactions on behalf of IUP represent the university's best interests.

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Social Media Guidelines

Social is a tool, not a solution.

Each social platform has unique features, formats, and audienceswhich means each social platform has its own way of communicating. The success of content or the success of communicating a message can be impaired if the channel of communication is not considered alongside the end goal.

Getting started:

  1. Form a strategy: Identify why you want to be on social media. Who do you want to reach? What platform will best reach that target audience?
  2. Consider content: What content performs best on your chosen platform? (Photo, video, GIFs, linksthese are not "universal content types" when it comes to social.) Ask yourself what content you already have access to. What content will you able to create?
  3. Make time for social: New content and consistent activity are crucial to social media success. Be sure you have the time and resources available to dedicate to your account before creating one. If you can't ensure two posts a week/platform, then social might not be for you.

  4. Be social: Engage with comments on posts. Listen to conversations. Answer questions and messages.

Things to Consider:

  1. Be real. Social media is about making a connection. It's okay to incorporate some humor, an exclamation mark, an emoji, and acronyms in your postjust be mindful of your setting and topic.
  2. Be accurate. Make sure you have all the facts before you post. If you don't know the answer to a question, be honest and say you will find the answers as soon as possible. Then find the source with the answers.
  3. Be respectful and positive. If you wouldn't say it out loud, don't say it on social.
  4. Encourage conversations. Engage with comments. Speak as though you are having a conversation with a friend. If you are respectful and positive this encourages response. Delete aggressive comments and personal attacks, but don't censor. Strive to respond.

Community Guidelines

We love hearing different viewpoints and welcome comments, as long as they're on topic and civil. We reserve the right to remove comments that are mean spirited or contain profanity. Comments that are libelous, profane, incite violence or are otherwise hurtful or hateful speech directed at either individuals or groups, will be deleted.

Communication is a two-way conversation, but we need to be respectful toward one another. Account administrators and editors reserve the right to remove posts that:

  1. Use obscene, threatening, discriminatory, or harassing language
  2. Disclose information considered confidential by law or regulation
  3. Advocates illegal activity
  4. Violates copyrights or trademarks
  5. Are advertisements or promotions of commercial products, services, or individuals not associated with IUP.
  6. Endorse or oppose any person campaigning for election to a political office or endorse or oppose any ballot proposal
  7. Duplicate comments by the same or multiple users. In the occurrence of multiple identical comments, only the first comment will be approved.

Keep in mind that all users, including administrators, are subject to the Terms of Service (TOS) of the host site. Communications made through social technology in no way constitute a legal or official notice to IUP, its agencies, faculty, or staff. References to third-party content or websites do not indicate endorsement or responsibility on behalf of the university.

Content Types

How Do You Know What's on Brand?

At IUP we're all about stories. Stories build connection. Social started as a means to stay connected with family and friends, and now people go to social for motivation, encouragement, and discovery. People want to feel connected in their lives.

The overall goal and intent of IUP's social presence is to build a sense of community by creating and supporting awareness of the college's programs, culture and success stories through storytelling and engagement. We strive to educate and connect with our community.

By telling a story on social, you create an experience that will engage with followers. The difference between a story and a fact is the WHY behind the post. WHY is what makes followers feel connected because WHY is what connects IUP to the current trends and the community. WHY is what makes a post relevant.

Content That Will Tell a Story:

  • Videos that capture the experience of an event
  • Photos
  • Student/alum success stories
  • Employee success stories
  • Student/community engagement opportunities
  • Updates to facilities
  • Glimpses behind-the-scenes
  • Press releases

Not Supported:

  • Flyers for events/classes as main posts

Campus showcases will always perform well, but they are a treat and should be used on occasion. The same goes for dogs and squirrels on campus. Show off what is specific to your program/group and IUP to help followers learn who we are.

Personal vs. Public Accounts


  • The purpose of an official account is to represent IUP in a professional capacity. If your department or program is granted one or more social media channels, the name of the account, photos and content on it should clearly indicate a link to the college and follow brand guidelines.
  • Social media users acting on behalf of their college must adhere to all PASSHE/state policies and procedures, including those pertaining to: acceptable use; copyright information; IT security; personal records privacy and security; FERPA/privacy policies; faculty/staff/student codes of conduct; and procurement rules.
  • Faculty cannot require students to participate in required curriculum assignments or activities on a social media platform as it violates their right to privacy as a student.
  • Protect private information. Do not discuss internal policies or operations or personal information. Follow federal, state and college requirements such as FERPA and HIPAA. The importance lies in protecting the privacy of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and student education records.
  • Be safe and smart. Sharing content - such as photos, text, personal information, individual location, and video - has a long life on the Internet and could put you at risk. Be careful about what you post. Think through all potential current and future ramifications of what you post about yourself or others.
  • Include a disclaimer in Facebook bios/Our Story sections: Welcome to the IUP [Name] Department's official Facebook page. While we encourage open discussion and the active sharing of information and opinions, the [Name] Department reserves the right to remove material that may be deemed unsuitable. Content that includes offensive language, personal attacks, unsolicited advertising or promotions, election campaign materials, or is otherwise deemed inappropriate will be deleted by the administrators. This page is managed by [Name] Department.
  • Follow IUP rules. Communicate only in a manner that is in accordance with the IUP workplace communication that will not reveal proprietary information that respects intellectual property, privacy, copyrights and patents.


  • If an individual maintains a personal social media account, they should avoid creating confusion over whether or not the account is officially associated with IUP.
  • For example, if employees identify themselves online as IUP faculty or a staff member, it should be clear that the views expressed on their site are not those of the college and they are not acting in their capacity as a college employee. College employees may consider adding this disclaimer to their personal social media accounts: "While I am an employee at IUP, comments made on this account are my own and do not reflect the official views of the college."
  • The college's name or marks may not be used to endorse any personal opinion, product, private business, cause or political candidate.


Remember: Social media profiles are public facing. Social media is where people go to connect and celebrate and complain. When in doubt on what to post/say, reach out to the Marketing and Communications Division for support.

Tone and Voice

IUP's voice on social is devoted and encouraging.

We inspire pride.
We are confident, but not boastful.
We are fun, but not silly.
We are empathetic and real.
We acknowledge the struggle. We can relate.
We are a collective, a family. We are IUP.

Our tone is different on each platform for each audience, but we are always mindful of our setting. Some information can be conveyed in a lively tone, but some information needs to be real when the facts must come first.

Accounts that represent a college, program, or group should use the pronoun "we" to reflect IUP and not an individual. "You" is ok, too, when the message is directed toward followers and the tone is conversational.

Platform Tones

  • We are our most flexible on Facebook. Think conversational. Conversations can be formal or relaxed, but there is room for a joke or two.
  • We are relaxed on Instagram. We are playful and empathetic, casual, yet motivational.
  • We are our most formal on LinkedIn. Here, we share institutional accomplishments. Here, we are networking.
  • We are thoughtful on Twitter, which means we stop to examine how we should approach a subject before we tweet about it. Serious academic accomplishments. Fun summer activities. #WednesdayWisdom. Twitter moves fast and covers a variety of topics so make sure you choose the appropriate tone when posting about events/news/holidays/student success. Ask yourself if something can be lighthearted and fun (Arbor Day) or if it should be real and serious (MLK Day). Twitter allows for flexibility in tone, but make sure the tone matches the setting.

Survey your setting: There is a time and a place on each platform to be lively and a time to get real. When in doubt, refer to the Brand Style Guide or reach out to the social media strategist or Marketing and Communications division.


Monitoring post performance can help you maintain a consistent and engaging social presence. High engagement on posts may have a correlation to the number of posts produced each week. More posts = More engagement. Or it could be that fewer posts = higher quality of content = more engagement. Getting a feel for your followers will take some time, so be patient.

In the meantime, while you experiment with content types, number of posts, and the days on which you post, pay attention to some of these key performance metrics (KPIs):


  1. Reach: Reach is the number of people who actually engaged with your post in their feed. This means they watched your video, clicked a link, stopped on your photo. Don't confuse reach with impressions. Impressions is simply the number of feeds your content appeared in, so your content could just have easily been lost in the "scroll stupor."
  2. Engagement: Engagement is the likes, comments, shares on a post. We like engagement. An increase in engagement tells us that the content we are posting is what followers want to see.
  3. Posts: How many posts did you publish this week? Today? Social is its own world which means there is such a thing as social etiquette. You don't have to post every single day. With all of the noise and competition out there, be courteous to followers. They follow you because they like you and they want to engage with you. They don't just want to hear you brag or beg them to like them.
  4. Follower Count: Yep, this is the important metric, but you can't grow your follower count if you aren't listening to your followers. Pay attention to the previous metrics first and then watch your follower count. Track benchmarks every week or every month and set goals for yourself. But be kind to yourself and set realistic goals. Don't strive for five hundred straight out of the gate. Strive for one hundred after three, four, maybe even five months.


For more on metrics and setting social goals, refer to the experts.