Social Media Practices

One of our goals is to maximize engagement and promote VCUarts. To do so, we use voice + tone consistent with our brand, both across and within social platforms.

Frequency

The ability to post consistently is important to social media success. While you may not need to post every day, depending on the social network, you must be able to continuously support the efforts of your account.

Take advantage of the opportunity to post timely content. Capitalize on the moment to post in real-time with posts from shows, students working in the studio, events, and lectures sponsored by your department. ex) posting images of installing a show with the details of the opening could bring out more people

Frequency will vary by department. However, units should post relatively often to ensure subscribers stay engaged.

As a benchmark, the main VCUarts channel aims to post on:

  • Instagram: daily
  • Twitter: 1–3 times/day, unless doing a takeover or covering an event
  • Facebook: daily

For departments we recommend:

  • Instagram: 3–5 times/week
  • Twitter: 3–5 times/week
  • Facebook: 2–3 times/week

Participate in platform-wide posts like Throwback Thursday (#tbt), Flashback Friday (#fbf), Facilities Friday (#facilitiesfriday) and Student Work Wednesday (#vcuartswork)

By engaging in the most recognized or channel-promoted hashtags, you will gain traction on your channels and gain followers/subscribers.

What does success look like?

If you have had a social media page for over a year and have a low number of likes or haven’t posted at least 8 times a month, you should consider deleting these accounts. Dead or inactive accounts reflects negatively on VCUarts. Social media is constant, you must be ready to provided content to your audience. If you would like to delete your account, please contact the Communications Office for assistance. All content must be archived, as per VCU policy.

Because we have a wider reach with our channels, we can get your message out to more than the smaller audience on your departmental channel.

We are happy to post your departmental content on the main VCUarts channels, even if your department that has active accounts.

Monitoring your channels

While posting frequently is one of the main goals, it is also very important to monitor those posts. Use your discretion when it comes to negative and appropriate comments. Re-directing negative comments to a private conversation to address the issue is always encouraged. Providing a good contact email is often an option. If you feel a comment puts anyone at risk, please remove it.

If you feel the situation is out of your hands, please contact Suzanne Silitch, sasilitch@vcu.edu

Be mindful of others’ work.
Never disclose information that is proprietary, private or commercially sensitive. Respect copyright. Don’t use images or content generated elsewhere without permission. Cite your source and tag appropriate accounts when reposting. 

Brand

VCUarts is one word, capital VCU, lowercase arts (with the exception of hashtags).
Our brand is never VCU Art, VCUArts, VcuArt or any other variation.

Links

Always use short links to site if available (ex. arts.vcu.edu/apply) or use bit.ly to create a short link. If you use the buffer app, you can use it to create a buff.ly link.

In a url, always use all lowercase (ex. arts.vcu.edu).

Link example

URLs should be removed after a link preview is shown on social media platforms.

Link example

Tagging

We do our best to stay consistent and brief with our hashtags. #vcuarts should be used as much as possible, as long as it is relevant to the post.

Departments should incorporate a consistent tag. Example: #vcumusic #vcugdes

Important VCUarts hashtags to remember: #vcuarts #vcuartsview #vcuartswork #vcuarts2021 (or incoming year) #vcuartsgrad2017 (or graduating year)

ex3

Embed hashtags and user handles within the post when possible, rather than listing them at the end. The usage of hashtags is a great way to gain followers and engagement, just use them appropriately.

Avoid too many hashtags. If your hashtag character count is longer that your post, you’ve included too many. Example: #vcusculpture student representing #vcuarts at @TedxVCU

If possible, tag the page, VCUarts department or office you’re writing about. Before using a hashtag, handle or tag, make sure it’s official and still active. Consult our directory of departments and hashtags if you’re not sure.

ex4

Grammar

Be sure to read through your posts carefully before posting. It’s okay to use causal sayings like “y’all” or “check it,” but be mindful that your posts are representative of your department/program. Pay close attention to your “it’s” and “its” and “their” and “there” (and they’re, for that matter). Accuracy counts!

Capitalization & Punctuation

When posting in complete sentences, make sure to capitalize and punctuate accordingly. Instagram lends itself to posting in fragments or hashtags, but if you’re posting a complete thought on Facebook, Twitter or another platform, appropriate styling should apply.

Avoid purposeful misuse of capitalization and punctuation. For example, “whAts evERyonE do1ng th!$ wEEKenD?” or “O! M! G! We’re.so.excited!”

Abbreviations

Never abbreviate things like “U” or “4” or “R” or “Y” or “C” or “b4”.

Acceptable abbreviations:
between: btwn
with: w/
professor: prof or profs
president: pres
alumni, alumna, alumnus, etc.: alum

Photos

When it comes to social media, photos are extremely important (particularly on Facebook, since content is at the mercy of an algorithm that determines what content gets seen by who). As often as possible, we aim to always have an image to accompany a post, and we also try to use our own photos. If you need a photo for something and are unable to take it yourself, consult the photo library on the Google Drive or reach out to the Communications Office. You can also consult the VCUarts Instagram and Twitter channels, VCU Library digital archive and Extensis (if you have access).

Become an amazing photographer by remembering three things: subject, composition and detail.

Be sure to follow high standards when posting anything associated with VCUarts. Photos taken with a quality camera phone are acceptable for most content, as long as they are clear, focused and properly lit. If your subject matter is cast in an unnecessary shadow, try adjusting the exposure via tapping other areas on your phone screen to get rid of the shadow. Blurry photos are never acceptable.

To properly size photos for social media, refer to this sizing guide for each platform.

NOTE: avoid non-VCUarts and other appropriate VCU brand logos in photos. Remember, we are promoting our brand, not any other.

Graphics

To promote things like visiting artists, guest lectures and student exhibitions, you may want to consider creating a graphic to post on your social media channels.

If you need help, reach out!

The Communications Office can assist you with the creation of banners, digital flyers, etc. Send an email to Shay Wilson, Project Manager, in the Communications office (wilsonkn@vcu.edu) and she will work with you on your graphic needs.