Be Transparent, Be Human

Understand your audience and your brand. Share stories, socialize, respond to reasonable feedback, be professional and respectful, follow people that you would want to be associated with Wake Forest. If you make a mistake, fix it, own up to it and let someone know.

Assume it’s Public and Permanent

Understand that everything you write or receive on social media is public. Always assume that all social media posts and activities will create a permanent written record.

Understand Confidentiality

In your role at the University, you may have access to confidential data, documents and conversations. Do you think some information might be okay to share? Ask your supervisor before you post.

Be Prompt & Responsive (But Don’t Feed the Trolls)

People are contacting you via social media because they want an answer quickly. However, make sure to always err on the side of accuracy (see below). When and how should you answer negative comments?

The Air Force has a much-referenced guide that can help you get started.

Accuracy is Key

Don’t know the correct answer? Find it. Cite sources whenever appropriate. It is better to say you are still looking for a correct answer than to make something up or not respond at all. This is especially important if posting on behalf of WFU in any capacity. Check spelling, grammar and punctuation!

Does it Pass the Face-to-Face Test?

If the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the telephone or in another medium, it will not be acceptable for social media. Remember that you are representing Wake Forest. Don’t post anything that would misrepresent the standards and mission of the University. Be aware that those reading your posts could include current & prospective students, faculty, staff, future employers, donors, alumni, legislators, parents and the news media.

Gut Check

Wondering if something is appropriate to share? Gut check with your supervisor or someone you trust.


Use Hootsuite (free) or a similar platform to listen to the conversation going on around you and to find interesting things to retweet. You can follow other campus accounts, similar accounts, hashtags and relevant keywords.

Practical Matters

Logoff if using a shared computer. Passcode your phone. Turn on notifications. Avoid posting when angry, upset, tired or intoxicated.

Posting to Several Social Media Accounts

There are some tools that will help you post to several social media accounts at the same time (Example: one post to Facebook posts automatically to Twitter, or one post to Instagram posts automatically to Facebook and Twitter). Use them judiciously. Each audience is different on social media. Talk to your specific audience on their specific platform.

Mentor Junior Staffers Managing Social Media

Just because a young member of your staff knows how to post things on social media, doesn’t mean they know how to use it for business communication. Teach your junior staffers and monitor their efforts.

Have a Thick Skin

The anonymous nature of social media allows people to say almost anything.

Have Fun and Experiment

Social media best practices are discovered every day.