Western Washington University Social Media

Social networking, whether in-person or online, is the same thing we’ve been doing for more than a century at Western: engaging with our communities.

Social Media platforms are important for external visibility and community building - but only when they can be properly maintained. Whether you’re the communications or marketing lead for a Western department or use social media to enhance the classroom experience or build community for a student group, you'll find these guidelines helpful in navigating how to run social media for your part of the WWU community.

Social Media Training

If you’re responsible for posting content on behalf of Western or a Western department, completing Western’s official social media training course with the University Social Media Coordinator is mandatory. Social Media training is run by Caitlyn Daniels every third Wednesday of the month from 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Please email daniel25@wwu.edu to register.

Do you need your own social media presence?

First things first, evaluate whether your communications and community-building needs will be effectively served by public social media accounts. Social media is not always the answer to all communications needs. 

Forming community pages and private groups, optimizing your websites, and even setting up simple internal email newsletters can sometimes be more effective (and less of an investment) for your communications goals than trying to establish, develop and maintain a social media platform that reliably reaches the audiences you want. 

Consider all other potential channels for communication and community before you make the decision to form a new public social media account. Feel free to reach out to WWU’s Social Media Coordinator Caitlyn Daniels at daniel25@wwu.edu if you have questions or want to discuss these recommendations and conditions.

Recommended conditions to meet in order to establish a new social media account

  • The potential audience exceeds more than 5000 people, including audiences not currently enrolled or employed at WWU (e.g. external audiences like alumni, public stakeholders, journalists, prospective students, prospective faculty and staff). Remember that social media is much more of an external tool than an internal one, and it works best when potential audiences are large in scope.  

  • There are devoted staff resources to spend at a minimum of 4-8 hours per week planning, developing content, posting to the channel and responding to queries and issues.  

  • The account will be used for original storytelling, content and conversation around your organizations’ stories, people and issues in addition to event notifications and reposting content from other WWU accounts. 

  • Resources and time will be committed to developing original digital assets (e.g. photography, video, design content) to engage and inform 

  • Account performance and effectiveness will be regularly measured and optimized against benchmarks (e.g. engagement rates of more than 3 percent, steady follower growth, regular traffic to your organization’s website, event page, etc.). 

Bottom-line recommendations for who should invest in WWU social media accounts

Organization type Recommendation
College Yes, maintaining a strategic and engaging social media presence is recommended
Academic department Evaluate based on potential audience size and consider centralizing social media with college level
Centers and Institutes Evaluate based on potential audience size and external outreach, community building needs, and whether or not you have resources available to maintain and grow the account
Administrative divisions With the exception of WWU Athletics, Admissions, Foundation and specific student service units (e.g. MSS, LGBTQ+ WWU), all administrative social media shall be centralized under WWU's main accounts (@WWU on Twitter, @WesternWashingtonUniversity on LinkedIn and Instagram etc.)
Associated Students and student clubs Out of WWU's administrative purview, but the same conditions should be considered by the specific student groups

Reminder: If you decide to forgo forming a new social media account, know that your organization’s news and information will be welcome on WWU’s main accounts, provided it is potentially relevant for most of the campus community.

Sharing content on Western's main channels:

To share your content on WWU’s main channels, send it to Western’s Social Media Coordinator, Caitlyn Daniels at daniel25@wwu.edu for integrating it into Western’s main channels’ content streams. Whether it’s interesting student stories or important program news or events, or an opportunity to takeover the Western’s Instagram stories, Western’s main channels can help your content get more visibility, and we provide scheduling and monitoring for each post. 

WWU Communications (the Office of University Communications) can help you amplify:

  • Event promotion relevant for full campus community and beyond
  • Important deadlines  
  • Potential collaborations 
  • Major news from your colleges/divisions 
  • Leadership and outstanding student stories and profiles

Developing a social media strategy:

Once you’ve made all of the above considerations and have made the decision to build a social media account, you’ll need to develop a social media strategy that will guide your efforts.

Such a strategy will involve an assessment of your communication goals and objectives and of the needs and interests of your audience. It also will identify resources for creating content and maintaining the given social media channel. It is essential to do this before you begin, as creating a social media presence is promising your community that you’ll maintain your presence and provide quality, consistent content.

A good social media strategy will include the following components

  1. Purpose: Why do you need a social media account and what do you intend for it do for your organization? 
  2. Audience: Who do you want to reach and why? How are they already engaged on social media?
  3. Content and cadence plan: What kind of content will you drive on your channel? How often can you produce it? How will you keep it fresh, engaging and optimized to perform within the channel algorithm?
  4. Performance measurement: How will you measure success? How will you troubleshoot underperformance?  

To start to build your strategy, defining your channel’s purpose is a critical first step

  • Be clear and transparent about what you’re trying to achieve and ask yourself questions about your intent with this new channel. Is your goal to disseminate information? To interact with parents, students or prospective students? To seek feedback or advice? To build up a community around your organization?
  • State your purpose and find creative ways to share pieces of that purpose with your audience. 

It’s also important to determine what social media technologies will best help you meet your needs. In doing so, don’t forget about internal tools such as Western Today, Western Involvement Network, support from WWU Communications (the Office of University Communications) and various college e-newsletters; these are great resources for communicating with the Western community.  

Second, develop long-term strategic goals and short-term targets to measure 

  • What are the communication goals and objectives that a social media presence will help drive? 
  • Whom are you trying to reach? Do your audience know where to find you? 
  • What do you intend to share with your audience? 
  • What actions or behavioral changes do you want your audience to take as a result of engaging with your social media channel? 
  • What will you measure your channel’s performance? How often? 

Based on your goals, develop a content strategy to nurture and engage your audience

  • Where will your content come from?
  • How much content can you realistically produce?
  • How much new content does your audience need and have the appetite for?
  • How does your content add value to your audience? What are their needs and interests?
  • Does your content speak to a greater purpose of your organization?
  • How does your content help your organization stand out from competitors or peers?
  • How well aligned is the content on your social media account with that on your website?
  • How will you know when you've succeeded? 

Social media technologies

  • Scheduling tools: used to schedule out content in advance and properly prep tagging info, alt text, hashtags, etc. - options include Loomly, Later, Planoly, Crowdfire 
  • Listening tools: used to stay on top of mentions across all social platforms of any word or phrase of your choosing – options include Meltwater, Agorapulse, Mention 
  • AI transcription: used to transcribe spoken word into text, useful for video captions – options include Sonix, Rev, Otter 
  • Video production and graphic design tools: used to create various social content – options include CapCut (video editing app), Captions (transcription app), Canva (design platform) 

Existing channels that can help share your news (so you don’t have to rely on new social media accounts)  

  • Western Today: daily synopsis of what’s happening around campus including events, student/faculty stories, etc.
  • Western Involvement Network: space for all WWU affiliated organizations to post events
  • Support from WWU Communications (the Office of University Communications) and various college e-newsletters 
  • Other high perfroming WWU channels like WWU Athletics, LGBTQ+ Western, WWU Bound, Fairhaven College, College of the Enviornment, WWU AS, WWU Housing, WWU Outdoor Center 

Posting Guidelines:

Assuming you have made the leap and opted to establish a social media account – and have consulted with WWU Communications – here are some basic guidelines for regular posting habits. Following this section are best practices. 

Manage content and monitor comments

Comments or mentions by the community on university-run social media accounts do not imply endorsement of that content by Western. If a business posts an irrelevant advertisement or solicitation on your social media posts, for example, feel free to delete it. If you have any doubt about what is appropriate to say or leave online, ask your supervisor or contact University Communications. 

Be respectful and professional

  • Remember, your social media account represents Western.
  • Put thought into what you say and do on behalf of the university.
  • Keep your personal views separate, and don’t post political comments or statements on social issues.
  • Don’t disclose private information about the university or its students; FERPA rules protecting students’ personally identifiable information in educational records apply.
  • Follow copyright and fair use laws to the letter.
  • Don’t publish content containing slurs, personal insults or attacks, profanity or obscenity, and don’t engage in any conduct on a social media site that would not be acceptable in Western workplaces or classrooms.
  • To address challenging non-troll comments on your posts, consider direct-messaging that person, rather than commenting back publicly.
  • Know that whenever you identify yourself as a member of the Western community, you may be seen as representing Western, whether you like it or not.
  • Never conceal your identity for the purpose of promoting Western through social media. Be transparent about who you are and whom you represent.
  • Do not use the Western name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest and maintain a distinction between your personal identity and the identity you represent on behalf of the university. 

Know the rules

  • In addition to understanding the broad spectrum of your responsibilities as a state employee, read up on Western policies and the terms of service for the social media tools you’re using.
  • Also, be sure to adhere to the Western's brand standards and naming conventions. You can find additional brand resources at the Brand and Communication Guide website.
  • You are personally responsible for the content you post on university-managed social media properties, from blogs and social networks to forums and other social media platforms.
  • When you’re at work, your time and your computer are university resources.

Best practices by platform


  • 1 in-feed post per day 
  • At least 1 story post per day
  • Image only in-feed posts are preferred, save social graphic creating for Instagram stories 
  • Include image descriptions at the bottom of your post 
  • Use hashtags when applicable 
  • Do not post a URL on an in-feed post, instead use a 'link in bio' tool or share your post to your Instagram story and include the URL there
  • Utilize engagement tools on Instagram stories like polls, questions, quiz, etc


  • 1 post per day 
  • Can mimic (for the most part) what goes on Instagram
  • Pay attention to your audience (most of our followers on Facebook are not current students) 
  • Include alt text in your images 
  • Utilize reels, any reel posted to Instagram should also be shared on Facebook reels


  • 1 post per day 
  • Content related to alumni audiences, community members, prospective employees
  • Use hashtags with applicable 
  • Include URL at the link in the comments on the post instead of in the caption (this is preferred by the algorithm) 
  • Utilize engagement features like polling
  • Include alt text in your images 
  • Tag the people/organizations that are mentioned in your post 


  • 2 posts per day, one post informational/event notification and the other funny/trend based 
  • Include alt text in your images 
  • Note that hashtags don't work on Threads 
  • Regularly engage with other accounts 

General best practices

  • Be a human: That means you’ll need to interact, engage, be honest, be funny, be spontaneous, be real. People don’t want to interact with an institution or a brand or a product. They want to interact with a human. Be kind and courteous in all your interactions, being careful not to let your love of a good joke or witty comeback override your sensitivity to others.

  • Be in tune with your brand: Get a really good feel for the entity you’re representing. Familiarize yourself with Western's Brand Guide, which outlines our organizational identity. What are your group’s policies, and how do your administrators represent your entity to the community? Have a chat with folks in your area about how they want to be represented. The more you understand your brand, the more you’ll be able to represent your entity in a human and engaging way online without making mistakes that paint your entity in a bad light.

  • Be a good listener: Keep your ears and eyes open. What do the people you want to reach care about? How do they feel about you? How do they engage with others? The better you understand your audience, the more likely you are to post content that they appreciate and will want to share, comment on or re-post. And when you listen to others, they will want to listen to you. 

  • Be engaging: Interact with others. Social media is not just a bulletin board. Ask questions, thank people, comment on their posts, retweet their good content. In social media, your participation makes you valuable, and it also helps to build solid relationships. 

  • Be accurate: Before you post, gather all the facts. Take time to verify information. Link to your sources whenever possible and give credit to your sources for information you’re sharing. Mention sources in tweets or Facebook posts. In so doing, you’ll build community and gain the trust of the online community. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. 

  • Be aware of your impact: Social media often span traditional boundaries between professional and personal relationships. If you’ve ever identified yourself as part of the Western community online, readers will associate you with the university, even if you are posting from your personal account. Be thoughtful of the things you say, the photos you post and the content to which you link.

  • Be curious: Check out other Western accounts on socialwwu.edu who are successfully engaging with their communities and ask them for tips on how to operate. Pay attention to similar entities outside Western or to anyone whose engagement you admire and use those actions as inspiration in your own work. 

Best practices in managing negative content 

If a community member posts critical comments, do not delete or suppress such postings if they are valid points to consider. Let the comments stand. Correct misinformation, but don’t engage in heated arguments. Often, the community will correct itself and step in to correct inaccuracies or defend Western or your specific entity. If this happens and is sufficient to resolve the issue, there may be no need for an additional official response. 

When responding to a negative comment, consider crafting a short response to the individual publicly and direct-message the account a more substantial response to the issue. This might help minimize any public exposure of the commenter suggesting they are being argued with from a WWU account. Keep in mind that social is a hard place for effective dialogue, people read and engage with any number of topics on social with a defensive perspective. 

Feel free to delete irrelevant or vulgar posts. If you feel a post is threatening in nature or otherwise meriting greater concern, contact WWU Communications (Office of University Communications) for advice. 

Presence and maintenance

Build credibility with your community by being present and responsive. When people engage with you, they expect a response. Accounts that are not maintained reflect poorly on Western, giving the impression of a lack of organization and commitment.  

Monitor replies and comments daily. Check at least once a day and respond promptly. 

How often should you post? It really depends on the medium. An editorial calendar can help you schedule the creation and publication of content. Resist the urge to post all your good content at once; spread it out over time. Use your best judgment and tailor your actions to the reactions of your community, but here are a few general guidelines on frequency:

  • Facebook: 1x/day
  • Instagram: 1x/day in-feed post, include at least 3-4 story posts per week such as student takeovers, polls, sharing link to drive audience to website, etc.
  • Twitter: 3x/week
  • LinkedIn: 1x/day
  • Threads: 2x/day - one post informational/event content and one post funny/trend based

Measuring success

  • Measurement and analytics are key to assessing your success in social media. Determine relevant statistics that can show you’re meeting your organization’s goals and track them over time.
  • Some of the most valuable metrics include: followership growth, organic impressions, average post engagement (+ compared to similar organizations), click through rates, reposts and shares. 
  • Match analytics information against content and engagement to determine what caused certain results. Use this information to better understand your audience and to inform content decisions.
  • When sharing links via social media, use a service such as bit.ly to create shortened, trackable URLs.
  • Study the data provided by the respective analytics functions in Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads, and any other medium that provides such data. 

Naming and branding your social media presence:

Create an account in the name of a recognized Western entity only if you are authorized to represent that entity. Discuss with your supervisor when you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval, or if you have questions about the appropriateness of certain content for posting.


  • When naming your social media presence, be clear in identifying your unit as a part of Western Washington University. All names should begin with “Western,” ideally, “Western Washington University” or “WWU,” as in “Western Libraries” or “WWU Admissions.” It would be incorrect to title your account, for example, “Accounts Payable at WWU,” “Accounts Payable - Western Washington University” or simply “Accounts Payable.” 
  • Keep in mind that most social media services limit name length. Choose a name that best identifies your unit while still adhering to these guidelines.
  • Examples of correct usage for Facebook pages: Western Foundation, WWU Athletics, Western Washington University – Department of History 

Examples of correct usage for Twitter accounts: 

  • WWUAdvising 
  • WWUAlumni 
  • WWU_AS

Clearly identify your unit, avoiding names that might be confused as representing all of Western or a unit other than your own.

Social media sites at the university should be marked as official in some way (for example, in a Twitter bio or in the Facebook “about” section).


The image associated with your page or account may be the official logo of your unit or an image closely associated with your unit, such as the building in which your unit is located. However, you may not solely use the Western logo unless your account represents the entire university, not a subset thereof. Contact WWU Communications (Office of University Communications) to have a sub-branded Western logo made for your specific unit. 

These name and image conventions apply to all social media services, including, but not limited to, Instagram, LinkedIn, Threads, Facebook, and Twitter.  

Terms and conditions of social media services:

Each of the main social media platforms has terms and conditions to which all users must adhere. If you would like to represent your area of Western Washington University using social media, please follow the best practices outlined by these organizations. The most popular are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads, but users also must abide by the terms of use of other social media services they’re using.

Before signing up for any account:

  • Clear such activity with your supervisor. 
  • Contact Purchasing to ensure that the platform’s terms and conditions have been vetted by the university.
  • Contact WWU Communications to discuss your plans for the account. 

Applicable Western policies 

It’s awesome that you’re getting involved in the world of social media. Before you get in too deep, make sure you’ve read and are adhering to the following Western Washington University policies: 

Who we are as a University 


  • Engaging - An immersive and dynamic approach in everything we do. 
  • Inviting - Inclusive and supportive 
  • Distinctive - An academic environment that inspires innovative learning and commitment to a purposed life
  • Adventurous - Thriving on new challenges, fearless pursuit of dreams
  • Collaborative - Interactive learning, up close and personal, with faculty and staff 

Positioning statement

  • For ambitious, open-minded learners, Western is the premier undergraduate-centered university that fosters a dynamic collaborative environment at an intimate scale, where students fully engage, reveling in the freedom to develop their intellectual potential and achieve their personal goals.