University Relations


WIU Social Media Best Practices & Guidelines 

Updated 9/2020

Social media is an important way for Western Illinois University to communicate with its core audiences and provides the opportunity to actively engage with them. Like all University communication, it is important to keep messaging consistent with our brand, accurate and professional.

To maintain brand consistency, we recommend using official Western Illinois University profile photos that are in line with the strategy below.

The page name on your social media platform(s) should appear in the following format:

  • Example 1: Western Illinois University RPTA or WIU Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration
  • Example 2: Western Illinois University CSP or WIU College Student Personnel
  • Example 3: Western Illinois University Biology or WIU Biology

Recommended Platforms

For questions about social media logo usage or to schedule a consultation regarding creating or maintaining social media account/platform, contact

Guidelines & Regulations

All social media accounts should support the University’s mission, goals, programs and sanctioned efforts.

Administrative access and passwords for Western-affiliated social media accounts should be available to multiple staff members in each department. Credentials must be maintained and surrendered to a University leader at the dean or vice president level in the event that the current social media manager, whether a student or employee, leaves the department/division/University

Comment Policy

We encourage open discussion about the topics we post, but we do reserve the right to moderate discussion on Western Illinois University social media accounts and to remove posts that contain: 

  • Profane or obscene content
  • Content unrelated to University post/topic
  • Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination, racism, hate, and harassment
  • Promotion of illegal activity(ies)
  • Threats or harm and violence and/or violent content
  • Spam or comments that include links to external online sites
  • Solicitations of commerce or advertisements, including promotion or endorsement
  • Promotions of particular services, products or political candidates or organizations (with the exception of specific student organization social media platforms, e.g. WIU Campus Democrats)
  • Content that violates the terms of use or community guidelines of the social media platform
  • Information that may compromise the safety or security of an individual, the general public and/or public entity/body.

Violators may have their comments hidden or removed from the University's social media platforms. Continued violations of this policy may prompt the removal of an individual from a University-owned/affiliated social media platform. Any comment that is racist, considered hate speech, discriminatory, or is threatening harm or violence in any way will result in immediate removal from the University's social media platform.

Posts that refer to specific individuals or offices within the WIU community as part of the complaint, concern or compliment will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Depending on the circumstances, at the discretion of page administrators, the post or comment may be removed. 

Western Illinois University is not responsible for the content posted by participants on any of its pages, nor does its existence constitute endorsement of the content by the University.

Know and Follow the Rules

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Western Illinois University, its students, alumni, faculty or staff. Review all current policies and procedures, and if you are not sure, ask before sharing. Do not share information that is not meant to be common knowledge.

Federal laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), state law and WIU policies (found at governing the confidentiality of student and applicant records (and information from such records) apply to social media use. Make sure you are not posting any information that is confidential and/or highly restricted or restricted data. 

As a public institution, it is required by law that if sharing a video on any social media platform, it must be captioned. To request assistance with captioning your video, contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access or visit

Tips & Tricks

Before You Post:

  • Get to know your audience and social media platforms and post/respond accordingly
  • Review previous posts and interactions
  • Posting hours: Depends on audience and platform – but it's more about what you post and less about when
  • 3 second audition: Your content should be able to grab attention without sound in 3 seconds
  • Quality over quantity: Consistency is important, but the audience prefers quality over fluff. Authenticity is key.
    • Each social media platform uses an algorithm to deliver posts to followers. Within minutes of a post going live, the channel measures how the audience is reacting. If the post is highly engaged, it will be shown with more frequency. For a post that is not as highly engaged, it will be buried lower or not shown at all.
    • Will this post fit into my target audience’s feed, or will it stick out because it’s "selling?"
    • Be playful—social media should be fun!
  • Deliver Value: Think when you’re posting - What is this offering my followers?
    • Particularly among Gen. Z and Millennials, audience members unfollow accounts that don’t deliver value in their posts.
  • Grammar is important. Remain concise and conversational, while keeping grammar intact.  Grammarly  is a free app and Chrome extension that checks your copy as you type.
  • Fit into your audience's feed
    • Be in the moment. Balance posts planned months in advance with in-the-moment (responsive) content. 
    • Use emojis sparingly and thoughfully 
    • Balance the elements of the Western experience you represent: athletics, visits, academics, service, outcomes, etc.
  • Follow the accounts of those you’re trying to reach (students, etc.) and those you can imitate (similar departments at other universities, etc.).
  • Crowdsource content—borrow and repost. Always ask permission and give credit.
  • Cross-promote other on-campus channels’ campaigns and initiatives. When we amplify each other, everyone grows!
  • Respond to questions and engage feedback
    • Implement a departmental process for quickly answering social media questions. Like and comment on responses, and stay positive. 
    • If things get contentious, take the conversation to private message or offline. Be mindful that DMs are often screenshotted and reposted.
  • Routinely sweep for outdated “about” information and links.
  • University Relations and the Visual Production Center store and share photos through PhotoShelter. If you are unable to download a photo you want, contact the Visual Production Center at (309) 298-1358 or You can also schedule VPC to take photos for events.
    • Here are the channel-optimized aspect ratios you should use to crop your images for each platform. You can use a photo editor such as Photoshop, Canva or Sprout Social’s easy editing tool:
      • Facebook: 1200x630
      • Twitter: 1024x512
      • Instagram: 1080x1080
      • LinkedIn: 1350x705 (or 2400x1256)

Social Media Directory 

The Western Illinois University Social Media Directory can be found at: To be added to this list or updating an existing link, email or register your social accounts online.

Brand Guidelines

Western Illinois University’s brand showcases our history and brings new initiatives to light that move us forward. Together, we will position Western as one community to reach more students who share our Leatherneck values. This guide helps all ambassadors—anyone representing WIU— apply the brand. These standards help build and maintain consistent visual and verbal communication. Download the brand guidelines