University of Iowa
These guidelines are meant to help the followers of University of Iowa social media platforms easily recognize that your account is officially associated with the university. Links to official University of Iowa social media channels are available below.

Guidelines

Follow the visual identity guidelines outlined across this site when setting up channels and developing content for social media.

Avatars and profile pictures. Profile and cover images should be consistent across your unit’s social media channels. Additional tips:

  • Use a unit-specific photo or the University of Iowa dome displayed in gold on black.
  • Unique graphics created for events, initiatives, and limited-time communication campaigns are also permitted.
  • Avoid text on a profile pictures; it is often too small to be seen on a mobile device. You don’t need to include the name of your college, department, or unit in your profile picture because these are listed on your profile and next to every post you publish across platforms.

Cover or channel header images. Photos work best for header images because they resize differently on desktop and mobile; text and graphics often get cut off or covered depending on the device a visitor uses to access your channel. 

Photo and video content. Strong photography and video are essential tools for telling the University of Iowa’s story on social media. The university’s library of professional photos is a resource available via the UI Photoshelter site

Graphics and illustrative content. When creating graphics for social media, simple concepts are better. Keep your graphics clear of text as much as possible. Facebook research shows that graphics that have text on them perform much worse than those that do not. Consequently, Facebook’s algorithm heavily penalizes posts that utilize graphics and text. Consider that most social media use is done on a phone; reading tiny text on a graphic doesn’t create a positive user experience. Details are best communicated in the text of your social media post. Let your graphics tell a visual story.

 

Approved University of Iowa avatar:

Download avatar

Creating channels

Knowing your audience is essential. The latest Pew research provides a snapshot of how different demographics are using the most popular social media channels. 

Goals. The following purposes should be considered important criteria for creating social media channels: 

  • Raising awareness
  • Protecting brand
  • Increasing engagement
  • Driving people to your website
  • Providing valuable customer service
  • Creating other added value to users that they can’t get elsewhere 

Build a productive channel. A number of logistical and strategic details must also be assessed: 

  • Consider the resources needed and available to run a new social channel in the long term. Social media channels are time-consuming. Channels created and left dormant, neglected, or unused are a poor reflection on the university. Identify the time required to run the new channel and the resources that will support it. 
  • Consider the regularity and volume of content that a channel will require. To do it right, most channels need at least one post per day, and some channels like Twitter need multiple. 
  • Demonstrate your ability to produce the necessary content. Create a calendar and fill out the first three weeks’ worth of content to post once the channel goes live. This will help you determine if there is enough content to warrant the creation of a new channel. If not, consider ways to collaborate and spread messages through other, well-established social channels at the university. 
  • Consider the size of your audience. Is it large enough to warrant a standalone channel, or would it be better to utilize already established channels? Consider what information will be truly valuable to the audience. Channels should not be comprised solely of inherently self-serving content.

Other best practices

  • Create and document a social media strategy before going live. 
  • Plan a majority of content at least two weeks in advance on an ongoing basis. Create and fill out a content calendar, scheduling posts ahead of time. Looking ahead allows for a lot more creativity, collaboration, and strategic planning.
  • Determine how and when you will respond to, ignore, or delete comments. Have established criteria for when to respond and when to delete. Determine who you should contact about offensive posts and who needs to give approval before responding. 
  • Determine how you will decide whether the channel is successful and worthwhile. Assess in three months, six months, and one year whether the channel is fulfilling your goals and meeting pre-determined measures of success. If not, make adjustments–or delete the channel. 
  • Share analytics for your various channels by using the editable report template below. Contact osc-brand@uiowa.edu with any questions.

Editable analytics report template:

PDF iconDownload report template

Hashtags

Hashtags are a valuable way to participate in an ongoing conversation and further spread our messages. It’s best to use the top hashtags that have an engaging community behind them and are specific to your audience. 

Hashtag effectiveness varies by channel. For instance, research suggests that Facebook may actually penalize business pages for using hashtags, showing the content to fewer of your page’s followers. Instagram and Twitter, however, are great places to use hashtags. On Twitter, it’s best to stick to one hashtag (two maximum). On Instagram, 3-5 hashtags at the end of a post is most beneficial.

Hashtags regularly used by the University of Iowa:

  • #uiowa
  • #HawkeyePride
  • #UniversityofIowa
  • #AlwaysAHawkeye (when referencing Hawkeye alumni)

Sizing specifications by channel

Each social media platform has unique sizing specifications for profile-related images and posted content. Social media image size guides are available and provide detailed sizing and scaling information for each platform. Basic profile and cover/background image sizes are listed below, along with considerations to keep in mind.

 

Twitter 

Profile photo: 400 x 400 pixels

Background image: 1500 x 500 pixels

Use an image that best represents your unique area, such as a physical location on campus, a relevant classroom, or students. Avoid busy backgrounds with a lot of text, and avoid small fonts.

Username and handle: Be as specific as possible within the 20-character limit. Your username and handle should be the same and should begin with UIowa or UI. Use the name of your department, school, or organization. Avoid using “University of Iowa” alone. Examples include @UIowaEducation, @UIowaIMU, @UIHealthcare, @UISpecColl

Location: Please be sure to include Iowa City, IA, as your location unless a different city applies.

Bio: Be as specific and descriptive as possible within the 160-character limit. Include hashtags that you regularly use on Twitter.

Website: Link to your website.

Twitter brand resources.

 

Facebook

Profile picture: 180 x 180 pixels 

Timeline cover photo: 820 x 312 pixels

Use an image that best represents your unique area, such as a physical location on campus, a relevant classroom, or students. Avoid busy backgrounds with a lot of text, and avoid small fonts.

Page Name: It’s best to be consistent across social media channels. Are you on Twitter? Be sure to keep the same name for Facebook. As mentioned previously, use the name of your department, school, or organization.

Page type: Select “Education” under “Company, Organization or Institution.”

General information (under “Page Info” in the “About” section): In addition to relevant information related to your area, you are encouraged to include the following text.

We reserve the right to delete profane, harassing, bullying, abusive, and/or spam comments and to block repeat offenders. 

Facebook brand resources.

 

Instagram 

Profile picture: 110 x 110 pixels

Bio: Keep your bio very short, identifying your area as succinctly as possible. Add a hashtag to solicit follower use.

Instagram brand resources.

 

LinkedIn

Company logo image: 300 x 300 pixels 

Company cover image: 1400 x 425 pixels

LinkedIn brand resources. 

Graphics and illustration resources

The following tools are recommended for developing visual content. Note: University licensing is available for Adobe Creative Suite. Please contact your local ITS consultant to request departmental approval and funding.

Management and analytics tools

The following are recommended tools for tracking analytics and managing your social channels.

    Questions? Contact osc-brand@uiowa.edu.