Summer aerials with a drone on the campus of Washington State University Pullman, Monday, June 22, 2020.

Social Media at WSU

Its popularity and worldwide reach make social media a valuable communications tool for the University to use to advance its brand and engage in conversation with stakeholders. By using consistent language and graphics, we can integrate WSU’s voice across the entire social media spectrum, which will build understanding and support for the University’s mission.

A system of avatars, or badges, has been created for campus units to use to identify themselves in social media spheres. Choose the graphic that best represents your office or department affiliation at WSU Brand: Social Media. Using the badges ensures that the university’s official voice is clearly identified and represented in social media conversations. WSU has established a presence on most social media platforms. You can find a list of many of the participating units in the social media directory.

WSU Social Media Policies

The University’s social media policy governs employees’ use of social media on the job. The policy allows and encourages staff to contribute and post appropriate content about WSU and their work on social media channels during the workday, but notes that posts should be consistent with the nature of the employee’s official business or be approved by the employee’s direct supervisor.

Best Practices

Be accessible!

Start today by doing these five things when publishing your social media content:

  1. Caption all videos. Whether you create an srt file or burn in the captions, you have multiple options.
  2. Enter alternative text descriptions for images. Turn on the alt-text feature across all platforms so you can write descriptions of the photos you include in your social posts
  3. Use CamelCase hashtags. Capitalize the beginning of each new word in your hashtags. (i.e. #CougsHelpingCougs or #GoCougs)
  4. Be mindful of graphics, fonts, and backgrounds. Share social media graphics that provide enough color contrast and utilize appropriately-sized sans-serif fonts
  5. Avoid acronyms. Spell it out! By refraining from acronyms you are being accessible by using plain language.

Tell the truth and be authentic

Let your audience know you represent the university. They can feel deceived if you don’t.

Update regularly

Nothing frustrates viewers more than visiting an account with outdated information. Consider having multiple administrators for an account or using tools such as built-in scheduling tools in Facebook and Twitter, or a limited free service from HootSuite or other similar tools to schedule posts in advance.


Don’t forget that the primary purpose of social media is for people to connect with WSU and with each other. You’re doing your job if you foster those connections. Don’t think of social networks merely as a mechanism for delivering information about the University. Please utilize to add your department, unit, college, or school’s large events. This will help communicators across the university know when events are happening and potentially increase cross-coordination efforts throughout the university.

Disagree with others respectfully

Responding to questions and comments respectfully and authentically builds relationships and credibility.

Use students for social networking

Use trusted students to do your social networking, when appropriate. Students offer the benefit of an authentic voice when communicating with certain audiences, such as prospective students.

Manage spam

Delete SPAM as necessary to maintain the integrity of your account. Caution is advisable in deleting content, though, as it can be seen as a form of censorship. One possible approach: Delete any posts not related to the University, but keep everything else, even if you don’t particularly like the content of some posts.

Know your audience

Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are casual in nature. People go there to connect and share personal, witty, and sometimes tongue-in-cheek comments about a variety of topics. Knowing that, use those platforms for informal interactions with your visitors. In addition, some social media platforms, such as Facebook, provide you with access to the demographics of your audience. Providing content that appeals to your primary audience will ensure repeat visitors.

Consider using a variety of media

Social media users are drawn to photos and videos, and it’s easy to post content of that nature.

Use #GoCougs or tag @WSUPullman in your posts to get our attention.

Submit content

Looking to utilize the skills and momentum of WSU’s social community? Do you have an upcoming event or news story that needs some promotion? Provide us the details and we’ll consider adding it to the @WSUPullman account content calendars. If you have large-scale, university-wide events (public speaker, exhibition, forum, etc.) please add them to the University Calendar at

Schedule department consultations

Are you and a University department in need of social media advice or a complete re-vamp? Take a few moments to email us at and we’d be happy to set up a consultation with you to see how we can help your department on social media.


Matthew Haugen

Social Media Manager
Washington State University
University Marketing & Communications

Brent Reser

Social Media Strategist
Washington State University
University Marketing & Communications