Social Media

University social media accounts tell the Illinois story in strategic and coordinated ways.

Fighting Illini Cheerleaders set the tone as students enjoy Quad Day as it celebrates its 50th year as an University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign tradition.

Developing a Strategic Plan

Before creating a new account, outline the goals, audiences and purpose of the new account. Developing a strategic plan will ensure your accounts are efficient and effective.

Do your research

Do you need an account? What audience(s) are you trying to reach and can you do it through this platform? Are you already reaching this/these audience(s) in other targeted, more effective ways? If so, how will the account complement those existing strategies? Do you have time to regularly maintain the content on this account? Creating a new account is a big step — make sure it’s the right one.

Identify your audience

The university has a variety of audiences on social media. Identifying your specific audience groups and what they want to hear from you will help tailor your social media accounts and posts to better serve them.

Where you might find some of our audiences:

Current Students: Instagram, X/Twitter

What are their hopes, fears, pain points and questions they need answered? What will make them feel connected to Illinois?

Alumni: LinkedIn, Facebook, X/Twitter

What do they want to see or hear from their alma mater? What will make them proud? What might move them to engage more with the university?

Parents: Facebook

What do they need to know about campus life for their current or prospective student?

Prospective students: TikTok, Instagram

What do they need to know to make their decision to come to Illinois? What sets Illinois apart from their other choices?

Community: Facebook, X/Twitter

How can they connect with Illinois? Why should they care about Illinois?

Donors: LinkedIn

What information will motivate them or set the groundwork for them to give to Illinois?

Create unique posts for each platform and choose relevant content for each audience. Tailor the language, tone and perspective to meet the needs and values of your most engaged audiences on each platform.

Set strategic goals

Social media should showcase the broad, diverse and exciting experience of our university.

Identify what specific goals will help you tell the Illinois story and experience on social media while supporting the priorities within your unit or college.

Account Naming Conventions

While the university doesn’t require verified social media accounts to adhere to a specific naming convention, we do suggest the following if they make sense for your account:

  • Include “Illinois” in both your account handle and display name, if possible.
  • Match names on all platforms for consistency, if possible.
  • Keep handles short and concise.
  • Keep punctuation to a minimum.

Refer to your college or unit central office for additional naming requirements.

Handle vs. display name

An account handle is unique to your account. It follows an @ sign in your profile. Think of it as your account identification. A display name may be a longer version of the handle. This is the prominent text displayed at the top of a profile or feed.

Example: The University of Illinois X/Twitter

Handle: @uofillinois
Display name: University of Illinois

Consistency and recognition

Your account names are how users will find you. Keep that in mind while brainstorming your account names. They should be clean, simple and reflect how people talk about your unit.

Example: University-verified accounts

@UIPD | U of I Police
@LASillinois | U of I College of LAS
@ACESIllinois | College of ACES
@uofigrainger | The Grainger College of Engineering

Account Bio Recommendations

Your account bio should make it easy for a user to determine whether or not they
want to follow your account. Provide a simple, one sentence description of your
department or unit that showcases who you are. See example bios below.

University of Illinois:

All the latest from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Urbana, IL | illinois.edu

Grainger Engineering:

Leading global engineering education and research at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Urbana-Champaign, IL | grainger.illinois.edu

Illinois Alumni:

Welcoming all University of Illinois graduates, former students, faculty, staff, friends and supporters to share alumni news, photos and updates.
Urbana, Illinois | uiaa.org

Profile and Cover Photos

We encourage all university accounts to use profile and cover photos consistent with the social media brand standards. Any images produced using these templates should only be used as social media profile images and not as unit wordmarks elsewhere.

Post Building

While there is no exact formula for how to build successful social media posts, there are considerations when creating content, including language, images, links, mentions, readability and more.

Language and messaging

What you say is as important as how you say it. The language and messaging in your posts create a voice for your account. We want that voice to reflect the university brand and mission. Review our personality, voice and tone guidelines.

Images

Images, graphics and video are how to get a user to stop scrolling and engage with your content. Images should be high quality, vibrant, attention-grabbing and reflective of the message you’re trying to convey. The Illinois Image Database is a great resource for campus imagery.

For example, on the University of Illinois Instagram account, we primarily choose photos that are bright, vibrant and have some orange and blue coloring. This consistency creates an overall feed aesthetic, elevating our brand and making it recognizable by our audience.

Graphics

As a general rule, still images tend to outperform graphics or illustrations on social media. Depending on your unit goals, you might want to primarily use images and avoid graphics.

When using graphics to share information about rankings, events, updates, etc., keep them clean, simple and accessible. Consider adopting a similar process to selecting your still images by always using the same set of colors, fonts, illustrations and language in your graphics. For accessibility, use alt text to write out the graphic text. See more in the graphics element section.

Social media image size guide

FacebookSize
Profile photo180px by 180px
Cover photo820px by 312px
Event cover photo1920px by 1005px
Shared post image1200px by 630px
X/TwitterSize
Profile photo400px by 400px
Header photo1500px by 500px
Shared tweet image1200px by 675px
InstagramSize
Profile photo110px by 110px
Header photo1080px by 1080px
Instagram story1080px by 1920px
LinkedInSize
Company logo image300px by 300px
Company cover photo1128px by 191px
Shared image1200px by 627px

Links

Posts should provide users with an opportunity to learn more or continue engaging. To make your link text simple and easy to consume, shorten the text using bitly.com, go.illinois.edu or another link shortening tool and include the link at the end of your post.

Help is on the way, future Illini!

We’ve designed resources to help you navigate every step of our application process so you can apply with confidence.

Check it out! ▶ go.illinois.edu/applyhelp

Mentions

Mentioning other university accounts builds our community. When tagging units, specifically on X/Twitter, consider tagging the account in your photo rather than your tweet copy. This will free up character and/text space while also keeping your copy clean and concise.

Readability

No one wants to engage with messy, hard-to-read content. A great way to clean up your copy is to utilize paragraph breaks. Instead of displaying your copy in one large text block, break it into smaller chunks of information.

Hashtags

Keep hashtags to a minimum — the shorter the better. Consider limiting your hashtag use to one per post, and try to incorporate it into a sentence.

For accessibility, keep your hashtags short and concise and capitalize the first letter of each word.

Here are some common hashtags used on university accounts:

  • #ILLINOIS
  • #ILLINOIS(year)
  • #IllinoisHomecoming
  • #IllinoisWelcome
  • #IllinoisCommitment

Holidays

There are many holidays that are recognized by different religions and cultures. We want our content and celebrations to be accessible and welcoming to our entire community. This means we share holiday content very sparingly.

Oftentimes when referencing a holiday, we will create content that reflects the main theme of the holiday or time of year as opposed to explicitly saying “Happy XXX.” This helps ensure the posts are respectful and engaging to our entire community.

Example post for winter holidays:
Merry and bright.

Wherever you spend winter break, we hope it is filled with health, happiness and plenty of holiday cheer.