University Style Guide

Social Media Guide

Social media is an essential tool to engage students and other audiences. This guide gives an overview of how to collaborate with University Communications' digital team, policies and guidelines, and best practices and resources to help you create an effective social media presence.

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Chico State Social Media Accounts

 Chico State's main accounts are managed by University Communications and include:

UComm's central strategy focuses on creating intentional content that adds value to our core audiences, engages in modern digital tactics, and maintains each platform consistently.

The goal is to enhance affinity for the University by sharing the story of Chico State, reaching people who may not be communicating with the University in other ways like print and email, and provide a gateway to our website content.

University departments, programs, and centers can help with those efforts while providing information about and promoting their specific services and activities on their own social media channels.

University Communications Social Media Support

University Communications' digital team can provide campus offices with a variety of assistance.

Social Media Posting Requests

Have an event coming up, or a special awareness campaign that you are working on? University Communications can help by posting your messages on the University's official social media channels. Simply fill out our online request form(opens in new window).

 The form asks you to communicate the following about your post:

  • wording for your post(s)

  • the platforms you would like your post(s) published on

  • the audiences you are trying to reach

  • any visual for your post (optional)

  • publish date(s) for your post(s)

Please submit requests 30+ days in advance of when you need your post to be published.

Submit a Request(opens in new window)

UComm will evaluate your request and determine the best placement and timing for your content, so it may not be exactly as you request, but we will do our best to uplift as your team originally intended. This request process is only available to Chico State departments, programs, and centers. We are unable to accommodate student organizations or outside entities like private businesses.

Social Media Collaborations

Every semester, our social media team partners with campus clubs and departments to create content. Collaborations are content partnerships where we work together to create a post. This can look like an Instagram Reel showcasing WellCat Safe Place, or a TikTok with Adventure Outings highlighting hiking trails.

If you have an idea you'd like to collaborate on, please reach out to Miciah Garcia, our Digital Media Coordinator, at

Outside of collaborating with our University social media team, we encourage campus groups and departments to collaborate with each other in order to reach goals and carry out initiatives.

Social Media Trainings

Our digital media team is here to help train your student interns of staff members in social media best practices. Some of the trainings and workshops we can provide are:

  • How to Promote an Event or Campaign on Socials

  • How to Build a Social Media Strategy/Plan

  • Content Tactics for a Specific Platform (Instagram, TikTok, etc.)

 Request a social media training(opens in new window) 

We recommend requesting at least 30 days in advance to ensure we can accommodate your schedule.

For a general onboarding of your social media team, we recommend reading the following social media guide for campus policies, best practices, and tips. 

Chico State Social Media Policies

Comment Policy

Anything posted on California State University, Chico social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn, Wordpress, etc.) should be in good taste and appropriate for all audiences. Because Chico State is a public institution, our social media channels are considered public forums. Our team will not personally remove comments, in order to maintain an open forum for the public voice.

Comments remain subject to the user agreements for each platform and may be reported for violating a platform's standards (e.g. Facebook's Community Standards(opens in new window)). Additionally, online harassment and threats of violence may be reported to law enforcement officials and/or Student Judicial Affairs as appropriate.

Privacy Policy

As a participant in California State University, Chico’s social media efforts, you take personal responsibility for your comments, your user name, and any information you choose to provide. Please do not post personal information such as phone numbers and addresses.

Each faculty, staff, and student user of Chico State’s computer communications systems is responsible for the material that he or she chooses to send or display using the campus computing/communication resources.

These guidelines are in support of and directly related to the existing Policy on Use of Computing and Communications Technology, Executive Memorandum-97-018(opens in new window) and Executive Memorandum 07-01(opens in new window).

Campus Social Media Account Usernames

Clear naming conventions help indicate accounts that are officially associated with the University and those that have a loose affiliation, like student clubs. Usage of "Chico State," "CSU, Chico" or another iteration of the University's name in a social media username is restricted to the following criteria.

Campus Departments/Programs

University departments and programs should include "Chico State" before their name to indicate their affiliation, such as:

  • "Chico State Department Name" or "Chico State Program Name"

  • Example: "Chico State College of Agriculture" or @ChicoStateStudyAbroad

Student Organizations

Campus-recognized student organizations should put their name before "Chico State" in their social media usernames, such as:

  •  “Club Name Chico State” or "Club Name at Chico State" 

    •  Clubs should NOT use “Chico State Club Name”

  • Example: @WildcatsOnWheelsChicoState


Most books, journals, magazines, photographs, art, sound recordings, computer programs, and websites are protected by copyright law. In addition, architecture, motion pictures, and dance choreography can also be protected by the law. So when you use ideas, words or phrases, images, or sounds from another source, be sure to seek out the copyright holder and obtain permission before you include that work in your social media copy.

 Most commonly, this can look like seeking the permission of an artist or photographer to use an image on your social media channels. 


“Plagiarism is the use of someone else's work, including words, ideas, projects and/or any other material without citing the source.” (Policy on Academic Integrity and the Establishment of the Academic Integrity Council; Revised Executive Memorandum 04-036)

 You can seek permission to post someone else’s images, words, and ideas, but social media also allows you to “share” (Facebook) or “retweet” (Twitter) posts from other sources, and that’s the best way to pass along someone else’s work while giving them credit. Read more about plagiarism and social media(opens in new window).

Photo Use Policy

See also “Photo Policy”(opens in new window) in CSU, Chico’s University Publication Guide

Posting photos on your social media sites is an effective way to generate engagement, but it’s important to follow a these simple guidelines:

Guide to Creating Content for Campus Social Media Accounts

Identify Team Capacity

A great place to start before you jump in to creating a social media calendar or committing to a TikTok account is to evaluate your team's capacity. Do you have students or team members who's primary responsibility it is to create for socials? Do you have a few team members with a few hours to spare every week to contribute to socials?

How much time in a month does your team have, and realistically, what can be accomplished in that time frame? Understanding your team capacity will help you more confidently create and meet social media goals for your team.

Identify Clear Goals

Social media goals can vary from campus clubs to departments, to colleges. We recommend clearly identifying 2-3 goals before you start creating content for your channels.

 Examples of goals can be:

  • At GSEC, we want to grow student attendance at our in-person and virtual events by 20%

  • At Adventure Outings, we want to increase awareness of outdoor safety practices with our incoming student audience

  • In the College of Business, we want to increase the amount of students that fill out our "Business School Inquiry" questionnaire during the fall semester

We recommend that your goals be connected directly to what your group or department is trying to achieve overall. We also recommend that your goals be measurable. 

For example, for the first goal, you would need to ensure that you are capturing how many students attend each of your events to know if there has been an increase since the previous school year. 

For the second goal, you could create a safety guide and track how many students download it. Or you can host IG Lives about outdoor safety, and measure the amount of students that engage with your live.

Make it simple, straightforward, and maintainable.

Identify Tactics

For each goal you set, identify 1-2 tactics. Tactics are specific ways that you can work towards that goal. For example, using the goals above, this is what tactics can look like:

Goal: At GSEC, we want to grow attendance at our in-person and virtual events by 20%


  1. We will begin posting about each event at least 30 days prior.

  2. We will invest in a link that makes our instagram feed clickable, to make the RSVP process more interactive and accessible.

  3. We will create 1-2 promotion Instagram Reels for each event as part of our promotion posts

  4. We will live post IG Story coverage of our events, to uplift how fun and engaging they are

Identifying social media tactics that are directly connected to achieving your goals, helps give you a clear idea of what kind of content is a priority for your team to create and publish.

Identify Platforms

When outlining how you will approach social media, think about which platforms you will prioritize. We recommend prioritizing platforms where your audience is already interacting with you, and identifying new platforms that you are interested in dabbling in as a slightly lower priority.

Creating a list of your top 3 platforms to prioritize content for this semester or year can be helpful.

For example:

  1. Instagram (we know our current audience engages with us here)

  2. Facebook (This is important for our older student and parent audience)

  3. YouTube (We want to start YouTube this year for longer evergreen videos)

Identify Audiences

It’s helpful to consider the following before creating social media accounts for your department and outlining what kind of content you will create. What audiences are you trying to engage?

Social media platforms can target different audiences, so deciding which audience(s) you want to engage in will help direct you to the platform which best suits your goals.

Examples of Audiences are:

  • Current students

  • Perspective students

  • Transfer Students

  • Incoming Students

  • Graduating Students

  • Online Students

  • Alumni

  • Parents or Guardians

  • Campus Staff or Faculty

Breakdown of Potential Audiences by Platform

  • Instagram: Prospective students, current students, and recent alumni

  • YouTube: Prospective students, current students, and general public

  • TikTok: Prospective students and current students

  • Facebook: Current students, parents, faculty/staff, and alumni (all ages)

  • Twitter: Current students, recent alumni, faculty/staff, news outlets, and industry partners

  • LinkedIn: Alumni and target markets/industries

Remember that it is most important to be where your audience is, rather than try to be on all of the platforms. You can always ask your desired audience where they are and where it makes sense for you to be.

If you are not familiar with social media, take some time to try out the platforms personally. The knowledge you can gain from simply trying out Instagram Reels, for example, far exceeds anything you can read in a guide.

Visual Consistency

Visual consistency helps communicate a sense of trust and credibility to your audience. We encourage you to create graphics and use photos that align with Chico State's overall visual identity for the greatest impact. For examples of social media graphics that utilize Chico State's visual identity, please see our visual identity guide here (PDF). Pages 61-65 have specific social media examples, but other sections are helpful for understanding how to communicate visually overall as a campus group, program, or department.

Content Planning

Mapping out your content ideas, and clarifying who is responsible for creating or reviewing content can be a very helpful tool.

We recommend using free apps like Airtable, Asana, Google Calendar, or an Excel Spreadsheet to map out your content in a calendar and outline important information about your post.

Aspects of content creation that are helpful to outline in the above apps:

  • Content title and description

  • Assignee(s)

  • Reviewer(s)

  • Primary Audiences

  • Platforms where the post will be published

  • Copy for post

  • Alt text

  • Hashtags or Links that are important to include

Content Scheduling & Analytics

There are paid apps where you can schedule your content to publish to your social media pages. We recommend apps like Sprout, Planoly, Hootsuite, and AgoraPulse for content scheduling. These apps will help you schedule your posts ahead of time to various social media platforms and at various times of day.

Using a scheduling app will also give you access to analytics tools where you can asses your most successful social media posts, and measure your progress towards the specific goals you have. You can also cross analyze your most successful social media platform and download automatically generated reports to share with your team.

You can view analytics within the apps of the social media platforms you are already using. For example, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can view insights into your most engaging posts and audience growth. These will not produce easily printable reports, and other analytics bells and whistles, but it is still helpful if your team does not currently have access to a scheduling app.