Social Media Best Practices & Tips

Before using social media as a representative of Rice University and the George R. Brown School of Engineering, please review the university's social media guidelines.

Getting Started

When defining your organization’s social media strategy and presence, here are some key factors to consider:

  1. What platform(s) do my constituents use most frequently?
  2. What types of content engage best on each platform?
  3. What time/resource commitment is required to both effectively use social media as a marketing channel, and to engage directly with users?

Rice Engineering on Social Media

The School of Engineering focuses its social media efforts on three primary platforms, which serve as a hub for all things Rice Engineering:

The Rice Engineering academic departments each use various social media platforms. Here is a list of those departmental social media accounts.

Who is your primary audience and how are they using social media?


  • Alumni
  • Parents and families
  • Companies and organizations

How are they using Facebook?

  • Give and elicit feedback
  • Consume news and stories — profiles, rankings
  • Visuals — large images, galleries, flyers
  • Targeted advertising


  • Rice departments
  • Peer institutions
  • Faculty (internal and external)
  • Media and publications
  • Companies and organizations

How are they using Twitter?

  • Real-time content and information
  • Influencer/media/corporate outreach, conversation
  • News feed
  • Hashtag campaigns
  • RTs
  • Memes, humor


  • Current students — especially undergraduate
  • Prospective students
  • Recent alumni

How are they using Instagram?

  • Emotional responses to visuals
  • Recognition, beauty, humor, sentiment
  • Hashtags, geotags, account tags


  • Alumni (and job seekers)
  • Current (upper-level and graduate) students
  • Faculty
  • Companies and organizations

How are they using LinkedIn?

  • Alumni/student success
  • Network opportunities
  • Industry connections
  • Industry- and location-based targeting

How you can use social media


What works:

  • Videos
  • Photo galleries
  • Clear photos of people (you want to see the whites of their eyes)
  • Rankings and awards
  • Feature stories, especially people who are well-known to your audience

Video: Host videos on Facebook due to auto-play function.

Links: Shorten links using (including custom URLs, i.e. — easier to read and track data/performance.

Engagement: Social media needs to be social, so be sure to engage! Like user comments, reply to them, tag other pages. Read and respond to private messages.

Cross-promote: Use Facebook to drive users not only to your website/articles, but also to other social media accounts, and vice versa.


What works:

  • Influencer outreach (fellow faculty, departments, professional organizations, news media, companies)
  • Real-time updates, content sharing


  • Using all 280 characters
  • Tweets that are all text with no @s, hashtag, photo, video or link
  • Mentioning an individual/organization that has an account without @ing them, especially if they have a lot of followers
  • Being anti-social by not engaging with other accounts.

Lists: Curate lists of constituents on Twitter — faculty, deans, competitors, alumni, publications, etc.

Visuals: Include photos to make tweets stand out (up to 4 images) or share videos (up to 1:30 in length).

Hashtags and @s:

  • Don’t overdo - Limit to 1-2 common or active hashtags that are relevant to your organization
  • For @s, add in photos to save characters.

Engage: Support other accounts’ good content through likes, quote tweets with encouraging comments — to be nice and for exposure. Identify your popular, engaged followers.


What works:

  • Captivating visuals — scenery, group photos, action shots, smiles, Rice swag
  • Focus on compelling, sharp, high-resolution photography
  • Do more Instagram Stories
  • Be personal, authentic


  • Photos of people from a distance
  • Faces looking down
  • Low-res images pulled from the internet
  • Flyers or images with text on them
  • Lots of text in the caption (don’t expect people to read captions)

Captions and hashtags:

  • Keep it short and lead with what’s most important
  • Emojis are good, but not too many
  • No URLs unless they’re easy to type (try a custom or use “Link in our bio”)
  • Limit to 1-2 common, short and easy-to-read hashtags


  • Add a common location geotag (i.e. Rice University) to your posts. This is just an additional way for users to see your content and connect with your account.


  • Easy, quick and because they go away after 24 hours, less pressure to have great quality visuals and informative captions
  • Be fun and also strategic with them
  • Consider turning over to a user for a day for a grassroots look at your organization or a project


What works:

  • Alumni achievements/outcomes
  • Job openings
  • Awards
  • Graduating student profiles
  • Networking events
  • Rankings
  • Faculty research
  • Similar practices to Facebook, but more professional


We recommend you avoid creating departmental YouTube accounts. For all video uploads, send to Rice Engineering for hosting on the School of Engineering YouTube account.


In the event of an emergency or crisis, share only official information from the university or School of Engineering or Rice University accounts. Sharing other information may lead to false or confusing information spreading online. We recommend that brand managers postpone previously scheduled posts until the immediate situation has been resolved.

  • Continuously monitor accounts for interactions
  • Post or share relevant content regularly
  • Respond to posts in a timely manner
  • Be transparent and avoid misrepresentation
  • Offer correction when false information is presented
  • Ask the School of Engineering Communications team for assistance when needed

Additional Resources

Refer to this Guide to Social Media Image Sizes to know what size to crop your images to use for your profile, banner or in your posts.