Standards for Social Media
Branding is one of the most important aspects of any marketing strategy regardless of channel, but on social media, it becomes much more apparent. Consistent and strategic branding allows for users to create and strengthen connections with the University and its subsidiary social media accounts.
As none of the major social networks allow for “verified” requests to officially recognize every Notre Dame owned account and because every social network is filled with hundreds of accounts created by fans to celebrate aspects of and their own personal affection for the University, a unified brand strategy is much more important. Not only do these guidelines improve the overall aesthetics of University accounts, they provide a cohesion among the channels that allows a user to quickly recognize that they are consuming content from a University entity.
Inclusion on nd.edu/social requires compliance with these standards.
The most important branding element of a social media presence is a common profile image. This piece of content should be uniform across all social platforms to reinforce brand awareness and allow users to immediately recognize that social network accounts on different platforms represent the same entity on campus.
Most users of any social network will view the platform from a mobile device. While a profile image may be created at a larger size, it will be scaled down and appear much smaller next to posts in users’ feeds. As such, the normal brand-standard lock-up for academic units may not be readable and is not recommended for this use. A more simplistic design will not only more closely align with the overall University brand standards, it will help readability and recognition of the visuals in your profile.
Using the Notre Dame monogram to visually identify that an account officially represents a University entity is an acceptable way to designate this connection.
The monogram may be used in one of two ways:
Use the monogram the primary element in the profile picture, with one or two words below it designating your entity.
In instances where your campus department is closely associated with a recognizable image or campus landmark, adding the monogram as a secondary element - offset to the right corner - is acceptable.
Note: Images of the Golden Dome with the offset Monogram are only to be used by @NotreDame and the University of Notre Dame on Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Tumblr and Instagram.
Centers, Institutes and Programs
If easily identifiable, institutes, centers and programs may use an appropriately cropped image of their logo.
Avoid any of other University marks (e.g. the academic mark, University seal or images of the leprechaun) in profile images.
The University has a dedicated bit.ly link shortener. Any link from nd.edu, watchnd.tv or und.com shortened on bitly.com will shorten to a custom link beginning with ntrda.me. A ntrda.me shortened URL is preferred because it provides a secure and legitimate idea of where a shortened link will take a user, increasing trust and clickability. It is recommended that all University accounts use bitly.com for shortening links.
Branding elements for Twitter should be chosen while being mindful of the fact that 80 percent of Twitter users view the platform from a mobile device. Simplicity will not only more closely align with overall University brand standards, it ensures readability and recognition of the visuals in your profile.
Twitter profile pictures are 400x400 pixels, but will scale down and appear much smaller next to your tweets in users’ feeds. Please refer to the “Common Elements” section for appropriate profile picture use.
Twitter’s header image is 1500 x 500 pixels as viewed on a desktop. Again, it is much smaller on mobile and is built to be responsive, meaning it will change sizes depending on the size of the screen on which a user views it. Normally, Twitter will crop from the top and the bottom, so the safest part of the image is the center.
Because other identifying symbols and information are in extremely close proximity, avoid placement of logos or lockups in the header image. This includes department lockups, the academic mark, the monogram, the leprechaun, etc. Also, be aware of where the profile image overlaps with the header image: As with all imagery of the Golden Dome, be mindful and respectful of the Virgin Mary and be certain that it is not obscured by cropping or other elements of a Twitter profile.
Contact OPAC to discuss use of a handle - existing or not - and for advice on the construction of a Twitter persona. OPAC’s centrality allows us to survey the University social landscape, as well as take into account how a Twitter account will appear to the public and how it will best serve the target audience. While an institute, program or center may be internally known by an acronym, choose a handle that will present the organization best and in the simplest way to the user. (In late 2012, the University Twitter account was changed from @NDdotEDU to @NotreDame for this reason - it was the best way for users to interact with the brand.) OPAC can also help troubleshoot if a preferred Twitter handle is already in use.
Note: The @ND_news Twitter account is the official news account of the University of Notre Dame, and the only account that should include news in its handle. Colleges, centers, institutes and programs obviously have news to share, as well, but this news should be shared on their main Twitter accounts so as not to dilute the brand and thus maintain robust posting habits on these accounts.
Scope creep in social media management is a common problem and we can all fall prey to the idea that we have enough time and energy to devote to multiple accounts on one platform. All colleges, centers, programs and institutes on Twitter should dedicate their time and efforts to one Twitter account to represent them publicly. Contact OPAC to discuss the use of multiple Twitter accounts for your college, center, program or institute. The conversation with OPAC will focus on how the content and audience for a second account may differ, as well as highlight tips and tricks to potentially integrate that content into one account.
As with Twitter, branding elements for Facebook should be chosen mindful of the fact that a growing number of users access the platform from mobile devices only.
Facebook profile pictures should be sized at 180x180 pixels, but will scale down to 160x160 and be seen much smaller on mobile devices. Please refer to the common elements section above to compose a Facebook profile photo.
The Facebook cover photo is a great way to engage audiences with gorgeous photos of campus. These are high-resolution images that are sized at 851x315 pixels and as such, should only include adequately sized photos - a “low-res comp download” size from photos.nd.edu should not be used here. Use at least a medium sized image or larger from photos.nd.edu.
Facebook profile pictures should be sized at 110x110 pixels, but are scaled down to should adhere to the common elements standards above. Please refer to the common elements section above to compose a Facebook profile photo.
Ideally, your Instagram name will mirror your Twitter handle. If your Twitter handle is not available on Instagram, contact OPAC for advice on the construction of an Instagram persona. OPAC will take into account how an Instagram account will appear to the public and how it will best serve the target audience.
Please contact OPAC if you wish to begin a Pinterest account for your division. OPAC will review the potential content and audience you wish to reach and advise on the best course of action for the platform while taking all Pinterest best-practices into consideration.
If you currently use Tumblr on behalf of the University or wish to begin doing so, please contact OPAC. At OPAC’s discretion, the Tumblr account may be promoted on nd.edu/social.
Tumblr profile images must be at least 128x128 pixels. While Tumblr supports gif profile images, it is not recommended that a University-owned account use a moving image in this way. Please refer to the “Common Elements” section above for appropriate profile picture use.
Please contact OPAC if you wish to begin an account on any emerging platform (i.e. Snapchat) for your division or department.