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University policy

Please refer to the University policies on employee social media usage and dignity and respect.

University social channels


It is vital that, as far as is possible, the University has a unified approach to social networks so as not to dilute the institution's presence. Our main Facebook page is sufficient for news, announcements and discussion about the University in general and Facebook users will expect to see one official page for the University.

It may be appropriate to create new Facebook pages or groups if these are for a well-defined audience with a specific aim. Example: a Facebook page to support a particular research centre.

Before creating a new Facebook presence please:

  • Contact Charlotte Sweet to discuss your requirements
  • Ensure that you have sufficient time and resource to support a Facebook page.
  • Facebook is very much about people identifying with the subject of the page/group and wanting to join in with that issue
  • Your audience’s interaction is a key part of the process
  • Your posts should always be of interest, timely and part of creating an ‘experience’ for your audience
  • Facebook is a two-way medium and you should be ready and able to respond to any questions or direct messages
  • Content in your posts should be professional in tone and grammatically correct, but avoid overly formal language. Talk to your followers as you would face-to-face in a professional setting.
  • News stories, upcoming events, open days, visits and university developments are all suitable subjects for updates
  • Bear in mind that news headlines and central events with links to webpages are automatically posted to the official page by Communication and Marketing Services
  • Consider carefully whether you have the material to ensure a proposed new page or group is kept current so that your audience doesn’t lose interest.
  • Privacy: Facebook maintains ownership of all content uploaded to the service. Bear in mind that once content is posted to Facebook, it is not at all easy to delete or recall. You can also control the way that different people see your profile by adjusting your privacy settings.
  • Think about what your posts say about the University
  • Communications and Marketing Services may already have a strategy in place for communicating specific topics. Always check with Charlotte Sweet  if you want to post anything to the official corporate page.


LinkedIn is a social networking website specifically aimed at professionals. Users can

  • add people as contacts
  • send their contacts messages
  • update personal profiles to notify contacts about their activities
  • recommend and be recommended by contacts for their professional skills
  • join groups in order to communicate with other professionals within the same sector or industry
  • ask and answer questions related to the industry they work in.

LinkedIn works much like Facebook but sacrifices much of the additional functionality (photos, videos, games, applications) for a more professional, networking-based ethos. LinkedIn is actually older than Facebook, having been founded in 2002.

  • LinkedIn's demographic is very different to many other social networks. For example, its 85 million users have an average age of 43.

Professional services staff at the University who deal directly with external clients and contacts may find it useful to be on LinkedIn. This may include staff in Research Services, Innovation, Impact and Business, graduate employability, alumni relations, the Business School, or any other department or academic College. It may also be useful for academics who wish to engage with business or with other academics at different institutions (although the academic demographic on LinkedIn is not especially large).

LinkedIn is no different from face-to-face networking and the same considerations can and should be applied, just with added awareness of the nature of online interaction.

Because of the emphasis on individual contacts and expertise, it is important that people on LinkedIn manage their own profiles in a professional manner. Using LinkedIn successfully is about selling yourself and your skills in the same way you would in a job application or interview.

Tips for getting the most out of LinkedIn:

  • Complete your profile – a % bar gauges how complete your profile is and offers suggestions to improve it
  • Make sure you use a good-quality, recent photo
  • Join groups relevant to the people you need to network with, and participate in relevant discussions
  • If the groups you need don’t already exist, start them and invite people to join
  • Answering questions related to your field of expertise is an excellent way to position yourself as an authority and build your reputation
  • Recommend people you have worked with by writing testimonials for them
  • When asking to connect with someone new, personalise the message to make it specific to them
  • Integrate your email contacts to save searching for people

If you need further advice on using LinkedIn, please contact

Consider what you want to achieve. LinkedIn is about consolidating existing contacts and developing new ones by demonstrating their professional expertise. This can be done via

  • groups
  • answers
  • status updates or
  • individual messages

Whichever method you use, your postings should always be of interest, timely and demonstrate your professional knowledge.

  • LinkedIn is a two-way medium and you should be ready and able to respond to any questions or direct messages
  • The content that you post should be professional in tone and grammatically correct
  • Communicate with your contacts as you would communicate with them in any other professional context, be that by email, telephone, or in person.
  • Although all activity you undertake on LinkedIn is in your own name, if you have the University listed as your current employer you are still effectively representing the institution.
  • Likewise, your own professional reputation is the one most at risk from inappropriate behaviour.
  • Ownership of contacts: if there are formalised systems for bringing contacts back to a central system with your department, these should be followed for LinkedIn contacts in exactly the same way as for those met at professional events or in the course of normal projects.


Twitter is a social networking and microblogging service that enables its users to send and read other users' messages called ‘tweets’.

  • Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author's profile page
  • Users may subscribe to, or ‘follow’ other authors' tweets
  • Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, compatible external applications for desktop or smartphones, or by SMS.

Twitter’s simplicity means it can be useful in a number of ways, although each will require planning and an investment of time to manage.

  • Pushing content – linking to news stories and webpages, posting updates about events etc
  • Monitoring opinion – searching for discussion about topics, people, or institutions you are interested in; not least keeping tabs on what people might be saying about you, your institution, or your work!
  • Communicating with peers – Twitter allows you to directly, but relatively casually, engage in discussion with people in your field in a very different way to email
  • Crowd-sourcing information – once you have an engaged set of followers, you can ask them questions; many people use Twitter as an alternative to search engines, as it offers the potential for peer-recommendation, often more trusted than search results
  • Finding new contacts – searching for people in your field, following them, retweeting useful things they say, and engaging with their discussion is a very good method of online networking; equally, investigating who the people you follow also follow in turn is a great way of expanding your contacts

Remember that, apart from monitoring opinion, being on Twitter is only useful if you have an engaged set of followers. The best way to encourage and grow your followers is to:

  1. Post interesting content that people want to read, and
  2. Engage with people directly by joining in conversations and answering questions.

In this way Twitter is like any other online communication tool – its brevity, flexibility, speed, and popularity are what marks it apart.

The University has an official Twitter presence at It is managed by Marketing, Recruitment, Communications and Global.

The University’s Twitter ID is @uniofexeter.

Several other Twitter presences have been established for specific audiences or topics. These are listed at

The University’s Twitter presence is suitable for tweeting about any areas of University activity. If you would like to tweet via @uniofexeter, please send your text to Charlotte Sweet.

It may be appropriate to create additional Twitter presences if these are for a specific and well-defined audience for promotion / discussion of a specific topic. An example might be a Twitter presence to support a large international conference.

Before creating a new Twitter presence please:

  • Contact Charlotte Sweet to discuss
  • Ensure that you have sufficient time and resources to support it.
  • Your tweets should be professional and grammatically correct, but avoid overly formal language.
  • Talk to your followers as you would talk to them face-to-face in a professional setting.
  • Keep in mind that the 140-character limit encourages a number of unique conventions; posts that spread across more than one tweet are discouraged, but occasional use of truncations is acceptable.

News stories, upcoming events, open days, visits and University developments are all suitable subjects for tweets. Please note that news headlines with links to webpages are automatically tweeted by Marketing, Recruitment, Communications and Global.

Gossip and personal details (eg what you had for lunch) are not appropriate for a University twitter presence, although opinions may be (eg ‘It’s great to see so many happy families here for Degree Week’). Remember always that you are tweeting on behalf of the University.

Tweets works best when they encourage further action. Include a link to a webpage for further information or encourage followers to respond if they want further information. You may find it useful, given the character limit, to use a URL shortening service such as when linking to webpages.

Twitter can also be useful for gauging opinions and requesting information from followers. Bear in mind at all times that your tweets, and most responses, will be public.

Twitter is a two-way medium and you should be ready to respond to any questions or direct messages. However, it is also an ephemeral medium, and if you have a great number of followers, they will not all expect individual responses to messages they may send to you.

The question of how personal Twitter accounts relate to the University is a tricky one. Staff will always use social media to talk to their friends, but remember that if using your real name or an easily decipherable pseudonym, it can be easy for controversial content to bring the institution into disrepute by association.

Academic colleagues should carefully consider how they gauge tweets directly related to their research. Social media can be a fantastic way to facilitate inter-disciplinary and cross-institutional collaboration, but please take care not to disclose any content that may be commercially sensitive.


YouTube is a video-sharing website on which users can upload, share, and view videos.