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Official Social Media Accounts

Why does it benefit The Open University when we use social media?

The corporate Open University social media channels would love to showcase all the great work coming from each of the university departments, and endeavour to do so at every opportunity. However, sometimes things happen unexpectedly which mean they have to focus on a policy announcement or communications issue and put a hold on any other news and updates. This empowers each department to be able to create and manage their own communities where appropriate as well as work with the corporate channels to reach a wider audience when required. Fundamentally, social media works best when people engage with each other. By departments and individuals being more active, we can share each other’s messages and ensure that we reach the widest, appropriate audience possible.

The Open University Marketing department have strict brand guidelines. It is important that any official accounts created for use by your department adhere to these. If you have a specific brand query, please email Marketing at brand-enquiries@open.ac.uk

Why do we need guidelines?

It’s important that we have guidelines to help staff get the most out of social media while maintaining quality and standards. Social media may be free but your time isn’t and building a strong, engaged community on any social network will require a significant investment of time and resource. These guidelines are the perfect partner to the training resources and support on our updated Social Media Toolkit. There are already strict guidelines for using The Open University brand. It's important that we extend these quality controls to our activity on social media. These guidelines are not designed to stop you using social media for your department but to ensure you get the most value out of the time and resource you’re investing.

Do you need an account?

There are strict guidelines for anyone using The Open University brand and sharing on social media. Make sure you are working within them.

Before creating an account, fill out the request form on the Social Media Toolkit homepage. In preparation, go through these questions:

  • Why do you want to start an account? What would you like to achieve with it?
  • Could working with the corporate Open University social media channels achieve the same outcome?
  • How much time do you have to dedicate to running your social media accounts? For example, to run a successful Twitter account takes a minimum of 10 hours per week, every week.
  • Who is your target audience and do you have content which they will find valuable?
  • When you complete the questionnaire, someone from the social media engagement team will be in touch to discuss next steps.

SocialSign tutorial

Social Sign In Tutorial

Information and tutorial videos to help you make the most of using Social Sign In for scheduling and monitoring your social media updates.

Plan for Success

Whether you have just set up a new social media account or you have been running one for a long time, you need to have a plan for success. Use these steps to help you create and implement a simple social media strategy: 

This 4 step method will help you to focus your time and resource on the activities which are most important when it comes to reaching your faculty goals.

Goals - Make sure you are completely clear on what you are trying to achieve with any social media account you set up. Avoid vanity goals like followers or views for your content. Keep asking yourselves ‘why?’ until you are at the absolute core of what you want. This is also a good time to decide which metrics are going to represent success so that you can track your achievements accurately.

Target Audience - Who exactly are you trying to engage with your social media activity? Are they already served by the corporate OU social media channels? If not, which social network are they actively spending time on? The social media team can help you to find this out if you’re unsure. It’s important you don’t make assumptions here. Audiences move and grow daily so you may be surprised.

Content - Do you have quality content ready to share? Spend some time on your chosen social network reviewing the content your audience are currently engaging with. It’s a good idea to set up a Content Calendar to help you organise your time and resource for content creation. There are resources available on the Social Media Toolkit to help you get started with content creation. Please also check with the social media team for advice and guidance on best practice if you’re unsure.

Measure & Improve - Your time is precious so it is vital that you make sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts. Go back to your agreed goals and check whether your activity is working for you. Again, you can visit the Social Media Toolkit for further support and advice.




*Click here to see the staff guidelines

If you are running a social media account for one of The Open University nations, a faculty or business department, please see the full guidelines above.