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Where can I get images?

There are resources online where you can get rights-free stock imagery. Visit our section on Creating Images & Graphics for more information.

How do I start a new account?

Please read the guidelines carefully before deciding to start a social media account. When it comes to personal social media, you can find information in the Guidance By Social Network section of this toolkit.

For social media accounts you want to use in an official capacity for The Open University, please email to discuss your needs and get support setting up your account.

Want something shared on one of the corporate social media accounts?

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, where appropriate.

There are two ways for us to share your content - tag us into social media posts and we'll pick them up. Or give us a heads up - with plenty of notice - via and with as much information as possible.

As they have strict brand guidelines and quality control, you will make it easier for us to share your content to a wider audience by keeping things high quality:

  • Use the correct size of images for the social network
  • Don’t share vertical videos, always record in landscape
  • Use high quality images
  • Use relevant site links in your status updates and include people’s Twitter handles where appropriate
  • Give The OU Social Media Engagement Team as much notice as possible if you want them to help draw attention to something you're sharing

What do the Social Media Engagement Team (SMET) do?

The Social Media Engagement Team sits within the Communications Unit and is responsible for all organic (not paid) social media communications. For support on paid for advertising on social media, please contact Marketing.

SMET monitors all social media messages and mentions across the corporate accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram and responds accordingly.

The team is also responsible for best practice on social media - this includes tools, channels, processes, creating and scheduling, community management, optimisation (including for mobile), stats analysis, graphic design, video and audio, test and learn 'pilots', crisis management and social media campaigns.

The OU's corporate social media accounts are monitored during evenings and weekends.

Can I use OU branding?

If you are using The Open University branding on any social media, make sure you have checked the brand guidelines produced by the Marketing department. If in doubt, email

There are strict rules about how the logo can be used so if you are in any doubt, please check first.

If we're running social media for another part of the OU, how do we interact with the corporate accounts?

If the corporate account shares a piece of content that is relevant to your faculty or department, share the original post. Please do not attempt to recreate the content and post it directly to your channels.

For example, during Brainteaser Month (January) the corporate channels share engaging content every day that runs the gamut of what we do at The Open University. The chances are you will find something that your followers would like so click 'share' or 'retweet' and share directly from the original account:

Who responds to student queries on social media?

All student-facing queries on social media are responded to as quickly as possible, either by the Social Media Engagement Team in Communications, or the Student Recruitment and Fees team.

What do I do if I spot a potential social media crisis?

If you think something negative is likely to end up on social media, let us know in advance. It's useful to be able to allocate resource for responding to people and, where appropriate, prepare responses.

If you become aware of a communications crisis happening with the corporate account, please leave it to the social media engagement team to respond. Rest assured, they will be dealing with the issue. If you are concerned something has been missed, email