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Here are some answers to the questions the Social Media Engagement Team gets asked the most. If there’s something missing, please get in touch directly.

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 and amplify where appropriate. Or give us a heads up - with plenty of notice - via and with as much information as possible.

No one else is interested in this story, can you share it on social media?

In short, no. If the story’s not strong enough for other channels, it’s unlikely to work on social. On average, people spend 0.3 seconds on a social media post, so it needs to grab people’s attention, be interesting and relevant. Constantly posting content that doesn’t work on social media impacts the algorithm and how other content performs.

Want to set up a new OU social media account?

Guidance on building a business case for a new OU social media account and submitting an application can be found here

Do I have to include captions and subtitles?

Yes, they’re important. Captions are designed for viewers who cannot hear the audio in a video. Whereas subtitles should be made available to those who do not understand the language used in the video. ALL videos should be captioned and subtitled (unless pre-agreed in exceptional circumstances). What caption formatting should I be aware of? Captions need to be font Poppins and size 48. If you are adding captions or any graphics for a portrait video for TikTok or Instagram Reels, please check safe space guides to ensure the text won’t be cut off when loading into the channel. No captions, text or graphics on a TikTok or Reel should ever be in the bottom third of the video or the right-hand side.

Do we need to use ALT TEXT when we post an image?

Yes. Alt text (alternative text) describes the appearance or function of an image on a page. Alt text is read aloud by screen readers used by visually impaired users and displays in place of an image if it fails to load. Be sure to include ALT TEXT where possible – this can be done directly on social media channels or via third party scheduling tools like Hootsuite.

Does the OU logo have to be presented in a certain way? And what about brand colours?

Logo specifications and colours are dictated by the latest brand guidelines, which you can view here [link]. For further queries about the brand, please contact the brand team: SMET does work with other social account holders to provide on brand social first templates. Please get in touch to see if this applies to you.

Can I copy the content from one of the official social media channels and share it via our own account?

If the team shares a piece of content that is relevant to your Faculty or department, then please share the original post. Do not attempt to recreate the content and post it directly to your channels. If you find something that your followers would like, please click 'share' or 'retweet' and share directly from the original account. This enables the original source and account to be visible and credited, and to track stats. There’s also an option to add additional text to make the shared post more relevant to your audience.

How should we manage our own social accounts during a public emergency or crisis? 

In this situation, all communications on social media will be issued via ‘The Open University’ social media accounts. In order to minimise the risk of issuing conflicting and/or incorrect information, it is vital that all other corporate social media accounts DO NOT post information or updates during a live incident. Social media can be a key channel for staff, students and wider stakeholders during an emergency, and it is vital that the information provided is timely, consistent and accurate. SMET doesn’t expect or advise any team to handle a crisis in isolation – instead there’s an established procedure in place, which involves escalation, communication between teams and a central housing of reactive messaging.

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, please share the original post rather than trying to recreate it. Feel free to share and add on your department/faculty/project angle if appropriate. If you want to collaborate on a project, please contact SMET with as much notice as possible.

Who responds to student queries on social media?

All queries on social media are responded to as quickly as possible, either by the Social Media Engagement Team in Marcomms, or the Student Recruitment and Fees team. The corporate social channels are monitored throughout the week, as well as evenings and weekends. If you spot an issue or query you think may have been missed, please contact the 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, or there' something you're worried about, please contact SMET. If you become aware of an issue unfolding on the main brand accounts, please leave it to SMET to respond. Rest assured, the team will be dealing with the issue. If you are concerned something has been missed, email

Can I get support using Hootsuite?

Hootsuite is the social media management tool currently used by the Social Media Management Engagement Team, as well as Nations and Faculty accounts. If you need support using your Hootsuite account, please visit the Hootsuite Help Centre, live chat tfunction directly via Hootsuite or contact SMET. Hootsuite licences aren't currently available outside the grpups mentioned above.

Can I get support using Canva?

SMET runs a Canva account which is also utilised by Nations and Faculties - licences aren't currently available outside these groups, and specifically for social media.