Style Guide Purpose
The purpose of this document is outline style guidelines for Austin Community College's central social media accounts. This document is updated frequently. For additional information on language and logo guidelines, see the ACC Editorial and Graphics Style Guide on the Office of Communications & Marketing website.
Social Media Voice
Who we are: The go-to source for up-to-date, informative material concerning Austin Community College. We are a diverse community focused on providing everyone with access to an affordable and flexible education to help students reach their goals, learn new skills, and advance in their career path. We provide students with any and all information they need to start and continue on their pathway to success.
Our tone: Just like the community we live in, we are quirky, intelligent, and constantly looking for ways to help better the place we live. Our voice remains official and professional, but also friendly and approachable. We are always engaging with our followers and ask questions that need to be asked. We provide the most accurate answers and feedback possible while maintaining a public eye and actively involving ourselves in our community. We stay true to our core values and mission, and immediately and respectively address concerns specific to ACC.
Ownership of Posts
All messages on all central media platforms are posted in the character voice described above. We DO NOT attach names or initials to posts.
Positivity and Transparency
We present our messages with a positive attitude, but are honest and transparent in the information we share.
- We always do our best to reference another account (when appropriate or available) in any message we share.
- When possible, reference the account mid-message as opposed to the end.
Dates and Times
- For times, use am and pm (lowercase, no periods). 3 pm, 10 am.
- Use “to” between times (2 pm to 4 pm) unless space is needed. Then use a dash. (2-4 pm).
- Write out full words for days of the week (Monday, Tuesday) and use dates (5/19) to save space or reference dates in advance. Months can also be abbreviated (Jan., Feb.) for space.
- Time-stamp the beginning of weather- and emergency posts. When posting updates, include the newest post as a comment on previous posts.
Notes on Punctuation
- Use a colon and a space before a link.
- An exclamation point or question mark can also introduce a link.:
- Use a single exclamation point to signal excitement.
- In VERY RARE instances (major celebrity appearances, top awards, international recognition, etc.) multiple exclamation points may be used (but think judiciously about whether the situation warrants more than one).
- Use an ellipsis (three periods, no spaces) to show where something has been omitted (as in a quote that’s been shortened) OR (in rare instances) to signal suspense. Toxic sludge, childhood cancer, government neglect...and a Pulitzer Prize!
- Replace “and” with ampersand (&), NOT plus (+) to save characters when necessary
- Include any relevant mentions, as long as the account is active.
- Avoid using more than 3 mentions in a single post, unless doing a #FollowFriday/#FF post – then as many relevant mentions as can fit are allowable.
- Use MT signal when a quoted tweet has been modified or shortened. Use RT if retweeting someone else’s post, and leaving another comment prior to the RT.
- When quoting tweets always add something new before the RT or MT.
ex: Thanks—trying these now! MT @ACCTransfer Morning ACC! Check out 8 things to do every day to be better at work (and life) ht.ly/xCy5h
- Try for 1-2 native RTs (not quoting) per day.
- Try to include at least one hashtag per post. Avoid using 3+ hashtags in a single post.
- Cite the source of an article or news item by tagging the relevant account at the end of the message in brackets, or saying “via @sourcename”.
ex:Harlem's all-black WWI regiment fought to convince America to live up to its democratic promise: http://bit.ly/1sbrdAp [@nytimes] or via @nytimes
Facebook | Google+
- Shorten all links using bit.ly/po.st
- Use line breaks
- Include any relevant mentions, as long as the account is ACTIVE and the names of the mentioned accounts aren’t so long as to be cumbersome.
- Delete the text URL from your post if displaying the link preview.
- For a post where you don’t want the preview to show, use a shortened link (bit.ly) in the message itself. However, it’s use the link preview if you are attaching some sort of other media (picture/video) to your post.
- Give videos descriptive names to support SEO.
- Include relevant hyperlinks after description.
- Edit photos and apply filters in third-party software or apps (such as VSCCam, Lightroom, or iPhoto).
- Images should be artsy but not unnatural—effects should never compromise image quality (i.e. avoid effects that create intense sharpening, contrast, strange color casts, or overexposure.)
- Avoid using similar effects or color palettes consecutively. (The appearance of the main Instagram profile should have rows of thumbnails that have a similar aesthetic but not too uniform.)
- Shoot photos on a DSLR or other high-resolution producing camera whenever possible (as opposed to using an iPhone.)
- Twitter - 6 to 9 posts daily – Original tweets and retweets combined.
- Instagram - 2 posts/week
- Facebook - 1 to 2 posts daily
- YouTube - Varies
- Google+ - 1 post daily
- LinkedIn University - 1 t 2 posts weekly
- All avatars should align with ACC branding guide.
- Cover images should be the same across ALL platforms.
- Twitter - Favorite tweets from influential followers and #accdistrict, #iamacc, and #riverbats hashtagged tweets
- Facebook - Like comments from users. Use inline comments to reply to users when there is an opportunity to respond. Delete spam
- Instagram - Like pictures that are #accriverbats, #iamacc, #accdistrict related. Follow back users who comment frequently or tag using our brand hashtags in their photos. Liking photos which were geo-tagged at our campuses is also a good practice to increase followers.
ACC brand hashtags
- #ACCHighland or other campus
- #ACCGrad201X (commencement)
Other regularly used hashtags