USC Annenberg Media Resources

Annenberg Media Social Media Guidelines

Guidelines for posting to Annenberg Media on social media

Social media is a storytelling tool, not a promotional tool. We should encourage everyone in our newsroom to refer to it as such. You are not “promoting” people’s content — rather, you are distributing it to our audience and engaging with our community.

Twitter

  1. Accuracy and transparency are important above all else. This means we MUST:
  2. Proofread all tweets
  3. Confirm news before tweeting about it — Twitter should be our first step during breaking news
  4. Cite our source if we are going off a report from other news outlets (ex.: citing AP for election calls, Daily Trojan for an exclusive report on USG)
  5. Do not delete tweets!
  6. To issue a correction to a tweet containing a factual error, reply to the tweet,

delete @annenbergmedia, then rewrite the tweet with the correct information

  1. There may be rare circumstances when a tweet needs to be deleted. If this is the case, it must have faculty or fellow approval
  2. If you make a typo that is not a factual error, just let it live. Do not delete or correct the tweet
  3. Do not use colons before the link on tweets
  4. Use hashtags sparingly
  1. Hashtags are kind of passé on Twitter unless they are part of a trending topic or event
  2. Look for such trends and use hashtags in those cases, but otherwise avoid them
  1. When tweeting opinion pieces, always label as opinion or otherwise indicate it’s an

opinion piece or a review

  1. Do not encourage reporters to tag @annenbergmedia when tweeting from the field. Instead, you should monitor our Annenberg Media Reporters list on TweetDeck
  2. When tweeting a post from another platform, always rewrite the tweet text.
  1. Automatically generated text rarely sounds authentic or conversational.
  2. Tweets generated by Anchor are a good example

 

Facebook

  1. Facebook posts should be thoughtfully written to get the reader to engage right away by liking, commenting or sharing based on the Facebook text.
    1. Pull out the best nuggets of the story
    2. Keep the post to a max of three lines of text

 

  • Shoot for a caption around 12-18 words.

 

  1. Space out Facebook posts and always check the scheduled posts before posting or scheduling a post. Non-breaking news posts should be spaced out by a minimum of 1.5 hours. If we post more frequently, say evey 30 minutes, Facebook will demote our posts and we’ll reach less people.
  2. When issuing a correction on Facebook, edit the post and make it clear what you got wrong and what the correct information is
  1. You can do this in a conversational way, but your audience should not come away confused about what was incorrect and what is correct
  2. Do not simply change the information without telling your audience you made a mistake
  1. When posting opinion pieces, always label as opinion or otherwise indicate it’s an

opinion piece or a review

  1. Do not use colons before the link in your Facebook text
  2. If you are leaving the text of a link in your Facebook text, it must be a shortened bit.ly link
  3. Consider location or interest targeting and tagging when posting. Also look at the

“Trending” list and see if there are any relevant hashtags to use

  1. For breaking news:
  1. Consult with a beat editor to determine if it’s worth posting on Facebook immediately after it’s confirmed
  2. If it is: Confirm, tweet, then post to Facebook
  3. Consider using a photo if one is available that we have the rights to
  4. Check the schedule to see when the next post is due to be published. If it is within 1.5 hours, reschedule it for later and adjust the rest of the schedule accordingly. Depending on the nature of the breaking news, consider moving all scheduled posts to the next day for the sake of sensitivity

 

Stories (Snapchat and Instagram)

  1. There is one Story per day on each platform
  1. Two Stories total, one for Snapchat and one for Instagram
  2. You are responsible for choosing them and should base your judgment on newsworthiness, quality of pitch and fit for the platform
  1. If you have to issue a correction on a Story, do another snap/post in the Story that refers specifically to the snap/post with the incorrect information
  1. As with Facebook, you can do this in a conversational way, but your audience should not come away confused about what was incorrect and what is correct
  2. You can use more than one snap/post if needed
  1. Tell reporters that they should not use the filters that alter the color of the photo or video
  1. They should also stay away from the selfie lenses and video editing features (only use the video editing when there is a journalistic purpose and it’s immediately obvious to the viewer that the video has been sped up or slowed down)
  2. It’s OK to use geofilters and Boomerang
  1. Maintain all the values of accuracy and transparency, but embrace the medium
  1. Use emojis, drawing, etc.
  1. Still images should be no more than 4 seconds
  2. Always use text on screen
  3. Feel free to use a post to tell your audience to turn the sound on if it’s integral to the story

 

Instagram

  1. Every Instagram post should be a compelling photo or video
  1. It’s important to respect Instagram as a visual medium. Your story must be visually compelling.
  2. We don’t post social videos or text-heavy graphics. Our photos must be well composed compelling visuals that intrigue our audience and tell a story.
  1. Do not use filters
  1. We should not alter photos when it might not be immediately obvious to the viewer whether or how we did it
  1. To issue a correction on Instagram, use the comments
  1. Once again, you can be conversational, but you should always be clear about what was incorrect and what is correct
  1. Instagram doesn’t lend itself well to linking out and has unlimited characters, so consider how you can tell a complete (but short) story including making every update contextual
  2. Space out your posts. Instagram has a Facebook-style algorithm, plus we don’t want to flood users’ feeds
  3. Use hashtags liberally. Hashtag culture is different on Instagram than it is on Twitter, so it’s OK to use a lot of hashtags related to your post, such as #news, #la, #dtla, #losangeles, #college, etc.

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