Social Media Best Practices & Strategy at Brown University

If you need social media assistance or have questions about setting up a social media presence on behalf of your institution, department or organization, please reach out to the Office of University Communications at We will be happy to strategize how you can use social media and emerging communication technologies to help achieve your goals. We can also provide tactical assistance for events, campaigns and promotions. 


Over one billion people use Facebook to stay connected with other people, organizations, causes, groups, and ideas. The Brown University Facebook Page is a way to connect with the student body, with prospective students, alums, parents, and others. Brown's Facebook Page is open, so that anyone may Like, Comment and Share Brown-related news, thoughts, questions, videos and photos. The page itself posts about events of interest, news articles, photos, videos and other happenings on campus.

Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites, used to stay in touch with friends, family, groups, and organizations. Users can post pictures or status updates, join groups to discuss shared interests or to plan events, spread news about current events; sign up for discounts from organizations; or chat with others through a built-in instant messaging interface.

If you plan on representing a department or group at Brown on Facebook, we recommend that you set up a Page instead of a Group. For information about the difference between Pages and Groups, see this official Facebook blog post on the topic:

While Pages were designed to be the official profiles for entities, such as celebrities, brands or businesses, Facebook Groups are the place for small group communication and for people to share common interests and express opinions.

If you already have a personal Facebook account, or if you would like one, you may create a Page from that account and become its administrator. Your name will not show up publicly on the Page; non-administrators cannot determine the identity of an administrator of a Page. You also have the option of creating a Page without linking it to a personal account. You can do so from the Facebook homepage while logged out.

"Like" pages or join groups to stay up to date on your favorite activites. You may need a Facebook account in order to view the links below.

Once you have a Page, you should customize it and begin populating it with content before publicizing it. For advice on customization, appearance, appropriate content and publicizing, you may set up an appointment with a social media advisor at the Office of University Communications via email.


Twitter is a service that allows anyone to post or send out "tweets," which are 140-character messages posted on a user's Twitter page.

Brown uses Twitter to provide news, events, and important University announcements through its @BrownUniversity account.

Alumni can keep in touch with Brown through the Twitter feeds of the Brown Alumni Magazine, the Alumni Association, or by following Brown's list of Alumni-Related Groups.

Brown maintains lists of active Twitter accounts, including:

Tweets are used to update friends and followers, mobilize movements, spark discussion, or raise awareness. The power of Twitter lies in easy and immediate accessibility to a potential audience, the brevity of posted messages, the speed at which information may be transmitted, and the ability to update from multiple times a day to less than once a month.

To maximize your use of Twitter and engage with the community of other users, you may utilize both retweeting and hashtags.

Retweeting is similar to forwarding an email to others. If you are signed in to your Twitter account and see a tweet that you would like to post on your own wall, with attribution, hover over the tweet and click the Retweet button. The other user's post will then appear on your own wall, with their name and picture, and will also show up to any users who are following your account.

Hashtags, which are words or phrases preceded by the pound sign (#), are useful for driving discussion or conversation around an issue or idea, as well as for categorizing posts. They are like subject lines in emails or tags added to blog posts. 

You may also tweet at users by using the @ sign before their username, such as: "@brownuniversity: I will miss you when I graduate!"

Twitter is a great tool for quickly reaching an audience, but care should be taken to post tweets regularly to keep others engaged. There are dozens of applications that integrate with Twitter and can simplify your Twitter experience, both browsing and posting; for help with your account, contact us.


YouTube is a video-sharing website that runs on user-generated content. Its educational branch, YouTube EDU, hosts lecture-style content from colleges and universities.

Brown's YouTube channel is home to various interesting and noteworthy lectures and presentations. It is also home to videos displayed previously on Brown's homepage.

Other Brown-related groups and departments have YouTube channels, including:

YouTube is a video hosting site used by people, groups, and organizations to upload, share, and store video clips and movies. Its educational partner, YouTube EDU, is used for lecture-style educational content from schools, colleges, and universities. Brown has an account with YouTube EDU, which allows it to upload videos longer than the 15-minute limit imposed on regular accounts.

If you create a channel for your organization or department, it must be a regular YouTube channel and conform to YouTube guidelines on upload length and size limits. How to create a YouTube channel.

Since 2011, all YouTube accounts must be linked to a Google account. You can either use your existing account or create a new Gmail account for your department. Either way, the email address you use with the YouTube account will not be visible to the public unless you choose to display it.


Flickr is a photo-sharing site where anyone can upload photos and videos and tag them with keywords and locations. Users can also add photos to "groups," which are collections of photos from various users.

Brown moderates the Brown University group pool, a public collection of Brown-related photos from various users. Feel free to add any of your pictures from around Brown to the pool!

You can also take a look at Brown's Galleries, which are hand-picked collections of users' photos from around Flickr. There are galleries for Brown in winterpublic artThayer Street, and more.

Other Flickr users at Brown include:

Flickr is a photo- and video-sharing website owned by Yahoo!. Users can upload photos, tag them with keywords and locations, and add photos to groups (which are collections of photos from various users).

As an owner of a Flickr account, you may organize your photos into Sets and Collections. Sets are groups of photos and videos organized around a common theme, such as an event or,subject matter. Each photo can appear in multiple sets. Collections are groups of sets.

Once photos are in a set, you may embed them in a website or display them as a slideshow. You may also share photos and sets on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Blogger, and other sites straight from the Flickr website. There are multiple privacy levels for Flickr sets and photos: you may make them private, accessible only to certain contacts, or public.

iTunes U

iTunes is best known as music- and video-playing software, but through its iTunes Store the platform is also a massive repository of music, videos, and podcasts.

The educational wing of iTunes is called iTunes U, which is a free information distribution system that holds lectures, audiobooks, performances, and many other types of educational material.

Brown's iTunes U account is host to lectures, student work, class resources, and other content, including:

iTunes U, like YouTube EDU, is the educational arm of iTunes. It hosts multimedia content, including audio and video files as well as PDF and ePub files. Files may be manually uploaded and hosted on the Apple server, or they may be read from existing RSS feeds. Content must relate in some way to Brown, although there is a broader range of acceptable content than on YouTube EDU. For a detailed overview of iTunes U, see the Administration Guide.

As a content manager, to be hosted on iTunes U you must request a Collection be created in the existing Brown University iTunes U site. To do so, email with the details of the Collection you would like created and iTunes U administrators will get back to you with instructions.


LinkedIn is a social media site aimed at business and professional networking. There are almost 100 million registered users, including many Brown alumni, faculty, staff and current students.

The Brown Alumni Association has a well-developed network of LinkedIn groups, which spans from their main Alumni group to industry-specific, interest-based, geographical, and other groups.

Wondering how to get started? The LinkedIn Learning Center is available to guide you through the process.

Before creating a LinkedIn page, we encourage you to visit the Online Networking Hub of the Alumni Association.