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Twitter Best Practices

Twitter is a great social media platform for providing news updates and timely information. It is a great platform for communicating to your audience on a frequent basis – even multiple times each day. Messages can include text, links, photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and location information.

Audiences and Content

In University Communications’ experience, Twitter is particularly effective for reaching alumni, current students, faculty, and staff audiences.

Content that we’ve found to be most engaging for alumni includes questions, nostalgia, and pride points. Alumni audience members tend to engage through commenting, sharing, and reading content.

Content that we’ve found to be most engaging for current students includes user-generated content, authentic conversations, humor, and visuals. Current students tend to engage through creating content, voicing opinions, and reading content.

Content that we’ve found to be most engaging for faculty and staff includes announcements of grants and coverage of research. These audience members tend to engage by sharing content.

Help and Support

The Twitter Help Center is a resource for questions regarding the use of the platform. Visit as a first step in learning about the platform and for troubleshooting any issues.

How should I use Twitter at MSU?

A Twitter account can be set up with just an email address, but you can only have one Twitter account tied to each email address. If you need multiple Twitter accounts, you’ll need multiple email addresses.

Visit the Using Twitter section of the Twitter Help Center for general information on creating and using a Twitter account.

Anyone can log in to the Twitter account using the associated email address or the Twitter handle, and the account password. Any profile customizations will need to be made directly in Twitter. For posting messages (“tweets”) you may alternatively choose to use an external program. Some external apps and websites even allow you to schedule tweets in advance. Examples include Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.

To ensure the best appearance for your account, be sure to follow the image guidelines outlined by Twitter. See the links below.

When creating a new Twitter account, you may choose to refer to the following checklist:

  • Assign a staff member to have primary responsibility for managing the account, and have at least one staff member as a backup.
  • Upload an appropriately sized cover and profile image.
  • Complete the account profile sections (brief description, link to your website, etc.).
  • Promote your account internally to build the number of followers.
  • Develop a schedule for regularly posting content.
  • Promote your account handle (on your website, on print pieces, on other social media accounts, etc.).

As you manage your Twitter account, you may choose to refer to the following checklist:

  • Post regularly with content relevant to your audience.
  • Be sure that your cover images are updated periodically so that they remain seasonally appropriate, if using photographs. (i.e. Don’t feature summer flowers in December.)
  • Treat each tweet as if it stands alone. Do not leave context open to interpretation.
  • When live-tweeting an event or conference, be sure to use quotation marks and provide context so that a speaker's remarks cannot be construed as the voice of the brand.
  • Utilize appropriate hashtags in order to be included in conversations.
  • Refer to Twitter Analytics for your account as a guide for post performance.
  • Change your account password as staff changes. Only current MSU employees should have access to the account.

Additional Resources

Below are links to relevant resources shared at Social @ Michigan State events. See the meetings and workshops lists on the Campus Community page for additional information regarding these events.