Social Media Guidelines
Oxford University Press is committed to disseminating scholarship and furthering education around the world. It is core to our mission to ensure that our authors’ work reaches as wide and diverse an audience as possible.
One of the ways we support this is by actively engaging with social media across a range of platforms and channels. We have put together the following guidelines to help you make the most of our existing social web presence and think about developing or expanding your own.
We will be happy to work with you to develop a social media strategy in line with your objectives, preferred tools, and desired commitment level. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your marketing manager or OUP Editor to discuss specific tools and map out your approach.
A blog is a website in the form of a diary that allows people or businesses to write regularly about topics or events that interest them. Blogs usually include photos, videos, and links, and allow readers to comment on and discuss entries.
How we use it:
- Talented authors, staff, and friends of OUP provide daily commentary on the OUPblog, which is now the most highly trafficked academic publishing blog in the world, with 30,000–40,000 unique visitors per month.
- Approximately three articles are featured each day from OUP authors across the full range of our academic content, from books to journals to online products.
- US and UK based editors offer a global view across our core academic publishing areas and promote the thought leadership of our authors.
How you can use it:
- Blog editors work with marketing managers, editors, and authors from early on in the product life-cycle to identify potential contributions and optimal timing for publication.
- Contact your Oxford Handbooks Online Editor or marketing manager if you are interested in contributing and for a set of blogging guidelines.
- Focus on a subject you are passionate about and where you can demonstrate your expertise.
- Be prepared to a long-term commitment of blogging a minimum of three times a week.
- Our blog can be a great testing ground to see if you would like to set up your own platform.
- Users are reading on the web so your article must be concise and scannable.
- Use images or rich media (videos, podcasts, and so on) to boost engagement and interest.
- Aim to create blog content that offers a point of view and can spark dialogue with your readers.
Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that enables people to send and read short messages called ‘tweets’. With close to 200 million registered users, it can be an effective way to connect with readers around the world. Messages are limited to 140 characters, so each post must be very succinct (use URL shorteners to maximize space). Twitter has an extremely high signal-to-noise ratio, so you have to compete to be heard. A good rule of thumb is three to five tweets per day.
How we use it:
We use Twitter to connect with academic researchers, students, authors, and so on around the world and share:
- Content from our blogs, websites, and video channel
- Useful and relevant external articles, tools, and resources
- Information regarding our latest products, events, and updates
- Discussion of research trends and topics: in addition to our central @OUPAcademic Twitter feed, we have created dedicated feeds for specific communities, including word lovers (@OxfordWords) and the journals community (@OxfordJournals)
Advantages for you:
- Twitter is a great way to share interesting links to your work or to relevant work by others, or to pass along (‘retweet’) messages from people you follow.
- Twitter can be an effective broadcasting and promotional tool to showcase content you are already creating. For example, if you write a blog post for OUPblog or share a new article or chapter on your own website, you can tell your Twitter followers about it by sharing a link.
- You can also tell your followers about important publishing milestones, events, readings, and more.
Adding hashtags (#) to your posts will categorize them and integrate them into relevant conversation streams so that people can find them more easily (best practices recommend using no more than three hashtags per Tweet).
Setting up a Twitter account:
- Is quick and easy
- We advise that you use your real name in the field marked ‘real name’ and a highly intuitive and discoverable version of this for your username (your handle will be @username).
- Find followers, using Twitter’s ‘find people’ search function. As a rule of thumb, about half of the people you follow will follow you back. You can also find people interested in your subject area by searching for specific keywords.
- Click here for a guide to the Twitter basics.
Facebook is a great place to connect with current and potential readers. This leading social networking site enables users to create profiles or pages with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information, and other personal details to communicate with their network of friends.
How we use it:
We recently created a business page for our academic publishing that allows us to:
- Link to our blog posts, videos, and website content
- Spark and contribute to discussions around our products and publishing areas
- Read and respond directly to comments and questions from people all over the world
We use Facebook to promote the work of our authors, either by showcasing their blog posts, ‘liking’ pages they have developed, or featuring videos they have created for our YouTube channel. We also post links to external reviews and articles that demonstrate our authors’ thought leadership.
Advantages for you:
- Facebook is a great platform for promoting your work and building your community. Setting up a page on Facebook allows you to create a professional presence that is distinct from your personal profile. A public page enables you to establish a two-way conversation with your readers via wall posts, discussions, polls, and more.
- Facebook can serve as a homepage for your “personal brand”, linking to or even streaming in content from other platforms where you may be present, such as Twitter, YouTube, a blog or personal website, or LinkedIn.
How you can use it:
- Set up a page for yourself or your title
- We advise developing an ‘author’ page under your name that can be used to promote the full extent of your work, public appearances, articles, thought leadership, and more.
- Focus each post on a single subject and include a question, link, or call to action to boost engagement.
- Don't post too frequently; three to five posts per week is a good rule of thumb.
- Bear in mind that your posts will appear among news from fans’ friends and family, so stick to a conversational tone and avoid being overly promotional.
- Include links, questions, and clear calls to action in your posts.
- For further information, Facebook has set up a Best Practices for Journalists site, much of which is applicable to authors in general. You can also refer to their Facebook for Business portal.
Advertising on Facebook:
- Once set up you can create Facebook ads to promote it and attract new fans.
- We advise that you set up your page first and link directly to this, rather than to a retail site, for example, as it will be easier to track click-throughs and sustain user engagement. After you attract fans to your page, you can promote specific works via wall posts and other page features.
- You can target your ad based on potential customer profiles and promote individual titles. These can lead back to your general author page, or to a tab or landing page dedicated to a specific work.
- Monitor your ad constantly to determine whether it is generating click-throughs. If not, you may need to refresh the copy, image, or targeting.
- Bear in mind that ads on Facebook tend to burn out quickly and will need to be refreshed often.
Be sure to let your OUP editor and marketing manager know that you have set up a page, so that we can help you promote it. If you wish to develop a Facebook ad, we will be happy to work with you to select appropriate keywords, images, and profiles to target.
YouTube is a video-sharing site where users can view, share, and upload videos. It displays a wide variety of user-generated content, including movie and TV clips, music videos, video blogs, short films, and amateur home videos.
How we use it:
YouTube is a dynamic way for academic researchers, students, and authors to connect with Oxford to discover new products and the people who make them. For example, we have posted a series of videos that reveal the thought process and work that goes into selecting words for inclusion in the Oxford English Dictionary. This is the type of content that works particularly well in social media: behind-the-scenes, personal interviews and insights that offer a new and interesting perspective.
Our YouTube Channel provides:
- Playlists dedicated to core subject areas (Science, Dictionaries, etc.)
- Interviews with authors, lexicographers, thought leaders, and more
- Space for users to comment on videos
How you can use it:
- At OUP, we have video equipment available and can work with you to produce videos that are then hosted and promoted via our YouTube channel.
- Once videos are posted to our channel, they can also be promoted via the OUPblog, our Twitter feeds, or our Facebook page, or streamed via RSS feed to other websites.
- Videos should be approximately one to three minutes long and incorporate music or images whenever possible to boost engagement.
- All content posted to our channel must have the proper permissions and clearance for use across all social media channels. When we post your content, we focus on making it as discoverable as possible through titles, descriptions, and metadata that capture what users would need to know about this content.
- Setting up your own YouTube channel and uploading videos is simple and free of charge. You can automatically share your uploads on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, or set them up to stream into your personal blog or website.
- Be sure to let your marketing manager or editor know if you set up your own YouTube channel. We can then subscribe or ‘favourite’ your videos, which will appear as links on our channel but will not be included as featured videos or added to playlists or feeds.
Expanding Your Community
Below, we have provided a brief overview of some additional social networks you might want to consider to build your community and increase visibility for your work.
LinkedIn is the leading professional networking site. The first step to using LinkedIn is to set up a personal profile. Once you have completed this profile, detailing your experience and activities, you can begin connecting with colleagues and friends. LinkedIn also hosts numerous groups, dedicated to personal and professional interests. Joining these groups and posing questions or responding to queries from members can be a great way to showcase yourself as a leader in specific areas. LinkedIn further offers profile-based, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising similar to Facebook, so you can run targeted ad campaigns to promote your work or events.
Goodreads is social networking platform for people who are passionate about reading. The site has over four million members who share book recommendations, keep track of reading lists and wish lists, and discuss books one-on-one or as part of book clubs. Goodreads offers a free Author Program where authors can promote themselves and their work. You can use this tool to create a personal profile with bio, blog, events, video hosting, and more, or promote your title through advertising, book giveaways, Q&As or discussions.
Flickr is a social photo-sharing site that you can use to share images with your current and potential readers. This approach can be particularly effective if your work involves a strong visual element. You can embed Flickr photo albums in your blog, or link to these via your profiles on other social networks.
Tumblr is a highly customizable, free blogging platform that lets you share text, links, quotes, music, and video content. It has a strong social element and can help boost visibility for your posts through ‘reblogging’ (similar to ‘retweeting’ on Twitter).You can also post by mobile device or email.
Quora is ‘a continually improving collection of questions and answers created, edited, and organized by everyone who uses it’. Questions posed on Quora can be edited or answered by anyone. Answers are then rated, so that the best ones rise to the top of the page. People can follow topics, specific questions, or people. Answering questions effectively and gaining followers on Quora can be an innovative way to position yourself as a thought leader on this emerging tool.
Social Media Best Practices
Here are a few things to bear in mind as you develop your presence on the social web.
- Showcase thought leadership
- Post frequent updates: a good rule of thumb is weekly+ for blogs/YouTube/Facebook, and daily+ for Twitter
- Be friendly and casual: social posts will appear among posts from users' friends and family
- Be human: have a perspective and a voice
- Be concise: get to the point before losing readers' interest
- Be timely: respond to comments and queries as soon as possible
- Use social etiquette: acknowledge sources and give credit where it’s due via attributions, retweets, and so on; follow others and they may follow you!
- Stick to what you know: when writing a blog article, stick to your areas of expertise
- Use overly familiar or potentially offensive language
- Use industry or social media/tech jargon
- Sound like a different person on different channels
- Be overly promotional (of yourself or your work)
- Post too frequently (this can be seen as ‘spamming’)
- Write about topics outside your area of expertise
- Misrepresent yourself or your qualifications
- Post copyrighted material without proper clearance and attribution
- Underestimate the resources—in terms of content and time—required to launch and maintain a social presence over the long term
Download a PDF of our Social Media Author Guidelines. (PDF 359KB)