Adapting your social media use

John Chapman
Monday 23 March 2020

We are all currently experiencing the impact coronavirus is having on our lives. Social distancing is a phrase many of us have likely never used before. Yet it now falls into our daily conversations. More than ever social media is being used to keep us in contact with one another.

All of our Schools and units use social media to communicate with their audiences. This post will share tips on how you can adapt your School or Unit’s social media during these uncertain times.

Review any scheduled posts

If you use a social media scheduler like Hootsuite, check that all scheduled posts are still relevant.

You will want to edit or delete any posts which advertise a cancelled event.

You might also want to check other scheduled posts to make sure that they are still appropriate. The language and media used in scheduled posts may now appear inappropriate or insensitive.

Keep an eye on messages

You are likely to be receiving more direct messages and comments on your posts during this time. These messages may be coming from current students, applicants or staff asking for guidance or advice. While you might not know the answer, it is good practice to reply to acknowledge their message and direct them to the University’s coronavirus FAQ page which is updated regularly.

Also, remember to check your message requests on both Twitter and Instagram. If a user does not follow your page but tries to send you a message it will be sent to a message request inbox.

Pin important messages to the top of your page

If you’ve got an important post you want as many of your followers to see then you should pin the post to the top of your page. Both Facebook and Twitter allow you to pin one post to the top of your profile. This will make it the first post viewers see when they visit your page.

Instagram does not allow you to pin a post but you can create a story highlight which will appear at the top of your page.

Tone of voice

This is a challenging time for everyone and people are likely to be stressed. It is therefore important that the language and tone of voice you use in any post on social media is unlikely to offend. While humour can be used on social media you should first consider your audience and whether they would appreciate it at this time. You should also consider any images or videos you may share – if in doubt don’t share them! During these upcoming weeks and months, you don’t want to create any unnecessary conflict or negative messages.


You may have been advertising an upcoming event on Facebook that has now been cancelled or postponed. It is possible to delete the event on Facebook, however, this will remove the event from all attendees accounts.

It is better to update the event description to alert attendees that the event has been cancelled. This will also allow you to answer any questions your attendees may have. If the event is rescheduled at a later date you are also able to update the event with the new information without having to create a new event.

If it is possible you could also adapt the event to move it online. Facebook events allow you to live stream to your attendees. You can also share posts, photos, videos and create online polls.

Find out more about how to manage a Facebook event

Create Facebook groups

If you are looking for a way to keep in touch with people during this period you could consider creating Facebook groups. Facebook groups allow for people with a common interest to come together and share ideas, photos, polls and more. Groups can be either public or private and can offer an alternative way to be social during social isolation.

Find out more about Facebook Groups

Be positive!

Finally, right now it feels as if all our social media feeds are filled with stories of panic and fear. For many, this causes additional anxiety in a troubling time. To counteract this, try and fill your feed with positive stories. This could be good news stories about your School or Unit, people finding novel ways to work while at home, or something as simple as a picture of St Andrews pier or a dog (or both). Our analytics show that people love piers and dogs!

dog in red gown on St Andrews pier
Chirpy Gordon wearing her red academic gown on St Andrews pier. Find Chirpy on Facebook.

Related topics

Share this story