Our social media channels provide us with endless opportunities to share the stories and achievements of our University, listen to outside opinions and engage with our audiences in a timely and efficient manner. With those opportunities also come potential challenges: 24/7 connectivity, negative interactions and engagement speed. We encourage you to participate in the social media conversation, but please read our rules and guidelines beforehand.

Social media accounts take a lot of time and effort to maintain. Before setting up an official Missouri Western social media account, you are required to meet with Marketing & Communications. You will have the opportunity to learn more about what it takes to run a successful social media page and remain within the University brand. When you are ready for this step, please email marketing@missouriwestern.edu or a member of the Marketing & Communications team.

cheerleaders taking a selfie

quick social media do’s and don’ts

  • Do write descriptive Alt Text.
  • Do check your color contrast.
  • Do engage with your audience in fun and productive ways.
  • Do have a distinct voice that your profile can maintain.
  • Do be authentic and genuine. 
  • Do consider how small text can look on a phone.
  • Do check your Analytics regularly.
  • Don’t include a link or QR code in your graphic.
  • Don’t try to be trendy for the sake of being trendy.
  • Don’t just post a photo of a flyer.


The Missouri Western State University brand guidelines ensure brand awareness.

  • Use our correct shades of black and gold in your graphics
    • Black 
      • RGB: (51, 51, 51)
      • Hex: #333333
    • Gold 
      • RGB (255, 199, 0)
      • Hex: #ffc700
  • Use the approved logos correctly. See our brand guidelines for more information.
  • Use Missouri Western State University, Missouri Western, or MWSU
    • Avoid using Mo West, Mo Western, Western, Missouri Western State, MoWo

#GriffonsSucceed: The theme of student and alumni success is the basis of all design to give our brand a cohesive look and feel. No matter the audience, we should all strive to achieve a tone that is authentic, genuine and focused on student success.

full stadium

general hashtag info

Hashtags are used to identify specific categories for content. While they are important for improving reach and engagement, do not stress too much about making the perfect hashtag.

  • Tips for hashtags: 
    • Use relevant hashtags
    • See what hashtags your audience is already using
    • Avoid generic hashtags and too-specific hashtags
      • Example: 
        • Don’t use #WeAreProudOfGriffons, use #GriffonProud
        • Don’t use #Campus, use #MissouriWesternCampus
    • Use some of our Missouri Western hashtags when they are relevant to your content. See MWSU Hashtags section for examples.
    • Watch out for hashtags that have an emoji from a different company.
      • Some hashtags have an emoji specific to a certain brand. 
      • Example: #RingTheBell is actually a Phillies Hashtag, so a P appears after the hashtag.

mwsu hashtags and uses


  • Use when you are sharing a story about a student, employee, alum, or the University to express that you feel proud of an accomplishment by a Griffon.


  • Part of our recent marketing campaign. Use this hashtag for content that shows how MWSU/Griffons are succeeding by being a part of our MWSU community.


  • Insert an action verb that is relevant to the content.
  • Example: Use #GriffonsLearn when content is clearly in a classroom. 

#MWSU and #MissouriWestern 

  • Use interchangeably with any content related to Missouri Western State University.


  • Use this when you share a beautiful picture of campus or a large event that is exciting. The idea is to show our viewers a snapshot of campus.


  • Use when content is related to positive Griffon stories. This is our current hashtag, but be mindful that other schools use this so it is not an MWSU-specific hashtag.

#GriffUp or #StayGold or #OurCity

  • Use for any content that is related to Athletics.
  • Note that #OurCity is being phased out by #StayGold.

#MWSUAlum or #MWSUAlumni or #MissouriWesternAlumni

  • Use for any content related to alumni or alumni-related events.


  • Use for content related to a first-year Griffon’s experience or event.


As representatives of the University, always tag the main Missouri Western State University accounts and use our relevant hashtags. By doing this, Marketing and Communications is notified about this post and can share on our platforms if deemed appropriate.

When your content involves other people or organizations, it is always a good idea to tag them. This helps give the viewer relevant information, as well as allows the other person or organization to engage quickly and with ease.

Before posting, research what a person or organization’s handle/username is. You can add them directly into the captions or tag them in the picture/graphic.

graduate holding diploma against a background of people filling the stadium
max the griffon

content types

Content is anything you post on your social media platforms. There are many forms of content: image, graphic, video, Reel/Tiktok, Story, or link. Keep it authentic, genuine and human. 

Note: The success of one type of content on a platform does not mean it will work on all platforms.

  • Make sure your images are high quality and not pixelated.
  • Sets of photos (or Carousels) tend to perform better and can be a great opportunity to tell a story.
  • The images can vary in subject, but including images with people is preferred.
  • Considerations for images:
    • For photos of people, make sure almost everyone in the picture looks engaged or expresses the appropriate emotion.
    • Avoid taking a photo where everyone has their back to the camera UNLESS the group is facing someone presenting. 
    • For photos of objects, make sure the objects are visible.
    • Follow the rule of thirds when thinking about photo composition.
      • Definition from Adobe: “The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots.” Learn more about the rule of thirds from Adobe.

Avoid using stock images; they look staged and do not feel genuine.

  • Graphics within our branding can be a useful tool for spreading important information.
  • When creating a graphic, think about how small this image will look on a viewer’s phone. 
    1. Avoid using small font sizes and consider breaking up the content into multiple images if there is too much information for one image. 
    2. Skip the huge blocks of text in a graphic.
    3. Stick to a simple sentence or two per graphic.
  • Avoid posting a photo of a flyer or poster; the font size is usually too small and important information will be lost.
  • Avoid using QR codes or links in graphics. 
    1. Your viewer will most likely be on a phone, so they will not have a way to scan a QR code. 
    2. Links in a photo are not clickable.
      1. You can add a clickable link into a caption on all platforms EXCEPT Instagram and TikTok; add these links to your bio when applicable.
  • Avoid using templates that are not customized to our brand. Canva is a great tool for templates, but make sure you are customizing the design to fit and feel more personal. If everyone posted the same template on Instagram, it would be a very boring feed.
  • Videos can be a successful way to share important information.
  • Aim to keep videos under two minutes.
  • Keep these short videos between 7-15 seconds.
    • Reels can be up to one minute and TikToks can be up to 10 minutes.
  • Utilize trending audio and filters correctly. This will require you to see how others are using these and apply them to your specific topic.
  • Film videos vertically; avoid using horizontal videos.

Make sure to stay within the safe space (1080 x 1420 pixels; a 250-pixel space at the top and bottom)

  • “Going live” can be a helpful tool for Q&As or publicizing events. Lives give you the ability to answer people in real-time, so utilize that as best you can.
  • Try to prepare some ideas for what will be shown and what will be said before pressing start. Having a goal for your Live will help it feel more cohesive. 
  • In your Live, you have the ability to talk to people, but you do not have to rush to respond to every question. Respond to the comments and questions that feel relevant, and shout out to people as they say hello or enter the Live.
  • Start and finish strong! Make sure you are facing the camera at something relevant before starting, and make sure to sign off before ending. 
    1. Lives do not go away and can be seen after the Live has ended. Make sure you are being intentional about your Live content.

accessibility and inclusion

We have a very broad audience and want to make sure all of our content is digestible. Part of our mission as a university is to remove barriers, social media included.

Alt Text

  • Alternative Text (Alt Text) is a word or phrase that is used to describe an image or graphic. 
    • This is important for screen readers to effectively describe what is happening in your post. 
    • It can also be a useful tool for people with certain sensory processing or learning disabilities. 
    • It can also be used if the image does not load properly.
  • Keep it short and to the point – fewer than 125 words.
  • Be descriptive and paint a vivid picture in your viewer’s mind.
  • There is no need to use “Image of,” “Graphic of” or “Video of” in your Alt Text.
  • Include any and all text from a graphic.
  • Use proper nouns if the person, place, or thing is well known.
  • Do not use the Alt Text as a joke or a place to boost Search Engine Optimization.

Camel case Hashtags

  • Capitalize the first letter of every word in your hashtag.
  • Use #GriffonsSucceed, not #griffonssucceed.


  • You should include captions on every video, Reel, TikTok and Story that is posted. 
  • Double-check auto-captions for spelling errors.

Color contrast

  • Contrast is important in graphics. Make sure the colors you are using provide enough difference for the viewer to clearly see. 
  • Be aware of different types of color blindness when creating content:
    • Red-green: hard to tell difference between red and green
    • Blue-yellow: hard to tell difference between blue and green and between yellow and red
    • Complete color blindness: cannot see colors at all.
  • To check if you have a high-contrast image before posting, use a black-and-white filter to see if all the information is clear.


  • Use generic emojis when possible.
  • When using emojis that have a skin tone, opt for the standard yellow. 
  • Avoid using gender-specific emojis.
clocktower in winter behind trees
group of students talking in the student union during griffon orientation


Analytics can give important insight into what your audience is interested in seeing. Paying attention to your Analytics is the best way to know if your social media efforts are working. 

Things to look for in your Analytics: 

  • Engagement: Likes, comments, shares, clicks
    • Used to measure how much your audience interacts with your content
  • Impressions: The number of times your content was viewed 
  • Reach: How many people potentially saw your post 
  • Audience age: Think about the age group you are hoping to reach and see if it matches the audience your social media is reaching.
  • Content performance: See what types of content are performing best. Analyze what aspects of your content are performing really well. 
    • Example: A graphic you crossposted on Instagram and Facebook is performing significantly better on Facebook. From this, you can see that your Facebook audience enjoys graphics more than Instagram.

platform best practices

Audience: This is usually an older audience (think alumni and parents/relatives). The youngest group here is usually 18-24, making it a tough place to reach out to incoming students. Some students say they only have Facebook because someone made them get it, so now they use it to stay connected to family or check in only on their birthday to respond to birthday wishes. 

Recommended size of content

  • Photos:
    • Horizontal images – 1200 x 630 pixels
    • Vertical images – 1080 x 1350 pixels
    • Links with an image – 1200 x 630 pixels
  • Stories
    • 1080 x 1920 pixels

Content Type: Great places to have pictures, graphics, Reels, videos, and Lives.

Post Frequency: 1-2 times per day. Stories can be 1-2 times per day.

Audience: The best way to reach everyone, especially current students 

Content Type: images, graphics, videos, Reels, Lives and Stories

  • Images: A high-quality image is what Instagram is known for. 
  • Graphics: These are images that include text. These should be used sparingly.
    • For graphics, avoid using too much text. Consider breaking up the content into a Carousel set of images.

Recommended size of content

  • Photos:
    • Square images: 1080 x 1080 pixels – ideal size to help keep profile grid looking consistent and avoid awkward cropping
  • Stories: 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Reels/any video content: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Carousel posts

  • A Carousel post is a set of up to 10 photos that are all the same size. When selecting multiple images, the first image sets the size for all the images following. Since the first image is also what will be displayed on your profile grid, make it a strong image.
  • We recommend that you use this feature as much as possible. Not only does it give the viewer more content, but it also displays different images from the Carousel as people scroll throughout the day.


  • Write your captions in an authentic, human way. Social media should be used as a way to communicate with your audience, not just for your audience to communicate with you. 
  • Your first sentence should be your strongest sentence since Instagram will hide the rest on your audience’s feed.
    • The general recommendation is to keep your captions short and to the point. If you do have a long caption in mind, consider what your audience is gaining from a long caption that could not be phrased in a sentence or two. If your post adds value to people’s lives or is an interesting story, this could be a time to use a longer caption.
  •  Have fun with emojis that seem relevant. Tip: Keep your emojis as neutral as possible. Avoid using a specific skin tone or gender since we serve all our Griffons equally.
  • Links: Instagram DOES NOT have a clickable link for captions. Avoid putting a link in your caption; instead, direct people to the link in your bio that you can change whenever needed. 


  • Hashtags help people find your content. To keep your caption looking clean, we recommend adding some lines between your caption and hashtag groups. You can also try to integrate your hashtags straight into the caption.
    • Avoid throwing a bunch of hashtags onto the end of the caption.
  • Use camel case hashtags. Camel case is when you capitalize the first letter of each word in your hashtag (i.e. #MissouriWesternStateUniversity). 
    • Doing this is important for accessibility.

Profile grid: Your Instagram photo will live in your Instagram profile grid. Make sure the image seen in a 1080 x 1080 square looks good against the other posts on your grid and doesn’t include an awkward crop (i.e. cropping off the top portion of someone’s body).

Post Frequency: The main goal is to be as consistent as possible. Recommended frequency is 3-7 times per week/no more than once per day. This helps your audience stay engaged without overwhelming them with content. Stories can be between 1-9 times a day.

Username and Profile

  • Username
    • Make sure your username gives a good idea of who you are; this will make your profile more searchable. Tip: Avoid using abbreviations since your audience may not be familiar with them. 
  • Profile 
    • Name: This should be the full and/or most commonly used name for your department/organization. This is something that also makes your profile searchable.
    • Bio: Create a short sentence that quickly describes what you do.
    • Links: Use this as a place to put a link you want people to go to. This can be your website or a specific event you are pushing.

Audience: This is the most varied audience of the platforms. Current students are aware of the different Twitter pages, but may not necessarily post or interact. 

Content: Tweet, image, graphics, videos and links 

Recommended size of content:

  • Photos:
    • Single image: Twitter displays one full image size regardless of size (extreme image sizes may still be cropped). Use an aspect ratio of 4:3 or 16:9 to ensure a whole single image is displayed on feed.
    • Multiple images: 1200 x 675 pixels
    • Links with an image: 800 x 418 pixels

Character limit: Twitter only allows 280 characters, which can be limiting. To help keep your character count down, try incorporating handles and hashtags into your tweet.

Post Frequency: 1-2 times a day

Audience: This is usually a great platform to reach alumni, employees and prospective employees. Some students have LinkedIn, but this is not the main way to communicate with them.

Content types: Great place to have pictures, graphics, and videos

Recommended size of content:

  • Photos:
    • Horizontal images – 1104 x 736 pixels
    • Links with an image – 1200 x 628 pixels

Post Frequency: 1-5 times per day.

Audience: This audience is any age from 16-34. Many people use TikTok daily, but that doesn’t mean it will be the best place for you to be.

Recommended size of content: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Content type: Short 7-15-second videos. TikTok allows videos up to 10 minutes, but to keep your viewer engaged aim for less than one minute.

Audience: This audience can be pretty broad, but the type of content you produce defines your target audience.

Recommended size of content: Aspect ratio 16:9

Content type: Videos and shorts (similar to Reels and TikTok)

Audience: This audience is aged 18-24. 

Recommended size of content: 1080 x 1920 pixels

Content type: Images and quick videos that disappear after 24 hours