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How to manage comments on the University of Cambridge social media channels

The University of Cambridge’s social media channels attract more than 10,000 comments and mentions each month, across TikTok, Instagram, LinkedIn, FacebookYouTubeTwitter and Threads.

This guide sets out how we manage comments on the University of Cambridge channels, including what we respond to and processes for dealing with spam comments.


Managing comments helps our audiences and the University

Engaging with comments builds the University’s reputation and pushes our social media content to bigger audiences.

Many comments and mentions come from our audiences of potential students, current students, staff, alumni and interested supporters.

We need to engage with these comments and help our audiences with their questions about studying, Cambridge life and research. Responding and replying will build more positive sentiment and ultimately help the University achieve its strategic goals in student and staff recruitment, fundraising and key campaigns.


Comments are managed by the Social Media team only

Comments are managed by team members with specialist community management skills only – usually the Head of Social Media, Social Media Manager and Social Media Coordinator.

This is done within social media management tools and in the platforms themselves, and covers replies, likes and management of spam comments.

Keeping comment management to a tight and skilled team reduces risk and ensures that all audiences get a high-quality and on-brand response to their question or comment.


Examples of how we respond to positive engagements

  • When a new staff member joins Cambridge and celebrates this on social media, we would like and reply with a message of congratulations.
  • When a prospective student gets their offer to study at Cambridge confirmed, we would like and reply with a message of congratulations.
  • When a student, staff member or alumnus posts their memories of Cambridge or their opinions on a topic where we have invited followers to add a comment, we would like and sometimes reply.
  • When a staff member shares the launch of a major research project, achievement or finding, we would like and sometimes share.
  • When a follower asks a question about studying at Cambridge, our research or an event, we would reply and give them more information and a link.

Tone of voice, style and comment response all vary by platform and audience expectation – with TikTok and Instagram least formal, and Twitter and LinkedIn most formal.


When the volume of comments is high, we focus on high-value comment management

There will be times when the volume of comments becomes too high for us to look at every single engagement. With a small team, we need to be strategic about how we use our time and what is a priority to respond to.

The higher-value engagements that we will prioritise engaging with include LinkedIn comments and mentions, Instagram comments and mentions, Twitter mentions by priority audiences and TikTok comments.

The lower-value engagements that we will manage if we have capacity include Twitter mentions by low-priority audiences, Facebook comments and YouTube comments.

We will occasionally limit the public reply and comment functions on some posts.


Dealing with risk in comment management

Some comments and mentions seek to draw the University into a public discussion on an issue. We do not respond to these but will flag them to the Media and Internal Communications teams in Office of External Affairs and Communications, working with them if a statement is required.

Individual team members do not use their personal social media accounts for replying to any comments addressed to the University accounts.


Comments are managed with freedom of speech and freedom from discrimination in mind

The University of Cambridge, as a world-leading education and research institution, is fully committed to the principle, and to the promotion, of freedom of speech and expression. The University's core values are 'freedom of thought and expression' and 'freedom from discrimination' - and these values extend to our social media presence and comment management too.

We actively encourage followers to share their views and opinions by adding comments and questions on our social media posts. Just like the in-person University of Cambridge experience, debate and discussion may be robust and challenging. We never remove comments that express controversial or unpopular opinions within the law.

Comments expressing any of the following will be removed by our team so that the University social media channels remain relevant and free of spam:

  1. Advertising or promotion of any services or pages including financial services, relationships, assignment writing or tutoring.
  2. Unintelligible spam or comments that are not at all relevant to the topics raised.
  3. Violence or harm towards Cambridge staff, students, our Social Media team or anyone else on our page.
  4. Abusive personal attacks and bullying of those featured in social media content.
  5. Comments from fake accounts or bots that seek to hijack the comments.