University of Southern California

USC Identity Guidelines

Social Media

Building a social media presence is a good way to extend your web presence, promote your programs, and connect with your audience in an environment that allows for a more personal communication style.

Consider establishing a consistent naming convention across social media sites if available. For example:, and You may want to create a style guide and read content guidelines for the social media sites to help establish your writing style and voice.

Once you set up a social media presence, keep it active; inactive accounts can make a bad impression. Engage in a two-way conversation with your followers and strive to create a positive community. Remove spam that is posted to your page, and don’t advertise non-USC products or accept money to do promoted tweets.

If you are interested in joining a monthly meeting of USC social media managers, contact Nicole DeRuiter at

Avatars and Profile Photos

The graphic next to your posts on social media sites, known as your avatar or profile photo, is usually shown at a small size and cropped to be square (around 50 pixels square for Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube). At these sizes, USC logos and identity graphics don’t reproduce well, type can be illegible, and photos with lots of detail are hard to recognize. Instead, consider choosing a simple photo of your location or an identifiable object. If you are identifying the person/people who maintain your account, you might choose a photo that shows the USC connection (for example, wearing a USC hat, standing near a campus location, or hand-gesturing “fight on!”).


Your username is limited to 15 characters, with no spaces or special characters, and appears alongside all your tweets and in your Twitter URL. In most cases, you should include “USC” so your account will be identified with the university quickly. You may need to shorten the name of your school, department, or organization for your username, but try to make it readable and recognizable (avoid abbreviations or acronyms that aren’t already familiar).

Your account also has a name, which can be up to 20 characters including spaces. Make sure to include “USC” (or “Trojan” for certain clubs and sports teams), along with your school, department, or organization name, written out as completely as possible.

Your bio allows up to 160 characters to describe who you are. Be as descriptive as possible, providing the full name of your department or organization if it didn’t fit into your account name. Avoid boilerplate intro text or the abbreviated history of your school or department, which are unlikely to be read in this space. You may want to identify the person who maintains the account, mention if your account is only actively monitored during certain hours, and provide your organization’s contact email or phone number.

Don’t forget to include a link to your website on

Many official USC school, department, and organization Twitter accounts are aggregated together at USC on Twitter. To join, follow uscweb so your Twitter page can be reviewed and added.

To be added to the public USC Twitter lists maintained by the main USC Twitter account, send a message to @USC.

The themes below are available for USC Twitter accounts, or as examples to create your own. Themes include a background photo and a matching profile photo. To download a theme, click the download link below the thumbnails.


When selecting a page or profile photo, use a photograph that represents your school, department, or organization. This photo will be shown at 200 pixels square on your profile and 50 pixels square with your wall posts. Choose a photo that works well at these standard sizes, but upload it at a larger size so people can click to see the full-size version.

If you are using Facebook’s timeline layout, the first thing visitors see is your cover photo. Make sure you select a photo that is engaging, recognizable, and works well in horizontal orientation.

Facebook offers the option of establishing a vanity URL (e.g. Your page name has no character limit, but should be concise; it should include “USC” so visitors can easily identify your university affiliation. Remember, your vanity URL and page name can never be changed, so choose carefully.

For page category, under “Basic Information,” select the categories “Companies & Organizations,” then “University.”

If you would like to have your Facebook page listed as a “Like” on the Official Facebook page for USC, contact Nicole DeRuiter at

The themes below are available for USC Facebook accounts, or as examples to create your own. Themes include a cover photo and a matching profile photo. To download a theme, click the download link below the thumbnails.


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