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AIA Team-Related Social Media Subaccounts

A word of caution: Social media is a commitment. Too often social media endeavors fail because they start off strong but fall flat. If you do not have daily content to provide or do not have the time to interact with your followers on a daily basis, you are better off filtering your information through the official AIA social media channels.

Few technical barriers exist to create a social media account, and some staff believe it is best for them to create and manage their own social media presence. In many cases, this is not the ideal path. However, because we recognize that some teams want to have their own social media presence, we have included these guidelines:


Decide If Social Media is Right for Your Team

Before creating a new AIA team social media subaccount, consider the following:

  • What is the goal of this social media account? How will you measure those goals?
  • Are there any other social media accounts with which your new account will compete? Is there really a need for this separate subaccount?
  • Who is going to manage the account? How will you transfer this management if your account manager leaves the AIA?
  • What content will you share, and do you have a strategic plan in place to schedule and create this content?
  • Who will respond to feedback?
  • Will your social media account provide valuable content to its users on a consistent basis, and who will create this content?

It is important to note that we do not condone a “set it and forget it” attitude for teams’ subaccounts. If you and your team cannot effectively answer the above questions, we strongly suggest contributing to the conversation/community via the existing, official AIA National social media accounts.

Getting Started

If you choose to start your own team social media subaccount, consult with the Director of Social Media to help you set up and shape your account. To get you started, here are some important practices to follow.

  • Establish clear goals for your social media account. Do not just sign up for an account just to have one; this is counterproductive and existing AIA National accounts already exist that you can collaborate with.
  • Use AIA in your account's official name so that people can find it. People use search features on social media channels, and if you aren't named properly, you will not be found.
  • Templated avatars for all subaccounts and Twitter backgrounds exist for consistent branding across AIA teams. Consult with the Director of Social Media on the art to use for your subaccount.
  • Be conversational. Leave Institute and marketing speak at the door. Instead, make your updates as if they are coming from a person. Use your profile section of Facebook or Twitter to highlight the person or people making updates on behalf of the account.
  • Provide relevant and valuable information to your audience; don't overwhelm them with shameless self-promotion. If you’re selling on social media, then you’re missing the point of being “social.” Also, remember to keep a balance between official and "just for fun" posts.
  • Encourage participation. Create calls to action. Talk back to your audience. Remember that social media is a two-way medium and building relationships is key.
  • Regularly update your account. Creating it is the easy part. Plan to devote time each day to this. If you’re not familiar with some of the free time-saving tools available, consult the Director of Social Media.

In addition to these general tips, here are a few additional suggestions based on the individual social media channels Twitter and Facebook.

Branding Your Subaccount

Maintaining a suite of social networking sites requires maintaining proper guidelines to avoid any confusion among our followers to what is official and what is not. All of our third-party social networking sites are extensions of our web presence and should be easily identifiable as the AIA.

Here’s the approach you should take for Twitter:

  • Avatar—A branded photograph of the staff person tweeting (or lead tweeter if you’re team tweeting) cropped to 70 pixels x 70 pixels. Consult the Director of Social Media for the branded art.
  • Background—Use the official AIA Twitter background. There is a designated space on the template to list team tweeters and/or any specific team-related text you’d like to add.
  • Name—Use your name to help followers easily identify who is tweeting. Your name is limited to 20 characters, including spaces.
  • Username—Use your team name (see @CitizenAIA for example). Your username is limited to 15 characters, including spaces.
  • Location—Use Washington, DC, as your location since that is where we are.
  • Bio—Be as specific and descriptive about your mission as possible within the 160-character limit. Be sure to include your title. Again, the goal is to help followers easily know who’s tweeting. If you’re comfortable using Twitter and don’t mind connecting to members, you can include your personal Twitter handle instead of your name. Just be sure you’re not posting anything embarrassing on your personal account.
  • Website—Link to either your team page on or the home page.
  • Profile header—When selecting a profile banner, use an image that best represents your team. Consult with the Director to ensure your image is suitable. The image should be 1252 pixels x 626 pixels. Remember, your image must take into account the reverse type that will appear on the banner, too.

If you’re starting a Facebook page:

  • Cover photo—Use an image that best represents your team. Make sure it’s an engaging, recognizable, and works well in horizontal orientation (851 pixels x 315 pixels). This is the first thing visitors to your page will see.
  • Profile picture (avatar)—We are all teams within AIA National. For consistency, use the AIA National avatar; do not create your own avatar.
  • Vanity URL—Facebook offers the option of a vanity URL (e.g., Think wisely about your name; it cannot be changed. Your page name has no character limit but it should be concise and include AIA in the name.
  • Tabs—Pay close attention to the images dynamically pulled in for your tabs and the headings for your tabs. Many of them (those that are created from apps especially) can be edited and customized. If you have the option to customize your tabs, do so. Consult with the Director of Social Media on how you can customize them.

Getting Help

Social media is a great way to connect with members and prospects. For those looking for further help with social media, the Director of Social Media is happy to give you assistance:

  • Consult for creation/management of AIA-related social media accounts
  • Promote select national events through official AIA social media channels
  • List your properly branded social media subaccount(s) on AIA materials
  • Create cover photos and custom Twitter backgrounds for approved accounts
  • Social media best practices workshops (individual or for your team) on general social media use, or focused on a specific medium
  • Professional critiques of social media profiles to help your page improve

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