Social Media Guidelines
Guidelines for College Social Media Accounts
If you’re posting to official accounts, or contributing to online conversations as an official representative of the College, review and follow these policies and guidelines.
Social media efforts should be part of a larger communications strategy. Know what you’re trying to accomplish, and why. Before launching a social media channel, you should be able to answer these questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want them to do?
- Is social media the best way to do this?
You must receive permission from your department Vice President and the Office of Marketing Communications before creating a social media account for the College.
Use shared email addresses for registration (when possible) and keep track of passwords using a shared department folder so that others in your office have access to department accounts if needed, or in case you are not available. Access to any social media account must be given to the Office of Marketing Communications for the master list they maintain to ensure no social media sites become “orphaned.”
There’s no such thing as a private or temporary social media post. Search engines can turn up your posts years later and screen captures live forever. Don’t post something today that may haunt you later.
- What you say officially represents the College. All statements must be true, accurate and not misleading. Never comment on legal matters, litigation or parties with whom Emmanuel College is in litigation without appropriate approval. Do not comment on other institutions.
- Be aware of divisive issues in the general public. Be mindful of how you represent the College around those issues, adhering to Emmanuel College’s values and mission when posting digital content.
- Any advertising, solicitation or overtly favorable acknowledgments or endorsements of political parties, candidates, third-party products and services is not permitted, except with express written permission of the university.
- Provide expertise and positive insight about Emmanuel College. Strive for accuracy, correcting errors quickly and visibly.
- Engage in conversation. Talk to users respectfully like you would talk to people face-to-face in professional situations.
- Communicating through social media is different than academic writing. Formality is replaced with friendliness, and content should be kept as brief as possible.
- Be mindful of copywrited and embargoed materials.
- Make sure to include alt text on your photos and closed captioning on video whenever possible for accessibility.
- If leaving a comment, post something meaningful, encouraging, informative or respectful. Before posting, re-read your comment to make sure it couldn’t be misconstrued negative or inappropriate. If you have any doubt, don’t post it.
- Be responsible. Participation in Emmanuel College social media is an opportunity, not a right. Treat it as seriously and professionally as you would any other aspect of your job.
Privacy, Confidentiality and College Policies
Do not post confidential, proprietary or protected health information about students, employees, patients or other members of the Emmanuel College community. Use good ethical judgment. All federal guidelines such as FERPA, HIPAA and College policies such as the Confidentiality Policy and Information Security Policy must be observed on Emmanuel-sponsored or Emmanuel-maintained social media channels.
University Time and Property
As stated in Emmanuel College’s Acceptable Use Policy, computers and work time are to be used for College-related business. It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, but maintain your personal social media on your own time using non-Emmanuel College computers.
By nature, social media is participatory and involves sharing among multiple users. The College strongly urges using social media as the open forum it is intended to be. If your office or department is uncomfortable about allowing comments from followers, social media is not the right platform for your messaging.
As a rule, the College does not remove comments or posts, even if negative, unless the content is racist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, illegal, an advertisement or otherwise found to be highly questionable (see guidelines for engagement). When in doubt, contact your supervisor, Vice President or the Office of Marketing Communications.
- If you are not sure how to handle a challenging topic or respond to a negative post, please contact the Office of Marketing Communications for guidance.
- Clearly state in your account or site’s posting policy the guidelines for engagement.
- Correct misinformation. If a user posts a false accusation or an inaccurate statement, don’t delete it (unless it clearly violates one of the guidelines for engagement). Instead, respond—in a respectful and friendly manner—with accurate information.
- Respond to questions or inquiries in a timely fashion.
- Utilize direct messaging to address complaints when possible.
Branding and Graphics
When you post to social networks from an official Emmanuel College account, you are representing the Emmanuel brand. Here are some simple guidelines to help ensure you remain consistent with the College’s brand standards. If you have specific questions on branding, please contact the Office of Marketing Communications.
- Begin with “Emmanuel College” or “EC” when creating a name for your social media channel.
- Do not use the College seal alone as your profile image. This is used for the main institutional platforms and channels overseen by the Office of Marketing Communications.
- Departments may reach out to the Office of Marketing Communications regarding the development of a department logo. The Office of Marketing Communications will supply an approved logo based on existing guidelines for use on social media profiles.
- Please follow the Office of Marketing Communications’ guidelines for use of College logos, colors, photography and graphics.
Guidelines for Personal Use of Social Media
Social media sites, including—but not limited to—sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are powerful communication tools. These sites can have a significant impact on a person’s reputation, relationships and livelihood.
The guidelines for personal use of social media are not intended to and do not limit your right to engage in protected concerted activities related to terms and conditions of employment. Rather, these are recommendations to Emmanuel College employees on how to balance their personal uses of social media sites, while protecting themselves.
- Think before you post: Be thoughtful about your post’s content and potential audiences. Be civil to others and their opinions. Be mindful that once something is posted online, it can live on forever, even after it has been removed by the original poster.
- Even if you are personally engaging on social media, an Emmanuel College affiliation on your profile (i.e. listing your position on your Facebook or Twitter profile) or within your comment has the ability to affect the College as a whole.
If you include your employment information in your personal profile or in your username handle, be aware that you will be held to a higher level of responsibility.
In personal posts or accounts that reference your affiliation with Emmanuel College, be clear that you are sharing your views as an individual, not as a representative of the College.
- Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Emmanuel College or its students, parents, alumni or employees. Follow all required College policies including, but not limited to, Privacy Policies, Social Media Policies, FERPA and HIPAA.
- To help ensure that no one mistakes employees’ personal postings for official Emmanuel College communications, it is recommended that employees refrain from postings that have the appearance of speaking on behalf of the College on their personal channels.
- Employees are encouraged to share College news and events that are a matter of public record with their family and friends. Linking straight to the information source is the easiest way to ensure clarity.
- When deciding to follow/friend current students, employees, alumni or others affiliated with the College, please do so prudently and with an abundance of caution. Witnessing certain comments or imagery could put you in difficult positions. If unsure about something, please address questions and concerns to the Office of Human Resources.
- As stated in Emmanuel College’s Acceptable Use Policy, computers and work time are to be used for College-related business. It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, but maintain your personal social media on your own time using non-Emmanuel College computers.