Social Media Policies

  • Social Media Best Practices and Policies

    General Best Practices

    I. Know your audience.

    Before posting to a social media site, it is constructive to know your audience. Being aware of your audience allows you to target individuals with information that they will find useful and interesting. 

    II. Think twice before posting.

    It is widely known that once information is out there, it’s out there forever. Search engines can locate status updates years after they are created, even if they have since been deleted. Comments, posts and photos can be copied and saved. Thus, it is important to consider whether you should post something online. If you are unsure about something you are considering posting or a response to someone that reached out to you, please consult your supervisor, a member of the Social Media Committee, or call Marketing at x1503.

    III. Be transparent and accurate.

    Be sure that you have all of your facts straight before posting them on a social media site. However, we are all human, so if you post an incorrect sports score or date, be sure to go back and correct your error. In addition, you should always review posts for grammatical and spelling errors before sending them off into cyberspace.

    IV. Be respectful.

    “Post about others what you would want posted about you.” It is important to understand that content posted on a social media site may encourage comments and discussion, so be sure not to post any derogatory or offensive comments or posts with confidential information.

    V. Respond promptly.

    If you are in charge of a social media campaign or platform in general, it is important to quickly respond to questions and comments. If a user posts a comment or question that you do not have the ability to answer, forward it on to someone who will know the answer, and have them respond to the user directly.

    VI. Link to other college material.

    Social media doesn’t exist in a vacuum. If you are posting about an event or activity, chances are the main dean.edu website has covered it or the department that is hosting the event. Ideally, most posts on College moderated sites will be brief and direct the visitor to content on the main Dean College website.

    VII. Know the terms of service of social media platforms.

    Be sure to fully understand and follow the terms of service of any social media platform. You are personally responsible for compliance with these rules.

    Personal Site Guidelines

    I. Be honest about your identity.

    In personal posts, you may identify yourself as a Dean College faculty or staff member. However, please be clear that you are sharing your views as a member of the higher education community, not as a formal representative of Dean. This parallels media relations practices at Dean.

    A common practice among individuals who write about the industry in which they work is to include a disclaimer on their site, usually on their “About Me” page. If you discuss higher education on your own social media site, we suggest you include a sentence similar to this:

    “The views expressed on this [blog, Web site] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Dean College.”

    This is particularly important if you are a department head or administrator.

    II. Don’t be a mole.

    Never pretend to be someone else and post about Dean. Tracking tools enable supposedly anonymous posts to be traced back to their authors. There have been several high-profile and embarrassing cases of company executives anonymously posting about their own organizations. 

    III. Take the high ground.

    If you identify your affiliation with Dean in your comments, readers will associate you with the college, even with the disclaimer that your views are your own. Remember that you’re most likely to build a high-quality following if you discuss ideas and situations civilly.

    IV. Be aware of liability.

    You are legally liable for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts). Employers are increasingly conducting web searches on job candidates before extending offers. Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you.

    V. Don’t use the Dean College logo or make endorsements.

    Do not use the Dean College logo, athletic logo or any other Dean marks or images on your personal online sites. 

    Do not use Dean’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.

    VI. Protect your identity.

    While you want to be honest about yourself, don’t provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you. Don’t list your home address or telephone number or your work telephone or e-mail address. It is a good idea to create a separate e-mail address that is used only with their social media site.

    VII. Follow a code of ethics.

    There are numerous codes of ethics for bloggers and other active participants in social media, all of which will help you participate responsibly in online communities. If you have your own social media site, you may wish to post your own code of ethics. 

    VIII. Monitor comments. Most people who maintain social media sites welcome comments—it builds credibility and community. However, you can set your site so that you can review and approve comments before they appear. This allows you to respond in a timely way to comments. It also allows you to delete spam comments and to block any individuals who repeatedly post offensive or frivolous comments. 

    IX. Link back. You are welcome to link from your social media site to dean.edu.

    Read more social media guidelines here.

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