Brand Guide: Social Media
CSB/SJU recognizes the value of new and emerging communication tools, like social media, in supporting institutional communication efforts. These tools allow CSB/ SJU to create new connections and strengthen existing connections.
The use of these tools to meet institutional goals-whether via official college profiles or personal profiles as an official representative of the universities-should be informed by existing conduct policies and procedures-including but not limited to the Office of Information Technology’s Digital Copyright Protection Policy, Terms and Conditions for the Use of Information Technology Resources, the Human Rights Office Human Rights Policy as well as good personal and professional judgment.
Tips for Social Media Managers
Managers of social media profiles on representing one or both of the colleges or a college sub-brand — including but not limited to student clubs and organizations, athletics teams, university departments — are encouraged to consider the following before creating and running social media profiles.
Consider Before Creating
Before creating a profile or presence on social media, consider questions like the following (download a worksheet with these questions (PDF)):
- What do you hope to achieve with your social media efforts? Examples of goals could include inform, encourage discussion, translate digital engagement to in‐person interaction or raise awareness for your department/office’s efforts.
- How do the goals for your social media efforts map into existing departmental/office goals?
- Who is your primary audience? Which social network do you think is the best to reach your audience? (Pew Research Center offers a good starting point to as a starting evaluate appropriate networks for your audience.)
- What information will you share with your audience on this social media channel? How does it relate to what is being distributed through other communication channels from your office?
- Who will assume primary and support responsibilities for keeping the profile updated with new content? Who will assume primary and support responsibilities for monitoring feedback and responding to questions on the profile? What training and resources will be provided to these individuals?
- What does success look like with these efforts? How much time are you allotting to the efforts before you evaluate whether they have been successful?
Learn the Rules
Be mindful when sharing confidential information about CSB/SJU, students, alumnae/i, and employees. Pay close attention to copyright laws, especially with videos and YouTube; do not use music or images you do not have permission to use. Further, managers are encouraged to verify any use of official CSB and/or SJU imagery is appropriate. The Office of Marketing and Communications can help managers determine if/how to use official imagery on social media.
Listen, Respond and Adapt
It’s called social media for a reason. When a fan or follower leaves a comment, respond (if that’s the appropriate course of action, see Be Respectful for further guidance). If the comment offers criticism or a suggestion, take it under advisement and don’t be afraid to change your approach to engagement.
Keep customer service in mind when choosing to engage with community members who are unhappy. If the issue presented has a solution (or you can connect the community member with someone who has a solution) do so. If it is a gripe for gripe’s sake (as negative social media/web comments can be) non-engagement may be the most appropriate course of action. The U.S Air Force Web Posting Response Assessment chart can be a helpful tool in determining the appropriate course of action to respond to comments and feedback.
Set a tone in posting that lets your community know what it can expect from you on the platform. Likewise, make your expectations of users clear by clearly defining your community standards.
Correct mistakes as quickly as possible. Don’t shy away from criticism for the error and learn from the mistake. If appropriate, consider responding to the community member from a personal account that identifies you and your responsibilities at the college(s). This shows members of your community there is an individual, rather than a disembodied institutional voice, on the other end of a page or profile. Also, don’t be afraid to take a sensitive conversation offline, to email, phone or face-to-face conversations, when appropriate.
Once you’ve established a presence on social media, stick with it. Social media communities grow with care and engagement on the part of community/page managers. If you are worried you may not have sufficient time/resources to dedicate to the maintenance of a social media profile, consider partnering with the Office of Marketing and Communications to leverage existing CSB/SJU social media resources to distribute your content on a sporadic basis.