Social Media Guidelines
Creating a Social Media Presence at Springfield College
Springfield College maintains an official presence on the following social media sites:
Before creating a separate social media presence for your office or administrative department, consider whether you would be better served by working with the Office of Marketing and Communications to utilize Springfield College’s primary social media presence.
By creating your own presence, you should be prepared to maintain it and keep it updated, as you would your department Web pages. Springfield College presences on social media sites are considered to be an extension of the official College website, and most guidelines that apply to the website will also apply to your social media site.
To ensure the continuity of Springfield College’s online identity, if you are exploring the creation of your own office or administrative department presence on a social media site, please first contact Carla Ryan, Communications and Marketing Specialist, in the Office of Marketing and Communications, to discuss the process and address profile naming conventions, graphic needs, etc.
Springfield College abides by Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, and the College requests that its Facebook fans do the same. In particular, do not “post unauthorized commercial solicitations (such as spam);” “bully, intimidate, or harass any user;” “use vulgarity;” “post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or that contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence;” or “do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory” on an official Springfield College Facebook page.
Departmental and other sub-group Facebook pages will be created by the Office of Marketing and Communications. Administrator privileges for the page will be granted to the person or persons responsible for updating the page. A member of the Office of Marketing and Communications must always hold an administrator position on any Facebook page.
The images for all Springfield College Facebook pages will maintain a consistent graphic identity and must be coordinated through the Office of Marketing and Communications. Specifically, in most cases (unless otherwise approved by the Office of Marketing and Communications), a Springfield College Facebook page will have the official College seal as its profile photo. A cover photo should represent the program or department.
Facebook pages that do not follow these guidelines, or that are created without the involvement of the Office of Marketing and Communications, will not be linked from the College's primary Facebook presence or from the College website (specifically, its social media directory).
The Office of Marketing and Communications will not be responsible for creating or maintaining Facebook groups, nor will it have oversight or responsibility for such groups. Closed groups may be used by faculty to engage with their students outside of the classroom, encourage class/group discussions, etc.
Facebook pages offer certain advantages over Facebook groups, but also come with additional responsibilities. If you are uncertain whether you want to create a page or a group, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications.
Twitter accounts may be created by the individuals responsible for posting updates. Before creating your account, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications. The Web manager and Carla Ryan will work together to assist you in creating/designing your page, if needed—as well as suggesting appropriate names, etc. When possible, use a department email address or alias when registering the account to ensure that a point of contact can always be reached.
Springfield College maintains one primary Flickr account. If you have photos from a College event you would like to post to the official Flickr feed, contact the Web manager, Brian Page.
The Office of Marketing and Communications is always interested in seeing your videos and posting them to YouTube if they meet the following criteria:
- The video contains no copyright-protected media.
- The video does not contain images of people under the age of 18. If people featured in the video are under the age of 18, they must have signed an official College photo release, available on the Office of Marketing and Communications departmental website.
- The video is high quality, meaning it has been produced in a manner consistent with the principles used to produce professional video (i.e., deliberate attention was given to camera angles, editing, lighting, and audio levels).
If you would like a video posted to Springfield College’s YouTube channel, contact the Web manager.
LinkedIn and Other Social Media
Springfield College has a presence on LinkedIn to serve as a networking community for alumni of the College.
Writing about Springfield College on Social Media
The College maintains a presence on several popular social media websites, including Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr. Springfield College pages or profiles on these social media sites are considered official and approved College communications, when a member of the Office of Marketing and Communications is an administrator of the page.
If you are authorized to post for Springfield College on a College-approved social media site, there are several things you should keep in mind.
- Realize your posts are public. You should consider that whatever you post on a social media site will instantly become public. Anyone with access to the Web can review your activity on social media sites. Regardless of how careful you are in establishing privacy settings, your content can easily be made available to those outside of your preference settings.
- Be transparent. It should be obvious that you work for the College if you are posting as part of your job and/or to promote an aspect of the College (e.g., an academic program).
- Keep confidential matters private. Do not post proprietary information about Springfield College, including information about students, alumni, or employees. Be aware that all College and legal guidelines, such as FERPA, are also applicable in the social media space.
- Represent Springfield College properly. Make sure that your supervisor has authorized you to post about Springfield College on College-sponsored sites (if your post responds to someone’s concern and you’re not sure about College guidelines, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications). Verify information, links, images, etc., before posting. Social media sites blur the lines between professional and personal relationships, so be careful when choosing profile photos and other images to upload.
- Be a respectful community member. When you find yourself disagreeing with others, keep your comments appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a position where the communications become antagonistic, avoid becoming defensive. Ask the Office of Marketing and Communications for advice on handling sensitive issues and topics.
- Know where to turn for help. If you encounter a question you cannot answer, see incorrect information about Springfield College, or discover postings that are of a negative or threatening nature, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications for help.
- Keep your comments positive. Official Springfield College sites are not to be used as forums in which to post negative or critical comments towards the College, its administrators, its employees, or its students.
- Do not advertise or promote non-College-related products or activities. Social media sites can promote officially sponsored College activities (e.g., performing arts events, athletics, events, etc.). Official Springfield College social media sites may not be used to advertise or sell products or services, events or activities, which are not part of official Springfield College-approved activities and business.
- Pay attention to proper writing techniques. While social media sites tend to use a “relaxed” style of communication, official Springfield College sites should employ correct grammar and spelling.
- When in doubt, contact the Office of Marketing and Communications (Carla Ryan, ext. 3674) to assist you with any questions you may have with regard to whether or not to post something, engage in conversation with someone who may have made an inappropriate comment, delete or leave a comment, etc.
Social media networking is a constantly evolving field. “Best practices,” are often evolving and changing. To ensure that your specific question or issue is adhering to best practices, please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications, which will work with you on a case-by-case basis to determine the best practices for your specific question or issue.
It is crucial to always adhere to the fact that recruitment/communicating to prospective students, branding of the College, and engaging with students, alumni, and external audiences are the primary goals of any College social media campaign. Administrators should always be mindful of the fact that the College mission and goals are what should be conveyed on any official College social media platform, and not the personal goals or agenda of said administrators.
Any social media platform that uses Springfield College identity, but that is not approved or administered by the Office of Marketing and Communications, is therefore not an official College page— and the College reserves the right to not promote that page/presence on its website or in other mediums, such as print publications.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Updated by Carla Ryan, Communications and Marketing Specialist
October 7, 2013