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Marketing & Public Relations

Guidelines

NCMC Social Media Guidelines & CCD Internal Submission Guidelines

 

NCMC Social Media Guidelines

Introduction

Social media are defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Examples include but are not limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram.

Social media are powerful communications tools that have a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations. North Central Michigan College actively encourages involvement across campus in social media. Through social media, the College can create an engaging online environment for those of the North Central community to connect and stay informed on all the latest news and events. Social media also provides organic feedback direct from the user about what is important to them, as well as perpetuating our mission and representing the College as the open and attentive institution that it is.

Because social media blur the lines between personal voice and institutional voice, North Central has crafted the following policies and guidelines to help clarify how best to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations. These policies and guidelines are also to be used by faculty and staff who wish to utilize social networks to encourage college fellowship, be it a professor incorporating social media into the classroom experience, or a staff member who’s been charged with the exciting task of developing an online presence for a department or program.

 

Section 1: Social Media @ North Central

North Central currently maintains official profiles on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and Flickr. Each of these sites makes it possible for North Central to plug in to the online conversation between the campus, the community and our students.

Social media pages are secondary information sources as North Central’s web site serves as the official primary web presence and contains all applicable web content. 

 

Section 2: Guidelines for All Social Media Sites, Including Personal Sites

  • Think twice before posting: Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the College. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it in a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online.
  • Protect confidential and proprietary information: Employees may not share proprietary College information, copyrighted material, or make inappropriate comments as a College representative. Always remember that as an employee, you are legally responsible for your postings. Also, protect yourself and your privacy by not posting information that is too personal on a publically-accessible site. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
  • Don’t use North Central logos: Do not use the North Central logo or any other university images on personal social media sites.
  • Be respectful: Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or the College and its institutional voice.
  • Remember your audience: Be aware that a presence in the social media world is or easily can be made available to the public at large. This includes members of the community, prospective students, current students, current employees and colleagues, and peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm, or provoke any of these groups.
  • Identify views as your own: On personal sites, identify views as your own. If you identify yourself as a North Central Michigan College faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution.
  • Respect College time and property: Personal and professional social media must be kept separate. North Central computers and time on the job are reserved for College-related business. Keep all non-work related information on your personal page. Please note that personal social media usage while at work could lead to disciplinary action.

 

Section 3: Guidelines for North Central Social Media Sites

Many North Central departments, divisions and initiatives as well as individual faculty members maintain profiles on social media platforms independent of the official presences. These profiles are similarly branded but contain more specific information tailored to their individual missions.

North Central encourages the creation and administering of College-affiliated social media profiles or pages campus-wide. However, before launching, you should understand these guidelines in their entirety, in addition to all guidelines listed above because media profiles created for North Central must abide by these guidelines or they risk being disabled.

  • Representing NCMC through social media: North Central’s official social media efforts are managed by the College Communication Department. Divisional social media profiles and accounts are also guided by the CCD. As North Central has a broad audience who are keeping in touch with the College via social media, be sure to notify the CCD upon creation of any new profile so that content and brand continuity can be monitored.
  • Add CCD representative as an administrator: A College Communication Department representative should be added as an administrator on existing divisional or departmental sites, and have access to the other administrator log-ins and passwords.
  • Have a plan: Before creation of a new social media profile can be initiated, make sure the time will be well spent by answering the follow questions: ​
    • Responsibility: Who will handle the day-to-day operations of maintaining and monitoring a social media profile? Will they have the skills and time needed? (When possible, AVOID relying on students for this role.)
    • Goals: What is it you hope to achieve through social media? And who will be your audience? What are your plans for how to reach out to those people?
    • Content: What will be your strategy for developing meaningful, dynamic content that gets the conversation going?  Do you know how often to post and when to post?
    • Listening: Social media isn’t just about producing content, it is about becoming a consumer of content as well. Administrators should be listening to both the feedback of their target audience and for inspiration from industry experts. Has time and manpower been allotted to this purpose?
    • Tools: Have you chosen which social media(s) you will be using and why?
    • Adjusting: Some posts are good, some are not. Are you prepared to make necessary adjustments to what you post and when you post it?
    • Strategy: Have you created a strategy that outlines the who, what, when, where and why of your campaign?

 

Section 4: Content Development

Content is the text and media that make up social media profiles, and development is the engine behind it. Collectively, content and its development represents and gives voice to the North Central brand and mission.

  • All content should: 
    • be accurate
    • be active, up-to-date and posted frequently
    • grammatically correct
    • appropriate for a general audience
    • relate directly to North Central, the College's mission, post-secondary education, campus activities or other matters pertaining to education or life as a North Central student, faculty, staff or alumni
    • have a clear, concise and authentic voice
  • All content may not: 
    • promote individual opinions or causes that are not directly related to the College
    • infringe on any copyright laws or be posted without permission from the owner
    • c​ontain anything obscene, explicit, threatening or offensive
  • Content Guidelines:
    • Photos and Videos: Any photos or videos uploaded to the social media platforms by administrators must be original works produced by North Central, or North Central students, faculty or staff, or be used at the express permission of a third-party and give credit to them to prevent copyright infringement. Photos and videos should also adhere to the content development guidelines.
    • Campaigns and Contests: Social media allows for extraordinary outreach through contests and campaigns. If you are considering creating such a promotion, please contact the CCD for further guidance on official rules and legal compliance.
    • Monitoring: Administrators should monitor the content posted across the social media platforms as frequently as possible. North Central encourages user interaction on all social media platforms. However, the College reserves the right to review and remove any site content or user content at its sole discretion, without notice, if it is considered inappropriate or violates North Central’s guidelines or the Student Conduct Code.
    • Updating: Administrators should update their site by posting new material at least once per day. The CCD will oversee the day-to-day site content and activity. If a site has had no activity for two weeks, the site administrator will receive an email notification from Kathy Bardins. If there is no activity for another week, the page will be disabled without further notification to the site administrator. If the rigors of maintaining a separate social media site is too time-consuming, you can always send the CCD what you want posted, and it will be posted for you on the College’s main social media page.
    • Connections: Linking or subscribing North Central’s pages to other pages is a great way to make connections to other individuals or organizations in our community and beyond. Any connections must be relevant to North Central, the community college mission or College-related. Connections with business partnerships are also permitted.

Please note that these guidelines will be revised periodically to adapt to the ever-changing social media landscape. Any questions or suggestions can be sent to the Director of College Communication, Carol Laenen, at claenen@ncmich.edu.


 

ccd internal submission guidelines

The lead times in the following submission guidelines may vary depending on the number of client requests, the urgency of the requests, the size of the request, and what other assignments the CCD is working on (e.g. Annual Report, Supplement, etc.).

 

Website

Allow between 1-3 days

One of the primary tools for students and the community is our website www.ncmich.edu. It allows us to direct interested participants to more detailed information and to enable them to register. Therefore, the first step in marketing something must be adding new information to the website.

Example: The CCD receives notification of a new program opportunity available to the community. A press release is written and sent to the media. The media goes to our website to review the program information and it is not there. The media responds that they will not run the press release until the information is accessible on the website. Once this happens, the chances of coverage by the media may have been jeopardized.

 

Display Ads

Allow 5-8 days

An effective marketing plan includes advertising. We have found that both display ads and classified ads generate interest in new programs, courses or events for some specific stakeholder groups. Creative work; however, takes time.

The CCD needs:

All of the pertinent information in the work request form filled out
The website updates completed

Once begun, the development of ad copy and artwork takes approximately 2-3 days. When the ad is complete, the ad buy is placed. Please note that space availability, as well as deadlines, must be taken into account. Getting an ad into any print media takes an average of 2 days.

 

Press Releases

Allow 3 hours to 1 day

As previously mentioned, press releases provide an excellent opportunity for free promotion. However, once submitted, the media outlets decide if they will print it.

When submitting press release requests to the CCD, we need:

All of the pertinent information in the work request form filled out
The website updates completed

The CCD will take the information provided and create a press release which will be targeted to the appropriate media, based on demographic and geographic data. The news releases are sent via email to an existing database of media contacts. News releases also follow a defined format, and contain consistent information about the College (boilerplate). No news releases should be created outside of the CCD, or without the approval of the CCD. It is also an advantage for you to have the CCD send the release to the media, as we have the established contacts.

A news release can be written and approved in a number of hours, and can be sent as soon as the website changes are made, or an appropriate contact is ready for questions. However, not all events or opportunities will necessarily become a news release. The CCD needs to weigh the importance of the information we are providing, the goals of providing it, as well as what other news releases are in the pipeline.

 

Collateral Print Materials

Allow 7-10 days for Design – Additional 7-10 days for Print

In addition to the media ideas above, the CCD will work with you on the creation of materials to support your program/project/event. Do you need registration forms? Do you need flyers or posters for the community or around campus?

 

Video Screens

Allow 1-3 days (once print materials have been designed)

North Central is fortunate to have access to video screens throughout campus which provide an excellent and attractive venue for information about classes, programs and opportunities for our students and staff.

To add information to campus video screens, the CCD needs:

All of the pertinent information in the work request form filled out
The website updates completed

The CCD encourages the use of the video screens over paper flyers and posters on walls around campus. This reduces paper “clutter” and keeps our campus attractive.

 

Logo Requests

In the fall of 1994, North Central Michigan College introduced the logo that remains today a strong symbol of the College and its role in our community. We are proud of North Central and the services we offer. Our graphic identity captures that sense of pride.

Consistent use of the logo and word mark is important. The College Communication Department has created a set of standards for the use of the logo and word mark. It is important that we observe these standards. Any request for logo creation must be considered carefully based on the scope and importance of the project, and be approved in advance by the CCD.

Please refer to the Graphic Design Standards for proper logo and word mark usage.