Social Media Guidelines
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NORTH CENTRAL MICHIGAN COLLEGE
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 in 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: Guidlines 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 College 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 my these guidelines.
- 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
- contain anything obscene, explicit, threatening or offensive
Section 5: 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 Communications Office 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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.