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Social Media Guidelines
The Office of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) has established guidelines for University-affiliated social media accounts. Violation of these guidelines can lead to suspension of administrative privileges.
Social Media Values
UMB recognizes the tremendous opportunity and responsibility in using social media to connect directly with prospective students, current students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, partners, donors, media, and community members.
Transparency, respectful engagement, and free expression are essential to responsible social media utilization. UMB believes that it should take consideration when dealing with topics that might be considered objectionable or inflammatory. UMB is committed to protecting the privacy of members of its community.
Terms and Conditions
All social media networking platforms have terms and conditions (i.e., rules) that govern the use of that particular community. If users decide to participate in these communities, users should familiarize themselves with the terms of service before they begin to engage, because signing up for an account means they agree to the terms. Here are links to terms and conditions for some of the most popular social media sites:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms
- Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/help/guidelines
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/about/legal/terms
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/legal/user-agreement
- Pinterest: https://about.pinterest.com/en/terms-service
- Snapchat: https://www.snapchat.com/terms
- Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/policy/en/terms-of-service
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/tos
- Google+: https://www.google.com/+/policy/pagesterm.html
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/t/terms
Account Setup and Administration
CPA must approve all uses of University logos, including each school logo before a project is printed, published, or produced. Send PDF proofs to Laura Kozak, associate vice president, Communications and Public Affairs, for approval. Having a branding challenge? Share it with us. We are here to help and are confident that we can find a solution that meets University brand standards.
- Accounts made for a University unit must be created by an employee or representative who has been given authorization by the department head or supervisor appointed by the department head.
- Units must provide the University’s social media specialist with account information and contact information for individual(s) authorized by the department to create, operate, monitor, and edit accounts on an ongoing basis (i.e., page or account administrator).
- All social media accounts created on behalf of the University must be linked to a department’s email account, never a personal email account.
- More than one University employee must have administrative access to the account.
- Students may not be named as administrators.
There are many considerations that need to be thought through as one prepares to launch a social media account or retool an existing one. The following suggestions should help when setting up social accounts.
- No personal email accounts: Never use a personal email account or phone number to set up a University-affiliated account. Contact the Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) to create a branded University email account such as CPAsocial@umaryland.edu.
- Naming: Choose a name that aligns with UMB to capitalize on brand equity and build credibility.
- Bio: Let people know more than what the unit is and does. Create a bio that fits the unit’s brand and notes that the unit is a part of UMB.
- Profile picture: The avatar will help searchers see that the account is affiliated with UMB. Limit changing the profile picture because it will confuse the online community.
- Cover photo: Use the social profile cover photo to showcase the unit or the University itself and to affiliate the unit closely with an easy-to-recognize image of UMB’s campus.
Here’s what is needed to include in a profile for the major social media platforms:
- Twitter: Cover photo, profile photo, bio, website URL, background color/image, link/hashtag color.
- Facebook: Cover photo, profile photo, bio/about section that accurately represents your unit.
- Instagram: Profile photo, bio, website URL.
Sharing Management and Assistance
Social media management is a big job, but no one is alone. CPA is happy to answer questions, offer engagement strategies, and help each department maximize its social media efforts.
What to Post
Content is the most important component of social media, and what someone says and shows is the story of the unit or department. If you are unsure whether something is confidential, proprietary, or too private to share, don’t post it. Remember to follow University policies regarding confidential information, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Here are tips to create appealing content that speaks to fans and followers.
- Know the audience: Think about how the department can add value to conversations already happening and what conversations it can start and lead.
- Speak to strengths: People will engage with content at a higher rate if they see the department as an expert on the topic it posts about. For example, messaging on getting a flu shot during flu season is more trusted coming from the School of Medicine than the School of Law.
- Be active: Social media presence requires diligent care and feeding. Social media account managers need to dedicate time and resources to check in on the accounts at least a few minutes each day and to post fresh content. If the account becomes inactive, consider having someone else monitor it or delete the account entirely.
- Be timely: Share information that is relevant and new. A short amount of accurate information delivered at the time of need is better than a full report delivered well after the issue or event has passed.
- Curate your content: Studies show that short posts, photos, and videos drive high post engagement. Use links and a URL shortener when a URL is excessively long or complicated. Hashtags should be short and, when appropriate, use #UMBaltimore.
- Study analytics: Evaluate what is working and what isn’t on a regular basis to continue to create content that is engaging.
Topics for Consideration
- Achievements/initiatives by students, faculty, staff, and alumni
- Success stories and awards
- Upcoming department or UMB events
- Photos from University happenings
- Media coverage highlights
- Old photos (#ThrowbackThursday)
- Anything that supports UMB’s mission, values, or strategic goals
General Guidelines for Post Frequency
- Facebook: A few times a week
- More than three posts per day may begin to clutter followers’ news feeds.
- Instagram: Once a day if there are several photos from one event, you can post multiple pictures at once to limit the number of posts in one day.
- Twitter: At least once a day in this fast-paced platform, accounts can post as frequently as they like.
- LinkedIn: A few times a week
- Be selective; post content that is relevant to your unit.
Comment Moderation and Deletion
Anything posted on an official UMB social media site — by the page’s administrator or followers — should be in good taste and appropriate for all audiences.
University social media efforts encourage fans, followers, and friends to share their thoughts with one another via comments on stories, videos, links, posts, etc., within the following guidelines.
- Comments must be relevant to a topic discussed and to the point.
- Comments should be constructive and absent of expletives, obscenity, and vulgarity, in accordance with University guidelines/core values.
- Posts that are abusive, contain profanity, threatening in tone, or devolve into personal attacks will be deleted.
- Posts with links that are determined to be spam or sales and advertising should be removed immediately.
- Account administrators reserve the right to review all comments and posted materials and remove such materials for any reason.
Unless a commenter goes against the page rules the account manager has laid out, comments should not be deleted.