Social media platforms are a powerful tool for promoting your message. There are a plethora of mediums to choose from; University Communications staff can help you select and develop a strategic, sustained presence on those platforms that best connect with your target audience(s) and meet your objectives. As you consider initiating a social media presence for your group, department, or unit, please review Drake’s Social Media Guidelines below:
Policy contact: Niki Smith, Assistant Director of Public Relations, Social Media, 515-271-2179, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Note: These guidelines share best practices for personal use of social media, and use of social media on behalf of Drake University. They are not intended to apply to use of social media for classroom purposes.
Drake University believes in and takes seriously the rights of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the greater Drake community to communicate openly and engage in the free flow of information. We aim to encourage and protect diverse perspectives while maintaining positive and constructive social media conversations that preserve and enhance the image and reputation of the University.
Social media provide valuable communication channels through which the University can pursue a positive, open sharing of information. Social networking platforms, blogs, applications, games, and other digital communication tools increase transparency among participants and create a tighter-knit, global Drake community.
Students, faculty, staff, and representatives of Drake University and its units are encouraged to participate in this dialogue, which may span many forms of social media on various online and mobile platforms including, but not limited to:
(A directory of official Drake University social media outlets is available here: http://news.drake.edu/social-media-directory/)
Although this document attempts to capture as much information and address as much content as possible, the nature of social communications is ever-changing. We will continue to monitor the social media landscape and make necessary adaptations to the Drake University Social Media Communications Policies & Guidelines. Please check back periodically for changes and/or additions.
Like any form of communication, there are risks and responsibilities inherent in the use of social media and digital communications. Improper use can carry legal consequences and damage reputations. Stating and recognizing these risks is not intended to deter use, but to promote and share guidelines that further communications for the entire Drake community.
Following the University’s guidelines will help establish and maintain a social media presence for the University, navigate ethical issues, and balance your personal and professional image on social media. It is important to consider these social media guidelines in conjunction with relevant documents including the faculty manual, student handbook, Drake University statement of principles, Information Technology (IT) Acceptable Use Policy, and the language contained therein.
In the case of improper use of University affiliated social media accounts and personal use that violates guidelines, Drake University, in conjunction with legal counsel, as necessary and appropriate, will address the offense and correct and resolve the situation. Resolution may include disciplinary action as specified under any applicable University or campus policies and procedures.
Reporting process: Behavior by faculty or staff members that may be in violation of this policy or other university policies may be reported confidentially via the “EthicsPoint” website (accessible via the Employee tab in BlueView).
Behavior by students that may be in violation of this policy or other University policies may be reported to Dean of Students Jerry Parker, email@example.com, 515-271-4088.
The following guidelines reflect best practices when using social media:
Observe the golden rule. Engage in friendly, civil, respectful, and constructive conversations.
Interact with others. Social media provides an opportunity for two-way communication.
Be transparent. Always be up-front about your identity. If you are communicating on behalf of the University, be clear about that (and make sure you have the authority to do so). Be every bit as diligent about stating when you are communicating on your own behalf, rather than on behalf of the University. (Drake employees: See “faculty and staff” guidelines below.)
Protect private information. Assume that everything you post online can be made available to the public, even if you attempt to protect your privacy through “closed” or “private” venues of communication. If discussion arises about internal policies, consider directing the conversation to a more private form of communication such as email or phone call. Follow federal, state, and University requirements such as HIPAA (the privacy of individual identifiable health information) and FERPA (the privacy of student education records).
Students: Observe our Code of Student Conduct
Be safe. Sharing photos, text, personal information, individual location, and video could compromise your safety and privacy. Shared content has a very long life and may be difficult to remove. Be careful about what you post for your own personal protection and safety and the protection and safety of the campus community.
For more information on Drake University’s social media communication and maintaining a personal web presence, please see the “faculty and staff” section below.
Drake University’s Office of University Communications manages and administers the University’s institutional social networking accounts and official profiles.
A directory of official Drake University social media outlets is available here: http://news.drake.edu/social-media-directory/. This directory frequently evolves as the University explores and implements new platforms and dissolves its presence on other platforms.
Faculty and staff beyond the Office of University Communications with responsibilities for administering social networking accounts in Drake’s name should make themselves known to the Office of University Communications. This helps ensure consistent messages and practices and means the office can provide you with additional information and resources. (The primary point of contact is Niki Smith, assistant director of public relations, social media, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-271-2179.)
Drake University reserves the right to monitor its institutional entities online, including affiliated Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, other social media profiles, official blogs, and comment boards associated with Drake University. The University also reserves the right to quell activity that inhibits safe and constructive conversation. Such activity may include hateful or threatening remarks (see the relevant code of conduct, policies, and manual on acceptable discourse); excessive posting or “spamming;” “cyberbullying;” or use of language that violates University policies. The Office of University Communications reserves the right to remove inappropriate posts and ban or block disruptive users.
“Spamming” is defined as, “sending irrelevant or inappropriate messages on the internet to a large number of recipients.”
“Cyberbullying” is defined by the University as, “Using social networking or other internet sites for the purpose of exhibiting, distributing, posting, or communicating matter in any form (text, image, audio, or video) that intimidates, harasses, or is otherwise intended to harm, insult, or humiliate another, or that disrupts or prevents a safe educational or working environment.
The Office of University Communications also reserves the right to screen any and all submitted content before posting to institutional social media entities. The University reserves the right to re-publish, distribute, or otherwise reuse any content posted on our institutional social media sites.
Develop a strategy. This is the single most important step in planning and implementing a successful social media presence. Know the audience(s) that you will reach with your new efforts. Set realistic goals. Identify the content that will be valuable to your audience(s) and enhance the image and reputation of your department/unit and of the University. Assign one or more full-time employees to oversee the page and ensure that consistent, quality content is shared. Students should be allowed to post on behalf of the University only with direct staff supervision. DO NOT allow your social presence to lapse into inactivity—try to post once a week, at a minimum, to each of your social media accounts.
Check in with us. If your supervisor has authorized you to create a new social media presence on behalf of Drake University, contact the Office of University Communications. Consultation services on strategy, resources, and best practices are available. The office will also provide you with logos and/or other graphics you may need, as applicable, to make your presence look and feel professional.
Err on the side of open membership. Most of Drake’s social communities benefit from open membership, as defined by allowing users to freely join the community without prior screening or authorization. Openness promotes a diversity of opinion and breadth of participation. Prepare for an open community to attract the attention of students, alumni, faculty members, and other members of Drake and the broader community.
Consider a closed community (such as closed Facebook group) when members are part of a specific University class, study abroad experience, or other affiliation that would not benefit from participation from outside sources. Membership can be restricted to authorized participants—but always behave as if content you publish online can, and will, be made available to a broader distribution.
Need technical help? See subsections below on creating a Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, Flickr feed, Pinterest board, etc. And always check in with University Communications first for resources, ideas, and best practices.
Be authorized. Don’t post or comment as if you are a representative of Drake University or one of its institutional units, departments, or entities unless you are authorized by the Office of University Communications to do so.
Be a human being. You need a real, live person to monitor comments, post content, and engage with users. Otherwise, your presence will become the Wild West—or a ghost town. Posting web articles directly to Facebook or Twitter, particularly through RSS feeds or other automated tools, is not a viable social media strategy. People engage with relevant, contextualized content; they ignore robots. Students should be allowed to post on behalf of the University only with direct staff supervision.
Be a moral compass. Never display or promote content that violates University policies, e.g., depicts underage drinking, harassment, uncivil behavior, or discrimination. Do not use official Drake social media platforms to endorse or oppose political candidates, ballot initiatives, pending or approved legislation, or politically charged discussions. Use of University resources for political purposes will jeopardize Drake’s IRS 501 (c) (3) status. The role of the University is to promote education and awareness, not a specific point-of-view or course of action. Consult with the Office of University Communications (Niki Smith, assistant director of public relations, social media, 515-271-2179, email@example.com) if you have questions about displaying potentially political, offensive, disruptive, or polarizing material.
Listen first. Listen carefully to what is being said. Investigate accuracy prior to responding.
Be responsive. When appropriate, address issues that arise from the community—even if your initial response expresses that you are gathering more information and will get back in touch. Be careful, though, not to violate privacy laws or say anything that will harm the image and reputation of your unit and/or the University as a whole.
Verify content. Ensure the content that you and others share is accurate, current, and authentic. Reserve the right to remove content that is plagiarized and/or violates copyright restrictions. Beware of hoaxes and misinformation.
Be serious and factual. Jokes, sarcasm, and pranks are prone to misinterpretation. When acting on behalf of a University entity, avoid engaging in controversial discussions.
Direct media queries to the Office of University Communications. If you are contacted by a member of the media about a posting or comment on a social networking site, or if a reporter asks general questions about Drake University’s official activities, events, staff, faculty, or students via social media, the University asks you to immediately contact Jarad Bernstein, director of public relations and media relations (firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-271-3119), who will be prepared to handle the response.
Allow constructive criticism from the community, but remove comments that are libelous, obscene, or hateful. If you need a second opinion on whether or not comments reach this threshold, please contact the Office of University Communications (Niki Smith, assistant director of public relations, social media, 515-271-2179, email@example.com).
Monitor and react appropriately. Remove comments, photos, video, posts, links that contain profanity, sell or promote products, are spam or otherwise contain unlawful, threatening, harassing, bullying, slanderous, or hateful content. If you need a second opinion on whether or not comments reach this threshold and/or are in violation of University policies, codes of conduct or manuals, please contact the Office of University Communications (Niki Smith, assistant director of public relations, social media, 515-271-2179, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Follow Drake University rules. Communicate only in a manner that is in accordance with Drake University policies. Respect the members of our community as well as proprietary information, intellectual property, privacy, copyrights, and patents.
Source content. Provide a direct link to the original post and include online references to the author. Make changes to the original post only when necessary to make corrections and preserve the original content by using strikethrough to the changed content.
Engage. Don’t be afraid to utilize social media. These tools may help you increase your outreach for personal and professional endeavors.
Be transparent. You may identify yourself on personal web pages as an employee of Drake University, but be clear about when you are speaking on behalf of Drake University (if you hold this designation, as determined by the Office of University Communications) and when you are speaking as a private individual or a member of the community. Remember: Comments you make using personal accounts may be perceived as a reflection on your employer and your career, regardless of your intent.
When speaking as a private individual, consider including a disclaimer on your site. We suggest you include a sentence similar to this:
“The views expressed on this [blog, website] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Drake University.”
Do not use the Drake logo and other registered trademarks for your personal web site. You need prior authorization from the Office of University Communications.
a. Creating a Facebook fan page:
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with nearly 1 billion registered users as of September 2012. Fan pages are public profiles for use by businesses, nonprofit organizations, and other groups that allow Facebook users to follow updates and interact with one another. Follow these simple steps to start a Facebook fan page for a University-related presence.
b. Creating a Flickr account:
Flickr is a public, electronic photo gallery used to showcase the activities of your department or program.
A free Flickr account provides you with one Terabyte of space, with up to 200MB per image. See all of the offerings of a free account at www.flickr.com/help/limits/#150485569
A paid, or Pro, Flickr account is $24.95 a year and provides unlimited uploads (with up to 200 MB per photo), ad-free browsing, sharing capabilities on desktop and mobile, and the ability to view stats on your account. You can go Pro at www.flickr.com/account/upgrade/pro
c. Creating a Twitter account
Twitter is a platform for concise discussion and interaction. Share information about your department or program, but also share information from other sources and engage with followers by asking questions or responding to their tweets. All updates to Twitter are made in 140 characters or less.