In this section


Related Policy – Social Media

About This appendix

Responsible Officer
Vice President of Enrollment & Student Development

Policy Owner
Director of Marketing & Communications

Policy Contact
Director of Marketing & Communications


University Appendix

Best Practices

The following list of best practices gives some insight into strategies and protocols to help build a solid social media profile and better engage friends, fans and followers in a social capacity. These can be applied to anyone in the university community.

Think twice before posting

  • Behavior in social media is no different than in e-mail, public speech, classroom lecture, conversation with friends, or a poster on a wall
  • Anything considered inappropriate offline is likely also inappropriate online
  • 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 individual and the university.

Post accurate, concise and useful information

  • Make sure you have all the facts before you post and strive to be as accurate as possible
  • To avoid having to post corrections or make retractions later, fact-check all information with sources before you post and cite and link to your sources whenever possible
  • If you make a typographical or grammatical error, correct/edit it quickly and visibly. Do not simply delete a post if responses get heated or if the post was not initially well received. Let the post run its course and craft a follow-up response if necessary. Do not delete the comments of other users on your shared posts
  • Brevity is key when crafting messages for social media audiences

Be respectful

  • Always respect the dignity of others and only engage in civil and thoughtful discourse of opposing ideas. Refrain from arguing with others. Do not remove a follower from social media out of anger
  • Post meaningful, respectful comments – do not spam or make remarks that are off-topic or offensive
  • If you feel overwhelmingly angry or impassioned about a subject, think twice before posting. Just like other forms of communication, individuals are encouraged to wait until they feel they are in a calmer state of mind to post
  • Whenever possible, take a heated conversation offline by suggesting a one-on-one interaction such as a phone call or other direct message exchange
  • Always give proper credit for other’s work, and make sure you have the right to use something before you publish
  • Do not post anything that you would not say at a public forum
  • Cyber bullying will not be tolerated. Cyber bullying can and will lead to legal action with detrimental consequences by the university or law enforcement officials. Being behind a screen does not exempt an individual from carrying on in a civil manner.

Protect your identity

  • While you want to be honest about who you are, do not provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you
  • Do not list your home address, telephone number or any other confidential personal information
  • To avoid security breaches or hacking, change passwords to social media profiles two or three times a year

Identify your views as your own

  • If you identify yourself as a university faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution
  • If you post content to personal channels that may potentially conflict with the position of university, add a disclaimer such as, “Views expressed here are not supported by North Central University” or “Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views or opinions of my employer”

Posting on Behalf of a University Account

If you post on behalf of an official university department or unit, the following policies apply, in addition to all policies and best practices listed above. 

Acknowledge association with North Central University.

If you are representing the university when posting on a social media platform, acknowledge the department/team/organization’s association with the university. While you do not have to necessarily clarify yourself as an individual poster, be clear that the profile or account is associated with the university in some capacity. 

Notify the Office of Marketing & Communications

University departments that have a social media page or would like to start one should contact the Office of Marketing & Communications to ensure all institutional social media sites coordinate with other university sites and their content. 

Have a plan and a strategy

Departments should consider their messages, audiences, and goals, as well as a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date. The Office of Marketing & Communications can assist and advise with social media planning and best practices. For example:

  • Ask your supervisor for input or contact the Office of Marketing & Communications if you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment.
  • If you make a typographical or grammatical error, correct/edit it quickly and visibly. Do not simply delete a post if responses get heated or if the post was not initially well received. Let the post run its course and craft a follow-up response if necessary. Do not delete the comments of other users on your shared posts.
  • Do not post self-promoting material or make “sales pitches” on social websites. Based on social media algorithms, promoting events on social media channels can have a negative impact on the effectiveness of current and future messages.
  • Make sure you are contributing information that will be of use to readers. Do not create a social media account simply for the sake of having it.
  • Social media presumes 24/7 interaction and requires diligent attention and care.
  • Post meaningful updates regularly.
  • Respond appropriately to posts, comments and interactions in a timely fashion.

Link back to the University

Whenever possible, link back to the university website. Ideally, posts should be brief, redirecting a visitor to content that resides within the university web environment. 

Protect the institutional voice 

Posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste. No individual unit should construe its social media site as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon and selecting content to post. Names, profile images and posts should all be clearly linked to the department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole. The Office of Marketing & Communications is the main administrator for university-wide channels and typically the sole individual sharing content on those channels. In addition, the Office of Marketing & Communications will perform audits of university channels and take action to remove any dormant or ineffective accounts.

Coordinate with the Office of Marketing & Communications

Coordinate with the official university social media channels when posting university-wide news. Do not be the first to announce major university or departmental news on a social media site unless pre-approved by the Office of Marketing & Communications.