These guidelines are intended to help Elizabeth City State University faculty and staff who create and manage social media presences as University representatives, either as individual professionals or on behalf of their academic or administrative departments.
Social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation, blogs, wiki's, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
ECSU employees are free to publish or comment via social media as outlined in these guidelines. Both in professional and institutional roles, employees should follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in real life. Social media postings, including comments and responses, can be stored by and shared with millions around the world.
Why Participate In Social Media?
When managed effectively, social networking is useful to:
- Engage in conversation with our community
- Build and maintain strong relationships with our online constituents
- Promote ECSU programs and events
- Reach followers with last-minute news and alerts
- Provide quick links to online information and drive traffic to ecsu.edu
General Guidelines for Social Media Use
- Do not misrepresent ECSU: No individual ECSU employee or student should misrepresent their social media presence as representing the university as a whole or use the word “official” in any title, post or description.
- Do not use ECSU logos for endorsements: Do not use any ECSU logo or university image or iconography on personal social media sites. Do not use ECSU’s name to promote a product, cause or political party or candidate. ECSU logo use is allowed on registered ECSU-affiliate pages only, and with prior approval.
- Think twice, post once: 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 university. Search engines can find posts years after they are published, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn't say it at a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online.
- Strive for accuracy: Get the facts before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of the university in any
- Be respectful: Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or the university and its institutional voice.
- Remember your audience: Be aware that social media is called “viral” marketing for a reason - it’s immediately available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employers, and colleagues or peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm or provoke any of these groups.
- Controversial Issues: If you see misrepresentations made about ECSU in the media, you may point that out. Always do so with respect and with the facts. If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party. Avoid arguments. Don't try to settle scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates. Make sure any response is factually correct.
- Be the first to respond to your own mistakes: If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly. Remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of legal action.
- Be smart: Personally identifiable information that can be used to locate someone offline, including but not limited to phone numbers, home or local addresses, birth date, and e-mail addresses, should never be posted.
Institutional Social Media
- Access your need and availability:
- Time Commitment: How much time are you willing to dedicate to managing your account? Successful social media pages have constant interaction and postings. Industry guidelines recommend 2 - 3 postings per day in order to keep followers engaged, but not bombarded with information.
- Objective: What is the purpose or goal of your account? Is it something that justifies its own social media page, or could it be incorporated into the already existing ECSU social media pages? Established University departments, clubs, and organizations may have their own University events (one-time or reoccurring), campaigns, or anything with a definitive end date should be incorporated into the social media pages that already exist. If you have an event you would like to promote through the university’s official Facebook or Twitter accounts, please submit a Request for Publicity Assistance and indicate that you would like to have it promoted via social media. You can submit the request online by clicking here.
- Target: Who are you trying to reach? Are you sure this is the best way to reach your audience? While the age range of social media users is growing, the primary demographic served remains within the 18 - 35 age range. Social media users are typically web-savvy and current with modern technology.
- Designate page administrators: A department’s page administrators must be limited to a staff or faculty member; students should not be page administrators. Club pages should be started and monitored by the club’s faculty advisor. The club advisor may appoint up to 2 students to administrate the club’s page while remaining an active administrator at all times. The ECSU staff or faculty member in charge will be responsible for the use of the account and any information posted on the account.
- Register your account: All department or university accounts need to be registered with the Office of Communications and Marketing. Fill out and return the Social Media Request Form to the Office of Communications and Marketing in the Marion D. Thorpe Administration Building, office 334, or remit via email to Rhonda Hayes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posting Content on Approved ECSU Affiliate Pages
If you post on behalf of an official university unit, the following policies must be adhered to, in addition to all policies and best practices listed above:
- Do not post confidential or proprietary information about ECSU, students, employees or alumni. Employees must follow all the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA and HIPA, as well as NCAA regulations. Adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies. Employees who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.
- All content should be age appropriate.
- Do not post information, photos or videos that will reflect negatively on you, your academic department or ECSU.
- All official postings should reflect the university mission and values and be respectful of all audiences.
- Copyright: You must have written permission prior to using any copyrighted or proprietary materials such as music, art, photographs, videos or text.
- Permission: In general, verbal or written permission (or a Photo Release Form) must be obtained from individuals whose images are identifiable.
- Whenever possible, link back to the ECSU Website. Ideally, posts should be very brief, redirecting a visitor to content that resides within the ECSU website. When linking to a news article about ECSU, check first to see whether you can link to a release in the ECSU Newsroom (link coming soon) instead of to a publication or other media outlet.
- Posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste.
- No individual ECSU unit should misrepresent 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 when selecting content to post to profiles; all posts should be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.
- University representatives will conduct university business through approved social media sites only. Representatives shall not refer to personal social media pages when conducting official university business.
- Official university social media pages should not be used for the personal benefit of any one alumni, faculty or staff members. Stories and posts should relate to current university news, campaigns and updates.
Social Media Site-Specific Guidelines
- A minimum of one update per week should be made to any Facebook group account. An inactive account reflects poorly on the university and defeats the purpose of having an account.
- All terms and conditions should be read and understood in their entirety. Please read Facebook’s statement regarding content.
- The Official University Twitter page is twitter.com/ECSU. If you have any general announcements or information you would like added to the ECSU Twitter feed, please send your request to ECSU News at email@example.com.
- All Twitter accounts should be consistent in Not only does it make you easier to find, but it also ensures a cohesive and consistent identity on Twitter. All accounts should begin with “ECSU” and then specify department or organization. For example, the athletics department is “/ECSUathletics”. Underscores or numerals are not permitted. These symbols are hard to remember and will make searching for your account difficult.
- It’s recommended to post a minimum of one update per day to any Twitter account. An inactive account reflects poorly on the university and defeats the purpose of having an account.
- Visit http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/ before creating a Twitter account to become familiar with the social networking site. The following link also provides valuable information on how to build your Twitter community. http://mashable.com/2008/11/10/twitter-community/
- The Official University YouTube channel is youtube.com/ECSUVikings. If you have a video you would like added to the ECSU channel, please send the video to Michael Harrison, firstname.lastname@example.org or Rhonda Hayes at email@example.com for review. Videos must be of acceptable technical quality.
- Non-eligible videos include:
- Copyrighted material such as music, photography, television segments and movie clips that have not been authorized for clearance.
- Content that includes commercial logos or messages.
- Obscene or suggestive content, music lyrics or images.
- Video misrepresenting or negatively representing the university in any way.
Other Networking Sites
There are a variety of other networking sites available. The above guidelines apply to these accounts as well. If you would like any additional information or tips for use on these sites, please contact Communications and Marketing at (252) 335.3103 or firstname.lastname@example.org.