Florida Southern supports the use of social media by the campus community to connect with other members of FSC. These guidelines serve as way to better inform students, faculty, and staff of the opportunities and consequences associated with social networking. These guidelines are not intended to be a comprehensive “how to” guide, nor are they meant to encourage individual offices and programs to create their own social media platforms. Rather, these guidelines are intended to help you evaluate whether doing so will help you meet your goals. Before you launch a social media presence for your department or program, consider whether the College’s main accounts can meet your needs. You should always feel free to turn to the Marketing department for help getting the word out about research, programs, publications, events, etc.
Be selective in the sites you use. Consider which platform best meets the needs of your office/department/program. It’s easier to start with one platform and master it before adding another rather than doing a little bit in a lot of different places. Keep in mind whether you have the staff needed to keep your platforms updated with interesting content.
If you have accounts that will be managed by student workers, be sure to create a master account so that you or someone in your office always has access to it. Students leave and sometimes they take the log-in information with them. Be sure you can still get into your account, even after the student worker has left.
If and when you are ready to establish user profiles across multiple platforms, you should be consistent with your user name/handle/etc. as well as with the contact and profile information supplied in each.
Once you have created the account, make sure to share the log in and password with the Office of Marketing and Communication.
Best Practices for a Successful Social Media Presence
Anything you post in your role as a member of the Florida Southern community reflects on the institution. Be professional and respectful at all times on your social media site(s). Do not engage in personal arguments or extensive debates with naysayers on your site.
Being a consumer of social media is essential to your ability to be a successful producer of social media content. “Listen” to online conversations on your preferred tools to maintain a clear and current understanding of what is relevant and of interest to your community.
Social media is immediate. Your audience will expect timeliness. Be prepared to move quickly in response to new developments or announcements with relevant information on your site. If you are promoting an event or meeting, make sure to share it a week beforehand.
Accept and monitor comments.
A social media site without comments isn’t very social. Be prepared to accept and respond to comments. Remember that not all comments will be positive. Respond to negative comments professionally and by providing any additional information that may help resolve the issue. Before immediately responding to a negative comment, consider whether it would be harmful to wait a bit to see if another follower responds. Often your followers will engage in a conversation amongst themselves, and negative comments may be “policed” within the community. Always discuss negative comments with other team members before responding.
As a consumer as well as a producer of social media, offer comments on interesting posts and share the good work of others using your sites. Social media is not (only) about sharing your news and success, it’s about sharing information that is of interest to your readers and viewers.
Post a disclaimer on your site stating you reserve the right to remove inappropriate comments. Remove as soon as possible comments containing inappropriate language, those that attack any one group or individual and those that are obviously spam.
Be mindful of others’ work.
Never disclose information that is proprietary, private or commercially sensitive. Respect copyright. Don’t use images or content generated elsewhere without permission.
Separate personal from professional
Balancing your professional and personal social media presences can be tricky, particularly if you are an avid user in both arenas. Content that is appropriate and of interest to your personal friends is most likely not appropriate or of interest to your department’s “friends.” Keep these two presences as separate as possible by keeping content about your non-work life on your personal page. Don’t use personal or professional social media profiles as a platform to disparage coworkers, supervisors or other colleges.
Remember, everything you do online can and will live forever
Remembering that anything you share within social media, even within a closed network, is not private. Content can and will be shared, stored and spread globally. Viewers can take screengrabs. Don’t post anything online you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on the front page of the newspaper or on a news website. Also be sure to check your facts and any web links you’re sharing.
When in doubt, ask.
If you aren’t sure if something is appropriate to share via social media, contact the Office of Marketing and Communication.
Best Practices for Creating Effective Social Media Content
Effective social media content (both original and responses to others) should be informational rather than overtly promotional regardless of the platform used. It should be updated regularly, so be certain you have the staff necessary to keep your social outlets current.
Before creating your own department Facebook page, consider whether you have the staff and enough content to make the page robust or if another page at the College can share your news. The marketing office is happy to promote your department or event. Be in touch!
Instagram is a great way to share what your department is doing. An interesting lab, a student presentation, a cool graph—grab a photo and post it on Instagram (making sure the students involved are okay with it). When you’re taking a photo, consider detail shots. You don’t have to show the viewer everything. The key is to make it visually compelling. Remember to use hashtags to join larger conversations.
Direct all social media questions relating to the college to the Office of Marketing and Communication.