Social media allows us to communicate rapidly with our audiences easily, but the use of tools that allow instant and simple communication requires the acceptance of greater responsibility.
Henderson uses social media to supplement traditional press and marketing efforts. Employees are encouraged to share university news and events that are a matter of public record. Linking straight to the information source is an effective way to help promote university messaging and build community.
Social media accounts that represent Henderson State University as a whole are maintained through the Office of Marketing and Communications. However, a number of entities within the university have established accounts as a way to support their individual efforts at marketing and communication. The Office does not discourage the creation of separate accounts, but university communicators ask that potential account owners consider carefully the responsibility inherent in delivering communication via social media.
Henderson’s Office of Marketing and Communications maintains the following official university social media accounts:
Other accounts have been established, but the ones listed above are the main communication vehicles for all official university messages.
The guidelines contained here are written for those who manage social media accounts directly affiliated with the university. For instance, they will impact a social media practitioner who communicates to promote the Student Activities Board, but will not impact that individual’s personal social media presence when not representing Henderson State University.
Faculty and staff members should consider, however, how their personal interactions on social media could impact prospective and current students. All official account managers, whether they are students, faculty or staff, should remember that the information shared in social media is governed by FERPA, HIPAA and the appropriate copyright laws.
Information for University Social Media Account Managers
Applications that allow you to interact with others online require you to consider the implications of developing a relationship with another person. For example, there is the potential for misinterpretation of the relationship or the potential of sharing protected information. In order to use social media effectively, account owners should consider the following questions:
What do I hope to accomplish with social media?
Henderson’s Office of Marketing and Communications uses social media as a portion of a larger integrated marketing communication plan. Social media does not exist in a vacuum, and messages are stronger when they are echoed throughout different means of communication.
However, just like every individual prefers a different television news program, individuals will choose to interact with different social media channels. Depending on what your end goal is for your integrated communication plan, you could choose to communicate in different channels – including different social media channels.
To give you an example of what goals with social media could be, we are including the university’s Office of Marketing and Communication goals for the implementation of social media into its planning. Each of these goals is tied to Henderson State University’s strategic priority of enhancing the university’s local, regional and national profile. The goals include:
- Extend the university’s reach and influence. Posts to social media can be seen throughout the world. In order to increase Henderson’s reach in areas that would never see an advertisement or printed brochure, social media provides a low cost way to share Henderson’s messaging quickly.
- Provide more communication channels. When Henderson’s message can be repeated through an integrated marketing communication plan and in many channels, more individuals have the opportunity to hear that message multiple times. In addition, the university has the opportunity to interact with stakeholders instead of broadcasting its messaging and not receiving feedback.
- Monitor the university’s reputation. Many times, social media provides an anonymous mouthpiece for those who are disgruntled or concerned about an organization’s actions. By watching social media posts in a variety of outlets, communication professionals are able to determine what type of information external stakeholders need about the university or where outside opinions lie on university decisions.
Who is my audience? Are there opportunities for interaction with them through this medium?
Groups of individuals may be less likely to engage in social media because they are less connected to technology than others. In the same way, some groups of individuals may be more engaged with some types of social media than others.
Do I have enough content to maintain a social media account effectively and responsibly? Can I dedicate the time and focus to interacting appropriately with stakeholders so their affinity for the university is not diminished?
The best social media managers post to their accounts several times a day. If the manager of an account is not able to invest the time into maintaining a robust social media presence, then the department should take advantage of the university’s presence and submit information for those accounts to publish.
Social networking sites require us to interact with our audiences in a two-way fashion, meaning we should respond to our stakeholders when they ask questions, offer opinions or post content. The medium was developed as a way to maintain conversations between individuals, so it is appropriate that Henderson State University accounts maintain dialogue with those who have affinity for the university. If a manager is not able to cultivate relationships through social media, that department should share posts with the university’s Social Media Strategist.
Follow the Process for Creating a Henderson-Related Social Media Presence
To ensure that your social media efforts adhere to the design and policy standards of Henderson State University, all official Henderson social media accounts must be registered with the Office of Marketing and Communications.
- Maintain confidentiality. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Henderson State University, its students, its alumni or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow the university’s policies and federal requirements, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
- Be aware of liability and legality. You are responsible for the content you write and publish on blogs, wikis or any other form of user-generated content. Bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be copyright infringement, defamatory, proprietary, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts). Maintain privacy. Do not discuss named or pictured community members on a social media site without their permission. As a guideline, do not post anything that you would not present in any public forum.
- Be mindful. Before composing a message that might act as the “voice” or position of the university or a school/department, please discuss the content with your supervisor or the dean/chair of the school/department or his or her delegate. If you ever have any question about whether a message you are crafting is appropriate to post in your role as an employee, talk with your supervisor before you post.
- Respect university time and resources. It is appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for information or working with others to resolve a problem.
- Be responsible. What you write is ultimately your responsibility. Participation in social computing on behalf of the university is not a right but an opportunity, so please treat it seriously and with respect. What you say directly reflects on the university. Discuss with your supervisor the circumstances in which you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval
- Be accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It is better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible.
- Keep accounts fresh and updated. The university reserves the right to disable or temporarily unpublish Henderson-affiliated social media accounts that are dormant (no posts, no activity) for more than six months.
- Replace departed account administrators. When page editors and administrators, especially students, have left the college and no longer require access to social media accounts, you must update and adjust your page roles immediately. While Henderson State University provides information to users who manage official social media accounts, we do not want to interfere with the individual freedom of speech of students, faculty or staff members. We do, however, ask that community remember the requirements of FERPA, HIPAA and copyright laws when posting on their personal accounts.