When developing a social media policy, it is important to remember the nature of “social media” as a web platform. By creating an official presence for your college or university on a social media platform, you are immediately opening a dialogue with your audience. With every post you make, you’re engaging in a conversation that may have different rules and regulations than your existing communications policy.
One of the best ways to begin is to look at a wide range of policies developed by other schools. Here are some examples of social media policies from higher ed institutions:
- DePaul University
- Florida International University
- George Mason University
- Hamilton College
- Kansas State University
- Northwestern University - Feinberg School of Medicine
- Seattle University
- University of Texas - Austin
- Washington University in St. Louis
Some of the most common key messages in these social media policies are:
- Authenticity and transparency
- Protecting confidential information
- Respecting copyrights
- Developing a social media strategy
- Respecting your audience
- Obeying terms of service on specific platforms
For information on responding to negative comments or posts from your audience:
- Negative Facebook Comments: @#$% Me by Jessica Krywosa
- How to Avoid a Social Media Disaster by Mashable
If your plan is to cover blogging in your policy document, here are some resources:
- Blogging Policy Examples by Charlene Li
- Corporate Blogging Policies and Guidelines (PDF download)
You don’t have to start from scratch, either. Check out the PolicyTool for Social Media, “a policy generator that simplifies the process of creating guidelines that respect the rights of your employees while protecting your brand online.”
Remember, your social media policy document doesn’t have to be overly complicated. Coca-cola had a very simple approach to their social media policy. They listed 10 Key Principles for Online Spokespeople and supported it with a 3-page document. Adam Brown, Head Of Social Media at Coca-Cola, explains in the video below.
And finally, make sure that you’re well-prepared for an official social media presence. Robin Smail put together a great, simple presentation called 10 Signs You Shouldn’t Be Doing Social Media. It’s up-front and honest about the key traits you’ll need to have, like social skills, humor, and openness.
Do you have a social media policy document at your college or university? What’s working well for you? Please share your examples in the comments.
Photo credit: webtreats