Missouri State University realizes the importance and value that social media tools and websites offer faculty, staff, current and future students, alumni and others. These guidelines are to provide direction and clarity with respect to social media and the University’s participation to allow for it to be a positive experience for all those who participate.
Social media guidelines
Guidelines for all social media sites
- Be respectful of copyright, fair use and intellectual property rights of others and of the University. For guidance, refer to the Guideline for External Materials or contact the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning regarding Fair Use guidelines.
- Obey the terms of service of any social media platform on which you have a web presence.
Guidelines for institutional social media sites
- Departments, university units or organizations that have a social media presence should contact the office of university communications to ensure that all institutional social media sites coordinate with other Missouri State University sites and their content.
- The Web Policy considers social media sites a component of a university website. The website supervisor is responsible for any associated social media sites.
- Supervisors for institutional social media sites must follow and enforce the Comment Guidelines.
- As described in the Commercial Activity Guidelines, commercial activity is not allowed on institutional social media sites.
- When possible, always link back to the Missouri State University website. Posts should direct visitors to content that resides in the Missouri State University web environment.
- Posts on institutional social media sites should protect the university’s voice by following brand guidelines on voice and remaining in good taste. No individual Missouri State department, unit or organization should construe its social media site as representing the university as a whole.
Guidelines for personal social media sites
- Use common sense, especially if you can be identified as a Missouri State employee on your social media sites. In other words, don’t post comments that could be deemed racist, sexist, derogatory or otherwise offensive.
- Place a disclaimer, such as “Opinions are my own,” in your account bio. Otherwise, people who see your posts may believe your opinions reflect Missouri State’s.
- Become familiar with security settings on each social media site to limit the audiences who can view your personal posts.
- Do not use Missouri State University logos for endorsement on any personal social media sites.
Social media best practices
While each social platform is unique, there are general principals that can set your unit up for success on any platform.
Develop a plan
Departments, units and organizations should develop a social media plan and consider their messages, audiences and goals, as well as a strategy for keeping information and content on social media sites up-to-date.
Incorporate social media into your broader communication strategy
Social media are additional channels for communicating your unit’s messages. Before you create a new social account, determine what your overall goal is and let that goal determine your social media strategy.
Developing a social media strategy plan is key for long-term success and provides a means for measuring progress. Your social media strategy plan should be SMARTER: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound, evaluated and reviewed.
Post frequently and consistently
Social media are very time sensitive, so be sure to update your accounts regularly. The best practices for posting frequency vary per platform (e.g. post multiple times per day on Twitter but once a week on LinkedIn), so please view our platform-specific recommendations.
Think twice before posting
Remember that anything you share on social media sites, even within a closed network, is not private. It can and will be shared, stored and spread globally. Do not post anything online you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing with your mother.
Remember your audience
Remember your audience and remain aware that a web presence on social media sites can easily be made available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employees and colleagues, alumni and peers. Consider your audience before posting to a social media site to ensure the content will not alienate, harm or provoke negative reactions to any of these groups.
Make sure that your facts are correct and always strive for accuracy when posting on a social media site.
Showcase your personality
Social media are powerful because of their capability to connect people. Your posts do not need to be formal, we encourage you to be authentic and showcase your unit’s unique personality and culture.
Acknowledge who you are and if you are representing Missouri State University when posting on a social media site. On personal social media sites, identify your views as your own. If you identify yourself as a Missouri State University faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution.
Anything you post in your role as a Missouri State University employee reflects on the institution; be professional and respectful at all times on your social media site, and do not engage in arguments or extensive debates on your site.
Social media requires constant monitoring and coordination. If your unit lacks the resources to check your social media presences at least a few minutes each day and to post fresh content several times a week, please reconsider before opening any new social media accounts. With social media, you get out of it what you put into it. If your page is inactive, users will notice and no longer engage with you on that site.
Direct followers back to your website and blog
Social media are great channels for sharing information but shouldn’t be the primary place your information resides. Your content is valuable and should live in a place that you have control over, for instance your website and blog. When you post, write a short teaser of information and link back to the full content on your website or blog.
Not all content is shared and valued equally across platforms. Your content should be tailored to the standards of the platform it is shared on. This includes cropping photos to appropriate sizes, uploading video directly to the platform and leveraging best practices appropriate to the medium.
Incorporate photos and videos as frequently as possible. Visual content captures users’ attention and helps reinforce your messages.
Use hashtags to join larger conversations
Hashtags are topic-specific keywords or keyword phrases preceded by a hash sign. Hashtags are used to aggregate posts about a specific topic into a public feed of conversation about that topic (e.g. #GrizzGrads is the hashtag for commencement related posts). Incorporate hashtags on Twitter, Instagram and occasionally on Facebook.
Tag other accounts
Tag relevant people, organizations and locations when possible. When you tag other accounts, you provide more information to your followers. Tagging other accounts also increases the likelihood that those accounts will share your post, which would boost your visibility.
Think customer service
Social media are two-way communication platforms. It’s important for you to foster an open dialogue with followers and to listen and respond to their comments and questions as they arise.
Social media kits
These social media kits are your resources to help promote high-level Missouri State University events. Please utilize the photos, videos and messaging on your departmental and personal social media accounts.