Social Media Guidelines for Senior Administrators
Social media has become a popular and powerful communications tool. Because it is seen as an inexpensive alternative to paid advertising, there has been a rush by colleges and units to adopt social media as a way to reach their various audiences. Social media is, like websites, official university communication, so standards have been established to provide for proper and secure usage. Since social media requires approval from the vice president or designee of the unit, the following guidelines have been developed to assist senior administrators in determining the appropriateness and value of social media usage.
- Will the site support a clear business objective that is consistent with the mission and goals of the unit? It is recommended that a written business plan be required for each social media site.
- Is the site manager trained in the proper use of social media? Experience with personal social media does not qualify a person to manage a site focused on accomplishing specific communications goals. Thoughtful, professional posts and responses are critical to protecting the image of your unit and the university.
- Is the site manager familiar with the UF social media standards, which include web acceptable use policy and UF identity standards?
- Is there sufficient staff time available to manage the site? (Social media is essentially a conversation. It only works if there is regular interaction between posts and comments. The site manager should expect to devote at least an hour a day to keeping the site current, responding to comments and developing engaging content.)
- Could content on the site raise privacy concerns? FERPA, HIPAA and public information law should all be taken into account when posting on social media, and the site manager should be informed in applicable areas of information security.
Once you have evaluated/approved the request, University Relations will register the site and review it for identity compliance.
Usage Guidelines for Social Media Managers
Social media is, like websites, official university communication, so standards have been established to provide for proper and secure usage.
- Will your site support an objective consistent with the mission and goals of your unit? Since approval is required by your unit VP, it is recommended that a written business plan be provided to assist him/her in making the decision).
- Have you gotten training in the proper use of UF social media? Social media sites intended for unit communications purposes have very different requirements than personal sites. Thoughtful, professional posts and responses are critical to protecting the image of your unit and the university.
- Are you familiar with the UF social media standards, which include web acceptable use policy and UF identity standards? Your site will need to be in compliance before receiving approval. Please note that your unit might have additional standards and requirements.
- Is there sufficient staff time available to manage the site? As you know, social media is essentially a conversation. Regular interaction between posts and comments is important to the success of the site, and you should expect to devote at least an hour a day to keeping the site current, responding to comments and developing engaging content.
- Could content on the site raise privacy concerns? FERPA, HIPAA and public information law should all be taken into account when posting on social media, and you should be informed in applicable areas of information security before launching a site.
- Is there management redundancy? For instance, do you have two admins for your Facebook account, in case one person leaves? How are accounts with single user access managed?
Once your unit VP or designee has evaluated/approved your request, University Relations will register the site and review it for identity compliance.
- Your account title should include the words “University of Florida,” when technically feasible. If the platform has title character limits, you should use the letters “UF”.
- The University of Florida athletic logo, trademark, mascot and name are reserved for use by the University Athletic Association and its entities. Do not use without expressed permission from the UAA. This includes use of the word “Gators”.
- Maintain consistency with social account naming conventions across accounts whenever possible. Examples:
- Be aware that profile photos on social media are often resized. It’s better to upload a larger image so people can see a more discernible image when clicked.
- All accounts should friend/fan/follow the major UF account on that platform. For instance, on Facebook, your account should become a fan of the main University of Florida Facebook account.
- If you have questions about account naming requirements, please contact University Relations for guidance.
- Displayed avatar sizes are 128x128 pixels on the account’s home page and 48x48 pixels when displayed as an individual tweet. Your uploaded images should be larger than 128x128 pixels as Twitter allows users to click on avatars to reveal the larger image.
- Should include mention of the University of Florida.
- If your unit is primarily located on the main or east campus, enter “Gainesville, Florida” as your location.
- Provide a link to your website on the ufl.edu domain.
- The words “University of Florida” should be included in your unit title
- According to Facebook, the cover photo should be a “unique image that represents your Page”. It cannot include any information intended for Facebook’s About section, such as contact information.
- About section should include affiliation with the University of Florida
- Include means of contact outside of Facebook, such as a phone number and/or email address.
- Provide a URL to your ufl.edu website in the Website field.
- If located on campus, you should include “Gainesville, FL” for the City/Town entry and include an accurate zip co.
- Your account should “like” the University of Florida’s main account and should also include it as a “featured like”.
- Include a mention of “University of Florida” in your ‘about’ section.
- Background image can be customized and managers are encouraged to do so.
- Comments should be monitored on a regular basis and responded to in a timely fashion.
- Unlike other platforms, videos on YouTube can (and do) gain views well after their initial post date. Regularly monitor your videos and be aware of any escalations in views.