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Social media guidelines

Who are these guidelines for?

These guidelines are for staff and faculty members who are involved in the administration of pages and accounts that represent the official, institutional presence of Memorial University of Newfoundland using social media.

Official institutional activity on social media is undertaken by departments, units and faculties that represent Memorial University.

The university is committed to academic freedom and freedom of speech. These guidelines are not intended to police the social media activity of individual staff or faculty.

Concerns or questions may be addressed to Memorial University’s Social Media Group via Marketing & Communications at 709-864-8660 or marcomm@mun.ca.

Background

Memorial University (and the various sub-units within it) is using the many social media channels to varying degrees and effectiveness. These tools can be used for promotion, engagement/interaction, immediate/emergency communications and more. Currently, the most popular tools are Facebook and Twitter. However, there are many other opportunities presented by the various technologies covered by the term social media.

Memorial University encourages faculty and staff to engage in social media if there is an opportunity and reason to do so.

Many other university policies currently govern the use of social media. Thus, social media administrators should be aware of privacy issues, protocols surrounding confidentiality and general conduct, among others.

Any social media activity that purports to be official on behalf of Memorial University, but is suspected to be an imposter, should be reported immediately to Memorial University’s Social Media Group via Marketing & Communications at 709-864-8660 or marcomm@mun.ca.

Guidelines

The following guidelines are meant as signposts to best practices for university units communicating using social media. Engaging in social media activities should be undertaken with a specific audience and goal in mind.

Whether you are an existing or new user, adopting best practices will increase the effectiveness of social media as a marketing and communications tool, and will mitigate the risks and liabilities that attend to organizations that are engaged in social media.

The following social media principles embody the basic keys to effective audience engagement. Some social media channels may be intended for internal audiences, some for external audiences. In either case, these guidelines may generally apply and help to keep it R.E.A.L.:

Responsive - Always monitor your social media channels; delete spam; respond to inquiries. It is important to monitor public postings and respond if necessary.

Engaging - Realize you have mere seconds to engage the reader, so keep your posts brief and bright. Whether it’s text, photos, or video your content must be compelling. Check out other popular social media sites — other sites can stimulate ideas for your own social media efforts. People like to feel they’ve learned something from posts. Effective use of social media doesn’t mean telling people what you ate for dinner. Aim to make your blog, Twitter account or Facebook site useful, informative and enjoyable/enlightening/educational to visit.

Authentic - For a social media channel to be “liked” it has to be real. Conversations and commentary cannot be solely one-sided and officious. Always think about the tone of your posting; does it match the audience? Are you providing them with information that they want or need? Who are you trying to engage, and are you enticing them to add a comment and join the dialogue? Try to inspire and motivate action.

Language - Monitor your social media sites for inappropriate activity. Watch out for profanity, libel and any comments that might run counter to the spirit of other university policies (Computing & Communications, Human Resources, Student Code of Conduct, privacy, etc.)

Consultation and Training

In-house, free consultation and training is available from members of Memorial University’s Social Media Group for all social media administrators overseeing official university activity.

Training can be tailored to suit the needs of your specific unit or department, and will begin with a consultation session. Whether you are a beginner or advanced user, we encourage all units to avail of this opportunity to improve your reach and effectiveness.

For information about scheduling, please contact Memorial University’s Social Media Group via Marketing & Communications at 709-864-8660 or marcomm@mun.ca.

Co-ordination

Marketing & Communications maintains a listing of all Memorial University affiliated social media sites.

In the interests of good co-ordination/management, we encourage social media administrators to register their sites with Marketing & Communications.

Frequency is key to any successful and effective social media application, and for that reason we also require that you work with Marketing & Communications to enable us to update your site in your absence or in the event of a university-wide emergency that requires immediate and widespread communications.

Templates

Marketing & Communications will be providing a variety of template designs and visual imagery to assist in consistent brand expression. These templates will provide guidance for backgrounds on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. as well as reinforce existing university graphic standards.

For information, please contact Memorial University’s Social Media Group via Marketing & Communications at 709-864-8660 or marcomm@mun.ca.

Interested in learning more about social media? The Gardiner Centre at Memorial offers several seminars:

The links to the Gardiner Centre Programs are as follows:

As well, a guide to safe Facebook practices can be found here.