Social Networking Guidelines
While social media is an important addition to the University’s online presence, it’s important to use it strategically and thoughtfully to make it effective.
There are multiple types of social media and scores of outlets.
- Define goal and who you’re trying to reach (prospective students, alumni, research partners).
- Choose which media to help your goal. Download the Social Media Overview slideshow. Determine if you should be using multiple media. If so, will you link your accounts? (Using Tweetdeck, HootSuite, etc.)
- Develop a strategy – who will be responsible for maintaining your network? How frequently will you update it?
- Set up your account, include the UMass Lowell branding. Dowload logos and wallpaper from our toolkit.
- What types of information will appeal to your audience? Use discretion when posting. Keep in mind that this is not your personal Twitter or Facebook accounts. You are representing your department and the University. As such, you should post information that is informative and productive in nature. Social media is not an outlet for complaints, frustration and criticism about the University or the administration. There are many examples of legal action being taken against an employee or institution due to libelous or slanderous posts.
- Comments – Most social media allow some type of comments. Interactivity – and generating conversation – is one of the benefits of social media. When you engage in social media, you need to be ready to potentially get criticism in a public domain. Be prepared for positive and negative feedback and have a plan with how to respond. For example, on the University social media maintained by Web Services, we don’t engage in negative, unconstructive comments unless it’s to correct inaccurate or misinformation.
- Now that you’re up and running, how will you promote your social media presence? Let Web Services know when you are posting regularly and we will link your accounts on our social media pages as well as put up an announcement on the University’s social media networks. You can add links to your website. Email contacts, include links on your email signature, add to print materials. Facebook and Twitter both have icons that can be used in electronic and print materials.
Social Media Interaction Policy
Social Media can be a powerful too – it can also result in legal action if not used properly. Please be especially careful when using social media and use common sense. Defaming or using libelous language can cause problems for the poster personally and for the University.
Keep in mind that the Internet lives forever – don’t put up a post or comment that you don’t want to have to defend later to potential in-laws, parents or employers. The immediacy of the web can be a detriment – just like it is prudent to wait to click “send” on an email, the same is true when responding to a post.
In addition to the usage policies of each social media network, the University has the following guidelines:
• Videos, images, posts or comments should not include swearing or profanity
• Personal attacks against other users will not be tolerated
• Videos, images, posts or comments should not be defamatory or libelous
• UMass Lowell reserves the right to remove, at any time, at its sole discretion, any content posted on the blog service that it deems in violation of University policy or local, state or federal law.
• University resources may not be used for personal business or personal gain.
• All material posted on the social media networks must be in compliance with copyright law. Network account owners have the responsibility of acquiring all necessary permissions to post copyrighted material (including photographs).
• The selling of online advertising space to non-University entities on any web page hosted or sponsored by UMass Lowell is strictly forbidden.