Social Media

Social Media Policy and Best Practices

INTRODUCTION

Manchester University embraces the responsible use of social media to communicate and build relationships with prospective and current students, alumni, employees, parents and community members. The University recognizes the open and ever-changing purposes of social media, which can blend, at times, personal and professional roles. The University supports free and open expression and the use of social media as a tool to accelerate teaching and learning.

This policy applies to all social media postings on an institutional site or as a representative of the University on a non-institutional site. Page administrators reserve the right to remove user-generated content or comments in accordance with this policy for the safety and security of the University and our audiences.

The same laws, professional expectations and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and other University constituents apply online as they do in the real world. Employees can be liable for anything they post to social media sites in accordance with University policies and the Terms of Service of the host site. This policy and best practices for engagement are designed for employees participating in social media on behalf of the University.


I. POLICY FOR OFFICIALLY POSTING ON BEHALF OF MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY

All proposals to create official Manchester University social media accounts must be submitted to the social media coordinator for approval prior to creation and inclusion in the social media directory. All social media accounts created on behalf of the University must be linked to a department’s administrative email account or an employee’s Manchester e-mail account. An employee may never use a personal email account to establish a University-related social media account. More than one University employee must have administrative access to the account. Administrative access will be terminated upon the employee’s separation from employment, reassignment to another job or for disciplinary reasons.

Social media accounts created on behalf of Manchester University are the sole property of the University. If a University department, club or organization account is linked to an individual person, that person relinquishes all rights to the account, unless they work with the social media coordinator to transfer ownership of the account.

Additionally, all social media sites, new and existing, must follow outlined branding and best practices guidelines. Official accounts are prohibited from:

  • Posting content that violates city, state or federal laws and regulations
  • Posting or commenting on anything related to legal matters, ongoing investigations or litigation
  • Using the University brand or name to endorse any view, product, private business, cause or political candidate
  • Representing personal opinions as University-endorsed views or policies

Social media account administrators and the University social media team reserve the right to review and remove inappropriate content.

Use of the Manchester University Name and Logo

  • “Manchester University” is a registered trademark and the exclusive intellectual property of the University. The Manchester University name, logo or any other University images or iconography may not be on personal, organizational or departmental sites in a way that promotes a product, cause, or political party or candidate. Do not edit or modify logos.
  • Brand guidelines for University logos must be followed at all times. Click here for more information about using University logos. Any questions related to usage should be directed to the Office of Marketing.

Media inquiries

  • Anyone responding to media inquiries must first contact and follow the direction of the assistant director of media relations in the Office of Strategic Communications.

Emergency Communications

  • All crisis and/or emergency communications will be generated by the University crisis communication team, and will be posted on the main Manchester University Facebook and Twitter feeds with links to additional information.
  • Departmental social media sites may never independently post emergency information without central coordination with University officials.

Maintain Confidentiality

  • Posting sensitive or proprietary information about Manchester or personal, medical or financial information about students, alumni or employees is prohibited.
  • Sound ethical judgment should be exercised, and University policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA, HIPAA, NCAA, and Title IX, must be followed. If a user is unclear about how these laws and regulations apply, he or she should consult the social media coordinator before posting such information.

Respect Copyright and Fair Use

  • Copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the University must be observed. Click here to read the University Copyright Policy.

Be Aware of Liability

  • All social media users are responsible for what they post on their own sites and on the sites of others. Social media users have been held liable for commentary deemed to be copyright infringement, defamatory, threatening, proprietary, libelous, or obscene (as defined by the courts). Posts must be true, accurate and helpful and not expose the University or the user to legal liability.

Respect University Time and Property

  • As stated in the Acceptable Use Policy, employees should use University computers and their work time only for University-related business. 


II. BEST PRACTICES FOR MANAGING A MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY ACCOUNT

Be Accurate

Make sure that your posts are accurate and factual. It's better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. Spelling and grammar are extremely important when representing Manchester; ensure that you double check everything you post.

Be Timely

Timeliness is one of the expectations of social media. Be prepared to move quickly in response to new developments and announcements with relevant information on your site. Ensure that the messaging on social media is coordinated in conjunction with your traditional communication tactics and campus events.

Accept and Monitor Comments and Replies

Social media is, and should be, a dialogue, not a monologue. Understand that not all comments and replies will be positive, and respond to negative comments professionally and by providing any additional information that may help resolve the issue. Users may post comments and start dialogue that has little to do with the post in question. Regularly monitor and respond to comments and remove any inappropriate comments or advertising for products or services not associated with Manchester.

Be Active

Social media presences require diligent planning, managing interactions, and content creation. If you do not have the time or resources to check in on these sites at least a few minutes each day, and to post fresh content several times a week, reconsider jumping into social media at this time. An account with infrequent posts and low quality content is a detriment to your department or organization as well as Manchester as a whole. If you start a social media account and then realize that it is neither meeting your needs nor the needs of your audience, it is best to close the account rather than leave it inactive. Link back to Manchester University content and pages whenever possible.

A good guideline is to post high quality content at least weekly, year-round. If you are unable to make that commitment, consider sending content to socialmedia@manchester.edu for posting on the institutional accounts.

Visual Content

Photographs should be high quality and sized appropriately for posting online. Click here for information about using Manchester photos. Photos from cell phones and tablets can be of acceptable quality as long as they are not blurry or pixelated. Photos should not have logos from other competitor institutions. Photos of nonenrolled minors should not be posted without written parent or guardian consent. If contacted and asked to remove a photo by an individual for any reason, the photo should be removed promptly. Remember the policies of Manchester University related to purchasing and using its images apply online as well as in print. Contact the Marketing Department with questions. 

Click here to learn about creating videos for social media purposes.


III. STEPS TO SET UP A MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT

  1. Define your goals and scope of the account.
    1. Who is the audience?
    2. Can you devote an hour per day creating content and managing the account?
    3. What content can you create and what will need to be student-driven?
    4. What network will be used?
    5. What will the name be? (You can check availability: http://namechk.com)
  2. Set up a meeting with the social media coordinator to discuss your goals and the best social media networks to use.
  3. Fill out the Social Media Account Registration Form with account login information as a backup.
    1. The social media coordinator will not manage the account, but is simply a backup if login information is forgotten or in the event of an emergency.
    2. Accounts can only be registered to faculty and staff members and must use their Manchester.edu email addresses. Any account using the name, crest, or likeness of Manchester University cannot be registered to a student.
  4. Email socialmedia@manchester.edu for help designing a profile photo and any cover photos or background artwork for the account. Dimensions for social media visuals can be found by clicking here.
  5. Register for the account and start posting content. Only follow other appropriate users, nothing that reflects negatively on Manchester or does not fit our brand.
  6. Once at least 5 good posts are made you should begin advertising the account, work with the social media coordinator to coordinate promotions.
  7. Measure success using built-in tools. Contact socialmedia@manchester.edu for help and more information.