- Best Practices
Southern Arkansas University believes in using every resource available in preparing our students and is excited by the opportunities presented to us by social media. Social media usage is increasing daily, and extending into every area of our lives. These tools allow everyone to become a content provider, and share what’s on their minds. They bridge distances, entertain and inform us, and make communication instantaneous. Social media is a tool that can be used to help fulfill the mission and goals of SAU.
We support the use of social media by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and other SAU stakeholders. However, we also recognize that use of these resources can have a significant and lasting impact on our University and on us individually. Going forward, we will unite our academic and athletic departments, our alumni contributors, and our student organizations/groups, as the Official Southern Arkansas University Social Media Community in using these tools to the best advantage of every Mulerider. The following are guidelines and best practices for how to set-up and operate official social media accounts that represent the University, its interests, departments, faculty, staff, athletics, student organizations, alumni, and other stakeholders as part of the Official SAU Social Media Community. It covers existing social media platforms, and will be expanded as new social media resources are adopted by SAU.
Social media sites are environments for promoting items of interest to everyone involved in the University and stimulating discussion – but this communication is also instantaneous and permanent. As such, Official SAU Social Media Community accounts will be administered and monitored by designated Account Managers (including department heads and faculty advisors) and volunteer Ambassadors approved by the SAU Communications department. All Official SAU Social Media accounts will be publicly listed by the University on a social media page on the SAU website and on our official Facebook page.
II. University Mission
The mission of Southern Arkansas University is to educate students for productive and fulfilling lives in a global environment by providing opportunities for intellectual growth, individual enrichment, skill development, and meaningful career preparation. The University believes in the worth of the individual and accepts its responsibility for developing in its students those values and competencies essential for effective citizenship in an ever-changing, free, and democratic society. Further, the University encourages and supports excellence in teaching, scholarly, and creative endeavors, and service.
I. Use of SAU Name, Logos, or Affiliated Terms
SAU has trademarked “Southern Arkansas University,” “SAU,” “Muleriders,” and affiliated terms. As such, only members of the Official Community will be allowed to use identify themselves with the University name in social media. Any unauthorized use of these terms or graphics may result in removal of the user or group from the relevant social network.
II. Account Managers and Request for Approval of New Accounts
SAU asks that department heads, staff, faculty and our other various stakeholders interested in using social media for University-related reasons consider taking on roles as Account Managers. As such, you will be responsible for creating content and maintaining your social media accounts. Requests for accounts to be part of the Official SAU Social Media Community must be submitted for approval through the application process. Accounts created prior to October 2013 will not be required to take any action for approval, but they will have to comply with all policies and regulations, and are expected to notify Communications of their existence by completing the registration form.
It is strongly recommended that each social media presence have more than one Account Manager; this allows for shared workloads and minimizes the risk of orphaned social media presences in the event of faculty/staff changeovers.
Whenever the social media platform allows for multiple admin/manager roles, a member of the Communications department should be given admin/manager permissions. The Communications department will use the access only to help provide support in case of contingencies.
III. Usage Policies and Restrictions
Members of The Official SAU Social Media Community are representatives of the University and, as such, all University policies and the guidelines herein should govern your behavior. SAU trusts that you will use good judgment and does not plan to actively screen the content you post. The University will respond to content if/when able and/or applicable. The University is not responsible for any unanswered posts or inaccurate information. However, the University claims the right to remove comments and content from social media accounts if they:
- Are inaccurate, defame, or otherwise impact the University’s reputation and integrity.
- Contain confidential information, legal information, and materials under copyright. Do not alter or re-purpose any of our posted materials without approval.
- Violate the copyrights, trademarks, and/or intellectual property rights of SAU or third parties.
- Compromise the privacy of personnel, students, interested parties, and the University by disclosing confidential and personal information. Follow University policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA.
- Impersonate others.
- Include offensive language, are libelous, slanderous, unlawful, and threatened speech. Posts are likely to be removed if it is deemed by the administrators of the site to be potentially libelous or if it maligns a particular person or group. These will not be tolerated and appropriate follow-up actions will be pursued in accordance with SAU codes of conduct.
- Include spam, repetitive/irrelevant posting, or other activities judged to fall into these categories. This may include topics outside the scope of immediate interest to our community and posts promoting products and/or services unrelated to the University.
- Chain letters and pyramid schemes.
SAU reserves all of the above rights, along with the right to expand this list as events occur and new platforms arise.
Failure to follow University policies and the terms of service of social media platforms could expose you to personal legal liability and the University to legal trouble from third parties. Violations of University policy could result in the closure or revocation of your social media accounts and also expose you to corrective actions up to and including dismissal.
IV. Deletion of Content and Accounts
The SAU Communications department reserves the right to access and manage the Official Community social media accounts when deemed appropriate. The right to seize and shut down accounts if necessary is also reserved if repeated or blatant disregard for policy is observed.
The SAU Communications department will review the University’s social media presences every month for support/training opportunities. If a presence is found in violation of the social media policy, Communications will take action as follows:
- The first incidence will result in a reminder of policy and best practices.
- The second incidence within a calendar year will be followed up by mandatory social media training.
- The third incidence within a calendar year will require a transfer of Account Manager responsibilities to a new person who will adhere to the necessary policies, if such a person exists. In the event that there is no other person to assume control of the presence, the Communications will proceed as if it were the fourth incidence.
- The fourth incidence within a calendar year will result in the deletion of the account.
V. Faculty and Staff
Heads of departments are ultimately responsible for the social media presence of their department. If a department head does not wish to manage their accounts, they may delegate the duty of managing the departments social media accounts to a selected member of their staff.
VI. Minimum Participation
A social media presence is like a plant that needs constant care. Without regular participation and fresh content, the presence runs the risk of withering. Social media accounts that bear the University’s name represent the school, and an inactive social media presence can be damaging to prospective students‘ perceptions of the University. As such, any social media presence must remain active; an active account is defined as one that posts a minimum of twice a month.
For the purpose of maintaining activity, a post may include content that is original, as well as shared from other sources.
VII. Training and Assistance
Building a strong and active social media presence can be challenging. The Communications staff is eager to help your presence be an engaging, interactive experience that helps you meet your intended goals. Please feel free to contact us with any questions, or if you would like tips, training, or a review of your social media presence for any suggestions.
I. Should You Join the SAU Official Community
SAU encourages the leaders of our academic and athletic departments, social groups, and student organizations to consider joining the Official SAU Social Media Community. This membership will help standardize our messaging, branding, and assist you in reaching the audience you’re seeking to engage.
Social media tools allow you to personalize your message and engage your audience one-on-one. These tools are being integrated into University communication, and membership will help you determine which tool is best for your purposes.
II. Things to Consider Before Joining
Using social media requires pre-planning, active management, and a time commitment. Before applying, consider if creating one of these accounts is the right move for your department or organization.
A. For All Social Media Platforms
- First and foremost, what are my goals with utilizing social media?
- Have I thought out what short-term and long-term objectives I have for the entity I will be representing through social media?
- Am I good at working with technology I am unfamiliar with?
- Do I have the time necessary to maintain one or more accounts? Creating these accounts requires maintaining them with consistent posting of newsworthy and relevant content.
- Will I be creating a redundancy? Does an existing account already cover the distribution of this information?
- What is the size of the audience you hope to reach? Is this tool effective based on this target audience’s size?
- Will your content be relevant to members of your community, or the SAU audience at large?
- Do I have a sizable target audience that would be interested in this content?
- What is the purpose?
- Do I have the writing skills and capacity to bring this purpose to fruition over time?
- Do I have the long-term commitment necessary to grow an audience base?
- Does my special interest group/organization have a target audience base that is large enough to have a sizable readership if I create a blog?
- Is there enough relevant content that I can use and produce over a long period of time to keep people visiting the blog?
- How many contributors will you have? Will I be able to organize this kind of execution?
- Facebook provides a certain amount of privacy. What sort of information will you be sharing and what audience are you trying to reach?
- If using it for class-related events, will you be including it in your syllabus?
- Will you be considering a group? This can be a closed or public resource, but can be tough to administer.
- Will you be considering a page? They offer a greater degree of control but are more public to the Facebook population at large.
- Is this group or page made redundant by a pre-existing one that is a member of the Official SAU Social Media Community?
- Will you be creating event invitations on Facebook and incorporating them as part of your general outreach for events? Be mindful that other groups and interests may exist that you wish to work with on an event.
- Consider frequency of posting and content. Your page will be an excellent tool to promote events, post follow-up, and engage interested parties on a daily basis.
- Will you use Facebook ads? If so, for what purpose and what audience? Who’s budget will be paying for it?
- Is my interest group a year-round group that can have fans at any time?
IIV. Reasons to Select a Social Media Platform
- You have the ability and ongoing desire to write clearly about relevant topics.
- You have the amount of ongoing, relevant, and timely content people want to read about.
- You consistently have time to and relevant content to write about, at least once per week being the minimum typical frequency of posting.
- You want a platform that allows for both short messaging and a long-form exploration of topics.
- You and that your organization has a lot of stories to tell.
- Short term and long term goals of the group/entity I would represent can be achieved through the use of a blog.
- You have the capacity to spend time posting information and monitoring feedback.
- You wish to reach the segment of your audience already on Facebook.
- You have the capability and desire to share photographs and video.
- You require an easy way to notify an audience of upcoming events.
- You wish to direct your audience to a particular Internet link or promotion and accompany it with a brief introduction.
- Your short term and long term goals of your group/entity can be achieved through the use of a Facebook fan page.
- You have the desire and know-how to track and listen to others.
- You have short and simple messages to share with a broad audience.
- You wish to direct that broad audience to a particular Internet link or promotion.
- Your short term and long term goals of your group/entity can be achieved through the use a Twitter account.
- You have a lot of timely and visual content that can be posted to the web often to show off speakers or events.
- You have video capabilities to produce video content.
- Your short term and long term goals of your group/entity can be achieved through the use of a YouTube channel.