Social Media Guidelines

The social media landscape has changed the ways we communicate. Use of various social media outlets add a friendly touch to Kansas State University and provide new opportunities to promote the university and build relationships with multiple audiences. The following guidelines have been developed by Social Media Services to assist those employees authorized to act on behalf of the University in this capacity to properly portray, promote and protect the University. Although each unit operates its own outlets, all approved Kansas State University social media accounts are a voice for the University and must adhere to these guidelines. These guidelines do not apply to use of personal social media accounts, such as by most student groups and individual faculty members—they only apply to official accounts representing Kansas State University.

Application of Other Policies

Employees managing and/or posting on behalf of the University on official social media accounts are generally expected to adhere to the same standards of conduct online as anywhere else in the workplace. All Kansas State University policies apply to social media outlets to the extent applicable. Some of these policies include, but are NOT limited to:

Steps Required for Official Approval of Site

When a unit, department, program, or other authorized effort of the University desires to open a social media account, that account may only be opened and operated as an official University social media account. In order to obtain approval of and recognition as an official account, these steps must be followed:

  1. Obtain appropriate administrative approval from your unit.
  2. Designate at least two employees to act as administrators for the social media account.
  3. Submit a desired profile picture to Social Media Services to have a branded profile picture created.
  4. Determine how the account will be titled. Kansas State University or K-State must be included in the title.
  5. Use a general college or department email address and phone number when creating an account instead of an individual employee's information.
  6. Apply for authorization to create a new social media account through the Social Media Services website at http://www.k-state.edu/socialmedia/application.html
  7. Provide Social Media Services with the requested information for each administrator of the social media account. (See the application form http://www.k-state.edu/socialmedia/application.html.) Social Media Services must be included as the third authorized administrator for the account.
  8. Contact Social Media Services at 785-532-2535 or socialmedia@k-state.edu for details on how to provide administrative access to the approved social media account. Information will be kept confidential to the extent possible and used only for access during emergency or necessary situations.
  9. Any subsequent updates to the account's information must be submitted promptly to Social Media Services.

Before you Begin

An effective social media presence requires careful planning. When creating a University social media account, prepare by addressing the following questions/issues:

  1. Define your goals for using social media. Who is your audience? What do you hope to accomplish? How will you track your successes and progress?
  2. Keep in mind that a successful social media account takes time to maintain and requires staff resources to develop content that engages users.
  3. Inactive social media accounts reflect negatively on the University. Social Media Services may require that inactive accounts be taken down. If you are finding it difficult to create content for your social media account, please consult with Social Media Services to discuss ideas and other options.

Rules for Managing an Official Social Media Account

Be Relevant
  • Post content that is meaningful and relevant to your unit. Think about how the content might advance your unit's initiatives and goals. Do not post about trending Internet memes, photos or videos. Write in a manner that represents your whole unit. Use "we," "our" and other inclusive words. Provide regular and timely updates.
  • Focus on Kansas State University. Do not comment on legal matters or other institutions (unless mentioning in the context of joint collaborations). Focus only on the University as relevant to your unit. Some people may post negative comments. See provision below regarding deleting of comments and the user policy.
  • Customize posts for the social media outlet you are using.
  • Make it easy for people to find you.
    1. Increase exposure for your social media account by using Kansas State University in the title and avoiding acronyms. When describing your unit, acknowledge that you are a part of Kansas State University.
    2. Protect the University brand by using the official visual marks and graphics included in the Brand Guide.
    3. Choose a recognizable profile picture that represents your unit and submit it to Social Media Services to have the branded photo created. Use the same profile picture across your unit's social media accounts. The profile picture you select must comply with Kansas State University graphic standards to promote a unified brand image.
Be Professional
  • Mind your manners. Everything you post is public. The content that you post reflects on the University and should be respectful and responsible. If you are ever unsure about the appropriateness of material to share on social media, check with your unit's supervisor. If you are still unsure, contact Social Media Services.
  • Use professional and proper grammar and write in complete sentences when possible. Never write with all the letters capitalized. Avoid jargon and institutional language. Abbreviations are sometimes necessary to meet character limits, but do not overdo it. Do not use text speak, such as "u" or "2day."
Create a management method

Designate at least two administrators for each social media account. This makes it easier to keep the social media account active and up-to-date. Create a flexible schedule for posting timely content that is relevant to your unit. To develop a consistent flow of content, determine in advance when and what you will post.

Interact with Users

Post content that encourages feedback and positive interaction. Use visual content, such as photos and videos, to increase engagement. Be friendly, helpful and informative. Connect users with resources. Link back to content throughout the Kansas State University website to drive traffic back to the University. When sharing news about your unit, provide a link to the University's news release or official announcement rather than providing a link to a third-party media outlet.

Be accurate, prompt, and give credit

Make sure you have all the facts before you post. Double-check everything for accuracy. Link to your sources when possible and give credit to other university units when you include their updates on your site. Correct errors quickly and visibly. Posts often include timestamps and users will be able to see how quickly you respond.

Do not post personal and confidential information

Do not post content that includes personal and confidential information about anyone, such as the information prohibited from disclosure by HIPPA, FERPA and other applicable law. If you post content and information collected from third parties, it is your responsibility to obtain all necessary permissions to reuse the content and information. Do not post content unless proper permissions, licenses, and other rights necessary for lawful use (in particular, for intellectual property rights) have been obtained, or unless use and reproduction of the content is permitted by fair use. See, for example, FERPA Guidelines.

Post the Social Media User Policy

Post the Social Media User Policy where space permits. If space does not permit, post the following link to the Policy: http://www.k-state.edu/socialmedia/bestpractices.html

Do not delete content based on one's viewpoint

If user content is in context of the conversation, then the content should be allowed to remain. It is likely that at some point people will post negative comments on your social media account. You should respond to them professionally. Be respectful of others' opinions and do not suppress disagreement. Use it as an opportunity to correct misinformation and turn a negative into a positive. If you believe the content violates the Social Media User Policy (below), contact Social Media Services for help in determining whether or not to remove the content. Collect information including screen grabs, posting dates, and origin of messages when you believe content violates the Social Media User Policy. Questions regarding edits and deletions should be directed to Social Media Services, prior to taking action.

Agreeing to Terms of Use

Social media portals almost always require an agreement to terms of use before you will be able to start an account. Signature authority to enter into these agreements on behalf of the university resides within the Division of Communications and Marketing and obtaining approval from the division will allow the respective departments to agree to the terms of use.

Other Recommendations

Track your success

Analyze and organize your content to improve your social media account. Use analytic tools to assess your progress and keep track of posts that promote more user engagement.

Ask for help

Social Media Services is here to help you. For further questions about social media at Kansas State University, please contact Social Media Services in the Division of Communications and Marketing at 785-532-2535 or socialmedia@k-state.edu.

 

KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY SOCIAL MEDIA USER POLICY

Please copy and personalize this user policy for your specific entity and post to the appropriate social media channels:

Welcome to the official Kansas State University [insert college, department, unit, organization name] [name of social media channel] account! We encourage thoughtful discussion and interaction relevant to the purpose of the page. The purpose of Kansas State University social media pages is limited to focusing on the University's mission, goals, and programs. Content must be relevant to the topic discussed, relevant to this particular page, and to the point. Content that is excessively long or repetitive is subject to removal. Content that is profane, threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, creating a security or privacy risk, spam, defamatory, infringing on another person's rights, commercial advertising by a third party, otherwise violates local, county, state or federal laws, or incites or solicits illegal conduct or violence, is prohibited. By posting content to the site, you represent that you own or otherwise have all the rights necessary to lawfully use that content and/or that the use of the content is permitted by fair use, as applicable. The University reserves the right to remove any material for nonconformity with this policy.

Users acknowledge that the security of the site cannot be guaranteed, that use of the site is voluntary, and assume the risks associated with such use, releasing and holding harmless the University from any and all claims related thereto. The University does not necessarily endorse, support, agree with, or verify the validity of the content shared on its social media sites by users. The appearance of comments, external hyperlinks, or any information contained within "follows", "likes", "retweets" and similar actions on social media pages do not necessarily constitute endorsement or support by the University.

If you have questions, please contact socialmedia@k-state.edu.

K-STATE NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION

Kansas State University is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnic or national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, age, ancestry, disability, genetic information, military status, veteran status, or other non-merit reasons, in admissions, educational programs or activities and employment, including employment of disabled veterans and veterans of the Vietnam Era, as required by applicable laws and regulations. Responsibility for coordination of compliance efforts and receipt of inquiries concerning Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans With Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008, has been delegated to the Director of Institutional Equity, Kansas State University, 103 Edwards Hall, Manhattan, KS 66506-4801, (Phone) 785-532-6220; (TTY) 785-532-4807.

Revised August 14, 2014.

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