University Marketing and Communications

CLARK UNIVERSITY SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES

Introduction

Social media are powerful communications tools that have a significant impact on institutional and professional reputations. Because they blur the lines between personal voice and institutional voice, Clark University has crafted the following policy to help clarify how best to enhance and protect Clark University’s reputation when participating in social media.

Social media are defined as media designed to be disseminated through social interaction, created using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques. Examples include but are not limited to Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and blogs [Read blog tips and guidelines].

Both in professional and institutional roles, employees need to follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in real life. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media, and other university constituents apply online as in the real world.

Institutional Social Media

If you post on behalf of an official university unit, the following policies must be followed:

  • Notify the University: Departments or university units that have a social media page or would like to start one should contact the Marketing and Communications Office. Contact the Senior Associate Director of Online Community (x7474) to discuss best practices/policies before launching a social media site to ensure all social media sites coordinate with other University sites and their content.
  • Identify a content manager. All University pages must have an appointed employee who is identified as being responsible for content. The content manager should attend all Social Media Committee meetings.
  • Add Clark Marketing and Communications as an administrator to all University social media sites. All department and office social media sites should have multiple administrators. Please contact the Senior Associate Director of Online Community to add Marketing and Communications as an administrator to your site.
  • Link back to the University: Whenever possible, link back to the Clark University website. Ideally, posts should be very brief, redirecting a visitor to content that resides within the Clark University Web environment. When linking to a news article about Clark, check first to see whether you can link to a release on the Clark News Hub or Clark Voices instead of to an external site. All unit Facebook pages should “favorite” the Clark University Facebook page. Whenever possible, link to other top-level Clark University social media sites (i.e. Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.) Contact the Assistant Director of Online Community (wlinden@clarku.edu) for links.
  • Use consistent logos. Use the same treatment of Clark University colors and logo to communicate to fans, followers and viewers. Contact the Web Manager (/x3713) for University logos and social media icons. View logo guidelines.
  • Respect copyright and fair use: When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of Clark University. View the Clark University Intellectual Property policy.
  • Acknowledge who you are: You are representing Clark University. When posting on a University social media platform on behalf of Clark University, follow these guidelines:
    • Have a plan: Departments should consider their messages, audiences, and goals, as well as a strategy for keeping information on social media sites up-to-date.
    • Protect the institutional voice: Posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste. With the exception of the Clark University-level Facebook, Twitter and YouTube sites, which are monitored and administrated by the Marketing and Communications Office, no individual Clark University unit should construe its social media site as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post—names, profile images, and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.
  • Terms of service: Obey the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed.
  • Terms of misuse. These official policies are for contributors on behalf of Clark University. We expect that all who participate in social media on behalf of Clark University to be trained by the Marketing and Communications Office, to understand and to follow these guidelines. Failure to do so could put your future participation at risk.

Social Media Committee

Clark's Social Media Committee, made up of representatives from university departments and offices who maintain social media sites, meets regularly to discuss new media issues. The primary content manager from all University departments and offices with social media sites should attend committee meetings. For more information, contact the Senior Associate Director of Online Community at 508-793-7474.