The below policies and guidelines apply to all staff, faculty, students, vendors and members of our academic community who manage social media accounts on behalf of Villanova University. The Office of University Communication & Marketing (UCM) will monitor and conduct a periodic review of official social media accounts to ensure compliance with these policies and guidelines and to facilitate the ongoing success of social media marketing activities.
A University group (e.g., a college, school, department, program, student club or other organization) that wants to either start a new social media account or have an existing one recognized as an official account by the University (i.e., start or maintain an officially recognized Villanova account) must complete a Villanova University Social Media Account Registration Form. Official University social media accounts must implement appropriate levels of password and other security measures to protect the integrity and security of such accounts. Official accounts are also encouraged to complete the process for Facebook and Twitter account verification.
Any social media account that will not be an official University account must be clearly identified as an “unofficial” or “fan” account consistent with applicable laws and the guidelines and best practices for the particular social media platform.
Unless otherwise approved in advance in writing by University Communication & Marketing, any social media accounts that will be created or maintained by a vendor on behalf of the University or any University group must be owned by the University, and at least one University employee must have the highest level of administrative access to such accounts at all times.
Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action by the University.
Brand & Logo
Official social media accounts must adhere to the Villanova University Brand/Logo Guidelines to maintain official status. Unofficial accounts, on the other hand, will not be allowed to use Villanova University’s intellectual property (logos, wordmarks, badges, symbols and the like that are protected by trademark or copyright) in a manner that identifies them, or hold themselves out, or is reasonably likely to be confused, as accounts officially recognized and supported by the University. Unofficial accounts reasonably believed to be violating this policy or guidelines may be notified of the violation, asked or directed to cease the violation or appropriately modify the account and/or reported to the applicable social media platform or other parties (which potentially could result in a suspension or deletion of the account).
For brand or logo-related inquiries or requests, please contact the Marketing Department in University Communication and Marketing.
The laws protecting intellectual property, such as copyright and trademarks, apply when such intellectual property is created, published or used online, including on social media. Therefore, the owners of new content or marks published or used on social media are entitled to legal rights and protections for that intellectual property. Likewise, the use of content or marks or other material owned by others on social media is subject to the same rules for fair use and requesting permission as use in other media. The University expects that all social media account use and administration will be conducted in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations, and University policies. For more information on applicable University Policies, see:
DOES "FAIR USE" APPLY?
Determining whether a use is “fair use” may be difficult. Use of copyrighted works or trademarks for promotional or marketing activities tends to qualify as “fair use” only in very limited circumstances. When in doubt, the best practice is to obtain written permission from the owner.
For additional information on fair use and requesting permission to use intellectual property owned by others, see Copyright Educational Material.
IMPLICATIONS OF POSTING MATERIAL ON SOCIAL MEDIA
When you post content to social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, under the terms of their respective service agreements, you are automatically granting them a license— commonly known as an intellectual property (or IP) license—to use this content. Social media platforms also facilitate the sharing by other social media users of content posted by you to audiences far beyond those of the original social media account.
- Although the specific language of these agreements varies from platform to platform, the IP licenses are similar in that you typically are granting the sites permission to share your content all over the world without having to gain further approval from you and without having to pay you any royalties.
- Some platforms also reserve the right to change, commercialize or publicly perform or display your posted materials without express permission or compensation.
- Also worth noting are the provisions that govern the license period. Some service agreements expressly state that you are granting a perpetual IP license, while others indicate that your IP license ends when you delete your content or terminate your social media account, unless the content has been shared with others who have not deleted it. In both instances, the social media platform owns a license to use your posted content, for whatever purpose, in perpetuity.
As a communications professional and digital steward of the University, you must familiarize yourself with the following web and IT policies:
The Office of University Communication & Marketing recommends that staff, faculty, students, vendors and members of our academic community who manage accounts on behalf of Villanova University who are involved in social media understand and employ the following best practices to increase the likelihood of success in building and maintaining a vibrant online community.
1. BE STRATEGIC:
What objective does your group desire to achieve using social media; does that objective align with larger University objectives and what strategies will be employed to attain it?
2. MAKE TIME TO POST:
Don’t start a social media effort unless you intend to dedicate time and resources to post new, interesting content regularly. Accounts that are updated infrequently (e.g., no new content posted for 1-3 months) are considered stagnant or dormant, which is grounds for denial or revocation of official status by the University or account deactivation or deletion on some social media platforms.
3. DO YOUR RESEARCH:
Stay updated on key trends and changes in the digital space and become familiar with standards and practices related to web privacy, accessibility, intellectual property and copyright, etc. Tune in to successful social media accounts that you believe are working toward objectives that are similar to yours. Research the credibility and online activity of content sources before sharing or citing their content. For those interested in joining the Villanova Social Media Working Group for monthly meetings and timely resources, please contact the VU Social Media Marketing Team.
4. BE POSITIVE & RESPECTFUL:
As a member of the Villanova community, you should understand the University’s commitment to respecting the dignity of others and to embracing civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing viewpoints.
5. BE ACCURATE & GIVE CREDIT:
Do not speculate—know the facts before posting. Also, properly attribute content to sources using citations and links whenever possible. Above all, correct your errors quickly and visibly. This is vital to building credibility and earning the respect of others in your online community.
6. STAY ON TOPIC:
Engage in open discussion about Villanova University and the events and activities on campus. Whenever possible, your social media posts should be briefly informative and redirect followers to relevant, more detailed content within Villanova’s main website or microsites.
7. COMMENTS ARE GREAT:
Comments of community members add depth to a discussion and provide credibility and gravity to your original posts. Moreover, as social media communities grow, they trend toward engaging in self-corrective behavior. Listen to people and respond with constructive feedback to as many comments as possible. Encourage feedback by asking questions. Administrators of social media accounts often have some control over the comments that appear on a social media account, and these controls should be used judiciously. If you have questions or concerns regarding the tone or content of any comments or discussions or use of account controls, you should consult University Communication & Marketing. If the tone or content of any comments or discussions is threatening to any person, place or property or potentially violates the law or University policies, contact University Public Safety.
8. IF IT GIVES YOU PAUSE, PAUSE:
If you are about to publish something that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable, then take some time to review these guidelines and think about your post. If you still are unsure, University Communication & Marketing recommends voicing your concerns to the Social Media Working Group SharePoint site (for administrators of officially recognized accounts). A quick litmus test: If you wouldn’t say it to your family, friend, or colleague, don’t post it online.
9. LISTEN, ANALYZE AND EVALUATE:
The feedback you obtain from social listening and analytics allows you to gauge prevailing attitudes and perceptions that, in turn, allow you evaluate your strategies to engage with your communities more effectively.
10. DON’T FORGET ABOUT ACCESSIBILITY:
Content shared on the web and social media such as text, images, audio and video must be accessible to all individuals, including those with hearing, visual, or other impairments or disabilities. Remember to include things like captions, alt text, and other types of metadata to ensure a pleasurable experience for our online community.