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.
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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.