Social Media Guidelines
The college encourages its faculty, staff and students to use tools such as social media to advance their work and heighten their experience at Davidson College. To assist and provide direction when using social media, Davidson College has developed the following general guidelines.
Strategic Mission and Purpose
The purpose of Davidson College’s social media strategy is to use social media channels and techniques to advance the college’s mission of preparing students for lives of leadership and service.
To do so, it will share the amazing stories of how students, faculty and staff defy expectations in discovering new knowledge, competing on and off the field, exploring the world and figuring out how to fix it. It will do this in a manner that elevates the conversation and raises the reputation of Davidson College to a national and international audience.
Account Management & Assistance
Departments must provide College Communications digital staff with administrative access to each social media account that is affiliated with a department or program. Changes to account access, including password changes, also need to be updated with College Communications digital staff by emailing email@example.com.
College Communications, through the digital communications director and the social media manager, works with department- and program-level social media managers to provide guidance, training and coordination but not direct management.
College Communications provides direct assistance and guidance to department- and program-level social media managers through one-on-one trainings and consultations, social media office hours and monthly meetings of the social media managers group.
To learn more or to set up a one-on-one meeting with Davidson College’s social media manager, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media Managers Group
College Communications leads the Davidson College social media managers group. This group includes social media managers across campus who regularly manage department- or program-level accounts.
The group meets monthly at the discretion of College Communications. The agenda covers upcoming social media opportunities and best practices. To control the efficiency and size of the group, the meeting is not meant for individuals who only manage personal accounts or have limited/sporadic access to official Davidson College branded accounts. Email email@example.com to learn more or to request an invitation.
Posting on Behalf of Davidson College
- Be connected.If your supervisor has authorized you to create an official Davidson College social media profile, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a strategic consultation and to acquire an approved profile image and other content to ensure a consistent connection with other Davidson College sites and content.
- Be respectful. As a Davidson College employee or representative, you should be mindful of the college’s mission as a forum for thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise would not. Your reputation, and that of Davidson College, is best served when you remain above the fray.
- Be responsive. Monitor your social media accounts and key terms to catch mentions and key comments. If a question or comment is directed toward you through your social media site or page, you should do your best to reply in a timely and appropriate fashion. Think minutes or hours, not days.
- Be transparent. If you participate in or maintain a social media site on behalf of the college, clearly state your role and goals. Discuss with your supervisor when you’re empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval.
- Be thoughtful. Before you jump into a discussion thread or respond to a posting, think about the implications. Will your response stimulate positive discussion, provide new information or insight, or inflame? If you have any questions about whether it’s appropriate to enter into a social media discussion or write about certain kinds of material in your role as a Davidson College employee, ask your supervisor before you post or contact email@example.com for advice.
- Know the rules. Become familiar with the terms of service and policies of sites and networks in which you participate. Pay attention to updates.
- Keep your personal views separate. Uphold the college’s mission and values in your activities. Don’t include political or personal comments. This includes changes to the photo or avatar representing your department in relation to political or social issues. Personal accounts should not be branded with a Davidson logo.
- Be accurate and professional. Nothing erodes credibility more quickly than factual inaccuracies and poor grammar, spelling and inattention to detail. Always double check your facts, and if you’re not the best editor, have someone else read your postings before going live.
- Be focused and topical. Ensure all the content in your social media channels serves to advance the college’s mission. All topics should directly relate to your audience. Make sure all your posts have a purpose. Do not post general information items, like weather forecasts or statewide news, unless there’s a specific tie to Davidson College.
- Be secure. Maintain complex and unique passwords for each account. Change passwords regularly and after every student takeover. Consider using a password manager to manage the passwords for all of your accounts. Turn on two-factor authentication wherever possible.
- Know with whom you’re interacting. Thousands of people follow Davidson College on social media; not all of them follow our standards of online decorum. Use caution when sharing or retweeting content from people whose behavior does not embody the values of the college. If the person’s name is vulgar, or if their posts are explicit, rude or profane, do not share their material or otherwise acknowledge them. Doing so might be interpreted by our audience as an endorsement by Davidson College — even if we include a disclaimer.
- Streamline your social-media presence. Use your discretion when deciding which social media platforms to use and how much time to devote to updating them. It’s better to have a robust, lively presence in one medium (say, Twitter) than to have mediocre, inconsistent content on several sites. Don’t create multiple accounts for your department or organization on the same site – this will confuse your audience. On Facebook, opt for a “like” page, which is typically used by an organization, rather than a “friend” page, which is intended for an individual.
Davidson College encourages active discussion and sharing of information and thoughts on all of our social media platforms. However, content that includes profanity, personal attacks, commercial promotions, political rhetoric, repeated postings or is otherwise deemed inappropriate isn’t permitted.
Social Media Links on Davidson.edu
The redesigned Davidson website provides the opportunity for academic and administrative departments to add Facebook, Twitter, Instagram (and other social media) links to their contact block. A department may request to display their social media feed(s) on their department homepage by completing a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Media Feed Removal
The digital communications staff reserves the right to remove at any time any social feeds from department pages if it determines the social content does not meet the established policy and quality standards as outlined in the Davidson College Brand Standards or Setting Up New Social Accounts. This can include policy violations, infrequent account updates/posts or content of poor quality or inappropriate in nature.
Personal Social Media Guidelines
- Be authentic. Be honest about your identity. In personal posts, you may identify yourself as a Davidson College faculty or staff member, but please be clear you’re sharing your personal views and not representing Davidson College. This parallels media relations practices at Davidson College.
A common practice among individuals who write about the industry in which they work is to include a disclaimer on their site, usually on their “About Me” page. If you discuss higher education on your own social media site, we suggest you include a sentence similar to this: The views expressed here are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Davidson College.”
Don’t be a mole.Never pretend to be someone else and post about Davidson College. Tracking tools enable supposedly anonymous posts to be traced back to their authors. There have been several high-profile and embarrassing cases of company executives anonymously posting about their own organizations.
Take the high ground. If you identify your affiliation with Davidson College in your comments, readers will associate you with the college, even with the disclaimer that your views are your own. Remember you’re most likely to build a high-quality following if you discuss ideas and situations civilly.
Be aware of liability. You are legally liable for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts). Employers are increasingly conducting web searches on job candidates before extending offers. Be sure what you post today will not come back to haunt you.
Branding and endorsements. Don’t use the Davidson College logo, athletic logo or any other Davidson College marks or images on your personal online sites. Don’t use Davidson College’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate.
Protect your identity. While you want to be honest about yourself, don’t provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you. Don’t list your home address or telephone number or your work telephone or email address. It is a good idea to create a separate email address that is used only with your social media site. Frequently check and recheck your privacy settings using the social media platform’s internal settings.
Follow a code of ethics. There are numerous codes of ethics for active participants in social media, all of which will help you participate responsibly in online communities. If you have your own social media site, you may wish to post your own code of ethics or adapt an existing code already on the web. Monitor comments. Most people who maintain social media sites welcome comments; it builds credibility and community. However, you can often review and approve comments before they appear. This allows you to respond in a timely way to comments. It also allows you to delete spam comments and to block any individuals who repeatedly post offensive or frivolous comments.
Link back. You’re welcome to link back from your social media to davidson.edu.