While social media channels are excellent avenues through which to promote the University of Missouri–St. Louis to an external audience, messages posted on UMSL social media accounts are not meant to be official statements from the university. Only the chancellor, or someone delegated by the chancellor to be his or her representative, can make official statements on behalf of the university.
Be present. Log into your UMSL social media accounts at least once per day to monitor and respond to posts, comments, messages or mentions. Recommended frequency of updates varies by the type of social media. On Twitter, users expect frequent updates. Accounts at UMSL should have enough content to post each work day, or managers should strive to retweet, quote tweet or re-share content from earlier if it’s running low. People expect less frequent posts from pages on Facebook, but posting at least three times per week should be the norm. Instagram accounts at UMSL should have enough content to post at least three times a week.
Be confidential. Be careful not to reveal confidential or proprietary information about UMSL students, employees or alumni. Adhere to all applicable university, federal and NCAA privacy and confidentiality policies. All employees of UMSL are subject to FERPA, HIPAA and other laws mandating the nondisclosure of personal information.
Protect our visual identity. UMSL logos cannot be modified or used for personal endorsements, and the trademarked UMSL name cannot be used to promote a product, cause, political party or candidate. Please visit our UMSL Logotype Policies for direction on how our name and visual identity should be used.
Plan ahead. Make an editorial calendar for posts on your channels, and keep in mind major campus events that you will want to reference. If you’re not sure of the exact content you want to run every day, at least keep a running schedule of at what time each day you’d like to add content to your accounts.
Be visually compelling. Users visiting your page are drawn to visually appealing layouts and posts. Be sure to highlight photos and other visual posts, remember to delete pasted links in status updates, and edit statuses so they are not too lengthy.
Stay accurate. Get the facts straight before posting. When possible, link back to the original source. Review content for grammatical and spelling mistakes. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly.
Be secure. Always have at least two full-time faculty or staff administrators for each account. This ensures continuous access to accounts when turnover occurs.
Give credit. Clearly link pages, account names, images and content to a particular department or unit within UMSL, or if you’re linking to an outside source or account. Consult the UMSL Social Media Directory to see other social media accounts at the university.
Make use of hashtags. Popular UMSL-related hashtags include: #UMSL, #UMSLProud, #WeTransformLives, #IChoseUMSL, #UMSLTritons, #umslalumni, #UMSLOrientation, #UMSLWOW, #UMSLTritonTakeoff, and #TritonGameDay. You can relate your content to other nationally trending hashtags as well, but be careful when you do, in case your account ends up getting grouped in with something inflammatory based on the other accounts using the hashtag. On Instagram, tag your locations and consider creating stories in addition to single photo posts.
Connect thoughtfully. Connecting to other social media members and sites builds credibility and community but could also give the unintended impression that your site endorses a certain cause, group or person. Consider carefully who you friend, follow, and link to. Help the UMSL community stay connected by linking back to the UMSL homepage and other UMSL social media sites. When possible, link to an UMSL news source instead of an outside source. Don’t judge your success solely on numbers. Every community is different. You may have fewer followers on a platform, but if you are cultivating a highly engaged community, that’s a tradeoff you can accept. Create posts that aim not just to push content out or direct your audience to a site, but posts that invite dialog and interaction as well.
Respect UMSL. Remain professional and in good taste. As a representative of UMSL, avoid postings that could be misinterpreted. You can have some fun with your accounts, but be sure you’re not posting anything too provocative or controversial. Be personable and accessible, and use a friendly and conversational tone when appropriate. Having a personality and a voice will help you build your audience. Keep in mind that, while you’re writing for an external audience, you’re still presenting yourself as a representative of UMSL. Also, avoid criticizing other people and institutions.
Respect others. Whether on campus or online, UMSL is committed to freedom of expression. Social media sites are designed for discussion and comments, sometimes from people on opposing sides of a given issue. As an administrator of a university social media account, you may not censor posts with which you disagree or find to be negative. Instead, you can and should respond with respectful and relevant information, but consider how your response may reflect on you, your department and the university. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your supervisor. You may, at your discretion, remove comments that are: abusive, defamatory, offensive or obscene; fraudulent, deceptive or misleading; in violation of intellectual property rights of another; in violation of the social media platform’s terms of service; or solicitations of any kind. We recommend adding an Impressum that describes your social media page/website/app and include information on content policies.
The types of content that we post or share generally fall under the following categories:
• Student success
• Alumni spotlights
• Faculty achievements
• Staff features
• Program and research stories
• Campus growth
• Event coverage
We invite you to comment and ask questions on our page. Whether on campus or online, UMSL is committed to freedom of expression and will not censor posts that may be disagreeable or negative. However, we will remove comments/posts that are:
• Abusive, defamatory, offensive or obscene
• Fraudulent, deceptive or misleading
• In violation of FERPA, HIPAA or other laws mandating the nondisclosure of personal information
• In violation of the intellectual property rights of another
• In violation of the social media platform’s terms of service
• Solicitations of any kind.
Please note that we do not endorse, nor are we responsible for, the accuracy of the information, opinions, claims or advice shared by other users of this platform. We also reserve the right not to share events submitted to this account for promotion.
Keep our institutional goals in mind. The 2018-23 strategic plan is focused on student success; research and creative works; community engagement and economic development; inclusive excellence; and planning, operations and stewardship. Keep those compacts in mind when posting and try to tie back to them when possible.
(Sources: https://www.brown.edu/university-communications/social/guidelines; https://communications.tufts.edu/marketing-and-branding/social-media-overview/social-media-best-practices/; https://university-relations.umn.edu/resources/social-media-strategy-and-best-practices; https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/call-action-marketing-and-communications-higher-education/highered-making-social-strategic; https://www.washington.edu/marketing/social-media-best-practices/social-media-guidelines/)