Simpson College Social Media Policy

Social media platforms are a powerful tool for promoting your message. With today’s plethora of platforms to choose from, Simpson’s Office of Marketing and Public Relations staff can help you choose and develop a strategy for how to best connect to your target audience. Simpson College encourages its community to engage, build networks, stay connected, share information, and help promote the college’s goals and mission online. This most popularly occurs on (but is not limited to) Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

The Office of Marketing and Public Relations (referred to as OMPR hence forth) at Simpson College follows a set of principles to help our community connect and share in positive and meaningful ways that will reflect well on themselves as well as the college.

The following information is intended for use by academic and athletic departments and their subsidiaries as well as college sanctioned student organizations. For faculty and staff, these guidelines pertain to your professional accounts only.

Getting Started

If you are new to social media, and are deciding to create an online presence, here are a few things to consider before you begin.

  1. What is the purpose for the account?
    1. Will this be private or open to the public?
  2. Who will be responsible for maintaining the account?
    1. With this, consider further down the road as well. If the person in charge leaves his/her position or graduates, who will take over the account from there How will that process be transitioned? Will there be only one manager or will you have multiple?
  3. What are the goals of this account?
  4. Does an account for your program/organization already exist?
    1. If unsure, ask OMPR for help with looking into this.  If an account already exists, we may also be able to help you gain access to it.
  5. Is this the best method for communicating with your audience?

Creating an Account

If you’ve considered the above questions and engagement opportunities and feel you are still on the right track, here is how to appropriately create a social account.

  1. Since publicly accessible social media pages in relation to Simpson College act as a voice of our community, we encourage all academic and athletic units and official college organizations to inform OMPR of the name and URL of the account as well as the name(s) of the account administrator(s). Please email this information to Success@Simpson.edu.  In doing so:
    1. Administrator names will be kept confidential but will be kept in our records as a source of contact for emergency and non-emergency communication if needed.  (Please update this information with OMPR as any changes in names or positions occur.)
    2. If applicable, your page will be added to our Social Media Directory (unless otherwise requested) so others can easily find you online and help spread your message.
  2. Name your page.
    1. Straight forward and descriptive is always better than clever or cute in most situations. If people are searching for your organization, what words will they be looking for?
    2. We strongly recommend using “Simpson College” before or after the name of your page. This will help visitors find and associate your page.  (ex: “Simpson College Speech & Debate” or “Speech & Debate at Simpson College”)
      1. *Note – Often the account name and URL can be separate. The URL can be shorter and doesn’t necessarily need to have “Simpson College” in it depending on your needs.
  3. Select a profile picture and cover photo.
    1. Many organizations choose a logo for their profile photo to keep branding consistent across multiple platforms, though this is not the case for all situations.
      1. The official college and athletic logos are reserved for Simpson College’s official department accounts.
        1. If your social media account isn’t an official Simpson College department but you have proper reasoning for use of the logo(s), submit your request to OMPR and we will determine if an exception can be made for your account.
  4. Engage friends or followers with content.
    1. Have at least a few posts ready to get you started. Though there are no hard and fast rules about how often to post, it is important to maintain the page and engage regularly to ensure the message is reaching its target audience.

 

Guidelines For Posting

  1. Be authorized.
    1. Don’t post or comment as a representative of Simpson College or one of its institutional units, departments, or entities unless you have been authorized by the College to do so.
  2. Be ethical.
    1. Never display or promote content that violates Simpson College’s policies (ex. Depicts harassment, uncivil behavior, underage drinking, or discrimination).
    2. Do not use official Simpson social media platforms to endorse or oppose political candidates, ballot initiatives, pending or approved legislation, or politically charged discussion.
  3. Protect private information.
    1. A good rule of thumb is to assume that everything you post online can be made available to the public. If discussion arises about internal policies, consider directing the conversation to a more private form of communication.
    2. Follow federal, state, and Simpson College’s requirements such as HIPAA (the privacy of individual identifiable health information) and FERPA (the privacy of student education records).
  4. Be safe.
    1. Sharing personal information such as photos, individual location, and videos could compromise your safety and privacy. Shared content has a very long life and may be difficult to remove. Be careful about what you post for your own personal protection and safety and the protection and safety of the campus community.
  5. Verify content.
    1. Ensure the content that you post is current, authentic, and accurate. Reserve the right to remove content that is plagiarized and/or violates copyright restrictions. Beware of hoaxes and misinformation.
  6. Monitor and react appropriately.
    1. Do not publish any inflammatory or disrespectful posts, comments, photos, videos, or links.
    2. Remove and/or report audience posts that contain profanity, sell or promote products, are spam or otherwise contain unlawful, threatening, harassing, bullying, slanderous, or hateful content.
    3. Do not delete a post solely because it disagrees or argues with your content. If you need a second opinion on whether or not comments reach this threshold and/or are in violation of College’s policies, please contact the OMPR.

 

It is good to remember that Simpson College’s official social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.) can potentially help promote your posts, events, or organizations. If you have information you would like posted through one of Simpson’s channels, please contact the Digital Content Specialist in OMPR to discuss this option. All posting decisions will be made on a case by case manner by OMPR.

Continued Tips

Now that you have created an account, there are common practices that are important to keep in mind while holding an account that represents Simpson College:

  1. Instead of jumping into every social media platform that comes along, invest quality time and effort in those that most benefit your organization’s goals.
  2. Cross-pollinate with other Simpson programs (ex: tag other profiles in posts, retweet/share content from other accounts.)
  3. Prepare for criticism. Don’t engage in arguments, and don’t stray from a professional, respectful dialogue.
  4. Separate your personal and professional time on social media platforms. It will help keep you professionally focused and minimize the room for error (Ex: posting something on your professional account that you intended to post on your personal account.)
  5. Be transparent. Don’t pretend to be someone you are not.
  6. Direct media queries to OMPR. If you are contacted by a member of the media about a posting or comment on a social networking site, or if a reporter asks general questions about Simpson College’s official activities, events, staff, faculty, or students via social media, immediately contact the Vice President for Marketing and Public Relations who will handle the response.

 

**For more questions, please contact the Office of Marketing and Public Relations.**

Office of Marketing and Public Relations Staff Directory
Success@Simpson.edu
515-961-1606