SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES For employees at Southeast Regional College

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1 SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES For employees at Southeast Regional College

2 Why do we need guidelines for social media? This document outlines the guidelines for Southeast Regional College employees communicating online. Social media has become a mainstream form of online communication and College employees will use these online tools for personal and professional communications. Social media guidelines help set employer expectations, educate staff, and empower employees to tweet, post, or blog. Empoloyees must be aware that when representing the College online, there are guidelines that must be followed. What is social media? Social networks such as Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are examples of social media that allow users to interact with other and share opinions and content. It s like having a conversation with someone about the College telling them about a course, congratulating graduates, announcing an event but having it online instead of on the phone or face to face. Because social media channels are still new to many people, guidelines are developed to help staff use these forums effectively, protect personal and professional reputations, and add quality to the organization. The purpose of social media Social media is a tool that provides the College with the opportunity to engage in conversations with those interested in the College. It can also help grow our brand and build connections between the College and communities we serve. It also provides feedback of what people really think about the College. General Guidelines: 1. Be responsible in your communications A successful experience in social media includes honesty, thoughtfulness, and awareness of your audience. Ensure communications are in good taste and be sensitive about linking to content because redirecting to another site may imply an endorsement. 1 Page

3 Be civil, exercise good judgment, and apply common sense. Never use profanity, slurs or derogatory comments. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear headed. 2. Be transparent and authentic Be yourself and be honest with your identity. If are authorized to represent the College in social media, say so. If you choose to post about the College on your personal time, please identify yourself as a College faculty or staff member when appropriate. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting the College through social media. Never pretend to be someone else and post about the College. Participating in online communities allows you to support others and they, in turn, can support you. Learn to balance personal and professional information, and the important role that transparency plays in building that sense of community. 3. Be accurate Ensure you have all the facts before you post. It s better to verify the facts with someone first than to post a correction or reaction later. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect among your audience. 4. Respect the thoughts of others Always give credit to your sources for their work, and make sure you have the right to use something before it s published, posted, or re Tweeted, etc. You may use the College s brand marks or logos if authorized, but do not include College brand symbols in your personal postings. 5. Protect confidential and proprietary information Online postings and conversations are not private, and are stored on servers for longer that you will be around. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the College, its students, or its employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow privacy policies such as Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIP) legislation. 6. Respect College time and property It s appropriate to post at work if you have been instructed to do so or your comments, Tweets, or videos, etc. are directly related to accomplishing established work goals. Maintain your personal pages or accounts on your own time using your personal computer and equipment. 7. Choose tour associations wisely 2 Page

4 Do not use the College s name to endorse or promote or endorse any product, cause, religious matters, or political matters. Linking to other sites is generally a good thing, but consider how those associations will affect potential students, donors, funders (Ministry) and other stakeholders. 8. Monitor comments Maintaining comments builds credibility and your online sense of community. You can set your site so that you can review and approve comments before they appear. The following comments are subject to editing or rejection: Comments including blatant profanity, racist, sexist or derogatory content Product Advertisements Political support Comments that are off topic or SPAM Comments that are personal attacks on an individual Content, either positive or negative, is a good thing to the College. Often times, unfavourable comments are an opportunity for improvement and are best suited with a quick response and solution. If you are unsure about how to handle a comment or situation, please forward the details to the College s Marketing Manager as quickly as possible. 9. Be relevant Social media sites are meant to be interactive, current, and engaging. If you find that your site is not relevant, has few posts, or receives little traffic, then you must reconsider the effectiveness of the site and consider alternatives. 10. Add value Social media will more likely pay dividends if you add value for your followers. Adding value means continuing to the improvement of the College, allowing the public to learn more about the College, making people feel more connected to the College, or building a sense of community for the College. If your College focused Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter sites offer links, you are encouraged to tie them to the College s core branded social media sites, which include: 3 Page

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