Berea College's rich and diverse use of social media allows us to share, in a public way, the many qualities and strengths of our academic institution. From that perspective, Berea intentionally uses social media to advance the institution and build relationships with important constituencies, such as prospective and current students, friends, and alumni. The platforms used to accomplish this include Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and new and emerging platforms.
The College also recognizes the open nature of social media. It is often used for both personal and professional purposes. Your role can become ambiguous as you contribute to conversations occurring on social media sites. It may not always be clear when you are speaking on behalf of the College or sharing personal/professional opinions. This policy is intended to help members of the Berea College community navigate through this ambiguity and clarify certain responsibilities for those individuals who post material online on behalf of the College. It is important to remember that online interactions are subject to the same professional expectations, policies, guidelines and laws that apply to face-to-face interactions with students, parents, alumni, donors and members of the media. This policy applies to all individuals conducting official business on behalf of the College, including faculty, staff, and students in their labor positions or when representing a student group affiliated with the College.
Section 1: Institutional and Organization Social Media Accounts
Institutional Social Media Accounts:
Berea College has institution-moderated social media accounts managed by the Office of Marketing & Communications (MC) and Alumni Relations. These official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat are identified as “Berea College.” Posts from these accounts are designed to represent the College’s brand, its Great Commitments, dedication to transformative learning, and service to stakeholders. These are the official social media outlets of the College and the only accounts for which the College is institutionally responsible.
Organization Social Media Accounts:
Individual departments, centers, programs, student organizations and special projects may sponsor separate social media account(s). These are not official “Berea College” accounts and are not managed by MC. These accounts are referred to as “institution-sponsored” accounts because they are publicly affiliated with the College through name, logo, branding, etc. These accounts must have at least two administrators. One must be a staff or faculty member of the College. Staff administrators are available from the MC office (https://www.berea.edu/mc/ or 859-985-3018). Institution-sponsored social media accounts should register with the online Social Media Directory, managed by MC. The content and views of Organization Social Media Accounts are the responsibility of the individual sponsor(s).
Section 2: Laws, Regulations and Policies that Govern Online Posts
Protect confidential and proprietary information:
Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Berea College students, employees or alumni. All persons posting material must follow applicable state or federal laws or regulations such as FERPA and HIPAA, as well as NCAA regulations. Adhere to all applicable institutional policies and legal requirements regarding privacy, confidentiality and property rights.
Respect copyright and fair use:
When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the College. For guidance, consult the Berea College Intellectual Property Rights Statement.
Use Berea College intellectual properties only with permission:
No user may establish social media accounts that use the Berea College logo or other intellectual properties such as photography, video, artwork and/or publications copyrighted to the College without authorization from the College. For more information, or for permission to use Berea College intellectual properties, contact MC at email@example.com or at 859-985-3018.
Data Collection and GDPR:
Any institution sponsored account conducting paid advertising or any other type of data collection via social media must ensure full compliance with General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Contact MC for guidance as needed.
Please note that Title IX regulations supersede this policy on any post whether organizational or personal that constitutes harassment. For further assistance with Title IX regulations or concerns contact the Title IX office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859.228.2323.
Disseminating official information:
The division of Alumni and College Relations is responsible for posting and publishing official information online on behalf of the College. While organizations, clubs, groups and departments are encouraged to have social media pages, no person or group may impersonate the official Berea College social media accounts by representing their page or group as the official Berea College Office of Marketing & Communications. This policy pertains to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, as well as new and emerging platforms.
The Associate Vice President of Marketing and Communications (859-985-3912) and the Media Relations Manager (859-985-3020) serve as the College’s primary contacts with local, regional and national print and electronic media. All Berea College employees who are approached by a media representative regarding any matter of College business are required to refer such inquiries to either of these individuals. MC staff members welcome information about professional activities, student accomplishments, innovative courses or teaching strategies, special events or other developments of potential interest to the media. Having this information on a timely basis helps bring important matters to the public’s attention.
Section 3: Follow Brand Style Guidelines
The College expects departments, centers, programs, student organizations and special projects using social media on its behalf to abide by the official standards for brand, graphics and style as set in the Brand and Graphics Standards Manual. This includes using appropriate graphic and logo elements for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. For other sites or accounts, consult with the Marketing & Communications office, which administers these guidelines and can provide account- and program-specific guidance.
Note: Always use proper grammar and appropriate text descriptions for images or video when posting images or videos containing text to remain in compliance with federal accessibility requirements. Communicate with your followers as you would real people in professional situations, without overly pedantic or “composed” language. Do not be afraid to bring in your own personality when appropriate. Draft posts in a program that can detect spelling and grammatical errors, and proofread before you post.
Avoid offensive images, graphics, slang or words that may not reflect well upon the College. When selecting images to publish be thoughtful in ensuring they reflect our mission (embodied in the Great Commitments) and accurately represent the diversity of our community.
Since Berea is a work college, any student workers who compose content for social media usage should have appropriate staff or faculty members review the content before it is posted. What you write and publish–including the way in which you name and graphically brand or customize your social media accounts–can have a profound effect on external perceptions of Berea College.
Section 4: Social Media Best Practices
When maintaining an institution sponsored account please utilize these guidelines as best practices as often as possible.
Presence and Maintenance
- Social media accounts at Berea College must be logged into a minimum of once per day to monitor and respond to posts, comments, mentions, etc.
- Be present and responsive. Having an official social media account at Berea requires diligent maintenance and upkeep, including answering users’ questions and monitoring comments. Establishing and then abandoning or not regularly checking a social media channel is not allowed.
- Frequency of updates varies for each channel. Use an editorial calendar to schedule content creation (and subsequent publication) more efficiently. Don’t hoard content and post it all at once.
- You may consider giving multiple people in your department access to post if you feel that will help the accounts remain more up-to-date.
Measurement and Analytics
- Measurement and analytics are key to assessing your success in social media.
- Study the data provided by the respective analytics functions in Hootsuite, Facebook (Insights), Twitter (analytics.twitter.com) and YouTube (Insights). Determine relevant statistics and track them over time.
- Match analytics information against content and engagement to determine what caused certain results.
- Use this information to better understand your audience and to inform content decisions.
- Be personable and accessible, while keeping in mind the guidelines offered here. Having a personality and a voice will help you build your audience.
- Once you have established your social media presence, cross-promote on your various channels, both online and offline. If you have a brochure or a website, drive people to your social media channels, and vice versa. Just because people are very active with your Twitter account doesn’t mean they don’t need a pamphlet or to visit your website.
- Don’t judge your success solely on numbers. While it is tempting to use views, fans or followers as a metric by which to assess your engagement in social media, it is not the ideal measurement. With social media, quality supersedes quantity. Every community is different. You may have fewer followers on Twitter, but if you are cultivating a highly-engaged community, the number of followers means little.
- Success with building community via social media is not an end result; it is a process. You have to be present and engaged consistently over time, and you have to measure the effectiveness of that engagement over time.
Approved by Administrative Committee January 2019