Social Media Guidelines
RULES FOR DOANE-SPONSORED SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS AND USERS
Before launching your own Doane social media channels, please ask yourself if you or your department will commit to at least 4-5 posts per week. If you cannot commit to that or you do not feel you have enough content, it is likely a better fit to work with OSM to weave your content into existing Doane University channels. Please consult OSM before launching any new Doane social media accounts.
- Departments and groups can use social media as a valuable tool to build awareness, interest and engagement, but only when it makes sense in the context of strategic goals.
- Do not create social media accounts just for the sake of having them.
- Someone within the department or group should take ownership of the social media account, and make sure content is steady year-round. You need to commit to a minimum of 4-5 posts per week in order to justify an effective account.
- Who is your audience? If you are just hoping to reach the Doane community, might you be best served to utilize email as a form of communication rather than social media?
- Content should reflect the college’s brand identity: An exceptional college that offers countless possibilities.
- Content presence should maintain quality and consistency fitting of the media.
- Content should be relevant to the intended audience but not duplicate institutional Doane University accounts.
- Be timely and relevant with content.
- Respond to messages as quickly as possible, maintaining an environment of accountability, credibility and inclusivity.
- Find your audience on social media: what are they using/where are they communicating about you? Create accounts in different social media if necessary.
- Do not create accounts in different media for the sake of having them.
- If Doane is being talked about, we should be part of the conversation. We can most effectively communicate our brand, goals, identity and strengths.
- Remember that social media is about conversations. Listen to your audience and interact with them—not to them.
- Be true to Doane’s brand identity. Be active and engaging. Share what makes Doane special.
Social media in 5 steps
Step 1: Set-up
- Make sure “Doane” figures prominently in your title for the account.
- For profile visuals, contact the Office of Strategic Marketing (OSM) for official logos and photos.
Step 2: Approval and approach
- Remember that you are representing Doane—not yourself—in all circumstances. Refrain from using your personal views.
- Finally, to make sure Doane recognizes the authenticity of the account, it needs to be approved and verified by OSM.
Step 3: Producing accurate content
- Look for or produce content that is of interest to your audience. If it’s accurate and helpful content from a trusted outside source, feel free to share it.
- Be accurate with grammar and spelling. Remember: you are representing an institution of higher learning.
- Fact check. Being right is better than being first.
- Avoid lengthy posts and let content speak for itself.
- For example, introduce linked or visual content on Facebook with no more than 2-3 sentences. Give your audience the most important information and/or an incentive to read/see the rest of the story.
- Write professionally and adhere to the Doane Styleguide, which follows AP Style. Most importantly:
- Do not use over-abundant punctuation.
- e.g., “!!!” or “!?!?!?”
- Use capitalization only with proper nouns and calls to action.
- e.g., “Doane University” or “WATCH now: …”
- If you need photos, videos, help with writing or have questions about appropriate material, contact OSM.
Step 4: Posting
- Timeliness is essential. Make sure news items or topics have a context to the academic, athletic or calendar year as well as your goals/group.
- Use content that is appropriate and a positive representation of Doane.
- If you make a mistake, fix it quickly. If editing options are not available, delete the post and retry.
- Share a variety of content (photo, video, written, etc.) to keep your audience engaged.
- Take responsibility for content. Edit and monitor as necessary.
Step 5: Maintenance and monitoring
- Have someone take ownership of the account who will make sure to produce and/or post content consistently.
- Follow best practices for how much to post in a particular media.
- Stick to a consistent style and voice. It creates authenticity, credibility and personality.
- Respond to comments or questions in a timely manner to show a relationship with the audience.
- Handle complaints, criticisms or crises in as private a manner as possible.
- Consult OSM if you have questions about handling issues.
- Be respectful of others in all cases.
- Do not post personal or proprietary information about Doane, its students, prospective students, employees or alumni.
- Follow FERPA guidelines. For reference, visit Doane.edu/ferpa.
- Stick to copyright and fair use laws. Copyrighted text, photos, graphics, video and other materials are intellectual property. Do not post copyrighted material without permission or credit.
- When in doubt, do not post sensitive or copyright-protected content.
- Follow college and host application guidelines regarding copyrights.