Best Practices

Stritch has developed a social media policy in order to accurately and properly present, promote, and protect the University’s offerings to its many audiences, both internal and external.

Social media plays an increasingly important role in communications, and the use of social media has increased at Stritch. Social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn have the ability to communicate with key target audiences in environments where they are most comfortable, and this engagement can often be important in achieving goals. Stritch has developed a social media policy in order to accurately and properly present, promote, and protect the University’s offerings to its many audiences, both internal and external.

If you are considering setting up a new social media account, you must consult with Web Communications before setting up your page. We encourage you to contact us to set up a time to discuss your goals and establishing a strategy to achieve them.

General Recommendations

Be aware of other policies - All social media sites have policies about how they will or will not use your content, what is and is not allowed, etc. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these policies before you launch your site.

Be transparent – Be honest about your identity. If you are authorized by your supervisor to represent Stritch in social media, say so. If you choose to post about Stritch on your personal time, please identify yourself as a Stritch faculty or staff member. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting Stritch through social media.

Be authentic – Social media is all about people connecting with people. Remember to humanize your social media interactions. On social networks it is okay to use an exclamation point and phrases such as "check it out" rather than "read more."

Be accurate – Make sure you have all of the facts before you post. Cite and link to sources whenever possible to help build a community. It also doesn’t hurt to spell-check your content before posting. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.

Be respectful – Respect for the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas is critical. Feel free to respectfully disagree with a position but please do not propagate online confrontation as it reflects poorly on both the individual and Stritch. A good rule of thumb: if you would not say it in person, don’t say it online.

Encourage open conversation – Listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Allow negative comments, delete the spam, and seek to respond rather than censor.

Allow comments – Even the negative ones. A good philosophy for comments is to encourage thoughtful discussion, debate and differing viewpoints, with the understanding that all comments made must be civil, respectful, and appropriate for your audience. If comments are lewd, libelous, incite violence or are otherwise hurtful or hateful speech directed at either individuals or groups, Stritch employees who serve as account administrators reserve the right to delete such comments.

Think before you post – Everything you do online can and will live forever. There is no such thing as a "private" social media site. Search engines can turn up posts years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it's wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.

Recommendations if you post on behalf of Stritch

(Read all relevant Stritch acceptable use and web policies)

Be transparent – state who you are and your role at Stritch. Use your own voice. Do not ghostwrite for another faculty or staff member.

Be respectful – As a Stritch employee, you understand the university's commitment to the Franciscan values. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn't. Your reputation, and Stritch’s, are best served when you remain above the fray.

Be active – care and diligence are required to have a successful social media presence.

Be timely – a neglected social media site is a failing social media site.

Be thoughtful – If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as a Stritch employee, ask your supervisor before you post. Remember that policies such as FERPA and HIPAA apply to social media.

Be professional – Uphold the university's mission and values, including its position as the largest Franciscan university in North America, in your activities. Don't include political comments or comments on social issues except in support of positions Stritch has already taken. This includes changes to your photo or avatar in relation to political or social issues.

Engage in dialog – don’t just push-push-push content.

Recommendations if you have a private account

Be transparent- you may identify yourself as a Stritch faculty or staff member. However, please be clear that you are sharing your views as a member of the higher education community, not as a formal representative of Stritch. If you discuss topics pursuant to higher ed, please include a statement such as “The views expressed on this are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cardinal Stritch University.” in your About Me section.

Don’t be a mole/troll – Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not and post about Stritch. There have been several high-profile and embarrassing cases of company executives anonymously posting about their own organizations.

Be aware of liability – you are legally liable for what you post.

Protect your identity – be honest, but protect personal information. It is a good idea to create an email solely for social media use.

Monitor comments – you want to engage in open discussion and debate but you should absolutely feel free to delete or edit any comments that are profane, vulgar, racist, etc.

Facebook Best Practices

What is Facebook?

Facebook is the largest social network in the world with more than 1 billion users. People use Facebook to catch up with friends and colleagues, share news, information, photos, video, and more with people and organizations.

Why should I use Facebook?

Facebook offers an ideal opportunity to showcase your Stritch department or program and build recognition, while encouraging participation and networking. Stritch encourages the use of Facebook to connect with prospective and current students, staff, faculty, alumni, and friends of the University.

For many Stritch departments, a Facebook page is the flagship of their social media presence. Facebook provides the platform to send information, receive feedback and encourage interaction among your followers.

How do I use Facebook?

Create an "official" page for your Stritch organization. Including "Cardinal Stritch University" in the title will make it easier for users to find your page.

Facebook has Pages and Groups. Know which one will work for you.

Pages are accessible by the general public – they are searchable and can be seen by anyone even if they are not registered or logged into Facebook. Pages allow for applications and the opportunity to supply more in-depth information. Pages are intended for organizations, departments, and businesses to connect with users who like them. It is recommended that most university departments should set up a Page.

If your goal is to create a small community on Facebook, consider creating a Group. Groups can be created by anyone and about any topic, as a forum for people to share their opinions and interest in that subject. Groups can be kept closed or secret, whereas Pages are intended to help an entity communicate publicly. Notifications to those in your Group will appear in their Facebook Inbox like an email. If personal communication is your goal, forming a Group is a better option. It’s usually better to create a group for your department or program.

Feature Fan Page Group
Allows distinct URLsYes No
Indexed by search engines like Google Yes No
Admin can access visitor statistics Yes No
Discussion features and forums Yes Yes
Can be cross-promoted on other fan pages Yes Yes
Ability to create events and invitations Yes Yes
Twitter or blog feeds Yes No
Visible to unregistered people Yes No
Fans can leave comments and "likes" Yes No
Can send out bulk emails to your members' inboxes No Yes
Information posted on your wall will appear on your fan's walls Yes No
The administrator's personal information isn't listed Yes No

By using Facebook, you are agreeing to Facebook's terms and conditions:

You must:

  • Obtain consent if you collect any information from users, making it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting the information, and post a privacy policy that will be strictly followed.
  • Keep your contact information accurate and up-to-date. Do not include personal contact information on your University account unless it is appropriate to the purpose of your Stritch organization, and in that case, keep it to a minimum.

You must not:

  • Provide any false personal information or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
  • Create more than one personal profile.
  • Create another account without permission if Facebook disables your account.
  • Use your Stritch-recognized profile for your own commercial gain or for communications or activities that are purely personal in nature.
  • Share your password or do anything to jeopardize the security of your account.
  • Transfer your account without getting written permission from Facebook. Administrators of Stritch-recognized accounts may be changed from time to time - please notify the Stritch Web Communications Team.
  • Post content or take action that infringes or violates someone else's rights.
  • Post or knowingly permit the posting of content or any other use of your Stritch-recognized account to cause harm, embarrassment, defamation, insult, or injury to any person or entity. This does not prohibit frank discussions, criticism, or opinion. The following content and online activity is strictly prohibited: lewd or indecent conduct, threat of physical harm, stalking, forgery, intentional disruption of university activities, advocating or causing the damage or destruction of university property, illegal discrimination, harassment (including sexual harassment), or any intentionally malicious, defamatory, degrading, or hateful material.
  • Post content or take action that violates the law.
  • Post identification documents or sensitive or confidential financial, medical, educational, or other personal information of any person without that person’s express, prior consent.
  • Tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent.

Start posting!

  • Respond to wall posts. Even the negative ones should be acknowledged.
  • Keep it real. Be conversational, informal, and always remember to be respectful of others.
  • Encourage involvement and interaction among fans.Facebook is designed to maximize involvement among users for an open line of communication. Use it to your advantage to collect feedback and provide users with a richer online experience with your organization.
  • Value-driven updates. Updates of at least one to three times a day are recommended. Make sure each update contains valuable information your fans can use. Meaningless updates can drive your followers to not pay attention to your page, or even worse, remove your page from their news feed.
  • Monitor your page frequently.It is critical to monitor your page daily so that you can keep up with the conversation and activity (and spam) on your page.
  • Use Facebook's applications to make your page more dynamic. Add photos, videos, RSS feeds, other social media platforms, etc.
  • Promote your page. Ask the members of your organization to follow your page and network with other organizations on Facebook by "Liking" their page.
  • Use @. In a status update, type the “@” symbol followed directly (no space) by the name of another Facebook page you want to tag. For example, a status update from Cardinal Stritch University might say, "Congrats to @Stritch Wolves Athletics for the big win!"

Additional resources

Twitter Best Practices

These best practices apply to Twitter presences that represent official Stritch entities (athletics, departments, colleges, student groups, etc.).

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows users to post short messages that show up in the Twitter feeds of the people who choose to follow your account. Twitter offers instantly updated information for just about anything you can imagine. It only allows 140 characters per post, called a tweet, so tap into your creative side to make your message fit.

What can Twitter do for me?

Twitter is an effective tool for Stritch organizations and departments that need to share frequent content about meetings, events, news, and even emergency information.

How do I use Twitter?

Optimize your account for Twitter searches:

Note that a username and a name are two separate items. For example, StritchU is the username and Cardinal Stritch U is the name. Usernames are character-limited.

A carefully selected name is the most crucial part of being found in searches. This is because most users will not search for you by your exact username and will add spaces that do not match your username. For example, a search for "Stritch Wolves" does not find the username StritchWolves.

Make sure the name includes words you believe will be used when searching for the profile; Stritch, Cardinal Stritch University, etc.

By using Twitter, you are agreeing to Twitter’s Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

By doing so, you must not:

  • Impersonate others through the Twitter service
  • Publish or post other people’s private and confidential information
  • Publish or post direct, specific threats of violence against others
  • Use the service for any unlawful purpose or for promotion of illegal activities
  • Create serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes
  • Engage in username squatting
  • Use's address book contact import to send repeat, mass invitations
  • Publish or link to malicious content intended to damage or disrupt another user's browser or computer or to compromise a user's privacy
  • Use the Twitter service for the purpose of spamming anyone
  • Use obscene or pornographic images in either your profile picture or user background

Customize your profile

Use the column on the right side of your account page to upload a profile picture, a header image, write a short bio, and set up Twitter on your mobile phone so you can post tweets from anywhere.

The one line bio will appear with the username and name in search results. Use this area to note your relationship to Cardinal Stritch University if your username and name have not already made this clear.

For example, only using "CSU" may create confusion since there are several universities who use the same acronym.

Start tweeting

  • Stay under the 140-character restriction. Use shorthand and post links that provide more information.
  • Include links. Drive followers to your website from tweets. Inbound links also improve your page rankings with search engines.
  • Links can be long and quickly take over a tweet’s 140-character limit. Usebit.lyorTinyURLto shorten them.
  • Tweet regularly. On Twitter, users are used to frequent updates. Appoint more than one person to tweet if needed to continue regular content.
  • Understand why people follow you. If your followers want information about the group you represent, they probably don't want to know your daily activities.
  • Follow others. This allows communication between you and your followers and is part of Twitter etiquette.
  • Re-tweet! Tweet the content posted by another Twitter user.
  • Use hashtags. Hashtags consist of using the # symbol followed by subject words such as #Stritch. They help organize information, make tweets searchable, and are conversation drivers. Do not use more than two hashtags in a single post.
  • Incorporate other Twitter users. An example tweet might be:"I am going to the @StritchMensBball game tonight @StritchUniv."

Other tips

  • Use other tools. Research external applications that are designed to help Twitter users enhance the Twitter experience. Management service such as TweetDeck and Hootsuite allow for users to post content to Twitter and also schedule posts to be posted to Twitter at a designated time. If using platforms to schedule content, make sure the content is valid and relevant at the time it is scheduled to go live.
  • It takes a village. Twitter itself does not have a way for multiple people to uniquely access one account other than by sharing the username and password among administrators.TweetDeck and Hootsuite allows multiple people to help manage multiple Twitter accounts and stay in synch while doing so.
  • Use photos in your tweets. Twitter has a built-in module that allows users to upload photos from the web or a mobile device. Third-party tools that also allow for posting are TwitPic and yfrog.

Additional Resources

Blog Best Practices

These best practices apply to blogs that represent official Stritch entities (athletics, departments, colleges, student groups, etc.).

What is Blogging?

A blog (a blend of the term web log) is a type of website or part of a website. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order.

Most blogs are interactive, allowing visitors to leave comments and even message each other via widgets on the blogs and it is this interactivity that distinguishes them from other static websites.

Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, Web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability of readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs.

What blog platforms are available?

If your site is hosted within Ektron, be aware that it has a built-in blogging platform. Other commonly used blog platforms are Blogger and WordPress.

Start Blogging

  • Establish a Strategy - A blog needs to begin with a strategy, which does not happen in isolation. Your blog needs to be part of that strategy with a specific target audience, whether it is for brand building or communicating with employees, prospective students or the community at large. A blog without a strategy will not survive.
  • Define an Editorial Policy - Once you know what you are trying to accomplish through your blog, you need to determine what kinds of articles you will post. You need to decide how to blog about things which reveal the human, authentic side of your group. Most of all, the information on your blog must be relevant to your target audience.
  • Find a Voice - You blog should have some personality and not sound like it was written by committee. This can be conveyed through the voice of a blog, which is the way you speak to your target audience. The general tone of blogs tends to be more informal. However, if your target audience is there to read highly technical information, copy written with broad, breezy strokes is not the way to communicate with them.
  • Create Compelling Content - A blog is not just an exercise in creating content and tossing it over the wall at your readers. The content must be compelling, informative and relevant to your audience. Think about your blog from the point of view of your target and decide if your latest article provides any value.
  • Post on a Regular Schedule - Something that many bloggers struggle with is publishing content on a regular schedule. No matter what role you play in your company, blogging is not your full-time job. Consistent publishing takes discipline and time. The first can be learned, but the second has to be found. Come up with a manageable timetable to provide relevant, timely content on a regular basis before starting your blog.
  • Engage with Readers - Every real comment should get a real response. It makes a difference to readers to see the post authors responding in the comments. When you find your content shared by your readers elsewhere, thank them and continue the discussion over there. Being appreciative of comments goes a long way.
  • Spread your Content - If you can spread and encourage the spreading of your content to your target audience, you will be that much closer to meeting your goals. Leveraging your blog and expanding it out to other social networks is a great way to take the next step.