Social Media Best Practices and Guidelines
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.
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
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
Engage in dialog – don’t just push-push-push
Recommendations if you have a private account
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 [blog, website] 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
For many Stritch organizations and 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
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.
better to create a fan page rather than a group for your department or program.
The chart, below, compares the features offered by fan pages and by groups.
|Feature ||Fan Page ||Group |
|Allows distinct URLs||Yes ||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:
- Obtain consent if you collect any information
from users, making it clear that you (and not Facebook) are collecting the
- Keep your contact information accurate and
up-to-date. Do not include personal contact information on your
Stritch-recognized account unless it is appropriate to the purpose of your
Stritch organization, and in that case, keep it to a minimum.
You must not:
any false personal information or create an account for anyone other than
yourself without permission.
more than one personal profile.
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.
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.
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
content or take action that violates the law.
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.
- Respond to wall posts. Even the negative ones should be acknowledged.
- Keep it real. Be conversational, informal, and always remember to be respectful
- 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!"
Twitter Best Practices
These best practices apply to Twitter presences that
represent official Stritch entities (athletics, departments, colleges, student
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.
Here's the catch: Twitter allows only 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
Note that a username and a name are two separate items. For
example, StritchUniv 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
Make sure the name includes words you believe will be used
when searching for the profile; Stritch, Cardinal Stritch University, etc.
By doing so, you must not:
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
serial accounts for disruptive or abusive purposes
- Engage in
- Use Twitter.com'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
obscene or pornographic images in either your profile picture or user
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.
- 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."
- 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.
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
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.
- 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.