Social Media Guidelines and Content
Social media is a powerful tool to communicate with prospective students, current students, faculty, staff, alumni and other stakeholders of the University. We ask that when you are responsible for managing social accounts that represent a university-affiliated account (i.e. accounts that represent a University department, initiative, office, entity, etc.) that you adhere to these guidelines to create a professional and brand positive space online.
If you would like the University Marketing & Communications office to evaluate and suggest improvements to your accounts’ structure, design and/or content plan, submit a request for a Social Media Diagnostic to the Digital Marketing Manager.
- All University-affiliated accounts must have the statement “opinions do not reflect @montevallo” (@UMontevallo for Facebook) in their bios.
- In a time of crisis, the official University accounts are the source for correct information as a part of our campus crisis communication plan between the offices of UM Campus Safety, University Marketing & Communications, Enrollment & Student Affairs, and President. Please refrain from posting on University-affiliated accounts unless you are sharing information from the main accounts to relay to your audiences.
- Any University of Montevallo office, department, organization or entity that wishes to create a social media account must first seek approval from the University Marketing & Communications office. Please contact the Digital Marketing Manager to discuss which platforms are desired and a strategic communication plan for such accounts.
- Users should report any suspected “fake” social media accounts to the University Marketing & Communications office. Users should refrain from replying to or engaging with any suspected “fake” accounts.
- All social media passwords should follow the password standards from Information Services & Technology. They recommend that passwords include longer phrases rather than university-related names, nicknames, or acronyms. Passwords should be updated at least quarterly, and again when a social media administrator (student, faculty, or staff) leaves his/her position at UM.
- Any employee or student with responsibility for and/or access to a university-affiliated social media account should be removed as an administrator upon leaving or graduating from the university.
- Please notify the University Marketing & Communications office of any new social media administrators to update the campus directory.
- For trainings on how to evaluate social media analytics and performance, schedule a meeting with the Digital Marketing Manager.
POSTING & INTERACTING GUIDELINES
- Do not post PDFs or screenshots of flyers with large amounts of text. When a screen reader or low-vision social user interacts with this post, it will read “graphic” and they will not be able to see the information you have posted. Keep graphics low on text and include ALL text in the graphic in the caption so that low-vision social users can engage with your content as well.
- We recommend refraining from “going live” on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn because they generate automatic captions. If a word is misinterpreted and broadcasted online it cannot be changed. We recommend refraining from “going live” to keep misinformation and profanity from being attributed automatically to your posts.
- Don’t bury the lead. Put the most important information first such as time, date, etc. of your event for students using screen readers. This way they can listen for additional information or have the information they need for your event first. Make sure to include a contact number for disability accommodations for your event.
- Include alternative text on images. This means if you post a photo of say a classroom in your department, you enter text to give visually-impaired users more information about your photo like “students in classroom” or “UMOM classroom”. Alternative text can be entered when manually posting to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Use a free URL shortener such as Bitly, Google or the built-in service through the platforms to shorten long URLs.
- Camel-case all hashtags for readability. Example: #YouBelongAtMontevallo instead of #youbelongatmontevallo.
- All videos posted must have closed captioning. The University seeks full compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
- Account administrators should be mindful that all content posted on University-affiliated social media accounts is reflective of the University of Montevallo. They are seen by prospective students, families, other staff, faculty, current students, alumni and other university stakeholders.
- Never post content that contains profanity, hate speech, personal attacks against others or slurs.
- If you post incorrect information, update post with the correct information and apologize for the miscommunication to your audience.
- Remain professional and in good taste, and protect UM’s institutional voice. As a representative of the University (anyone operating an affiliated account), avoid slang or postings that could be misinterpreted. Ask your supervisor or the University Marketing & Communications office if a post is questionable.
- Do not feel the need to be present on every social platform. Think of your audience and choose the best possible platforms for your audience.
- Focus on telling your department, organization, initiative, etc.’s story honestly and providing accurate, timely information that is relevant to your audience. While we can’t control the way users respond on social media, we can contribute positive and brand supporting content that promotes a positive online community like our campus community.
- Copyright and fair-use laws should be followed; do not plagiarize. Do not use copyrighted music, images, etc. that you do not own rights to.
- Never respond with profanity, hate speech, personal attacks against others or slurs.
- Do not hide or delete a comment or post just because it is negative, but only if it contains spam/links, profanity, hate speech, attacks on others, commercial advertisements, political endorsements or unlawful activity. Try to resolve any problems by responding as soon as possible when appropriate to do so. Note: if an online conversation becomes hostile or overly negative, please contact the University Marketing & Communications office with documentation of the conversation for next steps.
- Do not compromise the privacy of a faculty, staff or student. Adhere to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that affords students certain rights with respect to their education records. Never post information about a campus stakeholder without their consent in writing.
- Remember private online does not mean it is not public. All posts online are “private” but are still public. You can and will be held responsible for posts that are marked “private” on University-affiliated accounts. Public posts are indexed in search engines and private comments can be forwarded or copied to be easily made available to the public. Protect yourself, your accounts and the University by practicing smart posting guidelines.
BRANDING AND ACCOUNT INFORMATION GUIDELINES
- Please refrain from using “Vallo” or long usernames to represent your University accounts.
- Good Example: @UMMascotServices or @UMMascot or @MontevalloMascot
- Needs Improvement: @universityofmontevallodepartmentofmascotservices or @Umontevallomascotservices
- If you would like to change your account names and see one is unavailable, schedule a meeting with the Digital Marketing Manager to discuss possible solutions.
- Please refrain from using, altering or re-design of the UM logo(s). For information on logo usage, please view the University branding standards.
- We recommend using one of the following designs for your profile photo to make your accounts personalized to your department, office, etc.:
- A customized UM logo profile photo with your entity name from the University Marketing & Communications office;
- A photo of your physical building from the Falcon Photo Library;
- A photo of your departmental sign;
- We do not recommend using: crude photoshopped images depicting faculty, students or staff; poorly lit photos of UM buildings; a self-designed graphic using University logo(s).
- If you are unsure of the best design for your platforms, schedule a meeting with the Digital Marketing Manager to design a custom branding plan for your accounts.
- Please refrain from using self-designed flyers and posters to promote your events, programs or professional information. Please submit a ticket in a timely manner for our Creative Services Manager to create a specific graphic for your event, program, etc. Note: Graphics tend to perform lower on visual platforms so we recommend finding a creative way to promote your information as well.