Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

Overview

North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University appreciates the effectiveness, ease of use and continued growth of social media, as well as its students’ preference to receive information across those popular communications platforms. However, there are also potential risks in using these platforms. To protect the university’s brand, as well as confidential and proprietary information protected by various laws, rules and regulations, the university requires that official North Carolina A&T State University social media accounts for divisions, offices, colleges and departments follow the requirements for the establishment and maintenance of those accounts as outlined below.

Guidelines

Get approval.
Obtain the formal approval of the department chair/dean/associate vice chancellor via their signature on the “Social Media Account Request” form on the University Relations website prior to establishing any new account. Be specific as to who will be responsible for maintaining the account and who will fulfill those duties in a backup capacity.

General e-mail inbox/university-issued mobile device
You must have a general, university email inbox (@ncat.edu), not personal, to create social media accounts on desktop platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) and a university-issued mobile device to create a social media accounts on mobile apps (Instagram, Snapchat, etc.). This will guarantee that access to the account is always achievable.

Account naming
The account must have “NCAT” in the username/screen name. The preference is to have it at the beginning of the name, i.e. @NCAT_OSA, @ncatsga, @NCAT_StudentCtr. Please refer to the Social Media Accounts at NCA&T web page for a complete listing of account names already in use.

Adhere to university graphic and editorial guidelines
Be sure to adhere to the university’s graphic and editorial standards (link them). Do not alter the university’s graphic marks in any way. Be sure to follow the guidelines issued by the individual platform for graphic sizes.

Share information
Refer to the top-level university Facebook and Twitter accounts for pertinent university information including but not limited to emergency communications.

Best Practices

Two administrators
Identify two people to serve as administrators for the account(s) so that there is a back-up and oversight for account administration. Primary administrators should be mindful of when they will be away from the office for extended periods to ensure that accounts are being maintained in their absence.

Engage/Add value/Establish a voice
Communicate with your respective audience in a genuine voice. Be clear with your audience about your intent and relationship to the university. The key to social media is having a two-way conversation with the audience in which the audience feels like they are being heard.

While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube are all considered social media, each platform has its own nuances. Spend time on each platform to learn how others express themselves in those spaces.

Moderate content
University social media channels are a valuable marketing tool for the university and should reflect our values. Do not post or share information and/or that include profane language, exchanges that devolve into personal attacks and negative conversations or posts that are advertisements of personal businesses and political endeavors.

Facebook has settings that automatically moderate profane language. To help keep your audience informed of the moderation of content about our practices against promoting businesses and personal endeavors, a sample boilerplate for periodic posting on Facebook is below:

Facebook

Welcome Aggies!

Our home here on Facebook is a place for news, events, messages and photos for and about the university for prospective and current students, alumni and the community.

Any post promoting a business or a personal endeavor will be removed immediately. Three offenses will result in you being blocked from this page and reported to Facebook as spam.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Accurate information
Verify that any information you are posting is accurate.

Regular updates
Post new content consistently. Frequency may vary by account.

Be responsible
There are real consequences for information communicated online, just as there are consequences for inappropriate conduct in an office, in a meeting and at official university events. We encourage all users of social media to act responsibly.

Do not post any information that is considered confidential or that may violate the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and/or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). For additional information about FERPA and HIPAA, please visit our website.

When posting photos, obtain permission from the subjects in the photos. If the photos are of minor children, obtain permission from the parent/guardian. Photo releases are available on our website.

Do not post

When in doubt, do not publish.