WCU Social Media Guidelines

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WCU Social Media Guidelines

These guidelines continue to evolve as social media evolves and should be considered a work in progress. If you have comments, questions or other feedback, please contact the Social Media Director.

Social media tools can bring tremendous value to the work of the university. Individuals, departments, units, and programs utilize such tools as social networking sites (Facebook/LinkedIn), media sharing sites (YouTube/ Flickr/iTunes/Pinterest) and blogs/microblogs (WordPress/Twitter) to accomplish their strategic goals. The list continues to grow as new tools become available. These technologies offer effective ways to engage with constituents worldwide and provide a powerful vehicle to leverage those relationships.

Western Carolina University supports social media efforts and coordinates them through the Office of Marketing. Individuals who manage social media channels on behalf of the university and employees who participate in social media channels must adhere to state and institutional policies and follow the standards and best practices presented here. Please become familiar with these guidelines. The goal is to help you use social media tools effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation and enhance the image and efforts of the university.

1. MANAGING OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA SITES ON BEHALF OF WCU

  • Getting Started
  • Developing Your Site
  • Coordinating Across Campus and Beyond
  • Managing Content

2. CONTRIBUTING TO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES ON BEHALF OF WCU

3. UTILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS ON A PERSONAL BASIS

4. TIPS FOR HANDLING NEGATIVE POSTS

5. WCU COMMUNITY GUIDELINES

6. REFERENCED POLICIES

1. MANAGING OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA SITES ON BEHALF OF WCU

Western Carolina University uses a coordinated strategy to manage its social media presence. The office of eMarketing/Social Media manages the university’s primary social media channels and provides guidance and support to units that identify a need for more segmented channels. Units are responsible for developing and maintaining their own sites, working closely with the Social Media Director in the Office of Marketing/.

Getting Started

As soon as your department determines it may have a need for its own social media channel, contact the Social Media Director. The SMD can help you to determine which types of social media tools make the most sense for your department and to develop a strategy for using those tools to accomplish your objectives. Once you have a plan, the SMD will assist you through the process of establishing an officially recognized social media site. You will be asked to fill out a short form, designating at least one employee from your unit to administer the site and granting the SMD administrator level access to the account.

Developing Your Site

Naming: Give careful consideration to the naming of your social media site. Your site’s name should be concise so as to take up as few characters as possible while conveying clearly the identity of the channel. In many cases, for example, it would be better to preface the site name with WCU rather than Western Carolina University.

Graphics: Graphic elements (i.e. profile pictures, banner graphics, icons, avatars) must be properly branded, as outlined in the WCU Brand Style Guide, and should be consistent with the rest of your marketing collateral. Contact Creative Services – rschoen@wcu.edu for help in developing these public images for your social media site.

Community Guidelines: Most social media sites allow visitors to post comments and otherwise interact within the virtual community. Convey expectations for community behavior on your site by posting the Community Code of Conduct in a visible area. (see WCU Community Guidelines below.)

Coordinating Across Campus and Beyond

When your approved social media site is ready for launch, the SMC will link to it from university listings and will help promote it to the appropriate audiences. Your site administrator(s) will become a member of the WCU Social Media Administrators group, which provides a number of resources to folks who are managing official social media sites.

Managing Content

During the planning process, before your site was created, you likely developed a strategy for the types of posts, content and interactions needed to accomplish your social media goals. (If you need help with strategic planning for your social media efforts, contact the Social Media Director. Allow the following points to guide the tone and substance of your official posts:

Be respectful. WCU Social Media Administrators respect the dignity of others and are committed to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t. Your reputation and WCU’s are best served when you remain above the fray. Refrain from profane, obscene, harassing or defamatory speech.

Monitor comments. Administrators are responsible not only for managing their own posts, but also for monitoring content posted by others in their social media sites. Comments by others are generally welcomed – including those of a negative nature. (Please refer to the Tips for Handling Negative Posts.) While removal of comments, posts, and threads are generally discouraged, WCU does reserve the right to remove comments that violate the Community Guidelines. (Please refer to the WCU Community Guidelines.) Respond to comments and questions in a timely manner and as appropriate.

Public Record. Like e-mail, communication via university-related social media channels is a public record. This means that both the posts of the employee administrator and any feedback by other employees or non-employees, including citizens, will become part of the public record.

Know the rules. Follow the community guidelines of the site you are using. Become familiar with the terms of service and policies of sites and networks in which you participate.

Respect trademarks and copyright. By posting content to any social media site, you agree you own or otherwise control all of the rights to that content, your use of the content is protected fair use and you are not knowingly providing misleading or false information. Media such as photographs and videos are copyrighted, including those commissioned by the university. You should only post photos you have taken yourself or have permission from the photographer to use.

Be accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible; after all, that’s how you build community. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community. Be sure to always spell-check and grammar-check BEFORE you make a post. The social media community can be unforgiving of typos.

Uphold confidentiality. Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws. Do not include confidential information about the university, its staff or its students. If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as a WCU employee, ask your supervisor before you post. Remember that policies such as FERPA apply to social media.

Keep your personal views separate. Uphold the university’s mission and values in your activities. Don’t include political comments or comments on social issues – except in support of positions WCU has already taken. This includes changes to your photo or avatar in relation to political or social issues.

Don’t endorse without permission. Don’t use a university account to endorse any product, vendor, politician or site unless you have permission from your supervisor to do so.

 

2. CONTRIBUTING TO OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITES ON BEHALF OF WCU

If you are authorized by your supervisor to represent Western Carolina University in other social media channels, allow the following points to guide the tone and substance of your official posts:

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

Don’t endorse without permission. Assure that the WCU name is used in a manner that does not imply university endorsement or responsibility for a viewpoint, activity, product or publication. A common practice among individuals who write about the industry in which they work is to include a disclaimer similar to this: “The views expressed on this [blog, website] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Western Carolina University.” Don’t use a university account or official post to endorse any product, vendor, politician or site unless you have permission from your supervisor to do so.

Be accurate. Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible; after all, that’s how you build community. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community. Be sure to always spell-check and grammar-check BEFORE you make a post. The social media community can be unforgiving of typos.

Be respectful. Some online communities can be volatile, tempting users to behave in ways they otherwise wouldn’t. Your reputation and WCU’s are best served when you remain above the fray. Refrain from profane, obscene, harassing or defamatory speech. You are more likely to achieve your goals or sway others to your beliefs if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.

Be a valued member. If you join a social network such as a Facebook group or comment on someone’s blog, make sure you are contributing valuable insights. Don’t post information about topics such as WCU events or a book you’ve authored unless you are sure it will be of interest to readers. Self-promoting behavior is viewed negatively and can lead to you being banned from websites or groups.

Maintain confidentiality. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about WCU, its students, its alumni or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and state and federal requirements, such as FERPA, HIPPA and the Health Insurance Security/Privacy. If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure that they cannot be identified. As a guideline, don’t post anything that you would not present at a conference.

Respect trademarks and copyright. By posting content to any social media site, you agree you own or otherwise control all of the rights to that content, your use of the content is protected fair use and you are not knowingly providing misleading or false information. Media such as photographs and videos are copyrighted, including those commissioned by the university. You should only post photos you have taken yourself or have permission from the photographer to use.

Know the rules. Follow the community guidelines of the site you are using. Become familiar with the terms of service and policies of sites and networks in which you participate.


3. UTILIZING SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS ON A PERSONAL BASIS

Social media often span traditional boundaries between professional and personal relationships. If you identify your affiliation with WCU in your comments or your personal profile, readers will associate you with the university, even with the disclaimer that your views are your own.

Think before you post. There’s 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. Employers are increasingly conducting Web searches on job candidates before extending offers. BEFORE you post any content, ask yourself how this post could affect the reputation of yourself or the university today or in the future.

Take the high ground. Remember that you’re most likely to build a high-quality following if you discuss ideas and situations respectfully and civilly.

Be authentic. Be honest about your identity. In personal posts, you may identify yourself as a WCU 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 WCU.

Protect your identity. While you want to be honest about yourself, don’t provide personal information that scam artists or identity thieves could use against you. Don’t list your home address or telephone number or your work telephone or e-mail address. It is a good idea to create a separate e-mail address that is used only with your social media site. Use privacy settings to restrict personal information on otherwise public sites. Choose profile photos and avatars carefully. Be thoughtful about the type of photos you upload.

Don’t use the WCU logo or make endorsements. Do not use the WCU logo, athletic logo or any other WCU marks or images on your personal online sites. Do not use WCU’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause or political party or candidate. A common practice among individuals who write about the industry in which they work is to include a disclaimer on their site, usually on their “About Me” page. If you discuss higher education on your own social media site, we suggest you include a sentence similar to this: “The views expressed on this [blog, website] are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Western Carolina University.”

Respect university time and property. University computers and your work time are to be used for university-related educational and business purposes. It’s appropriate to post at work if your comments are directly related to accomplishing work goals, such as seeking sources for information or working with others to resolve a problem. Limited personal use of computing resources is acceptable as long as it doesn’t violate any policies or interfere with your work, but for the most part, you should maintain your personal sites on your own time using non-WCU computers.


4. TIPS FOR HANDLING NEGATIVE POSTS

When you’ve developed a vibrant social media community, it’s inevitable that you’ll get some negative posts. Most of these posts, handled well, create an opportunity to strengthen your community by solving a problem or generating a good discussion. Some may require a team response. Here’s an overview of what to do.

Take a deep breath. It’s important to be calm, thoughtful and strategic when dealing with a negative post. The person who wrote the post is often upset and may have launched a personal attack; never respond in kind. Take the time to consider whether and how to respond.

Analyze. Try to discern the intent of the post. You’ll want to have a conversation, either publicly or privately, with members of the WCU community who are truly concerned about an issue. It’s fruitless to try to have a conversation with a “rager” (the social media term for a person who is chronically angry) or a “troll” (the term for people who enjoy stirring up trouble). You can usually tell the difference by looking at other posts by that person.

Confirm facts. Make sure you know the facts and current university policies and procedures related to the post. Contact a supervisor in the affected area. He or she may have handled similar issues before and can help you craft a response. In some cases, you may want to send an e-mail to the person who wrote the post to get additional facts.

Sympathize; consider whether to apologize. Often people who are upset simply want to know their complaint has been heard. Saying, “I’m sorry that you’re unhappy. How can I help?” can go a long way toward turning a complaint into a conversation. An apology conveys that the university has done something wrong. If you, your supervisor and the supervisor of the affected area agree that a mistake was made, then an apology is appropriate.

Consider going offline. In many cases, the person who wrote the post will be willing to talk with you if you provide your work e-mail address. This is important to preserve people’s privacy or to get all the facts before finding a resolution. If you and the person work out a solution, consider whether to add a post that you successfully resolved the situation.

Say “thanks.” Social media depends on conversations to thrive. And, one of social media’s great strengths is its ability to help identify issues. It’s good practice to thank people for their posts, even if their post is a complaint or otherwise negative. Use judgment here—you don’t want to thank someone for posting something that violates community guidelines—but saying thanks is a way to underscore WCU’s commitment to personal attention and civil discussion.

Clarify. Sometimes social media posts are so brief that they can be misunderstood. Make sure your intent is clear. You also may want to be sure you understood the intent of the person who posted. If the person seems really upset or the topic is sensitive, you may want to do this offline.

Monitor. Often a broad, hostile statement draws no attention at all. Keep an eye on it, and if no conversation develops, leave it alone. You may want to contact the person privately to see if you can provide assistance.

Let your group help. Frequently, other members of your social media community will spontaneously rise to the university’s defense with counterarguments and useful information. Allow time for this to happen.

Use the channel’s rules. Every social media channel—Facebook, YouTube, etc.—has rules in its Terms of Service regarding hate speech, harassment and similar attacks. Cite these rules when you remove such posts and, if necessary, block repeat offenders.

You are not alone. A number of people at WCU have experience in social media, crisis communications and the specific needs of groups such as students, alumni or community activists. If you are unsure how to proceed, contact the eMarketing/Social Media Coordinator.


5. WCU COMMUNITY GUIDELINES

Western Carolina University’s Facebook page encourages active discussion and sharing of information and thoughts.

Western Carolina University is not responsible for comments or wall postings made by visitors to the page. Comments posted also do not in any way reflect the opinions or policies of the University.

Please show respect for your fellow users by keeping the discussion civil. Comments are subject to Facebook’s Terms of Use and Code of Conduct.

WCU Social Media Administrators reserve the right to remove comments that are racist, sexist, abusive, profane, violent, obscene, spam, that advocate illegal activity, contain falsehoods or are wildly off-topic, or that libel, incite, threaten or make ad hominem attacks on Western Carolina University students, employees, guests or other individuals. Messages selling products or promoting commercial, political or other ventures are prohibited.

In addition, election campaign materials or postings otherwise deemed inappropriate will be deleted by the page administrators.


6. REFERENCED POLICIES

FERPA (University Policy 72)
COPYRIGHT POLICY (University Policy 84)
WCU STYLE MANUAL
BEST PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE IN NORTH CAROLINA 


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WCU Video Development and Publishing Guidelines

Tags :

Category : Marketing

It has become increasingly easy from a technological viewpoint to create videos for sites such as YouTube and iTunes as well as for university websites. However, it’s important to comply with copyright and trademark law, university policies, and intellectual property and licensing considerations before creating and publishing your video. Here are the guidelines to follow. We encourage you to contact WCU’s Office of Public Relations for support as you develop your video.

VIDEO DEVELOPMENT
Branding
Use of copyrighted material
Appearance releases
Accessibility
Production tips
Intellectual property

VIDEO ONLINE PUBLISHING
WCU’s iTunesU channel
WCU’s YouTube channel
Embedding videos on your unit’s official (wcu.edu) webpage

VIDEO DEVELOPMENT

Branding

If your video is produced on behalf of Western Carolina University or one of its departments or units, it must conform to the university’s branding guidelines. The WCU Style Manual governs the use of Western Carolina University’s essential branding elements. Please refer to this document and/or contact Creative Services for guidance on proper use of university logos, colors, and typefaces within your video.

WCU Creative Services
Rubae Schoen
rschoen@wcu.edu
828.227.2077


Use of copyrighted material

For videos and multimedia to be considered for placement on university websites or other public channels, you must have created, and/or have permission to use, all content, including video and still imagery, words and music. You also will need to gain permission if your video shows sets, props, lighting and/or costumes designed by individuals who are not part of the campus community.

If you do not compose and create all background music yourself, you must obtain explicit permission from all copyright holders, including holders of lyrics, composition, performance and recording rights.

When purchasing rights to use copyrighted material, be sure to purchase the rights for all the distribution channels you might logically use. For example, usage rights for a video that will be uploaded to YouTube will be broader than rights for a video distributed via DVD or confined to the university’s iTunes channel.

Brief instances of incidental background music in a scene may be acceptable, according to the generally agreed-upon fair use guidelines. Examples of incidental music include a recording made during a performance or sporting event, from which the video producer could not remove the background music.

Use of copyrighted works by faculty, staff and students is governed by the university’s Copyright Policy (University Policy #84).

Alternatives to using copyrighted sound recordings for background music include:

  • Ambient noise
  • Audio that is shared via a Creative Commons license
  • Compositions/recordings of original compositions by friends who grant you permission
  • Music you compose and create yourself
  • Free audio loops included with software (GarageBand/FinalCut Pro)

Your video may infringe upon someone else’s copyright even if any of the following is true:

  • If you give credit to the owner/author/songwriter.
  • If you are not selling the video for money.
  • If similar videos appear anywhere else.
  • If the video contains a copyright notice.
  • If you created a video made of short clips of copyrighted content—even though you edited it together.
  • If you taped it off cable, videotaped your TV screen, or downloaded it from some other website, it is still likely copyrighted and requires the copyright owner’s permission to distribute or can only be used within the limits of legal exceptions to copyright.

WCU Office of Public Relations
Keith Brenton
wkbrenton@email.wcu.edu
828.227.3080

Two copyright  resources from YouTube

What is copyright?
YouTube Copyright School video


Appearance releases

It is your responsibility to have the relevant clearances on file from people featured in the video for the use of their image and statements in the video. Keep these releases on file.

We strongly recommend that you obtain a signed photo release for all students and non-employees appearing in your video. Two release forms are available from the Office of Public Relations here. (NOT SURE WHERE THIS RESIDES)

If the subject(s) is a minor (under 18), you MUST have a completed minor release form. The other form may be used for students, alumni, and others 18 and older.

If the photo/video session will occur at a public event, there is an implied consent by those in attendance. One cannot expect privacy while attending a public event.

At a non-public event, standard practice is to announce to the subject(s) that photo/video-taking will occur, that these pieces may end up on the website, Facebook, YouTube, or other promotional or educational channels, and to give attendees the option to not participate.

If you do not have them fill out the form, and you use the pieces, and the subject later asks you to cease and desist, you must take the videos down. So if you end up with a really nice piece that you can’t live without, you’ll want to be sure you have written consent.

Make sure students in your video are not on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Ammendment (FERPA) no-release list. (University Policy #72)

WCU Office of Public Relations
Keith Brenton
wkbrenton@email.wcu.edu
828.227.3080

Accessibility

Official university videos intended for placement on public channels (i.e. university webpages, social media channels, etc.) must comply with the university’s Web Accessibility Policy (University Policy #86).

Videos need to incorporate features that make them accessible to everyone. Audio descriptions of images (including changes in setting, gestures, and other details) make videos accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. Text captions synchronized with the video images make videos and audio tracks accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

When an audio portion of a multimedia production is captioned, the captioning must be synchronized with the audio. Synchronized captioning allows someone reading the captions to also watch the speaker and associate relevant body language with the speech.

Caption/transcript files are usually added at the time the video is uploaded to a server. Contact the Office of Public Relations for instructions and a list of available caption/transcript resources.

WCU Office of Public Relations
Keith Brenton
wkbrenton@email.wcu.edu
828.227.3080

Three caption/transcript links from YouTube

How do I add or edit captions/subtitles?
Preparing a transcript file.
Can I get help captioning or subtitling my video?


Production tips

Producing solid videos takes more than just pointing a camera at a subject and pressing the record button. Use basic rules of composition and storyboarding and look for interesting visuals to tell your story.

Be sure you have good, clean sound. Usually, you can get away with less-than-perfect visuals, but if your sound is unintelligible, your video will not be a success.

Be creative, but also be mindful of the university’s brand and the fact that the video you produce represents the university’s character.

Use the highest resolution possible for your gear, from import to output. Various sites like YouTube have established base requirements before a video can be uploaded. Video sites will compress your footage, so it’s best to use the highest resolution you can.

Be brief. Research shows that audiences have a short attention span on the web. We recommend that videos you produce for the web are no longer than three minutes.

If you create a longer video and want to distribute it broadly via a channel such as YouTube, we recommend that you break it into several shorter videos, if possible.

WCU Coulter Faculty Commons Sandbox (resource for faculty)
http://sandbox.wcu.edu/
828.227.3419

Two resource links from YouTube

What video file formats can I upload?
Optimizing your video uploads.


Intellectual property

Ownership of any videos created on behalf of or while employed by Western Carolina University is determined by the university’s Copyright Policy (University Policy #84).

VIDEO ONLINE PUBLISHING

So you’ve created your video, and now you’d like to get it out there where it can be seen and heard by your intended audiences. Here are some options for publishing your video on official university channels and the steps to take to request online video publishing.


WCU’s iTunesU channel

Lectures, forums, or content that is purely academic is best suited for iTunesU. Contact the Coulter Faculty Commons Sandbox if you would like to place your instructional/academic video on the university’s iTunesU channel.

WCU Coulter Faculty Commons Sandbox
http://sandbox.wcu.edu/
828.227.3419


WCU’s YouTube channel

WCU’s YouTube channel is used to engage with the university’s key stakeholders such as potential students, current students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and benefactors using videos of general public interest. The university’s official YouTube channel primarily facilitates student recruitment and retention, supports alumni and donor relations, and increases awareness of the university’s unique role in the region it serves.

University units are encouraged to submit their promotional videos to the Office of Public Relations for possible placement on the WCU YouTube channel. Benefits of posting your videos on the WCU YouTube channel include the following:

  • Searchability: Prospective students, alumni, and general constituents search YouTube (one of the top search engines) for videos pertaining to subjects of their interest. Your audiences will find your videos on YouTube.
  • Sharability: Videos hosted on YouTube are easily shared across individual networks (i.e. Facebook, other websites, etc.).  Your audiences will share your videos across their own personal networks.
  • Interactivity: Audiences can interact with videos on YouTube, being able to like, or comment, or otherwise engage with you through this channel. Your audiences will engage with you in response to your video content.

You probably will want to take advantage of these benefits and get your video up on the WCU YouTube channel.

WCU acting eMarketing/Social Media Coordinator
Keith Brenton
wkbrenton@wcu.edu
828.227.3080


Embedding videos on your unit’s official (wcu.edu) webpage

Western Carolina University’s website is the primary public face for the university as a whole and as individual units within the campus community. Your unit’s presence within the wcu.edu domain can be a powerful marketing tool. Videos can enhance the user experience on your website, positively affect your image in the mind your audience, and help motivate audience memebers to take the actions that you want them to take on your website. The video content you choose to place on your unit’s website (or any other electronic channel) should be optimized to meet your marketing goals and must follow certain standards, policies and guidelines.

WCU acting eMarketing/Social Media Coordinator
Keith Brenton
wkbrenton@wcu.edu
828.227.3080
 

Requesting placement of your video on the WCU website and/or YouTube channel

If you wish to request placement of your video on official WCU web pages or other public channels, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Request online placement of your video through this short form. (LINK TO ONLINE FORM – to come!)
  2. Office of Public Relations (OPR) will receive your request and will contact you to arrange to receive the video (and captioning/transcripts) in appropriate formats.
  3. OPR will review the video content to verify compliance with branding, copyright, ADA, and other required standards and will advise when edits are necessary.
  4. When the video content meets the required standards, OPR will:
    1. submit the final approved video to the university’s media server for archival purposes, and
    2. help get the video uploaded to YouTube (when appropriate), and
    3. request Web Services to place the video on the web

WCU acting eMarketing/Social Media Coordinator
Donna Presnell
dlpresnell@wcu.edu
828.227.2629


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