College Social Media Policy

 

Revised October 2020

Policy Overview

As social media continues to be a primary avenue for people and organizations to communicate, it’s important for our College to have consistent usage guidelines. These guidelines are supplemental to University of Nevada, Reno policies and guidelines, and provide baseline standards for College-affiliated social media accounts.

The below list highlights some of our College's guidelines:

  • Only authorized administrators may post to social media on behalf of our College.
  • Only approved and registered College-affiliated brand accounts (not personal accounts) may be used for work purposes.
  • All College-affiliated accounts must first be approved by our College's communications team and registered with the University Office of Marketing and Communications. (See getting started with social media and our list of College social media accounts.)
  • All College-affiliated accounts must use an approved handle/name and Block N profile image, feature a College webpage as its main website link, and indicate it's a presence of our College in its about information.
  • All College-affiliated accounts are subject to review by our College's communications team.

Please note: All College employees, students and volunteers should be mindful that our online engagement, whether personal or professional, may be connected to and reflect upon our College and University.

 

Understanding our social media approach

The goal of our College’s communications strategy is to ensure that users have a consistent, positive experience with our brand wherever they encounter it, whether at in-person events or activities, on our website(s) or on various social media platforms.

Social media is not just a megaphone to announce events and activities – it’s a conversation vehicle to engage the community, recognize our supporters, champion our volunteers and much more. Through user-centric content, we strive to connect our audience with the breadth and depth of information, programs and activities our College has to offer.

It is vital we maintain a focused social media landscape that uses College-first branding and provides a user-first experience to maximize our engagement and impact.

 

Getting started with social media

There are three ways to get started using social media to support your programs.

  1. Request your content be posted to our College's social media channels by completing the Suggest a Social Media Post form.
  2. Request to be an authorized administrator* on one of our College's social media accounts by completing the Social Media Request form.
    • All authorized administrators must:
      • Receive approval from their program lead and faculty supervisor,
      • Complete the basic web accessibility training annually,
      • Complete our College’s social media training,
      • Regularly attend “Socials” (i.e., periodic social media sharing sessions led by the College’s communications team),
      • Submit weekly content calendars to the College’s communications team, and
      • Remain in compliance with all University and College social policy guidelines.
    • The number of authorized admins will be determined and adjusted as needed by the College’s communications team.
  3. Request a new account* by completing the Social Media Request form.

Except in cases where it's of strategic benefit to the College to start a new account, College social media activities should be coordinated through our existing accounts, which are included in this policy under List of College social media accounts. See options one or two, above.

For the College to consider whether a new account is of strategic benefit, a  Social Media Request form must be submitted.


* Pro-tip: The Social Media Request form includes open-ended, long-answer fields for account goals, objectives, target audiences, resources and more, as well as an upload field for a sample post and sample content calendar. Answering the form's questions takes about 60 minutes to complete, plus the time it takes to create your sample post and calendar. To avoid losing your work, please type your responses in a Word document that you frequently save to your computer and copy them over to the form.

The form should be completed two to four weeks before you'd like to launch the requested new account. It will be routed from the communications team to the program lead(s) and faculty supervisor. Allow five business days for a response. Any approved new accounts will be created and registered by the communications team and authorized admins will be assigned.

Managing social media

Administrative access

Per University policy: "Each University Social Media Site should have no less than three (3) full-time Account Administrators, including the Social Media Leadership Team Representative for that College, School or Division, to ensure that the University Social Media Site is consistently and appropriately managed" (UAM 7,013).

This means that, at a minimum, two employees from your program should have full administrative access (not just editor access) to each program social media account. Additionally, a member of the College's communications team must also have full administrative access to each program social media account.

Account Branding

Names and handles of College-affiliated social media accounts are set by our College's communications team and must not be changed without approval.

College social media accounts must use the Block N as its profile image and comply with the University’s visual identity policy.

College accounts must feature the College webpage most relevant to the account as its main website link. Examples of College websites include unr.edu/cabnr, naes.unr.edu and extension.unr.edu.

All about information and graphics (e.g. profile pictures and cover photos) should be maintained as set by the communications team.

Account inactivity

At the direction/discretion of our College's communications team or at the request of individual programs, accounts may be merged or deleted. The following considerations may be used when deciding whether to merge or delete a College-affiliated social media account:

  • It is not in compliance with University and/or College policies and guidelines.
  • It is not being monitored or used, or is being underused.
  • It doesn't align with our College's vision/strategy for digital engagement.
  • It is no longer needed to accomplish a program's goals.

Account records retention

All College communications, including social media, are public records and must be managed in compliance with public records law. Social media platforms are under no obligation to keep accurate or complete records of our content. This means we are required to preserve digital records created through social media— including posts, comments and the metadata behind the posts.

To facilitate compliance with public records law and protect personal information from public disclosure, personal social media accounts must not be used for work purposes.

Additionally, per University policy, social media admins may not merge or delete accounts, or delete, ban, hide or prescreen posts, comments or users (UAM 7,013). For any content that you have questions about, please contact the communications team for guidance.

Administrator responsibility & compliance

Per University policy, “Posting on behalf of the University, a College, School, or Division, as well as Department or Unit within them, is not a right and it can be rescinded at any time" ( UAM 7,013).

Program leads and the faculty they report to are ultimately responsible for ensuring the content posted on College-affiliated social media accounts related to their programs or administered by personnel they oversee adheres to all University and College policies and guidelines.

Our College's communications team has made available several training opportunities and resources to help authorized administrators understand social media policies and best practices so they may remain in compliance.

Authorized administrators are expected to remain compliant with the policy at all times. After three policy violations, authorized admins will lose privileges for a minimum of three months, after which reapplication is required.

Authorized administrators, with oversight by their program leads and faculty supervisors, are also expected to:

  • Submit content for their programs each month to be featured on our College's main pages.
  • Work with their fellow account administrators to develop and maintain a well thought-out plan for content and engagement. The plan should avoid both overloading and underposting, and cover who will reply within two business days to which messages and comments.
  • Post high quality content about their programs with correct spelling and good quality photos. (See our College writer's guide and camera how-tos.)
  • Post content about their programs that showcases the depth and breadth of what we do. Feature a variety of people (students, volunteers, employees, program participants, etc.) and activities (recruitment, student life, research, community engagement, events, etc.).
  • Post content about their programs that reflects our College's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. (See our accessibility resources.)
  • Showcase people and programs only with their knowledge and permission, and post photos of or by others only with their consent.
  • Post material that uplifts (and does not disparage) the University, our College and our units, departments, programs and people.

Appendices

College social media accounts

The social media landscape is constantly changing, with frequent additions of features and adjustments to the algorithms the platforms use to determine which posts receive priority. As a result, this list of platforms appropriate for official University and/or College social engagement may change due to shifts in audience, accessibility and features, and/or a platform’s popularity.

Facebook
Flickr
Instagram
LinkedIn
Pinterest
  • Extension Pinterest (Featuring boards and sections of boards for programs and audiences; see NevadaBox for the current list of approved boards and sections.)
Twitter
YouTube
Vimeo
  • University of Nevada, Reno Vimeo
    • College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources' folder on the University's Vimeo (Coming soon; will feature teaching, research and recruitment content.)

Resources

Accessibility resources

Branding & marketing resources

Photography & iconography resources

Videography resources

Administrators need to be mindful the content they use is not prohibited by copyright. This includes but is not limited to artwork, books, videos and music. Please refer to the University's social media policyuse of copyrighted materials for educational purposes policy and intellectual property policy.

Guidance for personal accounts

As previously stated, per the University’s policy, personal accounts should not be used for official University or College purposes. This means content should not originate on personal accounts. However, staff are allowed and encouraged to share or engage with University content in a variety of ways. Below are a few examples. If you have questions about other platforms, please reach out to the communications team for guidance.


Like our Facebook pages

screenshot of a Facebook page's like button
Like our Facebook Pages by clicking on the Like button

You can also check in to our Facebook pages.


Engage with our Facebook posts

screenshot of a Facebook post, directly below which are its react and Like buttons and its comment box.
Like or react to our Facebook posts by clicking on the Like or react buttons.
Comment on our Facebook posts by typing in the comment box and pressing the enter key.

Follow us on Instagram

screenshot of an Instagram account's follow button.

Follow us on Instagram by clicking the Follow button.  See Instagram Help for more information.


Love our posts on Instagram

screenshot of an Instagram post's love button

Love and comment on our content on Instagram. See Instagram Help for more information.


Follow us on Twiter

screenshot of a Twitter account's follow button
Follow us on Twitter by clicking the Follow button.

Retweet us on Twitter

screenshot of an tweet's retweet button
Retweet our tweets on Twitter by clicking the Retweet button.

Get social

We recognize the value of social media platforms for a range of goals and balance the support of social media with the preservation of our University and College brand identity, integrity and reputation. To help with that balance, we have collected social media guides, cheatsheets and more. Check them out!


Our College's policy and request form are inspired with permission from materials by Five Towns College, King County and Utah State University Extension.