Social Media Handbook
For an institution of higher education, social media offer exciting tools to increase our interaction with students, alumni, faculty, staff, prospective students, and other constituents. Its public nature can be harnessed to promote Wagner College’s mission and to amplify the many voices of the College. However, social media can also prove detrimental and give conflicting images of the College. This handbook will provide a roadmap for the College as we increase our social media presence.
Goals of this handbook
- Help Wagner employees and groups engage with social media in constructive, expansive, and fun ways while contributing to the overall goals of the College.
- Provide guidelines for maintaining a consistent brand and vision across College media platforms.
- Increase access to and use of social media for the Wagner College community.
Official Wagner pages
The Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) will represent Wagner College as a whole on each social media platform (for example, Facebook’s “Wagner College” page and YouTube’s “WagnerCollegeNYC” page). The overall goal of these pages is to convey the mission and goals of the College to a broad audience and to foster a sense of community between diverse constituents. Administrators for these sites will be the director of digital & social media, the director of media relations, and the vice president of communications & marketing.
Individual departments and offices may also build their own pages on social media sites. They should first consider the following:
- What is your specific and unique audience?
- Do you have enough content for that audience to keep the page active (post at least three times per week)?
- Who is your dedicated point person to check the page every day and keep it active?
- What is your strategy to develop interest in the page?
Students are encouraged to engage in social media on a professional level. If student groups wish to form an official Wagner page, they should work with their advisor, and follow all other guidelines outlined in this handbook.
New (and existing) sites must be registered with the director of digital & social media, and will be included in a directory of Wagner’s official social media accounts. The director should also be added as an administrator on (or given access to) each account, but will not be expected to contribute content. This will ensure maximum exposure, consistency across Wagner’s sites, and ability to cross-link between sites.
Whenever possible, official Wagner accounts should not be associated with personal information, but should be easy to transfer and share through generic contact information. For example, associate your Twitter account with “firstname.lastname@example.org” instead of a personal email. The site’s affiliation with the College should be fully disclosed on the site.
Administrators on departmental or office sites should be kept current, and should include a point person who is committed to checking social sites every day. If sites are no longer active, or there is no longer a dedicated point person, the account should be deactivated. If you have questions concerning an inactive site, please speak with the director of digital & social media.
The username/vanity should begin with “Wagner College” or “Wagner,” then clearly indicate the department or office. For example, “Wagner College Alumni Association.”
Sites should use Wagner’s branding where appropriate, with images, colors, and other visuals, available from the OCM. Each office should be consistent across multiple social media platforms. For example, the profile photos on Facebook and Twitter should match. Remember that people like to converse with people, not buildings; the more personal and human-centered the image, the better. Please try to avoid profile pictures of buildings, logos, or seals. Refer to the OCM’s Visual Identity Guidelines for additional information on branding.
Whenever possible, departmental sites should integrate with other departments, the official Wagner College social media site, and www.wagner.edu. For example, Facebook’s “Wagner College Athletics” should be a fan of “Wagner College” and link back to the athletics website when possible.
Each department or office should develop a thoughtful strategic plan to determine what content is unique to their target audience, message, and goals. Content and posts should be written in a friendly voice, with a personal and conversational tone. Social media is not an advertising billboard; it is a venue for community building and conversation. Refer to the OCM’s Editorial Style Sheet for college-specific guidelines on writing.
Follow the Golden Rule of Social Media: Post about others what you would want posted about you. Be sensitive when uploading and tagging photos of individuals; remember that text associated with images can show up in public Internet searches. Wagner must own the rights to any content (photos, video, audio, text, etc.) that we post, abiding by copyright and fair use laws. Whenever possible, cite the sources and provide contextual information.
Respond promptly to comments and questions from users. If a user posts comments or questions regarding larger Wagner College policy or issues, the OCM should be notified, and will respond to the user directly.
If a mistake is made, be honest and correct it quickly. Transparency is important. Avoid any derogatory or offensive comments, posts with confidential information, or commercial content unrelated to your goals.
At some place on the site, include this disclaimer:
“Wagner College encourages users to interact in courteous, dignified, and respectful ways on this site. We reserve the right to remove any content that is abusive and/or profane, as well as advertisements for services, activities, and events not sponsored by the College.”
If negative comments are posted, do not be quick to censor and delete. Rather, respond quickly, personally and directly. Correct any false information, address any major criticisms, and continue to post content that reflects the values of Wagner. However, malicious, offensive or commercial comments should be removed quickly, with a reference to the disclaimer. Please contact the OCM if malicious or offensive comments appear.
Above all, social media is meant to be a fun and interactive venue! You’ll notice a lot of exclamation marks! Please let the director of digital media know if you have any questions!