Avila Social Media


Avila University Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

INTRODUCTION

Avila University embraces the responsible use of social media to communicate and build relationships with prospective and current students, alumni, employees, parents and community members. The University recognizes the open and ever-changing purposes of social media, which can blend, at times, personal and professional roles. The University supports free and open expression and the use of social media as a tool to accelerate teaching and learning.

This policy applies to all social media postings on an institutional site or as a representative of the University on a non-institutional site. Page administrators reserve the right to remove user-generated content or comments in accordance with this policy for the safety and security of the University and our audiences.

The same laws, professional expectations and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and other University constituents apply online as they do in the real world. Employees can be liable for anything they post to social media sites in accordance with University policies and the Terms of Service of the host site. This policy and best practices for engagement are designed for employees participating in social media on behalf of the University.
GUIDELINES FOR OFFICIALLY POSTING ON BEHALF OF AVILA UNIVERSITY

All proposals to create official Avila University department, organization, or club social media accounts must be submitted to the Office of Marketing and Communication (OMC) for approval prior to creation. All social media accounts created on behalf of the University must be linked to an academic or administration department’s administrative email account. The Office of Marketing and Communication must also have administrative access for the social media account.

An employee may never use a personal email account to establish a University-related social media account. More than one Avila employee must have administrative access to the account. Administrative access will be terminated upon the employee’s separation from employment, reassignment to another job or for disciplinary reasons.

Social media accounts created on behalf of Avila University are the sole property of the University. If a University department, club, or organization account is linked to an individual person, that person relinquishes all rights to the account, unless they work with OMC to transfer ownership of the account.

Official accounts are prohibited from:
  • Posting content that violates city, state, or federal laws and regulations
  • Posting or commenting on anything related to legal matters, ongoing investigations, or litigation
  • Using the University brand or name to endorse any view, product, private business, cause, or political candidate
  • Representing personal opinions as University-endorsed views or policies
  • Social media account administrators and OMC reserve the right to review and remove inappropriate content.
  • Use of the Avila University Name and Logo
  • “Avila University” is a registered trademark and the exclusive intellectual property of the University. The Avila University name, logo or any other University images or iconography may not be on personal, organizational, or departmental sites in a way that promotes a product, cause, or political party or candidate. Do not edit or modify logos.
  • Brand guidelines for University logos must be followed at all times.  Any questions related to usage should be directed to the Office of Marketing and Communications (omc@avila.edu).
Media inquiries

Anyone responding to media inquiries must first contact and follow the direction of the senior director of marketing & communications in the OMC.

Emergency Communications

All crisis and/or emergency communications will be generated by the University crisis communication team and will be posted on the main Avila University Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds with links to additional information.

Departmental social media sites may never independently post emergency information without central coordination with University officials.

Maintain Confidentiality

Posting sensitive or proprietary information about Avila or personal, medical or financial information about students, alumni or employees is prohibited.

Sound ethical judgment should be exercised, and University policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA, HIPAA, NAIA, and Title IX, must be followed. If a user is unclear about how these laws and regulations apply, he or she should consult OMC before posting such information.

Respect Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the University must be observed. 

Be Aware of Liability

All social media users are responsible for what they post on their own sites and on the sites of others. Social media users have been held liable for commentary deemed to be a copyright infringement, defamatory, threatening, proprietary, libelous, or obscene (as defined by the courts). Posts must be true, accurate, and helpful and not expose the University or the user to legal liability.


STEPS TO SET UP AN AVILA UNIVERSITY SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT

  • Define your goals and the scope of the account.
  • Who is the audience?
  • Can you devote an hour per day to creating content and managing the account? If not, consider another communication method.
  • What content can you create?
  • Which social network(s) will be used?
  • What will the name be? (You can check availability: http://namechk.com)
  • Set up a meeting with OMC (omc@avila.edu) to discuss your goals and the best social media networks to use.
  • OMC will not manage the account but is simply a backup if login information is forgotten or in the event of an emergency.
  • Accounts can only be registered to faculty and staff members and must use their avila.edu email addresses. Any account using the name Avila, “Dom”, or likeness of Avila University cannot be registered to a student.
  • Email omc@avila.edu for help designing a profile photo and any cover photos or background artwork for the account.
  • Register for the account and start posting content. Only follow other appropriate users, nothing that reflects negatively on Avila or does not fit our brand.


BEST PRACTICES FOR MANAGING AN AVILA UNIVERSITY ACCOUNT

Be Accurate. Make sure that your posts are accurate and factual. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. Spelling and grammar are extremely important when representing Avila; ensure that you double check everything you post.

Be Timely. Timeliness is one of the expectations of social media. Be prepared to move quickly in response to new developments and announcements with relevant information on your site. Ensure that the messaging on social media is coordinated in conjunction with your traditional communication tactics and campus events.

Accept and Monitor Comments and Replies. Social media is, and should be, a dialogue, not a monologue. Understand that not all comments and replies will be positive and respond to negative comments professionally and by providing any additional information that may help resolve the issue. Users may post comments and start dialogue that has little to do with the post in question. Regularly monitor and respond to comments and remove any inappropriate comments or advertising for products or services not associated with Avila.

Be Active. Social media presences require diligent planning, managing interactions, and content creation. If you do not have the time or resources to check in on these sites for at least a few minutes each day and to post fresh content several times a week, reconsider jumping into social media at this time. An account with infrequent posts and low-quality content is a detriment to your department or organization as well as Avila as a whole. If you start a social media account and then realize that it is neither meeting your needs nor the needs of your audience, it is best to close the account rather than leave it inactive. Link back to Avila University content and pages whenever possible.

A good guideline is to post high quality content at least weekly, year-round. If you are unable to make that commitment, consider sending content to omc@avila.edu for posting on the institutional accounts.

Visual Content. Photographs should be high quality and sized appropriately for posting online. Photos from cell phones and tablets can be of acceptable quality as long as they are not blurry or pixelated. Photos should not have logos from other competitor institutions. Photos of non-enrolled minors should not be posted without written parent or guardian consent. If contacted and asked to remove a photo by an individual for any reason, the photo should be removed promptly. Contact the OMC with questions. 

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