Social Media Guidelines
Social media encompasses a wide variety of channels and communication tools, including but not limited to sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and YouTube.
Social media, when used wisely, is a very powerful tool, allowing Bishop’s University and its community members to engage prospective students, current students, parents, employees, alumni and other interest constituencies in the life of the University. Social media help our personal connections, our professional networking opportunities and our communication objectives when we are charged with representing Bishop’s University (BU) and its departments and programs.
It is important for the BU Community to follow the same standards while using social media, as they would in their everyday interactions and communication with our audiences. We must understand that even individually driven conversations are potentially public for the world to see how we interact with others. As with all other forms of communication, we must obey all laws and we must show respect for others when utilizing online methods of communication.
These guidelines apply to the Bishop’s University community, including, but not limited to, administrators, faculty, students and staff. The University respects the right to interact knowledgeably and socially, however interaction with social media can greatly impact individuals, colleagues, students and alumni. Therefore, the entire University community has a responsibility to maintain the integrity of the institution no matter where, when or how they interact with social media.
The Bishop’s University Communications Office is responsible for monitoring social media and can be a resource to the University community for launching social media initiatives.
We welcome your questions, comments and concerns. Our goal is to provide a community where friends of the University can share content, ideas and experiences and find helpful information.
Sharing Bishop’s University news, events or promoting staff, faculty and student achievements through social media is an effective, economical way to engage our community and build our brand. However, these new ways of communication are changing the way we talk to each other and how we interact with our audiences. Please read the following guidelines carefully so that you too can become a social media connoisseur.
Please note that the University reserves the right to remove posts for any reason or to ask for the removal of a social media channel if the University feels believe that the post or channel does not adhere to these guidelines.
There is certain information that is not intended to be shared with the public;
Please DO NOT:
- Share confidential information or proprietary information or trade secrets, including unannounced projects or products in development.
- Share financials, sales, business performance, strategy or pricing, and hiring trends.
- Share personal information about our students, professors, staff and/or alumni.
- Do not comment on work-related legal matters unless you are an official spokesperson.
- Share any information directly to a member of the media. If a member of the media contacts you, pass the inquiry along to the Communications Office.
Use common sense
Bishop’s University employees, contractors and students are personally responsible for the content they publish on their own social media sites and the sites of others.
- Don’t include political comments or a comment on social issues except in support of positions Bishop’s has already taken. When in doubt, neutrality is best.
- Content shared on Bishop’s University social media and pages followed and liked should reflect the missions and values of the University.
- Remember that, while student organizations are part of the Bishop’s community, the University may not support positions they take.
- Be careful if you switch between a personal account and a University account. Make sure you are posting in the right place and as the right person.
- The University encourages all employees and students to be thoughtful in decisions to accept friend requests on social media. There is the potential for misinterpretation of relationships such as faculty-student, supervisorsubordinate and staff-student in social interactions. If you are in doubt, please contact the Human Resources Office.
- The line between professional and personal business is often blurred. When sharing content about Bishop’s University, please identify yourself as a Bishop’s faculty or staff member or as a student.
- Be specific as to which posts or comments refer to your own opinion vs. official institutional statements.
- As Bishop’s ambassadors and community members, we must adhere to the highest levels of professionalism. Bishop’s University will not tolerate discriminative or disrespectful content, nor will it tolerate harassment or bullying online. Please refer to our policies when in doubt.
- Always cite your sources when sharing other people’s work and make sure you obtain permission to do so.
Be accurate, useful and distinctive
- Please fact-check all information with sources before you post.
- Please check spelling, grammar and proper names of people and locations on and off campus before posting.
- Cite and link to your sources whenever possible to avoid potential issues with copyright infringement.
- If you make an error, admit it. Correct it quickly and be upfront about it.
- Be distinctive. Content needs to be tailored accordingly whether you want to share quick news on Twitter or a photo of alumni on Instagram.
- Listen to your audience and leverage relevant topics that could be useful for your followers.
- Think before you post! If you have any questions about the appropriateness of posting on certain topics in your role as a Bishop’s University employee, talk to the Communications Office before you post. A simple rule of thumb is, “if in doubt, leave it out.”
By posting any comments, photos, links or other material on Bishop’s-sponsored websites, you give Bishop’s University the irrevocable right to reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, create derivative works from, and otherwise use your submission for any purpose in any form and on any media.
How you behave online could affect your studies and/or profession. Take the time to read through Bishop’s existing policies, as well as guidelines and basic principles that govern the usage of social media either on behalf of the University (in the workplace) or for personal use. The policies can be found on the Bishop’s University website.
Be sure to be aware of and understand these policies as well:
- Facebook Data Use Policy
- Google Terms of Service
- YouTube Community Guidelines
- The Twitter Rules
- Pinterest Terms of Service
- Instagram Terms of Service
- LinkedIn User Agreement
- Snapchat Terms of Service
Administrators of Bishop’s social media channels, as well as those identified as the social media coordinators of these channels, are responsible for their social media properties.
SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Before jumping head first into the creation of your social media channels, you must define a clear strategy. The purpose of this document is to make sure that we avoid working in silos and that all members of the BU community are aligned with the University’s communications and marketing efforts and strategies.
The Communications Office must approve all new social media channels related to the University. To get approval for your social media channel, please fill out the Social Media Approval Form on the University website.
Here are some key points to consider in order to validate the pertinence of your channels:
Does a social media channel already exist?
Your group, faculty, department or association might already have a social media presence. Please refer to our Social Media Directory on our website or contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your objectives?
Objectives should link back to University or office/department goals, such as:
- Recruitment of students
- Recruitment of staff and/or faculty
- Improving customer service
- Decreasing marketing/advertising costs
- Increase promotion and attendance of events (athletics, Donald Lecture Series, shows, etc.)
- Promoting student life
- Increasing revenue (if applicable)
- Gathering/improving competitive intelligence
Other social media specific objectives to consider include:
- Enhancing Bishop’s University’s brand(s)
- Improving brand monitoring/management
- Generating and increasing social engagement
Who are your target audiences?
At Bishop’s University, target audiences can be made up of:
- Prospective students
- Current students
- Graduate students
- International students
- Parents of prospective and current students
- Faculty and staff
- Public officials
- High School, CEGEP and College administrators and counsellors
What is your content management plan?
Creating social media channels is simple. However, inactivity may lead to a negative perception of your entity as well as the University. How many hours per week do you plan to dedicate to planning, managing, monitoring and engaging in social media? Successful Bishop’s University accounts update Facebook once to twice each day, Twitter several times. You need to have a plan of action that is manageable and scalable.
What type of content will you share?
What sort of content will you be sharing? Will your content be relevant to members of your new community or to the Bishop’s University audience at large? Creating and using an editorial calendar will help you plan and vary content.
What platforms will you use?
Which platform(s) will serve your audience and goals best? Please remember that, even if there are multiple social media channels to choose from, use only the ones that will suit your audience and your workload. Need help to demystify all the channels available online? The Communications Office will gladly guide you through choosing the right channels for your needs and goals.
Does an account already exist?
Does an existing account already cover the distribution of this information? Can you collaborate with other Bishop’s University social media accounts to get your message across instead of creating a new account and possibly dilute your messages?
Who will administer these accounts?
Who will create and maintain your social media site(s) on a regular basis? Who will be the main administrator of this account? Who will be the secondary administrator in case of illness, vacation, crisis or lost passwords? It is recommended that all institutional pages have at least two employees (including a full-time permanent employee) identified as being accountable for the management of the account.
What is your proposed page name and account username?
All new accounts should contain “Bishop’s University” or “UBishops” in its name unless otherwise discussed with the Social Media Associate.
When and how will you evaluate the success of your site?
Social media is more than likes and followers. It’s about engagement and meeting your objectives. How will you define success? How will you measure the success of your page?
HONOURING AND PROTECTING THE BRAND
Once you have determined the pertinence and value of your social media channels, you must follow these guidelines to enhance visibility and virality.
- Aim for standard times and postings. For help, please contact the Communications Office.
- Create an editorial calendar to schedule your posts in advance.
Being a part of Bishop’s social media community is not a right, but an opportunity so please treat it seriously and follow the guidelines provided.
Be respectful of others
You are more likely to reach your objectives if you are constructive and mindful of others while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or a person.
Be a valued member
- Post information about relevant topics such as events on campus, student achievements, donations, research grants, etc.
- Promote the University’s mission and values to demonstrate why Bishop’s is one of the top universities in Canada.
- Do not only self-promote. Publish informative or fun non-related Bishop’s content that could be useful for your audience. If you need assistance with a social media strategy, feel free to contact the Communications Office.
Be a great customer service representative
Social media platforms are amazing for customer service. It allows institutions and their representatives to be transparent and responsive while offering a more personal experience to the audience.
- Keep in mind that social media users are more likely to talk about their experience. We need our audiences to leave with a good impression of the University, whether they are a future or current student, alumni, parent, future employee or donor.
- Respond to users in a timely manner.
- Please keep personal opinions to yourself and do not incite, engage or illicit confrontational behaviour.
- If you notice concerning behaviour or trolling or need to advise someone regarding customer service or referral issues, please take a screenshot and send it to email@example.com.
Be consistent with graphic design
- When creating new platforms, make sure that you follow the guidelines set out in Bishop’s University’s brand book for images, headers and posts.
- Posts with photos generate more engagement.
- Talk like a person, not like a corporation; use a conversional tone while using proper spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Encourage interactions by asking questions.
What are hashtags? Hashtags are used to expand the reach of your social media posts, to do event tracking or to monitor what is being said about the institution. Here are our most frequently used hashtags at Bishop’s. Use them wisely to keep the conversation trending and to showcase our Purple Pride! Need help? Get in touch with us!
#UBishops – Should be used for any and all social media that we put out that is coming from the University. This can be used as a stand alone or in conjunction with other hashtags.
#GaiterNation – Meant specifically for anything to do with Gaiters athletics and to be accompanied by #UBishops – preference is for these tags not to be used in isolation.
#BleedPurple – Meant specifically for anything to do with showing Bishop’s pride. Needs to be accompanied by #UBishops – cannot be used in isolation as these are not Bishop’s specific.
#RaiseAToast – Meant to celebrate Bishop’s achievements and is to be accompanied by #UBishops – cannot be used in isolation as it is not Bishop’s specific.
#UBishopsAlumni – Meant for anything related to Bishop’s Alumni.
#TourUBishops – Meant to be used specifically by student recruitment for prospective students and is to be accompanied by #UBishops.
#ExperienceUBishops – For student recruitment purposes, namely events.
#UBishopsOpenHouse – To be used during Open House events.
#AdmitUBishops – For admitted students.
#UBishopsBound – When students receive their acceptance letter.
#UBishopsAbroad – Meant to be used for students who study abroad or faculty/staff working abroad and to be accompanied by #UBishops.
#UBishopsEverywhere – Used by alumni to share where they are living, travelling, share a job opportunity, graduate studies.
#UbishopsResearch – Meant specifically for anything to do with research activities and to be accompanied by #UBishops.
#UbishopsEL – Meant specifically for anything to do experiential learning and to be accompanied by #UBishops.
Please refrain from using the following or similar, as we want to use consistent tags which we can track and hopefully get others to use as well: #Bishops, #ProudGaiter, #BishopsUniversity, #Bish, #ShitBishopsSays, etc.
If you wish to have your hashtag considered for adding to this list, please send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WANT TO BE MORE INVOLVED?
- See a story you think should be shared?
Pass it along to our Social Media team and they will come up with the best strategy to share it with our community.
- Spot a negative review or issue regarding Bishop’s?
Let the Social Media team know so that they can relay it to the appropriate department/unit and answer it effectively.