Shippensburg University's Social Media Guidelines

Social media serves many purposes at Shippensburg University. It is another channel to provide information and news about the university, but more importantly, it provides an opportunity for SU to engage with our followers and the community. Social media allows SU to reach different audiences and establish new relationships. Through these channels, SU learns how it’s viewed by the public and is able to address feedback, concerns, and questions about the university.

For questions about SU’s social media use, guidelines, or best practices, e-mail social@ship.edu.

Why have social media guidelines?

These social media guidelines were developed by the Office of Marketing and Publications to set expectations as well as to educate and empower members of the university community who use social media.

When representing the university on social media or elsewhere, information about SU should be as accurate and honest as possible. Providing social media guidelines enables SU to maintain a cohesive voice, a consistent brand, and content that aligns with university goals. Those members of campus who represent SU on social media should understand the university Brand Guide, Computing and Information Network Usage Policy, and Website Privacy Statement.

Who should follow social media guidelines?

The guidelines apply to faculty, staff, and students who manage social media accounts created for official university groups, departments, programs, entities, etc. Each university social media account should be managed by at least one full-time university employee and include a secondary contact.

Those members of the university community posting to personal social media accounts should understand best practices for social media and clearly state that his or her views are not expressed on behalf of Shippensburg University. Personal social media accounts should not use university logos or graphics, for example, as profile photos or backgrounds.

What social media channels do we use?

Social media trends and channels are constantly evolving. Shippensburg University has several official accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Periscope.

In addition, several other SU groups, departments, programs, and organizations host their own university-related social media accounts. For a list of these accounts, visit SU’s social media directory. To add a university-related department or organization to the account, register (HERE).

General Guidelines

Be responsible—you are liable for what you post. Individuals blogging or posting on social media have been held responsible for copyright infringement and remarks deemed defamatory, proprietary, libelous, or obscene. Understand the terms of service of the social media site you are using.

Remember that social media is public information. The information that is posted on social media, particularly on public sites representing the university, can be viewed and shared by anyone. Once information is posted, it is never completely deleted. Carefully consider and review what you post.

Clearly identify your connection to the university. Social media sites that are officially representing SU should state their affiliation on the site. Notify the Office of Marketing and Publications with the url for the account and a full-time university employee responsible for managing the account. This helps the university to share resources and best practices and to maintain accurate and consistent messaging.

Verify the information you post for accuracy. Review your posts to ensure it accurately represents university information, policies, etc. Correct errors, and be aware that not all social media sites allow you to edit or retract posts.

Understand copyright and fair use. Just because it’s on Google doesn’t make it fair game. Always give proper credit for someone else’s work and get permission to publish it.

Get permission from the Office of Marketing and Publications to use university trademarks. Only those authorized by the Office of Marketing and Publications can use SU’s trademarks. Follow the university’s Brand Guide.

Keep confidential information confidential. Proprietary information about the university should never be shared. Understand confidentiality regulations, such as the Family Educational Right and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Do not endorse products, political candidates, or causes. Posts on a university-affiliated social media site should not give the impression that SU endorses a commercial product, political candidate, political cause, or other cause. For more information from the American Council on Education, visit (HERE).

Avoid personal views and opinions. Personal views should be made on personal sites.

Monitor comments and questions. Social media is an interactive tool and those managing social media sites should determine how they will respond to comments or questions on posts. Comments that may be deleted include those that are profane, threatening, personal attacks, or those deemed inappropriate for the site. Avoid deleting comments simply because they are unfavorable.

Respect university time and property. Posting during work hours should be limited to official university-related social media sites. Personal postings should be done on personal time, using personal equipment.

Best Practices

  • Know your audience.
  • Understand your purpose.
  • Choose and research the social media channel that suits your needs.
  • Develop a voice.
  • Consider frequency and consistency of posts.
  • Plan your content.
  • Stay relevant by posting material that relates to or promotes your department, organization, or the university.
  • Add value to your department, organization, or the university with your content.
  • Be transparent and authentic.
  • Use handles (@) and tags (#) where appropriate for greater exposure.
  • Stay social and create a dialogue with your followers.

Additional Social Media Resources

Understand the terms of agreement, regulations, and restrictions of the social media sites you use. Be aware of any changes to those agreements. Here are links to several social media sites’ terms and conditions: