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Social Media Guidelines

Last Updated: August 17, 2020

These guidelines, which are managed by Tulane’s Office of University Communications and Marketing (UCM), address university flagship account policies, and social media usage for both university departments/organizations/clubs and for individual users.

Tulane’s Office of University Communications & Marketing (UCM) maintains the university’s institutional social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn) and the official Social Media Directory. To get your social media channel listed on the Social Media Directory, your page/account must adhere to the following university guidelines.

Tulane University Flagship Account Policies

2.1  University flagship accounts are maintained by UCM. If you have questions regarding content or policies, email pr@tulane.edu.

2.2  To request that your content be shared on Tulane flagship social media channels, fill out this form.

2.3  By engaging with Tulane social media channels, you are agreeing to adhere to Tulane’s policies, including, but not limited to, the Tulane Student Code of Conduct, Faculty Handbook or Staff Handbook.

2.4  Comments or posts tagging the accounts that are promotional or spam will be deleted.

2.5  Comments or posts tagging the accounts that use inappropriate language, share private or proprietary information, or harass members of the Tulane community will be deleted.

2.6  If you experience online harassment by a member of the Tulane community, file an incident report.

Departmental or Organizational Use

Follow these guidelines when producing social media for your department or organization:

3.1  Protect confidential and proprietary information. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Tulane, its students, employees or alumni. Follow all applicable federal requirements such as FERPA, HIPAA, as well as NCAA guidance and other rules applicable to university operations. Adhere to all applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies.

3.2  Respect copyright and fair use. Be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the university.

3.3  Comply with the trademark, logo and use policy. The university's trademarks are intended to present a positive image of Tulane and may not be altered in any way. Nor can the university's trademarks be used in the name of a business, logo or in promoting services or on a product in a way that could imply an endorsement by the university.

3.4  Terms of service: Obey the Terms of Service of all social media platforms. If terms of service are violated, your account may be suspended or deleted. It is worth reading Terms of Service agreements in full as they’re updated. There are often messages that you think may be safe to post that actually go against the rules of various platforms.

3.5  Protect the institutional voice and Tulane Values: While posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by respecting Tulane Values and remaining professional in tone and in good taste, no individual unit should present its social media site as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon (which should adhere to visual brand guidelines), and selecting content to post — all should be clearly linked to a particular department.

3.6  Assign Responsibility: All institutional accounts should have a designated employee registered with University Communications & Marketing as the contact regarding content creation. To register your account and contact, email the University Social Media Manager, Marianna Boyd at mbarry1@tulane.edu.

3.7  Develop a strategy: Departments should plan their social media goals in advance, determine what social media platforms they plan to use/create, who their audience is, how frequently they plan to post, and how they will create/source their content. Contact the University Social Media Manager, Marianna Boyd, mbarry1@tulane.edu, if you’d like assistance in creating a social media strategy. It is strongly recommended that this strategy be reviewed and approved by your departmental head before implementation.

3.8  Name with clarity: When naming your accounts, use your departmental name or a shortened version of it. Do not name it in such a way that it might be confused with a general page representing the entire university, or with any other university unit.

3.9  Incorporate links: Whenever possible, link back to your Tulane website. Ideally, posts should redirect a visitor to content that resides within the Tulane web environment.

3.10  Make accessible: It is important that posts from Tulane University accounts are accessible to all users. Include open or closed captions on videos, use alt-text for posts with photos, and refrain from posting important information in a standalone graphic (use captions to reiterate the message in the graphic). Questions regarding accessibility requirements can be directed to Tulane’s ADA/504 Coordinator, Kathryn Lafrentz, at klafrentz@tulane.edu. In addition, refer to the Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit for helpful guidance regarding social media accessibility concerns.

3.11  Stay accurate: Get the facts straight before posting them on social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors.

3.12  Use discernment: Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses to such comments should be considered carefully in light of how they will reflect on the poster and/or the university and its institutional voice. 

3.13  Monitor comments: Once content is posted, check for user comments that you can engage with, such as questions or a conversational point about the content. Also monitor comments for anything that goes against platform guidelines, university guidelines, or contains spam. If you need a tutorial on how to monitor, hide, or when/how to delete comments, please email the University Social Media Manager, Marianna Boyd, at mbarry1@tulane.edu.

3.14  Stay Active: Do not maintain dormant social media accounts bearing the university’s name. Accounts should be updated at least twice a month to be considered active. If you have created a social media account with the university name or marks that is no longer used in support of institutional priorities, you should have the account removed and alert UCM of its removal. UCM will conduct an annual audit of university accounts and may contact account owners and instruct them to decommission inactive accounts.

3.15  Facebook Groups: The university does not create or maintain any Facebook groups. Facebook groups created for Tulane community members are not affiliated with the university, nor is the university responsible for content published in these groups. Groups are prohibited from using Tulane logos or wordmarks in their profile pictures. Administrators of these Facebook groups are asked to add wording clearly stating that the group is not affiliated with Tulane University in a prominent area of the group “About” section.

For Professional Use

Interested in using social media professionally? Consider these tips before starting an account.

4.1  Make a plan: Write down your goals, audience, and examples of messaging or content you’d share. Create a content calendar to organize posts and topics and refer back to your plan regularly. Also consider which social media platform you join; certain audiences are on different platforms. Faculty typically use Twitter the most; visual arts faculty often also have an Instagram presence. Choose one platform to start with and update it regularly.

4.2  Plan a successful launch: Post a few pieces of content before announcing your new account to followers and friends. Make your profile bio brief and informative. Announce your new account through emails or newsletters. Find colleagues, publications, and thought leaders to follow and engage. Don’t be deterred if your audience growth is slow. Focus on providing engaging content and thoughtful discussion.

4.3  Remember your audience: Be aware that a presence in the social media world is or easily can be made available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employers, colleagues and peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm or provoke any of these groups.

4.4  Interact with your audience: Social media is meant to spur conversation and exchanges of ideas. Be sure to respond to comments and use them to plan future content for your audience; pay attention to what their interests.

For Personal Use

Use the guidelines below if you’re a Tulane student or employee:

5.1  Consider your Tulane affiliation: If you choose to identify yourself as a Tulane faculty or staff member online, you must make it clear that the views expressed are your own and not those of the institution.

5.2  Take the high ground: If you identify your affiliation with Tulane in your comments, readers may associate you with the university, even with the disclaimer that your views are your own. Consider this when posting and responding to comments. If another user is harassing you, don’t engage and instead report their account using the platform’s reporting features. 

5.3  Respect others: Tulane University encourages freedom of expression and recognizes the value of diverse opinions. Users are free to discuss topics and disagree with one another, but please be respectful of others’ opinions. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person. Don’t post material that is profane, libelous, obscene, threatening, abusive, harassing, hateful, defamatory or embarrassing to anyone. Posts that would be considered “hate speech” or that incite or endorse violence may result in an investigation by the Office of Student Conduct and/or the Office of Human Resources & Institutional Equity.

5.4  Protect your identity: Do not share personal information on social media, including your home address, telephone number, or e-mail address. Ask other users to direct message you on the platform if they need to contact you privately. 

5.5  Be aware of each platform’s Terms of Service: You are responsible for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual users could be held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as legally defined). Employers increasingly conduct web searches on job candidates before extending offers. Be sure that what you post today will not haunt you in the future. Also be aware of user Terms of Service for each platform, specifically language and content that will lead to your account being suspended or deleted.

5.6  Respect Tulane’s Trademark: The Tulane logo cannot be modified or used for personal endorsements, and the Tulane name cannot be used to promote a product, cause, political party or candidate.

5.7  Think twice: Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the university. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, posts can be screenshot and saved, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it in public, consider whether you should post it online.

5.8  Consider your contact information: Use professional contact information for accounts that represent a component of your work at Tulane. Use personal (non-Tulane) contact information for accounts that are strictly non-work related or accounts that are a blend of professional and personal information. If you're not sure, err on the side of using your personal (non-Tulane) contact information.

5.9  Consider interpretation: It can be hard to interpret your intended meaning from online communication. Pause and consider your words and how they may be received before engaging. Be thoughtful, say what you mean, and mean what you say.

5.10  Use inclusivity: Be thoughtful about representation — do not make assumptions about gender, race, experience or ability. Consider using title case for hashtag legibility and descriptive captions for images. Feel free to share your preferred pronouns.

5.11  Try the face-to-face test: If the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, it will not be acceptable for social media. Remember that you are representing Tulane. Don’t post anything that would misrepresent the standards, values and mission of the university.