Procedure 7.16.01 - Social Media Guidelines


At Southeastern Community College (SCC) we take seriously the rights of our students and employees to communicate openly. We aim to encourage and protect diverse perspectives, while also maintaining a positive conversation.

Social Media Overview

Social media provides valuable communication channels through which SCC can pursue positive, open sharing of information. Social networking sites, social platforms, blogs, applications, and other digital media tools increase transparency on campus and allow for a tighter-knit community of our friends and followers of the college.

Guidelines

Like any form of communication, there are risks and responsibilities inherent in the use of social media and digital communications. Improper use can damage reputations and carry legal consequences.

In the case of improper use, Human Resources will address the offense and attempt to resolve the situation. If improper use persists, necessary steps will be taken to preserve the positive and successful use of social media for the SCC community.

Although we have attempted to capture as much information and address as much content as possible in these guidelines, the nature of digital communication is ever-changing. We will continue to monitor changes and make necessary adaptions to the SCC Social Media Guidelines. Please check back periodically.

The Marketing department has a qualified, knowledgeable team whose job is to maintain, manage, and protect SCC’s online and social media presence. You may not represent the college online (including creating a website, or social media account) without working with Marketing. We have extensive access to assets and tools such as the SCC photo archive, intensive design programs, stock photos, and more that we are excited to utilize to support your social media project. The department reserves the right to reject any proposal.

Types of social media include:

  • Blogs: a website where regular entries are posted and where readers can leave comments containing text, pictures, images, and links to other blogs. Example: The Huffington Post Blog
  • Podcasts: a series of digital media files (usually audio or video) that is made available for download (often via web syndication). Web syndication differentiates podcasts from other streaming file types because of the need for special software (such as iTunes) so the files can be automatically identified and new files can be retrieved when they are made available. Example: An iPhone subscription to NPR’s This American Life.
  • Online Videos: video clips placed on the web such as news clips, sporting events, music videos, TV programs. Examples: Youtube and Vimeo
  • Social Networks: online communities of people who share interests and/or activities, or who are interested in exploring the interests and activities of others. Examples: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, TikTok & Twitter

SCC Marketing department does the following:

  • Monitors SCC’s online communications channels, including but not limited to Facebook pages and Groups, social media profiles, blogs, and message boards affiliated with SCC.
  • Approves social media accounts (including Facebook Pages & Groups and Instagram profiles) and other official college digital properties. Also ensures profile pictures, images, and/or icons meet SCC brand standards.
  • Reserves the right to monitor and stop online activity that inhibits positive, safe, and constructive conversation or may not help SCC achieve communication goals.
  • Monitors any and all digital content.
  • Removes inappropriate posts (including those containing hateful or abusive remarks, excessive posting or “spamming,” “cyber-bulling,” use of inappropriate language, and/or content that violates SCC policies) and bans or blocks disruptive users.
  • Can republish, redistribute, or otherwise reuse any content posted on our institutional social media sites.

Personal Accounts

  • A personal account on social media channel differs from an Official Account in the purpose, content, and, ideally, namespace of the account.
  • A personal account is intended to reflect the manner of speech, personality, and interests of an individual.
  • If an individual maintains a personal social media account, they should avoid creating confusion over whether or not the account is associated with SCC. For example, if employees identify themselves online as SCC faculty or staff member, it should be clear that the views expressed on their site are not those of the college and they are not activating in their capacity as a college employee. College employees may consider adding this disclaimer to their social media personal accounts: “While I am an employee at SCC, comments made on this account are my own and do not reflect the official views of the college.”

Division, Department & Program Accounts

If you desire to create a social media account for your department, division, program, class, etc. you MUST first gain approval from the SCC Marketing Department prior to acquiring or creating the account. If a social media property is established without prior approval from Marketing, the site may be taken down at any time.

  • The purpose of an official account is to represent the college in a professional capacity and the content of the account should reflect a professional tone and demeanor. If your department, program or division is granted or more social media channels, the name of the account should clearly indicate the link to the college.
  • College employees identified as administrators of accounts are responsible for managing and monitoring content of their social media accounts. Administrators are charged with removing content: may violate the law or the site’s user terms and conditions (e.g. privacy and copyright concerns, ADA compliance); is patently inappropriate or significantly harms the reputation of the North Carolina Community College System.
  • When an employee that is tasked with administering an official social media account leaves employment at the college, it is their program/department/division’s responsibility to designate another college employee to be an account administrator. Administrative credentials must be revoked by the Marketing Department from the former employee and reassigned to a current employee of that unit.
  • Faculty cannot require students to participate in required curriculum assignments or activities on social media platform as it violates their right to privacy as a student.

Content

SCC has the right to remove or cause the removal of any content for any lawful reason, including but not limited to, content that is deemed inappropriate, offensive, threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.

College employees are expected to adhere to same standards of conduct online as they would in the workplace. Laws and procedures respecting contracting and conflict of interest, as well as applicable policies and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and all other college constituents apply online and in the social media context just as they do in personal interactions. Employees are fully responsible for what they post to social media sites.

Accessibility on Social Media

SCC intends to iterate improvements to become more accessible on all of our social media platforms. These general guidelines will help make your posts more accessible:

When possible, add a caption and/or subtitle to the media you upload, and don’t upload images that are just text. Write in plain language, using an active voice, and avoiding acronyms. Use camel case in multi-word hashtags. (#SucceedingTogether instead of #succeedingtogether)

Helpful articles:

Best Practices

You are representing SCC. When creating messaging it is from the voice of SCC, not your own personal voice. Refrain from posting your personal feelings, ideas, and opinions.

Check-in with Marketing. IF your supervisor has authorized you to post or comment on social media sites for SCC, contact the Marketing department. They will provide you with logos and consult with you about best practices.

Dialogue not monologue. Social media is not one-way announcement communication. It’s a dialogue, providing an opportunity for two-way communication. Allow constructive criticism from the community, but remove comments that are libelous, obscene, hateful, or excessively disruptive. When in doubt, ask a marketing team member.

Be a moral compass. Never display or promote content that violates college policies, depicts underage drinking, drug use, harassment, or discrimination. Consult with the Marketing Department if you have questions about displaying potentially offensive material.

Friendly first. Interact in a friendly, respectful, and constructive manner.

Be transparent. About your identity, who you are communicating on behalf of and your intentions.

Consistency is king. Social media is all about speed. If you aren’t going to post more than two or three times a week, you probably don’t need a social media presence.

Purposeful communication. There is such a thing as too much communication, so don’t be annoying. Create purpose-driven and planned communication.

Protect private information. Do not discuss internal policies or operations or personal information. Follow FERPA and HIPAA. The importance lies in protecting the privacy of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and student education records.

Be safe & smart. Sharing photos, text, personal information, individual location, and video has a long life on the Internet and could put you at risk. Be careful about what you post. Think through all potential current and future ramifications of what you post about yourself or others.

Avoid conflict. respect other opinions. There are many different sides and opinions to any given issue. SCC seeks to foster an environment that allows for open exchange of ideas in a positive, non-threatening environment.

Listen first. Listen carefully to what is being said and investigate accuracy prior to responding.

Be responsive. When appropriate, address issues that arise from the community with a response even if the response is to indicate you are gathering more information and will get back to them.

Be serious and factual. Jokes or pranks are prone to misinterpretation.

Avoid controversy. Engaging in controversial discussions, especially in the name of the college, should be avoided.

Appropriately direct media inquiries. If you are contacted by a member of the media about a posting or comment on a social networking site or general questions about SCC, official activities, events, staff, faculty, or students via social media, immediately contact the marketing Director. Responses will be handled from there. Review our media relations guidelines.

Monitor and react appropriately. Remove comments, photos, videos, posts, and links that contain profanity, sell, or promote products, are spam or otherwise contain unlawful, threatening, harassing, bullying, slanderous, abusive, or hateful content.

Follow SCC rules. Communicate only in a manner that is in accordance with the SCC workplace communication that will not reveal proprietary information that respects intellectual property, privacy, copyrights, and patents.

Verify and source the content. Ensure the content shared or in question is accurate and current. Ensure content is true and authentic. Provide a direct link to the original post and include online references to the author. Make changes to the original post only when necessary to make corrections and preserve the original content by using strikethrough to the changed content.

Understand the law. As a state-funded institution, SCC must comply with the North Carolina Public Records Law. Understand that all conversations on any SCC social media channel may be subject to disclosure. Requests for public records should be directed to the Director of Marketing and Communications or the Director of Human Resources.

SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

Emergency Communication. In an emergency situation, it is important the public has access to the most up-to-date and accurate information. Non-flagship accounts should only share emergency-related postings through the Southeastern Community College main accounts. You may have posts scheduled during an emergency. Please check your scheduled posts for appropriate content during this time, and postpone or cancel anything that might be deemed insensitive to the situation.

Southeastern Community College News. The Southeastern Community College marketing department strategically schedules public communications and the release of information. We ask that you refrain from being the first to announce College news without pre-approval from marketing.

Correct Mistakes. If you make a mistake, correct it.

Non-Compliance. Failure to comply with these Social Media Guidelines can result in revocation of individual rights to use social media on behalf of the College and/or removal of posts or social media accounts.

Prohibited Content

· No profanity or sexually provocative content is allowed. In general, we want to keep social media profiles PG and avoid offensive content.

· No content encouraging the use of drugs or alcohol.

· No content of a religious nature.

· No partisan political content.

· No copyrighted content, including screen captures or memes, unless SCC holds a license to the content.

· No content that sells a product or service outside of approved SCC vendors.

· No pictures that are only text.

· Posts with unverifiable claims, or possibly scam content.

Social Media Definitions

Intellectual Property: Someone’s idea, invention, creation, etc., which is protected by law from being copied by someone else.

Social Media: Social media is information created by people using highly accessible publishing technologies. What does that mean? Social media is a shift in how people discover, read, and share news, information, and content. It’s a fusion of sociology and technology, transforming monologue into dialog and transforming people from readers into publishers (and from content consumers to content producers). Social media has become extremely popular because it allows people to connect online and form personal and professional relationships.

Social Media Terms and Conditions – The terms and conditions are legal definitions governing the use and intent of the specific network and are imposed by the social media website in which the user is participating.

User, Poster: A person submitting content to any social media site.

Reviewed: February 14, 2022