1 — Purpose
The purpose of this policy is to establish a framework that outlines the governance of social media accounts related to Mount Allison. Key aspects of this policy are:
- Define what are deemed to be University social media channels for the purposes of this policy
- Roles and responsibilities for managing University social media accounts.
- Encourage Mount Allison’s use of social media is guided by best practices.
- Acknowledging both the benefits and reputational risks of social media management.
- Encouraging productive collaboration amongst staff authorized to oversee and/or manage content on University social media channels.
- Support the use of social media guidelines as a means for achieving productive social media management.
2 — Scope
This policy covers the creation and management of social media accounts that represent the University at large, some aspect of University operations, University departments (academic and administrative), student services, athletics and recreation, and University-sponsored student events.
Social media accounts should be treated as institutional assets. As such, individuals engaged in managing and curating such accounts should do so in a manner that supports the academic mission and organizational goals of the University, represents the University and department professionally, have the University’s short and long-term interests in mind, and have an appreciation for the reputational risks to the University inherent in managing social media accounts.
Social media accounts/ use falling outside this policy include:
- Accounts managed by faculty that relate to their academic role (as examples: research and teaching, academic conferences, and events).
- Accounts representing the Mount Allison Faculty Association (MAFA), Mount Allison Staff Association (MASA), or C.U.P.E.; the Mount Allison Student Union (MASU); CHMA; The Argosy.
- Accounts managed by MtA student clubs and societies, or residences.
- Personal/ group social media accounts and blogsites of employees and students.
3 — Operational guidelines
The University shall develop and maintain a written ‘Social Media Guidelines' document that is designed to assist individuals involved in managing content on one or more University social media accounts, to encourage collaboration between account content owners/managers, and to encourage best practice social media management.
Guidelines should cover, but are not limited to, the following subjects:
- Social media use for organizational purposes
- Types of University social media accounts
- Goals of using social media
- Accountability when managing social media accounts
- Posting on behalf of the University
- Content creation and curation
- Curating conversations on social media
- Bias to openness and transparency of the social conversation
- Dealing with negative comments
- Starting and managing social media accounts
- Assessing the purpose of an account
- Accountability to maintain content
- Decisions about who can post/ manage content
- Content considerations
- Use of MtA brand/ logo
- Privacy and security
4 — Review of policy and guidelines
This policy shall be reviewed every two years. Social media guidelines should be reviewed regularly (minimum once per year) and updated as required.
5 — Authority
The Vice-President, University Advancement is responsible for initiating a bi-annual review of this policy, and for maintaining current social media guidelines, either through an annual review process or by incorporating important changes that reflect developments in social media as they arise.
Platforms for online collaboration and communication have fundamentally changed the way we work and live, offering new ways to engage with students, colleagues, friends and family members. Social media is a powerful way to stay connected with current events, people, and ideas; this is as true for individuals as it is for organizations.
Mount Allison’s public reputation depends on the actions of everyone who plays a role in the management of a University account; that is, an account representing the institution at large, or one representing an academic department or unit (e.g., Libraries and Archives, Owens Art Gallery, administrative unit, athletics, or student support entity (e.g., Sexual Violence Prevention Office, Wellness Centre, Experiential Learning and Career Development). Managing content for the many accounts that are officially connected to Mount Allison is done in a distributed manner; as such, account owners have both an opportunity for creativity and an accountability — the freedom to create and post content, and a corresponding responsibility to manage content in the best interests of Mount Allison.
These guidelines have been developed to:
- Establish a framework for managing content on Mount Allison accounts in a distributed manner.
- Ensure that information communicated via social media is safeguarded in the same way as all other organizational information.
- Establish a collaborative approach with shared accountability across the University.
University social media accounts
University-related accounts can take many forms, as follows:
- Institutional accounts: Accounts that reflect Mount Allison at large and have the responsibility to communicate official news, policies, and announcements. These accounts are managed by the Marketing and Communications Office.
- Department accounts: For the purposes of these guidelines a ‘department’ is meant to refer to any official entity or unit representing an aspect of University operations.
- A University event, conference, or other activities sponsored by or part of Mount Allison
Purpose of University social media accounts
The intention of Mount Allison’s social media presence is to inform, engage, and foster productive discussion and feedback with students, faculty, alumni, donors, partner organizations, and other stakeholders. It is important to remember that most social media content is also available to the public. Therefore, we expect that all engagement on our platforms and/or with content does so with respect for all users as well as the public at large.
- Engagement on all University platforms and /or engagement with our content should maintain respect for all participants. Productive dialogue, disagreements, and debates are natural forms of communication; Mount Allison will post in this spirit and remind followers to be kind and respectful.
- We recognize that debate and differences of opinion exist on social media accounts managed by the University; such discussion is valid and an appropriate way of sharing different views and perspectives. At the same time, Mount Allison recognizes that not all disagreements are productive and will exercise discretion when determining which posts it will and will not respond to.
- We do not remove or attempt to censure comments that are negative or critical about the University.
- Mount Allison reserves the right to block users, and permanently delete or hide content posted on our account that falls outside the boundaries of respectful dialogue and critique. Mount Allison may curate content in this way with or without prior notice. Examples of such content include:
- Bullying and/or personal attacks
- Language considered to be racist, sexist, misogynistic, overly aggressive, hateful, or discriminatory in nature are not consistent with the values of Mount Allison
- Posts considered to be spam and/or unrelated to the account’s profile
- Content that pushes unfounded conspiracy theory or claims without factual backing
- Content intended to compromise the security or safety of the institution, the public, or an individual
- Content that misuses, compromises, or discloses personal information of any individual, or oneself
STARTING A UNIVERSITY SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL
Implicitly, each vice-president has an obligation to be aware of the use of social media within their departments, and to see that content is managed in the spirit of these guidelines and the best interests of the University. Before establishing a Mount Allison social media account, it is important you consult with your appropriate vice-president. This helps Mount Allison understand the scope of its external facing communications, supports co-ordination, and avoids redundancy.
Overall responsibility for communications at Mount Allison resides with University Advancement; the Marketing and Communications team is available to provide guidance and counsel to academic and administrative departments as they consider their communications needs. The direction, use, and content management of University accounts lie with the senior individual in an academic or administrative department, such as an academic department chair, or administrative director or manager. This individual is responsible for authorizing and supporting social media content editors in their department.
Day-to-day responsibility for content management and curation lies with employee(s) authorized to do so.
Considerations before starting a social media channel
- Planning — What are your goals and target audience? Certain audiences may be on one social media platform more than another. It is important to choose the appropriate social media channel due to the time required to properly maintain more than one social media channel at a time.
- Strategy — What do you want to communicate and how? What are your resources for creating content that is original and valuable to your target audience? What is your strategy for keeping information timely and reaching your goals?
- Assigning responsibility — Who will be responsible for ownership, social media content, and monitoring (both current and long-term)? Student interns can be great social media collaborators; however, all official University-branded social media accounts should be “owned” and maintained by a staff and/or faculty member. Social media accounts require regular maintenance, and a consistent posting and monitoring schedule.
Determine whether it may be more effective to share your content with an established University social media channel(s), by considering the following:
- There are already official social media channels that can share your content to help achieve your goals; the Marketing and Communications team can provide recommendations on strategies, tactics, and channels best designed to support your communications objectives
- Your target audience is very small
- You do not have the time or resources to maintain a social media channel
- You do not have the resources to create original content that is valuable to your target audience
- You do not have the time and/or resources to engage with your audience and to monitor comments and questions
Social media account registry
There are many social media accounts related to Mount Allison. It is important that the University has an accurate list of these accounts and the current account managers, for several reasons:
- Institutional accounts managed by the Marketing and Communications Office will promote, share, or tag other Mount Allison accounts to amplify or support the goals of those accounts and the University at large
- To maintain a current list of those managing social media accounts
- To foster collaboration and organizational learning
- In some cases, there are social accounts that share a fair degree of overlap or have already been established
It is the accountability of the Marketing and Communications Office to maintain a registry of social media accounts related to the University.
General guidelines for managing content on University accounts
- The Mount Allison name and logo
The Mount Allison brand, such as name, logo, colours, etc. can be used, as permitted by the Mount Allison brand guidelines (link to guide) and following consultation with the Marketing and Communications Office. The Mount Allison name on social media account is reserved for use by Mount Allison departments and organizations and should not be used by individuals, employees, or student groups without permission.
- Engagement and adding value
Remember! Social media is meant to be a two-way conversation. Monitor regularly for questions and comments. Be present and responsive. Posting regularly and engaging with your members will make your site more valuable to them and keep them coming back. Follow other MtA channels and groups for a reliable source of content, and to increase the visibility of your own social media channel. Connecting to other social media channels also builds credibility and community.
- Post content relevant to your purpose
Focus on posting and sharing content that is reflective of the account’s purpose, and the expectations and audiences/ followers. Employees who manage a University account in addition to one or more of their own, should not post or share content on the University account that reflects their private opinions on unrelated topics. It does not matter whether your private opinions are controversial or not; keep private opinions and University content separate.
- Respect others
The University is committed to promoting awareness of equity, diversity, and inclusion concerns across our entire campus community. Always be respectful. Do not delete or suppress comments just because they are negative. Correct misinformation. Delete spam, vulgar, libelous, threatening, abusive, and offensive posts. Also delete commercial solicitations, comments that expose personal data, and that are off topic. If you encounter threatening comments, please contact the Marketing and Communications Office.
- Responding to comments posted on your account
As a representative of the University, it is important to always remain professional. You can and should respond to comments and questions when appropriate, but make sure to consider how your response may reflect on you and the University. All posts, comments, and actions on social media channels have the ability to affect the reputation of the University as well as other individuals affiliated to the University.
- Stay accurate
While representing the University, it is important to be accurate and error free. Proof and fact-check before you post. Cite and link to your original source when possible. Review content for grammatical and spelling mistakes. If you make a mistake, correct it quickly and visibly.
- Be transparent
Be honest about your identity by clearly indicating the name of your department or organization. Designate a primary contact or contributor to field questions, comments, and concerns.
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality
Adhere to University and federal policies and privacy legislation. Personal information and records are protected by the Freedom of Information and Protection Act (RTIPPA). Do not post confidential information about the University, students, employees, or alumni. Do not use or disclose personally identifiable information such as protected health information, student records, donor information, employee information, home addresses, and social insurance numbers.
Follow copyright, fair use, and intellectual property rights and laws. When using material from others (text, photographs, graphics) make sure you have permissions, credit sources, and link to original if possible. If not, cite the title, author, publisher, and date.
- Be safe
Minimize security risks by registering social media accounts using only @mta.ca e-mail addresses and regularly monitoring your social media accounts. Be cautious of phishing attempts to gain control of your personal or University social media channel by deceiving a user into revealing an account’s username and password. Use strong, unique passwords.
- Be consistent with existing University policies
Responsible use of University social media accounts is consistent with a variety of existing University policies:
- Policy 1010 — Anti-Racism Education and Response
- Policy 2200 — Personal Information Protection Policy — PIPEDA
- Policy 2201 — Retention of Personal Information Policy
- Policy 5320 — Copyright — Fair Dealing Policy
- Policy 7910 — Code of Business Conduct
- Student Code of Conduct
- Residence Life Code of Conduct
Employees’ personal social media accounts
Mount Allison acknowledges the right of every/any employee (staff, faculty) to create and use social media accounts, whether these are for their own personal use or are accounts belonging to another group or organizational accounts for which they may be a volunteer or supporter.
Individuals have the right to acknowledge they are a Mount Allison graduate in their profile information, that they are employed at Mount Allison, and/or that they relate to the University in some capacity, such as a Board member.
However, even when personally engaging on social media, a Mount Allison affiliation on your profile can affect the reputation of the University as well as other individuals affiliated to the University, depending on the content you share and/or post. If you identify an affiliation with Mount Allison in your bio people may assume your account or post as being on behalf of the University.
Mount Allison’s logo or branded elements owned with the University are not to be used on any social media account not directly connected with Mount Allison.
Faculty use of social media accounts for academic purposes
These guidelines are not intended to interfere with faculty members’ academic freedom to use social media to promote their research or ideas.