UNC School of Education Social Media Policy

Introduction

Purpose

One of the many important ways the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC”) School of Education (“School of Education” or “School”) can advance its mission is through the strategic use of social media. However, social media, like any form of communication, is a highly visible touchpoint and thus needs to be monitored closely to ensure Federal law, and UNC System, UNC, and School policies. The purpose of this social media policy is to provide administrators of UNC School of Education-affiliated accounts with reasonable expectations for engagement on social media.

Scope of Applicability

The following only applies to official accounts of UNC School of Education programs and not to the personal accounts of employees of the School.

Policy

Policy

  1. The School of Education is committed to fostering an educational environment that allows for freedoms of speech and expression in accordance with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and in accordance with both the UNC Freedom of Expression Policy and the UNC System Policy 1300.8 on Free Speech and Free Expression. The School values student and employee rights to speak freely on their personal social media accounts. We encourage our community to speak to a range of education-related topics that take place on social media platforms. However, the School will not tolerate any activity or posting on a School social media account that loses First Amendment protection, such as any unlawful, defamatory, or obscene (as defined by North Carolina and federal law) activity or posting. The School reserves the right to refer social media activity to the applicable social media platform and/or appropriate authorities for appropriate action.
  2. Each post on a School social media account is representative of the School of Education. Publication and commentary on social media carry the same obligations as any other kind of publication or commentary at UNC. Users must comply with the following policies:
    1. UNC’s Electronic Communications & Information Securities Policies and Standards, including:
      1. Information Technology Acceptable Use Policy
      2. Information Classification Standard
      3. Transmission of Protected Health Information and Sensitive Information Policy
    2. UNC’s Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence, and Stalking Policy
    3. The employee standards outlined in the UNC Employee Policies & Procedures, specifically those related directly to the competence, performance, and conduct of employees. Student workers are also held to the standards of the Employee Policies & Procedures.
    4. All local, state, and federal laws, including but not limited to: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), U.S. copyright law, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA).
    5. All policies and Terms of Service of the social media platform.
  3. Only public information may be posted on School social media accounts. School social media accounts must not be used for the communication of business transactions, including credit card or payment information; educational records protected by FERPA; medical records protected by HIPAA; or any other confidential or proprietary information about the School and/or its students, faculty, staff, and alumni. This includes, but is not limited to, recruitment, student conduct, and/or human resources data; internal strategies, reports, and conversations; personal contact information; as well as news and announcements that are managed by the School’s External Relations team before that news is publicly available.
  4. School social media accounts must be created using official UNC email accounts and using a shared mailbox if possible. Non-UNC email accounts must not be assigned access to School social media accounts unless technically required by the service (e.g. Google Analytics). Primary administrative rights for School social media accounts must be assigned only to School of Education employees — including permanent, full-time, part-time, and student employees. School social media accounts must have a minimum of two administrators to ensure that the site is consistently managed. Should one administrator be unavailable, the second assigned administrator will manage the site. In addition to these users, at least one member of the School’s External Relations team must be designated as an administrator.
  5. Users are required to check accounts often and respond to direct messages, Tweets, or posts in a timely manner. Users of School social media accounts left unattended for 30 days or more will be contacted by the School’s External Relations team to determine if the account is still viable or should be closed.

Policy Non-Compliance

Non-compliance with this policy may result in any or all of the following:

  1. Limitation or revocation of individual’s or unit’s right to use or participate in UNC School of Education social media accounts;
  2. Removal of posts;
  3. Removal of social media account in its entirety;
  4. Corrective or disciplinary actions and sanctions.

Definitions

  1. Social media: web-based or mobile technologies used for interactive communication. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, collaborative projects (e.g., Wikipedia), blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), content communities (e.g., YouTube), and social networking sites (e.g., Facebook).
  2. School social media accounts: social media accounts promoting UNC School of Education activities that are created and maintained at the direction or with the approval of the School’s Office of External Relations. This policy does not address accounts created and managed by student groups, student organizations, or individual faculty and staff members.
  3. User: individuals — including faculty, staff, or students — who aspire to contribute or actively contribute to a School of Education entity social media account.

External Regulations and Consequences

Federal Laws

  • First Amendment, U.S. Constitution
  • Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
  • Federal Trade Commission Act
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA)
  • U.S. copyright law
  • National Labor Relations Act (NLRA)
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA)

UNC System Policies

University Policies

Modification of Policy

Users who have questions or suggestions about the UNC School of Education social media policy should contact the External Relations team. This social media policy will be reviewed at least annually — on June 1 of each year — by the School’s External Relations team, updated as needed, and submitted to the Dean’s Cabinet for final approval.

Contact Information

If you have general questions about this document or about responsible and efficient use (creating/using school social media accounts) of social media, contact the School’s External Relations team at soe.externalrelations@unc.edu.

Important Dates

Effective October 8, 2020
Approved by Dean’s Cabinet
To be reviewed June 1, 2021

UNC School of Education Procedures for Social Media

Introduction

Purpose

One of the many important ways the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC”) School of Education (“School of Education” or “School”) can advance its mission is through the strategic use of social media. However, social media, like any form of communication, is a highly visible touchpoint and thus needs to be monitored closely to ensure adherence to applicable laws and policies, and to UNC School of Education branding and identity guidelines. The purpose of this social media procedures document is to provide administrators of UNC School of Education-affiliated accounts with reasonable expectations for administering those social media accounts and procedures to ensure adherence to School branding and identity guidelines.

Scope of Applicability

The following only applies to official accounts of UNC School of Education programs and not to the personal accounts of employees of the School.

Procedures

  1. Establishing School Social Media Accounts
    1. Before requesting the establishment of a School-related and sanctioned social media account, users should be able to:
      1. Articulate their goals and objectives with the account;
      2. Have an idea of their audience; and 
      3. Commit several hours per week based on account goals.
    2. To create a school social media account, contact the External Relations team and provide them with the following information:
      1. Name of the program or individual making the request;
      2. Social media platform(s) you want to use (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.);
      3. Purpose, audience, and objectives for creating the account; and
      4. Name and contact information of the account administrators (a faculty or staff member) who will be responsible for the account.
    3. The External Relations team will:
      1. Confirm the user is authorized to represent the UNC School of Education;
      2. Evaluate whether the new social media initiative meets a business need, avoids redundancy, and is an appropriate tool for the objective it seeks; and
      3. Schedule a meeting to provide assistance in setting up the social media account and answer any logistic or strategic questions related to the social media initiative.
  2. Branding for School Social Media Accounts
    1. For any School social media account, the social media icon and/or profile image must comply with any applicable School branding and identity guidelines and UNC branding and identity guidelines. The social media icon and/or profile image can be a photograph related to the administrator’s entity, an approved logo for that entity, or another appropriately branded image.
    2. When possible, School social media account names should list the School’s name first, for example, “UNC School of Education Student Affairs.” If this is not possible, the account should at the minimum include “UNC School of Education” (or @uncschoolofed) in the About or Bio section of the page.
    3. School social media account handles should follow the uniform format of @UNCEdNameofPage, for example, “@UNCEdStudentAffairs.” If character limits or other extenuating circumstances prevent this format from being used, please contact the School’s External Relations team at soe.externalrelations@unc.edu to discuss alternative nomenclature.
    4. Visual content posted on school social media accounts should include colors, graphics, and images that abide by the School of Education brand standards and guidelines. Storytelling and copy should be consistent with the School’s brand pillars and strategic vision. For specific information regarding appropriate colors, fonts, logos, and tone to be used in external communications, please refer to the School branding and identity guidelines and UNC branding and identity guidelines.
    5. Whenever possible, link back to the UNC School of Education website. Ideally, posts regarding news releases or School and/or program information should be brief, redirecting a visitor to content that resides within the UNC School of Education web environment.

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

School of Education Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Modification of Procedures

Users who have questions or suggestions about the UNC School of Education social media policy should contact the External Relations team. This social media policy will be reviewed at least annually — on June 1 of each year — by the School’s External Relations team, updated as needed, and submitted to the Dean’s Cabinet for final approval.

Contact Information

If you have general questions about this document or about responsible and efficient use (creating/using school social media accounts) of social media, contact the School’s External Relations team at soe.externalrelations@unc.edu.

Important Dates

Effective October 8, 2020
Approved by Dean’s Cabinet
To be reviewed June 1, 2021

UNC School of Education Best Practices for Social Media

Introduction

Purpose

One of the many important ways the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (“UNC”) School of Education (“School of Education” or “School”) can advance its mission is through the strategic use of social media. However, social media, like any form of communication, is a highly visible touchpoint and thus needs to be monitored closely to ensure UNC School of Education branding and identity guidelines. The purpose of this social media best practices document is to provide administrators of UNC School of Education-affiliated accounts with reasonable expectations for engagement on social media platforms and a brief list of practices to help ensure an optimal balance in the benefit-risk equation relative to the School’s image and reputation.

Scope of Applicability

The following only applies to official accounts of UNC School of Education programs and not to the personal accounts of employees of the School.

Best Practices

In addition to Social Media Best Practices provided by the University, the following list of best practices provides some insight into strategies and protocols to help build a solid social media profile and better engage audiences in a social media capacity. These should be applied to all program accounts — and can even be applied to personal accounts — in the UNC School of Education community.

  1. Commitment. Utilizing social media strategically means time, energy, and resources must be devoted to its success. Users should plan to create at least three posts per week per platform with an appropriate time commitment to plan, develop, and design posts, and manage the account. For reference, the School of Education social media accounts require 10-20 hours per week.
  2. Launch for success. A common misconception about social media is that if you build an account, people will automatically come. Fill your new account with content, so it doesn’t feel empty. When you launch, announce it through traditional channels such as email, newsletter, and website. New audience members may not participate right away, but let them know you value their presence by sending them a welcome message or thank you.
  3. The Internet is permanent and social media impacts your reputation. Please be mindful that when running a school social media account users are representing the UNC School of Education to the public. Even if you delete a post from a social media site, it can be recovered through caches that are beyond the School’s control.
  4. Communicate clearly. Always do your best to communicate your ideas transparently, without omissions, biases, or inaccuracies. All posts should be grammatically sound and in a tone and voice that accurately articulate and depict the School’s brand.
  5. Interact with your audience. Social media is meant for two-way communication. People visit social media sites to interact with other people. Welcome new audience members, respond to comments, or follow up a posting with a question about the content. Engaging with your audience will make the account more valuable to them and keep them coming back.
  6. Negative comments. If someone makes negative comments or complaints on a School social media account, often the best strategy is to engage the person outside of social media. Conversations can involve nuance and private information not appropriate for social media. Send the person a private message to let them know who the appropriate individual or office is to contact about the issue. However, if a poster’s comments are blatantly harmful or incorrect, exercise good judgment in responding. Never be defensive or explanatory. If possible, move the conversation off social media.
  7. Measure for results. Make use of analytics and tracking tools to evaluate posting activity and interaction within the School social media account. When posting links on any social media site, use a link tracking service such as bit.ly. These tools help you to refine your strategy and better understand your audience’s preferences and behaviors.
  8. Cease activity during crisis. In case of a crisis or emergency, immediately cease all activity on School social media platforms. In these instances, you will be contacted by the School of Education’s External Relations team. The Office of University Communications or the School of Education’s External Relations team will identify the message and distribution strategy and inform account administrators when and how to resume social media communications.
  9. Mandatory reporting. If you see postings related to UNC indicating an individual may be a danger to self or others, notify the UNC Police immediately by calling 9-1-1 and take a screenshot.
  10. When posting personal thoughts and opinions, do so from a personal account. If posting for a School or program account, maintain separation between personal and professional perspectives.

When in doubt, contact the School’s External Relations team. Social media is ever-evolving. If you have questions or concerns, contact the School’s External Relations team at soe.externalrelations@unc.edu.

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures

Modification of Best Practices

Users who have questions or suggestions about the UNC School of Education social media policy should contact the External Relations team. This social media policy will be reviewed at least annually — on June 1 of each year — by the School’s External Relations team, updated as needed, and submitted to the Dean’s Cabinet for final approval.

Contact Information

If you have general questions about this document or about responsible and efficient use (creating/using school social media accounts) of social media, contact the School’s External Relations team at soe.externalrelations@unc.edu.

Important Dates

Effective October 8, 2020
Approved by Dean’s Cabinet
To be reviewed June 1, 2021