Social Media Guidelines
The university’s audiences are constantly shifting, evolving, and fragmenting across many platforms and communication avenues. Unlike a website where the community comes to the university with a specific purpose, social media is more focused on conversations in the community. This means that the university needs to have a cohesive strategy and unified voice to connect and engage with its communities wherever they are.
Using social media as an employee of Montana State University
If you list Montana State University as your place of employment or be sure to include a prominent disclaimer that anything you post is your personal opinion and not necessarily the opinions of Montana State University.
Using social media as a representative of Montana State University
Register your social media account by sending an email to [email protected] with your intentions. Your account will be added to our Social Media Directory. As a representative of the university, please be aware that you will be expected to follow the guidelines listed below.
Assistance in setting up social media accounts and their settings can be obtained from Web and Digital Communications. It is strongly recommended to think about your messaging, goals and available time before you decide to commit to investing effort into social media.
Guidelines as a representative of Montana State University:
- Protect confidential information
Don't post sensitive or confidential information. Once information is put online, it may be compromised or shared without your knowledge. The University and its representatives have an obligation to protect sensitive information about its students, faculty, and staff.
- Protect your own privacy
Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to what would be on the Montana State University website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limit access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see.
- Be open and honest
Do not blog anonymously, using pseudonyms or false screen names. We believe in transparency and honesty. Use your real name, be clear who you are, and identify that you work for Montana State University. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading.
- Respect copyright laws
It is critical that you show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including Montana State University's own copyrights and brands.
- Respect your audience, MSU, and your coworkers
The Montana State University students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and the public in general reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Don't be afraid to be yourself, but do so respectfully. This includes not only the obvious (no ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults, obscenity, etc.) but also proper consideration of privacy and of topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory - such as politics and religion. If you have doubts about posting something, likely you shouldn't post it.
- Controversial issues
If you see misrepresentations made about Montana State University, you may point that out. Always do so with respect and with the facts. If you speak about others, make sure what you say is factual and that it does not disparage that party. Avoid arguments.
- Take responsibility and own your mistakes
If you make an error, be up front about your mistake and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so.
- Think before you post
Think about the consequences of posting a message. Can it be taken out of context? Does it help or hurt a situation? Everything you post is public and may be shared with any internal or external audience.
- Social Media Tips
The following tips are not mandatory, but will contribute to successful use of social media.
The best way to be interesting, stay out of trouble, and have fun is to write about what you know. There is a good chance of being embarrassed by a real expert, or of being boring if you write about topics you are not knowledgeable about.
Quality matters. Use a spell-checker. If you're not design-oriented, ask someone who is whether your blog looks decent, and take their advice on how to improve it.
The speed of being able to publish your thoughts is both a great feature and a great downfall of social media. The time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. If in doubt over a post, or if something does not feel right, either let it sit and look at it again before publishing it, or ask someone else to look at it first.
Terms and definitions
For general MSU community and/or social media related questions please contact MSU social media manager Grace Guerra at [email protected].