Social Media Guidelines & Policies

Revised May 2021

Please do not create any social media accounts on your own. Submit a social media account request and the university’s social media manager will assist you with determining which platform(s) is best and building a goal-oriented social strategy. 

Social media platforms—including but not limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat, and Flickr—help build and strengthen real relationships through two-way communication. They are not simply tools for broadcasting and publishing. With their ability to quickly carry messages globally, social networks amplify the Wesleyan mission of building a diverse, energetic community of students, faculty, and staff who think critically and creatively and who value independence of mind and generosity of spirit.

When using social media on behalf of a Wesleyan office, program, or organization, the channel should reinforce Wesleyan’s reputation. Everything posted on social media has the potential to impact Wesleyan’s reputation. Please keep this in mind and ask “how will this affect Wesleyan’s reputation?” before publishing. 

Creating a Social Media Presence

Before creating a social media profile, page, or account, it is essential to have a plan or strategy in place for what happens after launch. Here are the questions to ask before creating a social media presence:

  • Why should this account exist and on which platform?
  • What are the goals of this account?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Is this form of communication the best way to reach the audience?
  • Who will maintain the account?
  • How often will content be posted?
  • Does the department have the ability to capture engaging photography or video for this account?
  • Does the department have enough content to regularly (once a week or more) post to this account?
  • How will private messages and comments be monitored?

Still feeling a little lost? Request Social Media Help, and our social media manager will set up a time to help you with your social media strategy.

If it is determined that a social media account would benefit the department, follow these steps:

  1. Secure approval from your department head: Individuals wishing to establish an account representing a facet of the university must speak with their department head before moving forward to ensure:
    • An account has not yet been established in the department’s name; and
    • The department would like to have a social media presence; and
    • The most appropriate person would be managing the account.
  2. Create a plan: Individuals must establish a plan for their social media goals and the execution thereof. The plan must include:
    • The social media platform most appropriate for your department—and why
    • The target audience and purpose
    • A maintenance plan of how often the platform will be updated, and by whom
    • The name of the account
      • Each account should adopt the proper channel title syntax for branding consistency. For example:
        • Facebook pages and groups should begin with “Wesleyan University”
          • Wesleyan University Athletics
          • Wesleyan University Center for the Arts
        • Instagram and Twitter handles should begin with “wes”
          • @wes_athletics
          • @wescfa
        • Instagram and Twitter bios should include tags to main Wesleyan University accounts.
          • @Wes_Athletics: The official Instagram for athletics @wesleyan_u #GoWes
          • @Wes_Athletics: The official Twitter for athletics @wesleyan_u #GoWes
        • The icon to be used as the profile picture
          • All social media channels must display a Wesleyan stylized profile icon obtained from University Communications. If you do not already have one, please contact social@wesleyan.edu to obtain an icon.
  3. Launch and tell: Once an identity is secured, send the account details, as well as contact information for who is managing the account, to the university’s social media manager.
    • Create a strong password: it should contain a combination of mixed-case letters, numbers, and special characters. All Facebook accounts must include two-step authentication.

Social Media Guidelines

Please abide by the following social media guidelines:

  • Add Value: Don’t just post to post. Posts should be relevant to the niche you develop and add value to your broader network. Value comes in many forms, and can be entertainment, reminiscing, education/information, opportunities to connect, or acknowledgment of successes, as examples.
  • Be Respectful: Don’t launch into personal attacks. Never come across as derogatory or judgmental. Do not use offensive, obscene, discriminatory, or threatening language. Thank individuals who post corrections or less than flattering comments on your network. They are doing you a favor by offering a different perspective.
  • Be Authentic: Remember, the audience is made of real people, not robots. They expect conversation on social media, so keep posts conversational. Be honest and relatable while still maintaining the integrity and intelligence expected of the Wesleyan community.
  • Create a Conversation: Social media is different from other broadcasting methods because the platforms encourage (and expect) two-way communication. Be part of the conversation and contribute content that is tailored to your audience’s wants and needs. Do not make it about yourself.
  • Encourage Comments and Feedback: Conversations entail more than one person talking. The more others contribute, the more exposure the platform will receive.
  • Post Quality Content, Consistently: Recommended post frequency will vary by platform, but generally 2–3 times per week is the bare minimum. Posting frequently is the key to building and fostering community. However, it is as important not to flood your network with information or multimedia. Quality is valued over quantity. For example, it is better to post one high-quality photo than five low-quality or redundant shots.
  • Be Smart: Use your best judgment when posting content. Don’t post information on your personal social media accounts that you only have access to as a result of your employment. Don’t share anything confidential, don’t advocate illegal activities, don’t violate copyright or trademarks, and don’t endorse products, services, or politicians on university channels. Content should abide by other web policies and guidelines. Prohibited content includes, but is not limited to:
    • Confidential information, such as personnel and student records
    • Financial information
    • Copyrighted materials
    • Uncorroborated reports
  • Think Twice Before Posting: If you are uncertain about the validity of information or if it is appropriate to disseminate, check with the social media manager in University Communications. In many cases, information is not publicized for several reasons, among them:
    • Privacy concerns
    • Closed event
    • Merely a rumor
    • University or external regulations, stipulations, or restrictions
  • Write Well: It is imperative to write well. All materials should be spell-checked and proofread before distribution—from the smallest tweet to the longest blog post. Social media tends to have a more casual tone. However, be sure to use complete sentences with proper grammar.
    • Some things to keep in mind:
      • Do not use emoticons/emojis in place of words.
      • Avoid using acronyms, whenever possible.
      • Capitalize words that ought to be. Do not write in all lowercase or all uppercase.
      • Use punctuation appropriately.
      • Include complete and compelling details that will lead to engagement.
      • Be complete: Use the proper, full names of campus locations, class years of students and alumni, and full and official titles of faculty and staff, when possible.
  • Link Back to the University: If the university has information about a topic on its site, offer basic information in your post and then link to the specific page for interested individuals to learn more information.
  • Remember Your Day Job: Social media can be a very addictive arena, and managers need to be sure to balance their workload.
  • Stick to What You Know: Post about the area that you know best—your own. Do not post about topics outside of your discipline or department.
  • Correct Inaccurate or Incomplete Information: News and information changes and it’s important to reflect the changes quickly on social media. Original posts should not be deleted or edited, but rather pushed down on the news feed by more timely and accurate messages. Answer questions commenters may have by directing them to the most updated and accurate information.
  • Manage Feedback: Monitor feedback and promptly notify the social media manager in University Communications if there is overtly negative dialogue. Responding to negative feedback is often more important than responding to positive feedback because of the opportunity to change someone’s perception of both the department and the university.
    • Respond only when appropriate: In many circumstances, a person is just venting their frustration and not looking for a response. A response is needed only when you can add value to an issue. Don’t just respond for the sake of responding. If the comment is negative, correct inaccurate facts; if the facts are correct, take reasonable action to fix the issue and let the person know what has been done. If the person is simply a comedian (or troll), let the comment stand as is.
    • Delete comments sparingly: Comments and feedback should not be deleted in most cases. The only comments that should be removed are ones that harass other users, make the situation extremely unpleasant for a large percentage of members on the network, or are Spam. Otherwise, let people vent their opinions.
  • Secure Permission: It is important to make sure people captured in photos and videos are comfortable with their likeness appearing online. For staged and purely promotional photos and videos, it is essential that release forms are completed prior to posting. Even more critically, it is imperative that photos of minors are not posted without the completion of said forms by a parent or guardian. If there is any uncertainty about a person’s age, ask.
  • During emergencies, closings, and major news, consult with the social media manager in University Communications: To ensure a consistent message and the latest information, only the university’s main accounts may be used during emergencies, closings, and major news scenarios—unless otherwise directed by University Communications.

Any profile or piece of content that violates the above guidelines can be removed at any time by University Communications.

Any and all questions concerning social media should be directed to:
Allie Otlowski
Social Media Manager, University Communications
aotlowski@wesleyan.edu 
860-685-2148 or 860-919-2064

WeChat

Wesleyan University has an official WeChat account. Due to the closed nature of the WeChat platform, we do not recommend creating additional WeChat channels under the University name. To discuss account creation or posts on WeChat, please contact Zijia Guo (Program Manager for Global Initiatives).

Terms and Policies for Each Social Media Network

In addition to following the above guidelines, you are also responsible for following the rules of each channel. Each social media platform has terms of service and conditions of use. Be sure to familiarize yourself with them: