Rules guide effective communication. The following guidelines and best practices address the use of social media for official college communications. They are not intended to apply to websites and/or social media sites created and maintained by faculty and staff on their own time and without use of ACC technology or resources. However, these guidelines are good best practices for any social media interaction.
Considerations before engaging in social media
Creating a successful social media page requires careful planning and resource allocation. Before you begin to use social media on behalf of ACC, please remember the following:
- Keep in mind other ACC policies
- This document does not affect other ACC policies that might apply to use of social media, including, but not limited to the harassment policy, computer use policy, and workplace violence policy. If your use of social media would violate any of the institution’s policies in another forum, it will also violate them in an online forum.
- Get necessary approval
- Before starting a social media site for your office or department, make sure you have approval from a supervisor. Only ACC employees authorized by their office or department may be a content owner or administrator for college social media websites.
- Plan for having at least two administrators for every social media site
- Having multiple content owners or administrators at all times for every social media application will ensure that the application can continue to thrive and be updated regularly even if one of the existing administrators changes jobs or leaves the college.
- Prepare for the necessary time commitment
- A social media site will only be effective if the administrators take the necessary time to generate interesting and interactive content and build relationships with the online community. While regular and timely updates and discussions are key to building your community, also keep in mind that you don’t want to overload your audiences with too much information.
- Make it easy for people to find your site
- To maximize exposure and participation with your social media site you will want to make it as easy as possible for people to find it when searching online. A couple of suggestions on how to do this:
1. Use ACC in the title of the site, if possible
2.Try to avoid only using acronyms when naming your site
- Use of ACC logos
- If you are creating a social media site on behalf of ACC, use official logos and graphics that represent and adhere to the logo guidelines.
- The Office of Communications & Marketing can provide guidance with graphics and design for your social media site.
- Raising money via social networks
- Charitable contributions to or on behalf of the ACC Foundation or any other 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to support ACC, cannot be solicited, nor can they be accepted, unless approved in advance by the foundation.
Posting on behalf of ACC
Employees creating or posting on social media sites on behalf of ACC should remember:
- Be accurate
- Make sure you have all the facts before you post. All research, data reporting, and analysis made public on the web should be verified for accuracy. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible. That is how you build the trust of your community.
- Recognize your posts are public
- If you have any questions about the appropriateness of the material you are posting to an ACC social media site, check with your supervisor. Also, as an employee of a public institution, faculty, staff and student communications are subject to the Texas Public Information Act.
- Keep confidential matters private
- Do not post proprietary information about ACC, including information about students, alumni, or employees. Remember that most records related to students are protected from disclosure under the the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Disclosing any personally identifiable student education records through social media sites is a violation of FERPA.
- Be transparent
- It should be obvious that you work for ACC if you are posting as part of your job. If you are posting as a representative of ACC, your posts are viewed as representing the views of ACC, so make sure to post responsibly and with respect to others in your community. Your posts directly reflect on the college.
- Respond effectively to negative comments
- When you find yourself disagreeing with others, keep your comments appropriate and polite. If you find yourself in a position where the communication becomes antagonistic, avoid being defensive. be respectful of other’s people’s opinions. Having thoughtful discussions on important topics is a great to way to build your community and is a very important aspect of having a successful social media site.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
- If you receive a question you cannot answer or if you see incorrect information about ACC, contact the Office of Communications & Marketing for assistance. Also contact our office if you have trouble creating or monitoring your social media site.
Moderating comments on behalf of ACC
The primary goal of moderating user comments and user submissions is to present the college, its students, faculty, staff, and activities in a positive light. Comment moderation will help maintain the positive messaging of ACC.
The secondary goals are to:
- Keep sites free of spam and suspicious links.
- Maintain an attractive appearance of sites.
- Prevent users from being offended, insulted, or bullied by other users.
While comments are welcome, we are responsible for removing comments that are offensive, insulting, bullying, spam, or problematic because of libel, legal or other issues. Site administrators are responsible for moderating comments.
Moderating comments and other public feedback involves:
- Monitoring social media sites regularly, especially sites like Facebook where users may leave comments without administrator approval.
- Adjusting comment settings so that comments must be approved by an administrator before they are viewable publically.
- Adjusting comment settings to automatically flag comments that contain offensive words.
- Viewing, approving, removing, and responding to comments as needed.