Social Media

At Niagara University, we believe that social media can engage students, faculty, staff, and alumni, and help foster our brand, culture, and legacy. We also understand that the use of social media in a university setting can present certain risks and carries with it certain responsibilities. To assist you with responsibly and effectively using social media, we provide the following guidelines for starting, managing, and using social media on behalf of the university. As new tools are introduced and new challenges emerge, this document will evolve.

In the rapidly expanding world of digital communication, social media can be defined as all forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, and other content. Some examples of social media sites that the university supports include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Flickr, Snapchat, TikTok, and blogs. On any platform and in any context, if you are providing communication on behalf of the university, you must adhere to these social media guidelines.

Only social media accounts that meet these guidelines will be featured on the listing of official university accounts.

Both in professional and institutional roles, employees are expected to follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in the real world. The same laws, professional expectations, and guidelines apply for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media, and other university constituents.

Employees are accountable for any institutionally related content they post to social media sites.

For Institutional, Departmental & Organizational Use

  • Maintain Confidential Information. Be careful not to reveal confidential or proprietary information about students, employees, or alumni. Adhere to all applicable university, federal, and NCAA privacy and confidentiality policies, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Review Niagara policies for more information on your responsibility as a Niagara employee.
  • Respect Property. Follow copyright, fair use, and intellectual property rights. Content shared should be “transformative,” offering new meaning or value to the copyrighted material by providing new information, aesthetics, insights, or understandings.
  • Protect Our Branding. The Niagara University logo cannot be modified, stretched, discolored, or manipulated in any way. The logo should not be used for personal, product, or business endorsements without consent of the Office of Public, External, and Government Relations. Consult with PR if you have any questions or concerns.
  • Respect Niagara University. Remain professional and in good taste, and protect Niagara’s institutional voice. As a representative of the university, avoid using statements, images, video, or audio that could reasonably be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening, or inappropriate. Before creating content, consider the risks and rewards involved in sharing in a public space.
  • Be Accurate. Be honest and accurate when posting information about the university or any affiliated organization. If you make a mistake, correct it promptly and be open about the alteration.
  • Be Aware. Be cautious of phishing. Phishing is the attempt to gain control of a personal or institutional social media site by deceiving a user into revealing the account’s username and password. Monitor your social media sites carefully to ensure you notice quickly if an unauthorized person gains access.
  • Connect Thoughtfully. Connecting on social media sites builds credibility and community. Consider carefully who you friend, follow, or allow into your site and to what extent you will allow comments, likes, and shares.
  • Media Inquiries. Employees must refer any media requests for comment of information to the Office of Public, External, and Government Relations. Employees are not authorized to speak on behalf of the university without a university spokesperson notified.

Creating and Managing a University Affiliated Account

If your department or organization plans to start using social media, contact the Office of Enrollment Marketing, Advertising, and Communications to coordinate with other university social media sites and content, discuss best practices, and for general assistance. In some instances, it may be beneficial to leverage the engagement on an existing university social media account than to create a new one.

  • Create accounts with your departmental email address. If you are setting up social media accounts on behalf of your department, then be sure to add your shared departmental address as an administrator. This will ensure a successful transfer of administrative power if and when you no longer are responsible for updating the account.
  • Centralize Passwords. The Office of Enrollment Marketing, Advertising, and Communications should be able to access your university-affiliated account, if necessary. Please provide log-in information to Marketing for storage in the university social media database. All password changes should be communicated immediately to Marketing.
  • Design an Avatar/Profile Picture. The Office of Enrollment Marketing, Advertising, and Communications will provide a template for social media avatars upon request of a new page.
  • Plan it Out. Determine the purpose of starting an account or page and which platform makes the most sense for your intended audience. Decide on what messaging and strategy you will use to maintain a consistent frequency. Creating a posting calendar each month can help you determine what content and coordination you will need.
  • Assign Responsibility. Determine two points of contact for the account and who will post. Multiple team members should know how to post and manage the page.
  • Stay Active. Add and welcome your new audience to the platform ensuring the purpose of the page is clearly indicated. Launch the account with a consistent posting schedule by posting frequently with a recommended schedule of two to three posts per week for most platforms. Interact with your audience with a timely response to comments, questions, and direct messages.
  • Account Deactivation. If an account becomes dormant for two months, the Office of Enrollment Marketing, Advertising, and Communications has the right to perform an evaluation of the account or page. Following the evaluation, Marketing reserves the right to deactivate the account.