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Social Media Guidelines

Sacramento State recognizes that the use of social media to exchange news and information is highly effective and popular. At Sac State, there is a growing network of social media sites, including an official Sacramento State Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/sacstate, Twitter feed at www.twitter.com/sacstate and YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/sacstatevideo.

It is important that University-related sites be managed well and consistently, even as the world of social media (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn) continues to evolve. To help, here are some general guidelines, plus some best practices gleaned from administering Sac State’s Facebook page.

Launching a Social Media Site

When creating social media content for an official University entity such as a department, program or college, there are some best practices to follow:

  1. Prior to launching your new social media page(s), notify webmaster@csus.edu of your plans. This will allow us to assist by including this content on relevant University pages.

  2. Use a department email account. Do not use a personal email account.

  3. A manager or director must approve and have access to all social media content.

  4. Follow the Style Guide when customizing any page that contains official University information.

  5. Name your page appropriately

    a. Acceptable examples – Always identify the University name first:

    i.    www.facebook.com/sacramentostate - (your unit name)

    ii.   www.youtube.com/Sacstate - (your unit name)

    b. Unacceptable names – names that contain personal information or do not follow the style guide:

    i.    www.facebook.com/csus - your unit

    ii.   www.youtube.com/your - name

    iii.  www.linkedin.com/your - unit name

General Guidelines

  • Be professional. As an administrator of a University-related social media site, you are representing Sacramento State. As such, anything you post will reflect on the University. Therefore, always use civil language and appropriate images. And, please, check your spelling, punctuation and grammar.

  • Be careful. Remember that social media sites are public and -- despite their seemingly fleeting nature -- permanent. Once words or images are posted, they are impossible to completely retrieve. Think before you post and, when in doubt, leave it out.

  • Be courteous. Respond to questions and comments politely and promptly. Do not be drawn into arguments or heated debates.

  • Be accurate. While timeliness is appreciated, so is having the correct information. Do your research when needed. And feel free to send visitors to the University’s website at www.csus.edu.

  • Be vigilant. Sacramento State reserves the right to remove inappropriate or disrespectful language and images. Site administrators should follow the web policies outlined at www.csus.edu/web. In the case of Facebook, they also should abide by the University’s “Commenting Guide” (Appendix A) as well as Facebook’s own “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.”

  • Be useful. Offer “news you can use.” And work cooperatively with administrators of other University social media sites, sharing information, links, video and photos. Note: When posting images, always check for copyright and use restrictions.

  • Be fun. Use conversational and engaging language. Invite questions and comments. Use humor, but judiciously -- everyone thinks they are funny, but not everyone is.

Facebook and Best Practices

Many universities now have flourishing social media sites, including a majority of sister CSU campuses. Inarguably, the most far-reaching of these sites is Facebook, with an estimated 600 million users worldwide.

Sacramento State’s official Facebook page is overseen by the Office of Public Affairs. The mission of the page is to deepen a sense of community among students, faculty and staff while sharing University news and information. Further, it serves to strengthen brand awareness.

Here are some best practices gleaned from administering the Sacramento State Facebook page – as well as from campus feedback and by studying the pages of other universities.

  1. Build it as a “fan” page. The two options on Facebook are the personal “friend” profiles, which are optimized for individuals, and the “fan” pages, which are geared specifically toward organizations, institutions and businesses. Sac State’s is a fan page. Fan pages have built-in applications to engage audiences and have no limit on the number of users. 

  2. Actively maintain it with fresh content. As with all things, if you nurture it, it will grow.

  3. But don’t be heavy-handed with posts. Too many posts, like too few, can result in the same thing: Driving away users.

  4. The key:Get to know your audience – and its rhythm. For example, one or two postings a day is generally sufficient, although on some Facebook pages (including Sac State’s), administrators have posted as often as half a dozen to a dozen times a day, which in turn has generated greater interest and traffic.

    Analyze the Insights provided by Facebook to get a better idea of which hours and days work well with your audience.

  5. Remember, variety is the spice. In any case, it’s usually best to mix it up. Even with pages that can sustain multiple daily posts, there is no need to post several times a day, every day. Also, stagger posts through the morning, afternoon and early evening -- no one wants to read a bunch of missives sent in one clump.

    Change it up when it comes to the type of postings as well, keeping a good balance of “hard” news (e.g., President Gonzalez presides at a Budget Town Hall) vs. “soft” (free film screening at the Union).

  6. Find your page’s “voice” and have administrators use it consistently. For example, are the postings authoritative (“Try this!”) or more low-key (“You may want to try this”), casual (“Hey Hornets!”) or more formal (“A call out to students”)? The most popular pages develop their own voice and “personality,” adding to the positive experience of users.

    Also: Keep postings short. Some people follow Facebook on their mobile phones – and posts that go beyond a screen can be irritating.

  7. Be diligent in “tagging” other pages or posts. It’s like inviting friends over.

  8. Use images and video often. They help grab the eye.

  9. Stay current. Stay on top of activities and the news. Nothing kills a page faster than to be perceived as being static or out-of-touch.

  10. Maximize your postings by using such applications as Hootsuite, which will allow you to time your posts as well as post on several social media accounts at once.

Join the Conversation:

The world of social media is constantly changing – as are the guidelines that govern it. If you have questions or would like to share some of your best practices, please contact us:

  • Jeannie Wong, Associate Vice President of University Communications: jwong@csus.edu / 278-2067
  • Jack Vaughn, Director of Web Communications: jvaughn@csus.edu / 278-3674
  • Rob Neep, Visual Communications Coordinator: rneep@csus.edu / 278-4385

Appendix A

Sacramento State’s Facebook Commenting Guide  

Brought to you by the Office of Public Affairs, the goal of this Facebook page is to create a sense of community and a place to find information about Sacramento State news, programs and events.

Sacramento State abides by Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities * and the University asks that its Facebook fans do as well. In particular, we request that users please adhere to the following:

  • Be respectful

  • Make no personal attacks

  • Do not “post content that is hateful, threatening or pornographic, incites violence, or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence”

  • Do not “post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam)” * or "do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious or discriminatory." *   

Sacramento State is not responsible for content submitted by other users and the University reserves the right to remove inappropriate or disrespectful language and images.

Thank you for visiting Sacramento State’s official Facebook page.