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UCM Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

Official University Social Media Procedures

The University of Central Missouri’s official social media procedures includes information regarding the official UCM social media profiles, UCM affiliated and subsidiary campus site profiles, imitation pages, and sponsored social media campaigns. Please view the official university social media policy before creating any UCM-affiliated social media profile.

Social Media Goals and Objectives

Social media is a powerful and robust marketing tool that can be used to accomplish many marketing goals, including but not limited to:

  • Recruitment and retention
  • Customer service, answering users’ questions directly
  • Highlighting student, faculty and staff accomplishments
  • Hosting engaging multimedia, including photos, video and live streams
  • Providing resources for current and prospective students
  • Providing a forum for feedback from the community

Getting Started

UCM’s Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC) highly recommends completing the following steps before establishing any presence on social media:

  • Define your goals - Determine the audience you want to reach and the information/messaging you intend to share. Consider what social media platform(s) will most effectively reach and engage your audience. If your goals overlap with a previously established UCM social media profile, consider collaborating with the existing profile to share messaging rather than creating another profile.
  • Identify content opportunities - Before creating any social media profile or publishing content, it is critical to develop a strategy that ensures your content is sustainable and engaging. Profiles that are neglected or completely abandoned can be detrimental to your online presence.
  • Develop a social media calendar - A social media calendar will help ensure that posts/messaging are published in a timely manner, designate the frequency of posts on the platform, integrate the roles of multiple page administrators and confirm that your content is helping meet your communication goals. 
  • Identify your social media administrators - IMC recommends designating multiple admins with access to your social media profiles. This can help ensure your profile is not neglected due to staff turnover or problems logging into the profile. Administrators should all have access to your social media calendar and coordinate publishing roles in order to avoid duplicate posts.
  • Secure your login credentials - Record all social media profile URLs, usernames and passwords in a centralized, secure document that is accessible by social media admins and multiple staff members. Forgetting or losing login credentials can result in completely losing access to your social media account, resulting in an abandoned social media presence and requiring your profiles to be completely rebuilt. IMC highly recommends updating login credentials on a regular basis, as well as when social media administrators are removed from the page or no longer serve as administrators for the profile(s).
  • Gather multimedia assets and publishing tools - Aggregating photos, videos, logos, digital fliers, alumni contact information, etc. will help streamline content production upon launching your social media presence. Identify any post-scheduling and/or multimedia editing tools that you intend to use and ensure all social media administrators have access.
  • Contact IMC - IMC maintains an internal list of UCM-affiliated social media profiles and their administrators. Notifying IMC of your new social media presence can lead to opportunities to collaborate and share content between your profiles and UCM’s official social media presence. Although IMC does not produce content specifically for UCM-affiliated social media profiles, the office can provide assistance with social media.

Social Media Administrators

The roles of social media administrators for your page(s) should be clearly defined. Top-level administration should be reserved for official UCM staff rather than students, student workers or volunteers.

Login credentials for the pages should be documented, stored securely, and available to at least two administrators who are currently employed and in good standing at the university. We recommend keeping the number of administrators as low as possible while still being able to achieve your marketing goals. This prevents confusion when it comes to posting schedules and allows for a streamlined workflow.

If designated administrators are unable to log in to your account affiliated with UCM, please contact IMC immediately.

Avoiding Objectionable Content

Social media content affiliated with UCM should be family-friendly and non-denominational in all aspects of its production. Content should avoid the following:

  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Bars/alcohol vendors and signs
  • Nudity
  • Profanity
  • Unverified facts or posts
  • Offensive/political clothing, signage or rhetoric
  • Protests or demonstrations
  • Controversial topics
  • Prominent use of other colleges’ gear/logo/spirit items

This is not a complete list of content to avoid. If there is any question in your mind about whether to post something, you shouldn’t post it. Once a post is out there, it can live forever, even if you’ve deleted it. Objectionable social media content posted on profiles associated with UCM will be reported and terminated by the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications (IMC).

Content Opportunities

Producing social media content on a consistent basis is a critical component in engaging your audience. Content opportunities that can increase engagement and supplement content specific to your area of campus include but are not limited to:

  • Awards and recognitions among students, faculty and staff
  • Program recognitions and rankings
  • Student, faculty and staff profiles and interviews
  • Alumni success stories and achievements
  • Hands-on learning opportunities, experiences beyond the classroom
  • Scholarship opportunities
  • Internship/employment opportunities
  • Campus events
  • Academic deadline reminders
  • User generated content: polls, surveys, requests for photos, etc.
  • Historic posts: “Throwback” photos, “This Day in UCM History,” etc.
  • Shared posts from other UCM-affiliated profiles

Official Logos and Images

Integrated Marketing and Communications encourages administrators to use official logos, graphics and imagery created/provided by the IMC design staff in accordance with UCM’s brand guidelines. However, use of UCM official logos is prohibited without prior authorization from the Office of Integrated Marketing and Communications. Official UCM Logos can be requested from the IMC for use on social media. Please adhere to the style and usage guidelines provided by the IMC staff.

 

Crisis Communication

Social media can play a critical role in sharing information during a crisis or emergency. Official emergency communication is coordinated by Public Safety, IMC and UCM’s Crisis Management Team. In the event of an emergency, please defer to the official UCM social media accounts and share posts coming from the official UCM social media profiles.

Do NOT post information that has not been provided by Public Safety, IMC and/or UCM’s Crisis Management Team.

If you have information regarding a crisis in progress, call 911 or contact Public Safety at 660-543-4123.

 

UCM Hashtags

  • #OpportunityInAction
  • #ChooseUCM
  • #MuleStrong - Overcoming adversity, used for pandemic communications
  • #myUCM - Student testimonials and user-generated content
  • #MuleNation - Alumni
  • #MOInnovation - MIC
  • #MulesAbroad - Study Abroad
  • #MuleGear - UCM Branded Apparel and Items
  • #teamUCM - Athletics
  • #SnoutsOut - Athletics/Pride
  • #RollStable - Athletics/Baseball

Social Media Best Practices

  • Employees are not authorized to publish personal comments and or opinions on university accounts as that would be interpreted as representing the University, University programs, departments, student organizations, subsidiaries of UCM or other campus sites/entities.
  • Follow University and local, state and federal laws including copyright, intellectual property, FERPA, HIPPA, etc.
  • Do NOT delete negative or critical comments. Encourage negative users to send you a direct message with more information, which will move the conversation from a public to a private space. If you receive a significant spike in negative engagement on your platforms, contact IMC immediately for assistance.
  • Respond and engage with direct messages and positive comments in a timely manner.
  • If you receive requests for information outside of your designated role at UCM, direct the user to the appropriate office/organization for more information, rather than finding and providing the information yourself. This ensures that users receive the most accurate information from the appropriate source.
  • Stay focused on the mission and purpose of UCM. How does this support the university?
  • Posting should encourage conversation, engagement and feedback. Consider questions to ask rather than just statements to make.
  • Social media is about socializing, not selling. It's a unique opportunity to talk to customers, hear feedback and build the brand. Keep selling subtle.
  • Have multiple administrators review and proofread posts whenever possible.
  • Consider how trending news, hashtags and internet culture relates to your brand. Stay aware of how current events affect the context of your social media content, as well as the content opportunities these trends present. For example, news coverage regarding discoveries or advancements in your academic field may be shared to create engaging content.
  • Timing matters: study your metrics and deliver when it works best for your audience.
  • Platform-specific best practices such as optimized image dimensions, post publishing frequency, and app functions change frequently. Stay informed of updates to social media platforms and their functionality.
  • Remember to schedule content over spring, winter and summer breaks.
  • Remember that not all channels are the same. What is a great post on Facebook, might not be as effective on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn or Pinterest.

 

 

 

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