Social media has provided us with the opportunity to reach large audiences quickly and with very few barriers. While this makes social media a great option for marketing and for sharing news and information, it also increases the weight of the responsibility we have around what we post, how we engage and with whom we engage.

Purpose

In our strategic approach to social media management, we seek to feature content from across the university on our primary social media accounts. This is beneficial for many reasons. First, it provides the largest audience for quality content. A fragmented approach yields less engagement and a narrow reach. Samford has a flagship presence on six social media platforms with over 81,000 followers. This streamlined approach to social media is not only more impactful, but it is also more efficient. Social media management is a 24/7 job and limiting this responsibility to a designated group of colleagues allows for a more concentrated use of resources in this important area of marketing and communication.

The Division of Marketing and Communication has developed these account requirements to assist the Samford community in the safe, legal and effective use of social media and to protect users’ personal and professional reputations and the reputation of the university. Any social media accounts featuring the name Samford University or any of our schools, teams or programs are subject to the requirements outlined here. Existing accounts will be periodically reviewed to ensure that they adhere to these requirements. Inactive accounts, or accounts that do not adhere to these guidelines, will be closed.

Because social media evolves constantly, the guidelines are subject to ongoing review and updates.

Account Requirements

  1. All social media accounts featuring the name Samford University or any of our schools, teams or programs must receive specific approval from the Division of Marketing and Communication. Employees requesting new accounts must demonstrate a significant need to communicate outside of the primary accounts and a sizeable audience. Requests for new accounts may be sent to the social media manager.
  2. Accounts must be managed by a Samford employee whose job expectations include social media management. Administrative access will be terminated upon the employee’s termination, voluntary leave of employment, or assignment to another job.
  3. A strategy meeting with the social media manager is required prior to creating a new account or transitioning the management of an existing account to another account manager.
  4. All accounts must be linked to a designated administrative email account, rather than a personal email account. (ie: samfordsocialmedia@samford.edu versus ccarnall@samford.edu).
    • The only exception to this requirement is Facebook. In order to open a Facebook business page, the platform requires you to use a personal Facebook profile; therefore, the social media manager must be assigned as an administrator on your page.
  5. The university’s social media manager must have administrative access to all accounts. If login information changes, the social media manager must be provided with updated credentials. For Samford Athletics accounts, the associate athletics director for marketing and strategic communication must have administrative access.
  6. All Samford University owned social media accounts must follow the approved account naming structure.
    • On Facebook, Samford University must be at the beginning of the page name (ie: Samford University School of the Arts).
    • On Instagram and Twitter, the handles must match (ie: @samfordu on both Twitter and Instagram) and the display name should begin with Samford University if the character limit allows. If the character limit restricts you, please begin with Samford (i.e: Samford University College of Health Sciences or Samford College of Health Sciences).
    • The social media manager must approve any new social property and name before it is created to ensure the channel name fits in the naming structure and best describes your channel.
    • The “about” or “bio” section of your account must include “The official {channel} for Samford University’s…” (ie: The official twitter account for Samford University’s School of the Arts)
  7. Content on all owned social media accounts must follow the Samford Brand Standards.

Rules of Account Management

  1. All social media accounts are required to have new, updated content posted at least three times per week, preferably one new post per day. Note the industry standard for post frequency per channel:
    • Facebook: 3-6 posts per week
    • Twitter: 2-4 tweets per day
    • Instagram: 3 posts per week; preferably once per day, every day
  2. All account managers must attend an annual social media workshop with the Division of Marketing and Communication to stay up-to-date on social media best practices and university social strategy. Account managers for Samford Athletics will participate in department-specific training.
  3. Accounts should be regularly monitored, and engagement should be addressed in a timely manner, which includes oversight throughout the weekend and after business hours. You must respond to engagement (comments, questions, tweets, etc.) in a timely manner, preferably, within 24 hours.
  4. While we encourage the involvement of students creating content on our social channels, any content created by a student or designee must be approved by the employee who is the account manager. In the case of real-time events, account managers may designate a student to post live; however, the account manager is ultimately responsible for all content published to his or her channels.
  5. You should assign no more than 3 administrators to your Facebook page—yourself, university’s social media manager and potentially one other employee from your unit. A student or other contributor should only be assigned to one of the following roles on a Facebook page:
    • Editor—Can send messages and publish as the page, respond to and delete comments on the page, create ads, see which admin created a post or comment, view insights, respond to and delete Instagram comments from the page and edit Instagram account details from the page. This is appropriate if the student worker will be creating content for the page.
    • Moderator—Can send messages as the page, respond to and delete comments on the page, create ads, see which admin created a post or comment, view insights and respond to Instagram comments from the page. This is appropriate if the student worker will only respond to comments and private messages on the page.
    • Live Contributor—Can go live as the page from a mobile device. They can’t comment as the page, create ads, access publishing tools or view insights. This is appropriate if the student worker will only need to ‘go live’ from the page.
  6. Any new hashtags created for events or campaigns should be well thought through. Consult with the social media manager prior to creating any new hashtags.
  7. Always clearly state your role and goals when posting on behalf of the university. You should never hide your identity.
  8. In the event of a crisis or campus emergency, account managers must adhere to university communication for protocol and messaging. Messaging during a crisis will be communicated to you from the executive director of university marketing and communication or the social media manager.
  9. If there is no activity on your account for more than one month, we will ask that you shut down your account. Inactive accounts with Samford’s name reflect negatively on the university.

Questions?

Are you unsure if these guidelines apply to you? Have questions about how to implement them in your unit? Please contact the social media manager.