These are best practices, guidelines, advice and practical suggestions for employees and students of Boise State University who want to create an official social media account which will represent an aspect of the official Boise State University brand.
This is not a complete or exhaustive guide or marketing plan, but tools to strengthen your social networking efforts. The content below was created by a Social Marketing Subcommittee of the Marketing Minds group with input from the General Counsel’s Office and the Office of Communications and Marketing.
Any department, office, building, group, club, organization, cause/campaign, or other affiliate of the university wanting to be recognized and supported by Boise State as an official university social media account should adhere to and observe information provided by Brand Standards, university policies and these best practices. Be unique while aligning with the brand through consistency and accuracy in content.
Step By Step
Define The Need
Does your organization or department have a consistent flow of information and compelling overall message that will sustain audience engagement? Can you commit to a steady schedule for management, monitoring an engaging?
Define The Audience
Defining who your audience is will help you know which social media platforms are best to use, what tone of voice to use in messaging, how often to share and when to interact, and what to say.
Manage the Account
Maintaining social networks as part of a marketing mix requires time and effort. Identify who is in charge of updating the account(s) and recognize that professionalism, availability, and cultural awareness are important traits. Ideally, more than one employee should have full access as an administrator to any social network affiliated with the university, in case the account(s) becomes locked or lost.
Creating the Social Media Account
It is suggested that an element of “Boise State University” be included in the name of your account – this is important for recognition, resonance, credibility, search engine optimization and consistency of the Boise State brand. Include a Boise State web address (available to all departments and offices) in the about/profile/bio section of the account. The “avatar” or profile image used should be consistent with Boise State Brand Standards. Social media specific logos are available for download here. The Bronco head logo may NOT be used.
Use Official Email Address
The email address used to register and manage a social media account should be a generic Boise State University address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, which the Help Desk can create. Having an official Boise State email address serves as a safety net for account management. Alumni groups recognized by the Boise State Alumni Association may establish a network using a personal, non-Boise State email address. Student organizations recognized by the Student Involvement and Leadership Center may use an @u.boisestate.edu address.
Register the Account
After the social media account is established, register via THIS FORM to be added to the university’s A-Z Index. Registering the account will help drive traffic, leverage the Boise State brand and add interest in your social media community. The Office of Communications and Marketing will review the account, respond to the registration request, and add you to the Social Media Managers Email List.
- Social media networks should not be used by university employees to endorse private businesses, or for personal financial gain. Sharing of content and engaging with other social media accounts that are official sponsors or partners of the university is permissible.
- State laws and university policies governing ethical conduct and conflicts of interest are applicable to social media.
- Be professional and disciplined while representing the university.
- Public criticism of the university, its officials, sponsors or partners is not allowed via social media accounts representing the university.
- Legitimate concerns can and should be discussed with appropriate parties; however, recent Supreme Court authority has made clear that First Amendment protections do not guarantee the right of public employees to publicly criticize their employers in the course of their employment.
- University social media accounts should not endorse particular political candidates or electoral causes.
- Consider accessibility when posting social media content — would your post be understood by someone who couldn’t hear audio? Would it still be informative if you couldn’t see the graphics?
- Make sure your content doesn’t rely exclusively on sound or image to convey information.
- Add descriptive captions to image or video posts. Descriptions don’t need to be long, but should convey any important information included in the graphics or audio.
- Videos should be closed captioned. Visit Video Accessiblity on Webguide for more information about closed captioning.
- For more social media accessibility tips, check out this helpful Social Media Accessibility Toolkit Hackpad from the U.S General Services Administration and the Department of Labor.
Privacy and Disclaimer
- You are responsible for what is posted on the account you manage.
- Any information that should not be shared with a third party under existing policy should not be disclosed on a social media site.
- It is critical that social media managers contributing content to Boise State social networks adhere to all policies and laws governing privacy of information and records, whether concerning students, NCAA compliance (see NCAA social media rules here), employees, protected health information, trade secrets, or otherwise.
- Establish for the online community that the social media account is a public network with reserves rights to delete content as best seen fit.
Suggested Disclaimer Copy
This network is a public page. Please do not post confidential material or photos. By adding content to this network you agree to be solely responsible for the information you contribute and release Boise State University from any liability related to your use. We reserve the right to remove content.
The “avatar” or profile image used should be consistent with Boise State Brand Standards.
The “B” image is suggested for use as it is easy to differentiate from other images and logos at a thumbnail view, and the unique Boise State “B” lends itself to the credibility of official Boise State University accounts.
The Bronco head logo may NOT be used.
Register new accounts for approval and to be linked to from the university A-Z Index, and add you to the Social Media Managers Email List.
- STAY IN THE KNOW: The campus community is encouraged to opt-in to BroncoAlert, Boise State’s emergency notification system.
- In the case of an emergency, please defer to the following accounts for the most timely warnings and up-to-date information. To avoid confusion, please do not publish content via your social media account until the situation has been cleared.
- Give audiences a reason to listen and interact and with you: ‘like’ your page, comment on posts, follow your tweets, @reply or retweet your messages, follow your boards, repin your content, 1+ your posts, offer a referral, like and comment on your images, etc. Do so by creating unique and exclusive content.
- Share what you know: expertise can be a highly valuable commodity in the public sphere.
- Ask questions to prompt a response, invite the community to share an experience or opinion.
- Photos and brief videos have impact, but keep in mind that it is inappropriate, and in some cases illegal, to use images or videos without permission.
- When appropriate, offer meaningful incentives to your audience but ALWAYS be aware of the network’s policy on promotions, giveaways and marketing campaigns – follow this link for a helpful article on the topic, from Social Media Examiner. If running a contest/promotion online, it is suggested to host the rules, regulations and disclaimers on your website.
- Use appropriate keywords and hashtags for those searching for relevant content. #BOISESTATE is the official hashtag of the university and widely used.
- Be consistent and concise with messaging – don’t let “dead air” happen on your network, you will lose credibility and followers.
- Be sure to follow other university social media accounts to gain followers and be discoverable in “suggested pages” algorithms.
- Any and all threats to the safety or security of those on campus should be taken seriously – immediately notify University Security and Police Services at 426-6911.
- Update profile and account information as needed, nobody likes dead links, wrong phone numbers or social media accounts that have gone silent but still are online.
- Boise State social media accounts that have posted content in three months or more will be removed from the University’s social media directory.
- Monitor comments and questions and reply to all inquiries, as appropriate – there is a “customer service” aspect of managing a social media account.
- Social media is a two-way street: follow others, share and interact with content that is relevant to your focus. Watch for opportunities to cross-promote and link to other Boise State interests and social media accounts.
- Allow the community to express itself, but monitor comments for profanity or personal attacks and remove such posts.
- Posts by third-party vendors attempting to sell a product or service should be removed – be aware of spam and clicking on untrusted links.
- Keep track of the community’s growth – benchmark numbers from launch and note discussions that prompt a response.
Keep in Mind
When using a social media account for official Boise State University business, maintain professionalism at all times and limit the communication and postings on the network to official business or university activities only. When in doubt, ask!
The Office of Communications and Marketing is here to help and support you in your activities. Enjoy your network, keep the conversation going, listen to and share with the community and have fun!
Questions or concerns regarding the development and maintenance of your social media account can be directed to the Office of Communications and Marketing at email@example.com or 426-1577.
- Select “Company, Organization or Institution” from options.
- Select appropriate category, such as “University,” “Education,” or “Organization.”
- Company Name: Your Facebook account name should include “Boise State” or “Boise State University” (not BSU, as there are several universities that use the b.s.u. acronym).
- Custom URL: Facebook only allows one lifetime change to a page URL – carefully the best!
- Website: include your official Boise State URL (such as www.boisestate.edu); if your Facebook page will act as your website, add your new Facebook URL in this area. Note – if using Facebook in lieu of a website, be sure to include as much accurate and up-to-date information as possible.
- Upload an appropriate Boise State logo – downloadable logos exclusive to Boise State social media profiles are available here.
- Upload a visually interesting cover image – Need high quality photos that are representative of campus life? Select your favorite from YEAR IN PHOTOS and contact Photo Services for the specific files.
- Register the new Facebook page via THIS FORM for approval and to be linked to from the university A-Z Index.
Post content, share and like other pages!
- Enter the full name you want your account to reflect (up to 20 characters), and the generic associated @boisestate.edu email address along with a secure password.
- Select the Twitter handle you want, example: @BoiseStateTweet – Twitter handles are limited to 15 characters or less.
- Follow the next few steps Twitter requires, then upload an image for your profile (aka: twavatar) – this should be a Boise State “B” logo, downloadable here.
- Enter bio info (up to 160 characters).
- Twitter will redirect to the newsfeed page, but you’re NOT done with your profile yet.
- Click on the gear icon on the upper right page, and select “settings.” From here you can customize your account, add a website link, change info, customize the header image and background, etc.
- Register the new Twitter account via THIS FORM for approval and to be linked to from the university A-Z Index.
Tweet, favorite, start conversations and retweet!