& Social Media Guidelines
Developed Fall 2011*
Web Communications Division of Marketing and Communications*Last revision, 9/2013. Contains a Summary of domain name policy and social media guidelines for the University /
Glossary of Terms
Authorized Representative: Someone given authorization in writing or via email to operate, manage and/or supervise the use of a social media account or accounts.
Brand: Specifically, the product under a specific company name, but also refers to the identity associated with a particular company or organization. In Fairfield’s case, our brand is both our name and the services it represents and delivers.
Domain: Domain refers to an identifying name registered to a specific website. Individuals, organizations and companies can apply for a domain name. The name typically references the organization’s name or the website's function, and is followed by standardized suffixes that relate to the type of website the domain belongs to (such as .com for businesses, .edu for educational institutions, .gov for governmental websites). Examples of a domain name include fairfield.edu, yahoo.com, ct.gov, bestfriends.org.
Friend: Any individual who is acting on behalf of or in accordance with the wishes and direction of one of the organized “Friends of Athletics” groups sanctioned by the Athletics department. These individuals can be staff, students, donors and members of the public at large.
FERPA: The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) allows students control over the disclosure of personal information. Disclosure, except for limited circumstances, must be with the consent of the student.
Intellectual property: Intellectual property refers to the rights of those who have created intangible work such as music, writing, inventions or designs.
Official use: Official use refers to all social media pages approved by Marketing and Communications, and are listed in a directory of social media pages on the University’s home page. All Official use social media pages must be in compliance with this Social Media Web Guidelines. Other social media page use policies, including, but not limited to, the Student Athlete Social Media policy and procedures, the Athletic Staff Social Media policy and procedures, and the Friends of Athletic Social Media policy and procedure, are unofficial use policies unless usage is on a social media page has been granted official use status, in which case, strict compliance with the Social Media Web Guidelines is required.
RSS: RSS, usually considered an acronym of "Really Simple Syndication," is a method of dispersing web content via a "feed" to a variety of users and outlets. A feed is the flow of information from one source, as it is updated, to multiple other sources. For example, a university can post their news a single time via RSS, and it might simultaneously appear on several other websites, blogs or social media sites as well as being pushed out to any user who have opted for updates.
Share: To post content to a social media site or network and push it to other members of said or related networks and/or the public viewing the site.
Social media, social networks: Social media is a catch-all phrase for web-based or mobile technologies that allow internet users to interact with others online. These could be through text posts, photos, videos or chat, and the vehicles to post social media include Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Foursquare, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr among many others. Most social networks are recognized as such by their ability to share content amongst users or the public easily.
Social Media page, group and or presence: Any blog, page or online entity that attempts to promote, inform and or engage the public about topics, events, programs and activities of the University and its entities under the official brand and name of the University.
Student Employee: Any part or full time student who is under the legal employ of a department or entity of the University.
Student Group: Any group officially sanctioned by the Division of Administration and Student Affairs.
Subdomain: The use or extension of a brand or name with use of the primary domain name. Examples include fairfieldlive.fairfield.edu, data.fairfield.edu, faculty.fairfield.edu. These are extensions of the initial domain and managed by the primary domain holder.
Tweet: To use Twitter, or to post actively to Twitter is to perform the act of Tweeting.
Domain Names Web Policy
Consistent terminology and domain presence is a strong part of the web identity of the University and makes for ease of navigation and improves the user experience. Web domains and addresses are an important part of our web strategy and can be a critical part of a university or corporate brand.
Fairfield University, has a legal and reputational interest in the use of its name and associated trademarks, including those contained or portrayed in domain names.
This policy is intended to promote consistency in the ways in which the University, its programs and activities are portrayed on the Web, and to help assure that all sites and pages officially representing the University, its programs and activities meet established standards.
1. The standard for all websites is www.fairfield.edu. All pages and sites representing offices, departments and programs of the University will use www.fairfield.edu/name or will, when necessary for technical reasons, have a www.fairfield.edu/name alternate address or alias. VIRTUAL addresses, those that use acronyms, short department or program names, or similar alias-based navigational shortcuts, must be determined by Marketing and Communications (M&C) before implementation. Both Web Communications (WC) and Computing and Network Services (C&NS) hold a list of existing virtual addresses and must approve any application for a virtual address.
2. Only www.fairfield.edu addresses and those determined to be of information and marketing purposes by Marketing and Communications will be publicized. Since all Web addresses will begin with same domain, inclusion of www in print, radio and television promotion will not be necessary, and offices should use fairfield.edu/name. There are limited exceptions to this guideline for marketing or information purposes that both WC and C&NS maintain.
Exempt from the publicity requirement are units that apply for and are granted permission to use a .com, .net, .org or other domain. To apply for exemption contact your Account Manager to set up a meeting with WC to discuss your application and use of such a domain exemption.
Exempt from the publicity requirement are University-wide services including data.fairfield.edu, fairfieldlive.fairfield.edu, files.fairfield.edu and other similar domains managed or determined by either WC or C&NS for operational, marketing or information purposes.
Purchase, use and ownership of domains
Purchase or use of .com, .net, .org or other Web domains to represent any part of the University requires approval with C&NS serving as sole agent of the University for the ownership and maintenance of all domains representing the University and its entities or purchased with University funds. Contact Scott Barnett, director of Web Communications, at or (203) 254-4000, ext. 3503 to begin the process.
Application and enforcement
The purpose of this policy is to have a set of standards for Web domains that can be applied equitably across all areas of the University and can assist department leaders, Web managers, and others in planning future Web use. If absolutely necessary, the University, through various offices, has the physical ability to assign or reassign Web addresses and to deny payment on unapproved third-party Web services.
Social Media Web Guidelines
Fairfield University maintains a robust presence in the social media networks for the purpose of maintaining a strong university presence for admissions, marketing and information purpose.
After thorough analysis in 2009, the University began a five pronged strategy to meet both our marketing/information goals and our management objectives for the social network space.
Presently, the University maintains and assists with social media sites that are consistent with the “Six A” strategy. These are sites that focus on any of the following areas:
- Affairs (Student)
The primary goal for our external web presence, in this social media space and on the Internet in general, is to promote our University’s admission goals in a positive way through distribution of pertinent, audience specific information, effective use of branding and promotional campaigns, and advertising in select social networks. All official uses of social media sites are first held to the standard of how they might improve upon or enhance our attainment of these admissions and public information objectives. For example, Admissions and the Library both maintain strong social presences that can inform, distribute, and promote information in Facebook for any of the “Six A” themes when appropriate to the potential audience.
Secondarily, our presence on these networks is important to our alumni, fans and patrons in many ways. Thus Alumni Relations, Athletics and the Quick Center and its related entities in the Arts all participate in social media networks and maintain relationships with third party groups such as fans or patrons that support their online efforts and operational goals.
A primary concern for a University of our size is the maintenance, operation and monitoring of any third-party sites. Many sites come and go that offer some sort of social interaction, but the Marketing and Communications division and specifically Web Communications actively monitor what tools and techniques might be most useful to our external information and promotion of the University and its programs. It is important that departments, programs, and other University entities be aware of the process for engaging with these sites and tools and not go it alone in regards to engaging with the public via these or any third-party websites. The social media coordinator and web communications staff are available to assist with the proper setup and development of social media sites and presence and you should contact them first before making any new accounts or entering into any vendor relationships that involve or affect social media operations.
Social media networks can be valuable communication tools, especially those that allow people to affiliate with a cause or organization and participate in conversations. There are also inherent liabilities involved with social networks, which range from messages that may offend some readers to identity theft, scams, and stalking by sexual predators.
There is very little value to fan pages and groups that are rarely updated, and those that contain incorrect information about the University are detrimental. As with all Web pages, fan pages and groups require regular maintenance, and those that allow anyone to join and anyone to post messages or other items, must be continuously monitored.
It is not possible for the University to monitor or control all social media pages that imply a relationship to some part of the University, nor do we wish to discourage alumni, students, or others from utilizing social networks. We can, however, control which of those pages will be granted “official” use status by Marketing and Communications as more particularly discussed below. These would include any social media third party site and hosted blogs that are used for department, program and other official University uses. Personal blogs are not included in this policy.
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
From Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities - Date of Last Revision: April 26, 2011.
Clearly this can be of concern to any organization that is interested in protecting its image, brand and presence in public media.
Another issue is that copyright claims could be asserted against the University if a department inadvertently posted a picture or video in which a third party claims a copyright. Posting of inappropriate content, even if unauthorized, could subject the University to embarrassment or worse.
Not to be discounted, the use of social media requires a high amount of input and maintenance by staff. As is often thought with social media, these pages do not manage themselves and to get the best marketing and information value out of these site and their tools, a large amount of staff time must be invested. You can expect to have a staff member spend five to ten hours a week on management of a busy social media page and its related accounts.
Because of these types of issues, it is important that “official” use of Facebook and other social media (as defined by the University) by your staff adhere to appropriate guidelines intended to minimize such risks. The following is the University’s policy on official use of such social media by employees and student groups. This policy will apply only to social media pages approved by Marketing and Communications. University employees and student groups acting in an individual capacity should exercise caution to communicate clearly that they are not acting in their representative capacity, or expressing the view of the University.
Questions regarding the use of Facebook, other social media, or these guidelines should be referred to Scott Barnett, director of Web Communications. Your account manager and WC assigned project manager will also be involved in the social media planning for your area.
Official status for social media pages
Only social media pages approved by Marketing and Communications may be listed on any official University Web page, or print or electronic publication. Those that are approved will be listed in a directory of social media pages available through the University home page. Once approved, they may also be listed on the Web pages of a corresponding office, department or program. You may apply for a social media page or presence by contacting Web Communications to discuss the application process.
Criteria for obtaining official status
- The primary administrator of the page must be a benefits-eligible employee of Fairfield University. At least one other benefits-eligible employee in your department or division must have administrative access. An assigned member of the WC staff and the account manager from Marketing and Communications must be given administrative access to the page or group. Although WC does not intend to actively engage in maintaining various sites, this designation will enable WC to properly track University social media pages and respond more quickly in the event of a problem, such as the unavailability or departure of the staff member who has administrative control of the page.
- The primary administrator must agree to be responsible for: (i) managing and monitoring the content of the social media; and (ii) removing content which may violate University policies and/or State and Federal law, from social media granted official use status. If anyone can post content to the page without administrator approval, the page must be routinely monitored. The frequency with which the page must be monitored will vary with the volume of traffic, but should not be less than three times per week.
- One way of measuring the frequency with which a page is monitored is the frequency or regularity of new information posted by the administrators. While the frequency will vary depending on the nature of the page, fan pages that have clearly been abandoned are not a service to alumni, students or prospective students. WC and/or any other department should not “inherit” responsibility for page maintenance after a department or division loses interest or staffing for management, unless it deems the page(s) to be central to the social media strategy of the institution.
- Official social network pages must comply with any design or other standards adopted for such pages by the University. The use of the brand marks, logos and designs approved by Web Communications, Digital Design and Print, and/or Marketing and Communications must be approved uses and versions.
- Assignment of account names, "handles" or other nomenclature used to identify the account and University, should be developed in consultation with the Marketing and Communications division and Web Communications staff.
- Pages created by a department on behalf of the University must be created as “Facebook Pages” rather than groups or personal profiles. A Facebook Page is a profile used by an entity (i.e. a non-individual) for business purposes. Such pages may only be created by authorized representatives of the University, which at this time are representatives of WC and Marketing and Communications. This process assures proper channels of approval and all administrative guidelines have been met. Do not create Facebook Places, Google + or Facebook Community pages for your business entity, nor create similar such pages in other social media sites. Group pages are special use and recommended for semi-private or limited access groups.
- In order to comply with Facebook terms and conditions, along with terms and conditions of many popular social media sites, and to enable the University to track authorized University pages, any department wishing to create such a page must provide WC with the name and contact information for the individual(s) who will be authorized by the department to create, operate, monitor, and edit the Facebook & Twitter account page on an ongoing basis (i.e. the “Page Administrator”). Students may be named as Page Administrators with authorization from the hiring department and WC only. In general, WC advises the use of graduate assistants and/or work study students only in special situations and where the work can be closely monitored. Many social media sites allow for a tiered permission-level of security and it is recommended that only staff be at "administrator" (full access) levels unless account operations do not allow.
- Any changes in the designated Page Administrator(s) must be promptly communicated to WC. In the case of pages created before implementation of these guidelines, the assigned administrator should maintain the page password and its association with their personal Facebook login and transfer proper administration credentials to the person(s) outlined in these guidelines.
- Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare, Instagram and other social media networks all have distinct operational aspects making them special use cases only. Foursquare and other location-based sites with marketing interest shall also be applied and operated on a case-by-case basis. No University employee outside of the ITS department or the Marketing and Communications division should create a University social media page, group, or function outside of these guidelines without authorization by Marketing and Communications. No University employee outside of the ITS department or the Marketing and Communications division should create or manage a map, GPS or map-based product online for public use. Limited exceptions for Public Safety and internal academic uses are allowed; if you have any concerns or questions, contact the Director, Web Communications. This includes photo, video, and other multimedia sharing sites, social feed or RSS distributors and the like. The University maintains and operates out of WC all accounts for Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, and similar sites and departments, programs, and other entities should consult with WC for information on their use. For Twitter, YouTube and other single user accounts, the staff member must provide username, password and other credentials to Web Communications for assurance of account sustainability and recoverability after staff/department changes.
Posting of Content