Social Media Tips and Guidelines
Social Media at the University at Buffalo School of
“Social media” refers to a wide variety of
interactive media using text, pictures, video, and audio.
Traditional mass media are produced in static form, and read or
studied by recipients. Social media turns recipients into
participants, enabling them to comment on, and contribute to,
content almost instantaneously. Examples of social media: blogs,
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
You can use social media at the UB School of Management via one
of the school’s many existing social media sites, or you can
create your own site. Sites can include:
- Program sites or pages (for a particular academic discipline,
service program, or student organization).
- Class sites or pages (for a particular class section).
- Affinity site (for a particular group of faculty, staff, or
You may wish to consider a program, class or affinity presence
- You anticipate posting frequent information (e.g. every few
- You plan to provide ongoing conversation and dialoguing
- You have a large number of potential
Creating your own program, class, or affinity presence carries
special responsibilities. Doing so means:
- Being prepared to monitor the page daily, including
weekends, holidays, and breaks.
- Posting new content and keep it fresh every few days.
- Responding to inquiries within 24 hours. The Web doesn’t
stop when you leave the office or classroom and neither should your
commitment to monitor and respond via social networks. A social
media page with little activity reflects poorly on your department
and on the university as a whole.
- Responding to comments or moderate dialogue at least once every
- Recruiting a “backup manager” and well-defined
“succession plan” for the point you leave the school or
are unable to perform your social media duties.
- Ensuring model/consent release forms have been completed and
signed by the subjects of any photos or videos from nonpublic
events. In the case of minors, a parent or guardian signature must
also be obtained in advance. Model consent/release forms are
available from School of Management communications staff.
UB School of Management presences on social media sites are
considered to be an extension of the website, and most guidelines
that apply to the website (such as brand and identity guidelines)
will also apply to your social media site.
Student Clubs/Organizations: The advisor(s) of any student
club/organization must have administrative access to their
club’s social media account(s), with authority to review,
monitor and, if necessary, change content.
To ensure continuity of the School of Management’s online
identity, if you are exploring the creation of your own office or
administrative department presence on a social media site, please
contact School of Management communications staff. They can help
- Discuss the social media process and requirements.
- Help you determine if you should develop your own social media
account or use one of the school’s primary sites; identify
your site goals and content strategy; determine your anticipated
audience; and designate one or more backup site managers.
- Address profile naming conventions, and graphics needs.
- Get your account added to the School of Management social media
- Note: Blogs should be professional in nature with content of
general interest to be included in the directory.
Social Media Content Tips
When you use social media on behalf of the UB School of
Management, or in your role as a member of the UB community, keep
these tips in mind.
- Write about what you know.
- Be colloquial. Remember that social media communication has
some of the characteristics of speech and some of the
characteristics of writing.
- Respond quickly. The ability to publish your thoughts quickly
is a great benefit of social media. Aim to publish posts or comment
about breaking news or current happenings without delay. (However,
at the same time, if you’re in doubt about a post or
something “just doesn’t feel right,” wait a while
before posting it or ask someone else to look at it before
- Seek dialogue.
- Engage your audience by posting questions, factoids, human
interest material, surveys, informative tips, puzzles and other
content to create dialogue.
- Answer questions, encourage feedback. Say thank you when posts
a positive comment.
- Connect with other pages/accounts. Find, share and comment on
content from other sources to help build awareness and a community
around your social media efforts.
Devote the Right Amount of Time to Social Media
If you plan to use social media to convey information or
commentary about your university activities:
- If you’re a member of UB School of Management staff, be
sure you have your supervisor’s OK before you take on any
ongoing social media responsibilities as part of your work
- Check your social media page or site at least once each
day, and respond or comment as appropriate.
- Arrange to maintain coverage over weekends, holidays, and
breaks. Remember that questions, positive and negative
comments, and requests don’t take breaks.
- Plan to post new content every few days. Dynamic
ever-changing social media keeps your audience intact. Static,
neglected media reflects poorly on the school.
- Be sure that you have time to manage your social media page or
site, and that you don’t neglect other responsibilities while
Disclose Your Role
When posting or commenting online, be sure to:
- Use your real name.
- When using university computers, use your university e-mail
- Include your title or role.
- Provide contact information.
Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty - or
- Be accurate and complete in anything you publish.
- Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or
- If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing,
point it out.
- Be cautious about disclosing personal details.
- If you make an error, be upfront about your mistake and correct
- If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you
have done so.
If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as
their copyrighted material, or a defamatory or inappropriate
comment), be sure to notify School of Management communications
Respect Your Audience
The public in general, and UB School of Management faculty,
staff, and students, reflect a diverse set of customs, values, and
points of view. So:
- Be yourself, but maintain a tone of respect in all posts and
- Remain consistent with content on the School of Management
- Take responsibility for your views and opinions, and make it
clear to your audience that you are speaking for yourself, not for
the entire school.
- Respond respectfully to anyone who posts comments you disagree
with. Have a “thick skin,” and be prepared for negative
responses or comments.
- Always avoid personally offensive comments, ethnic slurs,
potentially defamatory statements, insults, arguments, and
obscenity. Be careful about objectionable or inflammatory topics,
such as politics and religion.
- If you maintain staff/supervisor or faculty/student
relationships online, these should function in the same manner as
Respect Copyright and Trademark Laws
Today’s copyright laws were created with “old”
media in mind. Copyright law as it relates to online media is still
emerging. So follow some general rules of thumb:
- Never quote more than short excerpts of someone else’s
work, and always attribute these quotes to the original
- When paraphrasing or discussing material drawn from another
source, always attribute the material to the original
- When possible, link to others’ work, rather than
- Avoid reproducing any corporate logo or trademark.
- Avoid disclosing personally identifiable details, such as home
addresses, birth dates, or financial information.
- Report any actual or suspected hacking, impersonation, or
online fraud for referral to law enforcement authorities.
- Maintain privacy settings appropriate to your program, class,
or affinity group.
Adhere to spelling and grammatical rules
- Use a spell checker – and manually proofread anything you
post before it goes up.
- When in doubt about usage, consult the Associated Press
- Promote or criticize any business organization.
- Endorse or criticize a product.
- Seek money or payments for any purpose.
Don’t Engage in Controversy or Crisis Communication
Refer controversial inquiries or posts to School of Management
Don’t Make Comments to the News Media
Reporters, editors, commentators, and bloggers follow social
media closely. If you’re contacted by a member of the news
media, refer the inquiry to School of Management communications
staff. This includes any request for comment from a blog or
website. Communications staff will advise you whether you should
respond directly, or whether the school should issue a response or
Don’t Engage in Political Activity
The University at Buffalo is a public organization, and we are
generally prohibited from engaging in political or partisan
discourse. When posting content in connection with the university
and/or using university hardware, software, or networks, avoid:
- Partisan positions
- Political endorsements
- Promotion of legislation
Don’t Tell Secrets
It's perfectly acceptable to talk about your work or unviersity
activities, and have a dialog with others, but it's not okay to
publish confidential information. Confidential information includes
things such as private student, staff or faculty information,
grades or records.
Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the
public to see. Google has a long memory.