Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices
Elizabethtown College embraces the use of social media and recognizes it as a powerful tool to build relationships, communicate effectively, and create a space for thoughtful, purposeful engagement. Effective social media usage should strive to result in positive promotion of our institution and a higher level of engagement with our broader community.
The following social media guidelines and best practices apply to all social media postings on a College-sponsored social media account, or as a representative of the College on a non-institutional social media account. All Etown campus community members are encouraged to engage in responsible, professional social media practices and conversations that support and reinforce our brand messaging. Violations by account administrators are subject to sanctions outlined in the Elizabethtown College Employee Handbook.
Policy for Posting on Behalf of Elizabethtown College
All social media administrators posting on behalf of Elizabethtown College on affiliated accounts are expected to use all forms of social media lawfully and with respect for others. Administrators are ultimately responsible for the legality, reliability, and appropriateness of posts and comments.
All social media accounts created on behalf of the College must be linked to a department’s administrative email account or an employee’s Etown email. An employee should not use a personal email account to establish a College-related social media account. Make sure at least two employees have administrative access to a social account at all times. All accounts should have a succession plan in place if an administrator changes their status at the College.
Etown-affiliated accounts are prohibited from:
- Posting content that violates city, state or federal laws and regulations
- Sharing college-related information that is not a matter of public record
- Posting or commenting about legal matters or when the topic being discussed may be considered an emergency or crisis
- Endorsing products, private businesses, causes or political candidates
- Sharing personal opinions as College-endorsed views
Social media accounts representing Etown, and the administrators of those accounts, are subject to regular review and/or removal if their actions and the consequences of those actions harm the institution's reputation.
Creating an Elizabethtown College-Affiliated Social Media Account
All Elizabethtown College campus community members are encouraged to contact the Office of Marketing & Communications (OMC) before creating an Etown-affiliated social media account to share their intentions/plans for the account and to inform OMC who will be managing it.
Developing new social media accounts is a long-term commitment and as such, important questions should be considered beforehand to ensure the success of a new account:
- Who is the audience you are intending to reach? Will this platform allow you to reach this target audience?
- Who will serve as the administrator of this account?
- Is there a succession plan in place if an administrator changes their status at the College?
- What type of content do you plan on creating?
- Do you have the time and resources to strategize and consistently generate content for this account?
- Is your content plan sustainable?
- What will your account name be?
Following Etown Brand Standards
All Elizabethtown College-affiliated social accounts should adhere to brand guidelines, including name and profile icon use. All Etown-affiliated accounts are encouraged to use Elizabethtown College or Etown College in the account name so that users can locate you quickly. Rules and guidelines for using official Elizabethtown College logos can be accessed through the Etown digital toolkit.
Understanding the Platforms
Audience: All ages but skews toward an older demographic of parents and alumni.
Best For: Alumni profiles, student profiles, success stories, department/program news, longer-form writing and video.
Helpful Tip: Tag Elizabethtown College (@etowncollege) in your posts so they can be easily shared!
Audience: 18-35. Skews toward a younger demographic and is the best place to reach current and prospective students, as well as recent alumni.
Best For: Student photos/quotes/profiles, campus photos, course projects, short videos, event recaps, commemorative days/months.
Helpful Tip: Visuals are key on Instagram! Don’t have a good photo, video, or graphic? Reconsider posting or consider posting on a different social channel.
Best For: Student takeovers, event coverage, 9:16 videos < 1 minute
Helpful Tip: Use an @etowncollege mention sticker in your story post so that it can easily be shared!
Audience: 21-55. Main audience is professionals, but also a strong presence among millennial-aged alumni and current currents.
Best For: Alumni profiles, success stories, department/program news, sharing industry trends
Helpful Tip: Mention Elizabethtown College or use the hashtag #etowncollege in your post copy so that it can easily be shared!
Audience: 15-35. Main audience is Gen Z current and prospective students, but also a strong presence among recent alumni
Best For: Fun, less-formal content; incorporating trends, day in the life student features
Helpful Tip: Relevant hashtags and use of trending music is the best way to gain views and engagements for your videos!
Audience: All ages but skews toward an older demographic consisting of alumni and parents; faculty and staff; media
Best For: News and announcements, trending topics, success stories, short video < 1 minute
Helpful Tip: Mention @etowncollege or use #etowncollege in your post so that it can easily be shared!
- To maintain an active account that users want to follow, it is recommended to post a minimum of 2-3 times per week. Consistency is key!
- Create an editorial calendar that lists the posts you will be making on your social channels for the upcoming week/month. This can be shared and worked on collaboratively with your content creators and account administrators.
- Always include a visual in your social post! This can be a photo, video, graphic or GIF. Photos with a visual element receive more engagement.
- Social media copy should speak with a unified Elizabethtown College “voice” to help build strong brand consistency across the College.
- Include a Call to Action (CTA)! What do you want your audience to take away from your post or do next?
- Use college-related hashtags in your posts: #etowncollege, #EducateForService, #BlueJaysAlways
Engaging With Your Audience
Social media is meant to be a conversation, so it is important to set aside time to respond and engage with followers. Account administrators are responsible for monitoring and moderating comments or replies on your page from other users. Administrators are encouraged to respond to comments and replies in a timely manner. If you receive negative or concerning comments or direct messages, please make OMC aware ASAP for additional guidance and support. Negative comments should not be deleted unless they can be considered offensive. Avoid removing comments that are considered critical, express anger, or represent a difference of opinion.
All Etown-affiliated accounts reserve the right to remove any posts that:
- Contain violent, obscene, profane, hateful or racist comments
- Offensive or inappropriate language
- Threatening language directed at a person or organization
- Would be considered spam
- Are multiple, off-topic posts by a single-user
If you believe a comment demonstrates a credible threat, please immediately notify Elizabethtown College Campus Safety.