Social media is defined as “different forms of electronic communication through which users create communities to share information and create connections.”
The purpose of these guidelines is to help create a cohesive presence across social media so that all accounts affiliated with Northern Michigan University reflect the visual identity, branding and goals of the university. Though each page can and is encouraged to showcase individuality, we want to make sure all accounts associated with the university are well-executed.
These guidelines are applicable to anyone who contributes to an NMU affiliated social media account as part of their job at the university.
Please continue to use these guidelines as a reference, as they are subject to change and evolve.
Before proceeding, it is important to understand NMU’s overarching goals for our official social media presence. These goals guide everything we do on every platform we oversee.
- To create and disseminate content that is designed to encourage prospective students to visit our website and/or contact the admissions office
- To create and disseminate content that is designed to support burgeoning relationships with incoming students to increase their positive thoughts about NMU as an institution
- To maintain relationships with all other constituent groups, including but not limited to: current students, former students, alumni, community members and university faculty and staff.
- To quickly and appropriately respond to all comments, questions and concerns from our constituents within our abilities.
These goals are still applicable for departmental accounts. However, it is encouraged for departments to decide on specific goals in addition to the ones above to help guide them more pointedly when connecting with their audience.
It is most effective to have fewer, well-executed accounts than it is to be have many accounts that are inadequately used.
Not having a social media presence is less detrimental than having a social media presence that is not kept up with or not well done.
When considering creating account, first answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose of our account?
- Who is our audience (target demographic)?
- What does this audience want? What does this audience need?
- Do we have the content to sustain a long-term presence via social media?
- Do we have someone able to commit a portion of his or her time to maintaining our social media presence?
From these questions, you can decide: Is the platform we envisioned working on best suited to connect with our audience? Is it the best platform to appropriately share the information they want and need?
Next, determine the specific point of contact for the accounts. Though many of you will choose to have students helping to run your social media presence, it is always important to have one full-time staff member overseeing the account. This allows continuity within the voice of the account as students graduate and also helps ensure monitoring of the account happens daily.
To be included on our social media directory (located here) you must have a point of contact that is a full-time faculty or staff member.
Before actually creating the account, sit down with the key stakeholders in your office to make sure that you have all the information necessary to completely fill out your profile. You wouldn’t leave your resume on LinkedIn half-complete, so we wouldn’t want you to leave your departmental account half-complete either.
When naming your account, include “Northern Michigan University” or “NMU” in the name to avoid confusion. Ideally, it would be at the beginning of the name. It’s best to be as clear as possible about what your organization is in the name. Avoid acronyms or uncommon department titles.
Day-to-Day Social Media
It is important to remember to have fun with your accounts: Social media is the perfect space for honest and fun conversations about your department – encourage that in your accounts.
However, that does not mean being grammatically incorrect or too casual.
Know your audience: Please keep all posts relevant to your department – that can include industry or academic links that relate, student successes, deadlines and events, relevant job postings, etc.
A large part of maintaining a social media presence is the monitoring of the account. The monitoring process is where you are able to interact with your followers and curate the relationships that will make your social media a warm and engaging place.
It is important to set aside time each day to go through your accounts thoroughly. Each account has different ways to monitor the content but there are a few “big ones” that you should check daily.
- Check your direct messages and try to respond (if appropriate) within 24 hours.
- View comments and posts on your walls. Again, try and respond (if appropriate) within 24 hours.
- Go through your notifications and take note of post shares, check-ins or other types of interactions people have had with your account.
Monitoring content also includes the dealing with negative comments or issues that may come up. Though these are not fun, it is important to respond quickly and politely, if it is necessary to respond at all. Avoid replying with negative or antagonistic comments. Do not encourage unproductive comments.
It is important to allow your followers to voice their own opinions and thoughts. However, feel free to delete comments that are offensive, spam, political or selling.
If any comment is made or question comes up that you are unable to or unsure of how to handle, please contact University Marketing and Communications immediately (906-227-2720).
The university suggests using the hashtag #shareNMU for all posts about NMU. We encourage the use of #shareNMU specifically because it helps provide a well-rounded view of the university for prospective students, a place to interact for current students and a way for alumni and former students to connect with the current happenings at the university.
Other official university hashtags appropriate for everyday use include:
Recognized hashtags for recurring events include:
The creation of a new hashtag for a department is generally discouraged because it is not where our students are sharing their content. If you are interested in creating an event specific hashtag, please contact the marketing coordinator to learn more about how to create the best hashtag to promote your event.
Account-Specific Best Practices
Have questions on best practices for other accounts? Contact the marketing coordinator. Download a copy of these guidelines here.
Official University Accounts
Moderators of the university accounts will attempt to respond to all reasonable questions within 24 hours with an answer or with information on who or what office has the answer.
Moderators reserve the right to delete any comments that are highly offensive or nonsensical (SPAM). All comments and posts selling things, political in nature or unrelated to the university or university events will also be deleted. The university also reserves the right to hide comments at the moderator’s discretion.
Moderators of the official university accounts will do their best to tag other university accounts in posts, as appropriate. They will not tag other departments if the pages do not have engaging, interesting content, following guidelines above.
If a post goes up on a university account with grammatical errors or factual errors, it will be taken down. This is to ensure that the channels remain a positive and accurate representation of the university.
In the event of an emergency or if the university account can clarify confusion on a post, the university moderators may comment on other pages from the university’s account.
Snapchat: NMU reserves the right to screenshot any content sent directly to the NMU account, and if it is against student code, report it to the appropriate authorities. NMU will not look at student stories of accounts that have added the NMU account.
On aggregation sites and event feeds: The university may delete or not include any social post that would show up on a university website through the aggregation service for any reason.
NMU social directory: Inclusion in the NMU social directory depends on a page's adherence to the above social guidelines and the continued upkeep of a page. A page will not be added until it has been active for a minimum of 90 days and been evaluated by the university marketing and communications office. The university reserves the right to remove a department social account from the directory if it:
- does not follow the university’s above guidelines
- is inactive for 90+ days
- has no full-time faculty or staff contact
Have questions? Please feel free to contact the social media coordinator.