Updated: September 2023
Prepared by: Simona R. Stefanescu, Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, Office of Marketing & Communications, Santa Rosa Junior College
Internet-based social media communication platforms are an integral part of connecting with students and the community. Whether disseminating information, sharing successes, or providing a resource for answering questions, social media is a tool that can effectively and efficiently assist in building community at the college. Because it is a powerful communication tool, district employees' use of social media should be intentional, well-planned, and in line with the college’s goals and mission.
The guidelines apply to the following types of social media accounts:
- Official SRJC social media accounts – created and managed by the Office of Marketing & Communications.
- SRJC departments and programs' social media accounts. Since they publicly represent and market the college programs, those should be approved by the Marketing & Communications Office, created by Marketing & Communications in collaboration with the requester, and managed by the respective department/program staff or faculty.
The content and posts on SRJC social media accounts are bound by the following policies:
- SRJC’s Computer and Communication Technology Policy: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/santarosa/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=A5YR445FCF1B
- Facebook’s Terms of Service: https://www.facebook.com/terms
- LinkedIn’s User Agreement: https://www.linkedin.com/legal/user-agreement
- Terms of service or user agreement for any other social media platform (website, app) used.
- 1. Mission of SRJC Official Media Accounts
Official social media accounts for the Sonoma County Junior College District / Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) aim to promote, maintain, and grow an interactive online college community based on positive, supportive, and inclusive experiences for students, alumni, faculty, staff, and our extended community of fans. We strive to provide official, accurate, timely, and useful information, to continue building community, and to maintain a permanent conversation with our audience in Sonoma County and beyond.
- 2. Creation and Management of Official District Social Media Accounts
Official social media accounts for SRJC are created and managed by the Office of Marketing & Communications, which oversees the marketing and branding of the college and other college communications. These accounts are guided by a social media marketing strategy for the district and are aligned with the College's Vision, Mission, and Values, and Strategic Plan.
- 3. Approval and Creation of Other Social Media Accounts
New official/district SRJC social media accounts are created by the Office of Marketing & Communications, after a thorough evaluation of the social media usage of our community and social media marketing trends.
SRJC departments and programs' social media accounts should be approved by the Office of Marketing & Communications before creation and created by the SRJC Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, in collaboration with the department-designated administrator. The form for approval of the account also constitutes the general outline for the department/program social media plan. Click this link to access the Social Media Account Request.
Student Government Assembly accounts, other student-run accounts representing the student government programs, and club accounts should be approved by the Office of Student Life, Equity and Engagement and SGA and should follow the same social media guidelines as the college. While they are overseen by SGA, their activity still reflects upon the SRJC brand and public image.
All department/program accounts should be consistent with the identity standards and mission of the College and are subject to board policy and/or student conduct code as appropriate.
- 4. College Logo Usage and General Branding
The official SRJC logo is used only on the official District social media pages. The district’s policy regarding Computer Communication and Technology Use allows the usage of the official SRJC logo only in an official administrative capacity on behalf of the district. For additional guidance, please refer to SRJC’s Identity Guidelines document.
Department accounts, student government, and club pages should use the department/club graphics or may work with the Office of Marketing & Communications to create one. These logos need to specify that they represent a department/student government/club page.
- 5. Social Media Account Administrators
All SRJC and SRJC-connected social media accounts need to have multiple social media administrators (where technically possible), so that account access and posting do not rest with one individual.
SRJC District's official social media accounts are administered by the Marketing & Social Media Coordinator and accessed by other members of the Office of Marketing & Communications.
SRJC department and program Facebook pages should be administrated by department/program administrative assistants, staff, or faculty.
Due to their temporary assignment, short-term non-continuing employees, student employees, and students should not be charged with directly managing the college marketing functions, as this has previously led to lost account credentials and passwords. They can, however, collaborate with the department to propose topics or draft social media posts and submit them to the administrators of the accounts, for consideration.
Where possible, social media accounts should have as co-administrator the SRJC Marketing & Social Media Coordinator, to be of help in case of crisis communication or other emergencies and to provide evaluations, training, or assistance with social media marketing. Crisis communication might require timely and immediate dissemination of emergency information for students. In such cases, it is important to post official, timely, and accurate information concurrently through all campus/center social media accounts. Examples of crises may include flooding, earthquakes, college closures, power outages, fires, and more.
Where having multiple administrators is not technically possible (i.e. Instagram, Threads, etc.), SRJC departments’ and programs’ other social media account administrating information (account ID, password) should be stored with the administrative assistant / staff of the department or program. This ensures the continuation of the account and that the department admin can transfer this information to new social media admins, in case the current one resigns, changes jobs, is unavailable, etc.
SRJC Student Government accounts should be managed by SGA members and Student Life, Equity & Engagement employees.
Student club accounts should be managed by club leaders/members and faculty advisors.
- 6. Training of Account Administrators
Training and consulting for all social media accounts connected with the College are provided by request by the District’s Marketing & Social Media Coordinator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment.
- 7. Content Responsibility and Quality
Social media administrators are responsible for the accuracy and appropriateness of the content they are posting. This involves verifying the accuracy of the content and using only reliable sources (for example, major news agencies or respected news sources, rather than blogs/popular culture websites; an official SRJC source rather than a roommate.)
In case of errors, the best policy is to honestly apologize, correct/edit the post, or remove the post if that is requested or an editing tool is not available. Removal of posts can be done in case they use an image not approved, with unclear copyright, or at the request of the person in the image.
The quality of content should follow these best practices:
- The copy should be clean, and clear, and use proper grammar and punctuation.
- Avoid language that is too academic or specialized since the public is diverse and multi-lingual.
- Avoid slang and anything that may be offensive.
- Avoid acronyms – spell out words to introduce an acronym.
- The information should be verified and appropriate for college accounts.
- The photo quality should be reasonable. Use high-quality photos whenever possible. Avoid photos that are too small, pixelated, dark, etc.
- The video quality should be at least HD (high-definition). Any recent phone can shoot HD video.
- 8. Monitoring the Social Media Accounts
Administrators of social media accounts should monitor the accounts closely so that messages and comments can be responded to appropriately and timely (same day of the request, during regular business hours) and abusive messages and spam can be resolved or removed promptly, when appropriate.
When monitoring accounts, administrators must follow free speech laws and should not remove any post in a manner that would violate a user’s First Amendment rights. Protected speech includes comments and posts that may be contrary to the political position of the account administrator and/or the Mission and Vision of the College. If an administrator is not sure if any specific instance of speech is protected, please reach out to the Office of Marketing & Communications for additional guidance.
- 9. Basic Best Practices for Social Media Accounts Activity
The main purpose of social media accounts is to engage respectfully and be of service to our students and community, to promote accurate and consistent public information meant to help our students, and to highlight our educational activities. In doing so, please keep the accounts conversational, social and engaging, rather than promotional. Social media has to stay “social” rather than constantly advertising or self-promoting.
- Use the account approval form as your social media strategy outline or draft a social media strategy outline if you don’t have one.
- Establish a frequency of posts and follow them.
- The content posted on social media by administrators should follow the general rules of transparency, honesty, common sense, use of clear and proper language.
- Profanities and bullying are not allowed in any social media activity - posts and comments. Disagreement should be stated respectfully.
- Use correct grammar and punctuation and a conversational tone, without being very academic.
- Do not post flyers on social media, since those images are not ADA-compliant.
- The recommended balance of content is 80% - 20% (80% about the public you serve and 20% promoting your program/club/events.)
- Constantly monitor your social media accounts and remove spam and unsolicited advertising posted by others in a timely manner.
- Answer all messages to the page/account in a timely manner.
- Use photo release forms when featuring stories and profile pictures. Obtain verbal/email approval of the people pictured outdoors and inform them where the pictures will be posted.
- It is against the copyright law to post pictures you don’t own or have approval for. All pictures posted on your social media should be:
- free of copyright; or
- owned by you; or
- have written approval for use from the owner of the copyright
- Do not plagiarize. Use proper quotations and name the source. If you share somebody’s post, using the sharing tools available on social media, always give credit. If you share links/articles, mention the source.
- Do not promote or endorse illegal activities, drug use, or pornography.
- Do not incite to violence or disorder.
- Do not promote any political posts.
- Do not use the College’s social media outlets and brand for personal gain or promotion.
- 10. Class and Enrollment Promotion via Social Media
The District’s social media accounts are using paid advertising to promote enrollment, featuring in the ads a diversity of classes, programs, and students.
Class promotion on the District’s accounts should follow the basic guidelines:
- Promote NEW classes, initiated to adapt our programs to industry trends (examples: drone operations, gaming, etc.)
- Promote classes mandated by the state: Example: College Skills classes replacing the remedial classes.
- Show activities done in classes, with photos and explanations submitted by faculty (examples: special experiments done in science classes, field trips, farming activities, etc.).
- Classes featured in the newspapers – for example, photos of an instructor teaching a specific class, etc.
Furthermore, specific/general interest classes can be promoted on the department/program’s social media accounts.
- 11. Paid Advertising on Social Media
Paid advertising is done through the district’s social media accounts, according to the Office of Marketing & Communication’s marketing plan for districtwide enrollment advertising.
Departments and programs that have allocated a budget for paid promotions and are requesting paid advertisement should coordinate these with the advertising specialists in the Office of Marketing & Communications.
- 12. Endorsements, Solicitations, Commercial Use
As per our College policy, college social media or any other electronic (email) accounts cannot be used for solicitations, endorsements, or commercial use. Our District official accounts and department/program accounts cannot promote fundraisers. As a publicly-funded institution, we cannot endorse external commercial partners or sell. However, we can mention fundraisers hosted by external partners for SRJC programs.
Exceptions to this are the fundraisers approved by the District’s Board of Trustees and initiated by the SRJC Foundation.
Endorsements, fundraisers, and/or social media contests should follow the Federal Trade Commission’s rules.
Federal Trade Commission: Making Effective Disclosures
Federal Trade Commission: What People are Asking
Particularly since we have a Wine Program and our fundraisers might involve wine events, any promotion of this kind should follow the Department of the Treasury - Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau rules - Use of Social Media in the Advertising of Alcohol Beverages, May 2013.
- 13. Privacy and Confidentiality
The administrators of social media accounts should not request or publish any personal sensitive information from anyone, such as dates of birth, student account numbers, social security numbers, addresses, etc.
Personal information and assistance regarding registration, financial aid, counseling, etc. cannot be provided through social media but through the specific departments within the college. If any similar questions are addressed through social media, the best practice is to guide the student to the specific department where the question can be answered in person or by phone/email.
The privacy of all students is guaranteed through FERPA - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
- 14. Customer Service Through Social Media
An important function of any social media, customer service offered via SRJC official or department/program/student government/club accounts must comply with FERPA regulations
Our approach is to pay close and timely attention to private messages and comments through social media, offer personalized responses to the best of our knowledge and guide the students who might have a question to departments and programs where they can get more information and assistance. We strive to keep this conversation friendly and to serve our community.
Questions via social media should be answered within general limits. Through public or private messages, we can answer general inquiries as:
• Academic calendar deadlines
• Hours of functioning
• Parking tips
• Provide information and links from our website about programs of study, majors
• Links to the housing resources offered on the website
• Links to the job resources listed on our website
• Financial aid or scholarship general deadlines, etc.
• International student inquiries
The public information listed on our website is a great resource. Point to the specific section on the SRJC website as often as possible. Offer a phone number listed on the department’s website or an email for more information, if it is within reach. Most times students or community members are not aware of the resources on the website or are contacting us via mobile and have limited capabilities to access the full website.
- 15. For Fans and Followers Interacting with our Accounts
The College values free speech and respects the opinions of individuals. However, foul language, bullying, and spam advertising are not tolerated.
Disagreements can be solved in a respectful manner and in a polite tone.
The social media for Santa Rosa Junior College aims to be a place for dialogue and engagement and to serve our community of current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.
- 16. Non-Discrimination
The Sonoma County Junior College District does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, ethnic group identification, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic condition, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information or sexual orientation in any of its policies, procedures or practices; nor does the District discriminate against any employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their age.
- 17. Useful Links
SRJC Mission and Vision: http://strategic-planning.santarosa.edu/vision-mission-and-values
SRJC Strategic Plan: http://strategic-planning.santarosa.edu/2014-19-strategic-plan
SRJC Policy regarding Computer Communication and Technology Use: https://go.boarddocs.com/ca/santarosa/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=A5YR445FCF1B
SRJC Non-Discrimination Policy: http://www.santarosa.edu/polman/8stuserv/8.2.1.pdf
Department of The Treasury - Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau - Use of Social Media in the Advertising of Alcohol Beverages, May 2013 - https://www.ttb.gov/images/industry_circulars/archives/2013/13-01.html
External Links:Copyright Law of the United States: http://copyright.gov/title17/
FERPA - The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act - http://admissions.santarosa.edu/family-educational-rights-and-privacy-act-1974-ferpa
Federal Trade Commission rules regarding advertising disclosures and endorsements - https://www.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/attachments/press-releases/ftc-staff-revises-online-advertising-disclosure-guidelines/130312dotcomdisclosures.pdf
Updates – FAQ – Federal Trade Commission Disclosures: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/ftcs-endorsement-guides-what-people-are-asking - May 2015