II. USM Social Media Presence
USM Primary Social Media Marketing Accounts
Colleges, Departments, Administrative Offices and Other USM Entities or Persons
III. USM Social Media Account Administration
IV. USM Brand and Voice
V. Policy for Followers of USM Social Media
VI. Guiding Principles for USM Faculty and Staff
Administrators of Official USM Social Media Marketing and Communications Accounts
VII. Policies for Facebook Promotions
VIII. Following the USM Social Media Marketing and Communications Policy
USM Marketing and Brand Management Contact Information
Social Media is an important marketing and communication for the University of Southern Maine and is used to engage our audiences – including prospective students, existing students, alumni, corporate partners, donors, community members, and the media. Social Media requires a consistent and significant time commitment to be successful. USM Marketing has experienced staff members for whom Social Media is part of their role. It’s been estimated that each week, they dedicate between 12-17 hours to managing our social media platforms. Social Media provides an important opportunity for two-way communication. For instance, in addition to our posts, we monitor our pages throughout each day and help users of our page by addressing issues, providing emergency updates and answering any questions they post. Misuse of social media can have a detrimental impact on our university.
Our goal is to ensure that USM’s marketing and communications through social media are as consistent, accurate and timely as possible across all platforms.
USM Marketing and Brand Management will continuously review our strategies and best practices for using social media in marketing and communications. Since social media is evolving rapidly, the USM Social Media Marketing Policy is intended to be a document that will evolve over time.
The University of Southern Maine has identified primary social media accounts that tie directly to our marketing and communication objectives to increase enrollment and raise the profile of USM.
The USM community can contribute to a successful social media effort by submitting your news, events, and other information to Marketing and Brand Management. Leveraging our expertise in social media for marketing and communications and our dedicated staff members will save you much time and ensure your content is distributed to the greatest number of USM followers in a timely and engaging manner. You can submit your news, events, and information via email to Andrea Tripp, Interactive Marketing Manager. In your email, be sure to include a full description, photograph or video, and link. We give preference to content that is timely, highlights student and/or faculty achievements and/or engagement with our communities, and allows us to showcase USM as "Maine’s Metropolitan University." We do not post advertisements, promotional material, or information for non-USM events.
If you feel that you need a separate social media presence for marketing and communication purposes, and you have the resources and time required for successful management, please complete the Social Media Planning Form. Marketing and Brand Management will review the form and contact you about setup process, administration, profile naming conventions, approved graphics, etc. Marketing and Brand Management can provide guidance, training, and tips to ensure your marketing and communications presence through social media is as successful as possible. Any entity or person creating a social media presence that represents USM must clearly identify itself as such.
Since the primary purpose of social media is to engage an audience, any USM social media presence already in place, will be assessed periodically for effectiveness by Marketing and Brand Management. If necessary, we will work with you directly to discuss ways to improve your social media presence.
Marketing and Brand Management will oversee the strategy of USM’s primary social media marketing and communications presence (see Section II). For all social media accounts, there should be two or more administrators. All USM social media marketing and communications accounts should have one administrator from Marketing and Brand Management. A full-time, regular faculty or staff member should be an administrator for a specific college, department, or administrative office. A USM student can be an administrator with appropriate oversight from a full-time faculty or staff member.
If you are managing a social media presence for your office, school or college, it is important to maintain a consistent brand and voice in USM’s social media marketing and communications presence. It is also important to post between one to two times per day and to monitor the page each day. Please see the USM Style Guide for appropriate naming conventions and logo usage.
The adjectives used to describe USM’s voice are welcoming, lively, friendly, positive, engaging, professional, and conversational. Conversely, the USM voice conveyed should not be stodgy, stiff, uninviting, negative, or mundane. Sometimes it is helpful to have your audience in mind (perhaps even a specific person that would represent that audience). Then speak first and write second. If you say your post out loud first, it might help you to discern what kind of personality is conveyed. Here are two examples using the same news content:
|USM voice example:
Lively, positive — a social conversation starter
|Less engaging example:
Factual statement — like a press release
Followers (or fans) of USM social media may include existing students, staff, faculty, prospective students and their parents or guardians, guidance counselors, and community members. The Policy for USM Followers will be posted in a tab on the primary USM Official Facebook account (Fan Page) defined in Section II.
Policy for USM Followers
Be transparent: If you are posting in social media as part of your job, it must be obvious that you work for the university. If you are posting about USM on your personal time, please identify your connection to USM either in your post or in your personal profile description; identities should not be hidden, it's both poor practice and regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You are also required by the FTC to reveal if you have been compensated in any way for promoting USM.
Be respectful: Retain dignity and civility. Act professionally and encourage feedback and two-way communication. We welcome differing opinions and ask that posters respect differing opinions from others. Encourage others to be respectful as well. Keeping a good outlook will serve as a positive model for others.
Be accurate: Think before you post. Make sure you have all the facts first and think about what you want to say. It might be helpful to remember that anything posted on the Internet is public and lasts forever. Even if you delete a post, archival systems may save this information.
In addition to having all of the facts, be sure to check your grammar and spelling carefully. Give yourself enough time to review your comments before posting. Remember that you are representing the University of Southern Maine.
Maintain confidentiality: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University of Southern Maine, its students, its alumni, or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA.
Be mindful of copyright laws: Show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others.
If you receive media inquires about USM: Contact Judie O’Malley.
If you are an administrator, please also abide by the following policies:
Understand the social media platform: For any social media platform that you administer, learn the rules of engagement, features, functionality, and terms of service for that platform.
Be engaging: Use engaging content that will spark the interest of your connections. For instance, rich media such as pictures and videos are considered to be the most engaging type of content in social media. You can also share links to relevant news, articles, blogs, and other social media sites.
Listen and ask questions: Another way to be more engaging is to listen and ask questions of our audiences. By listening carefully, USM can gain a better understanding of the content preferences and needs of the audience. We also need to respond to posts in a timely manner (within 24 – 48 hours at a maximum, but less time than that is preferred). Ask questions in order to gain feedback and insight.
Respond to negative feedback: In addition to responding to posts in a timely manner, it is also very important to respond quickly, appropriately and respectfully to negative feedback. Always respond when a comment is erroneous to make a tactful and respectful correction. Try to turn negatives to positives and think of negative feedback as a way to improve service. Contact Marketing and Brand Management if you need assistance.
If followers post comments that violate the law or University of Maine System Policy; contain advertisements, SPAM, or other solicitation; contain personal attacks or language that can be considered offensive, vile, or threatening to a person or group of people; remove or simply do not respond to the comment, depending on which Social Media platform is used and the functionality of the platform.
Be relevant and timely: Communicating relevant and timely content is the key to building engagement. Our audience will be more likely to engage with our posts if we reference topics that are already top of mind to them, such as current events, holidays, or news.
All contests that you plan to promote using a USM Facebook Page must be approved by Marketing and Brand Management.
Promotions include “sweepstakes” or “raffles” (winner is selected based on chance) and “contests” or “competitions” (winner is judged based on specific criteria or skill). Facebook has very strict promotion guidelines about using their platform. According to these guidelines, official rules, terms, and eligibility must be clearly stated. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook must also be clearly stated. A fan’s personal timeline cannot be used as a way to enter a contest, such as “share this on your own or a friend’s Timeline.” We can alternatively use a third party application to administer similar promotions; Marketing and Brand Management recommends Wildfire.
If you are considering creating a promotion, you will need to ensure your contest abides by Maine state regulations. You will also need to develop contest rules that should be reviewed by the University of Maine System Legal Counsel. It is also recommended that you discuss your contest with the CFO’s office, especially if your contest involves a tuition/fee waiver or prize worth over $1,000.
Please contact Marketing and Brand Management for details.
Anyone interacting in USM Social Media is required to follow this policy. The University of Southern Maine will not tolerate content that infringes on proprietary information, or that is defamatory, obscene, harassing, or that otherwise violates law or University of Maine System Policy. Those violating this policy may be brought to the appropriate governing body for disciplinary or legal action.
For related USM policies, please refer to the following:
- Student Conduct
- Faculty Handbook
- University of Maine System Policy
- Acceptable Use of Information Resources Policy
USM Marketing and Brand Management Contact Information:
Interactive Marketing Manager
Email or 207-780-4814
Tracy St. Pierre
Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Email or 207-780-4771