Why we use social media:
To build online awareness of The Citadel brand
To build a sense of community among The Citadel's audiences
To foster word-of-mouth promotion among The Citadel's audiences and the general public
During recent years, social media has become a necessary and powerful communications tool for all organizations. Sharing news of The Citadel, events, and promoting achievements of faculty, staff, cadets, students, and alumni through social media is an effective and low-cost way to engage our audience. The key to creating a successful social media presence requires careful planning and resource allocation. Before you create a social media account on behalf of The Citadel, please remember the following:
Obtain necessary approval. Before creating a social media account for your school, department or club, make sure you obtain approval from both the director of the respective group and from the Office of Communications and Marketing. Only authorized employees of The Citadel may be content owners or administrators for college social media websites.
Who will administer each account? Having multiple content owners or administrators at all times for every social media account will ensure that the account can continue to thrive and be updated regularly should one of the administrators change jobs or leave the college.
Consider the time commitment. Social media is a conversation; it only works if there is regular interaction between posts and comments. Administrators must take the necessary time to generate interesting, interactive content and build relationships with their online community. Expect to spend at least 30 minutes a day keeping your page current, responding to comments and developing engaging content.
Make it easy for people to find your page. To maximize exposure and participation with your social media account, make it as easy as possible for the public to find it when searching online. Avoid using only acronyms when naming your social media pages. If possible, include "The Citadel" within the page title. Maintain consistency with account naming conventions across all social media platforms. It is beneficial to include links to your social media accounts from your school, department or club website at citadel.edu. Similarly, be sure to include contact information and the URL to your website within your social media profile.
What to post:
Accuracy: Check your post for spelling mistakes; remember, you are representing The Citadel, a respected institution of higher learning. If you make an error, correct it quickly. Make sure you have all the facts before you post. All research, data reporting, and analysis shared on social media should be verified for accuracy. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible.
Respect: Think before you post. When posting on behalf of The Citadel, keep your personal opinions private; your posts are viewed as representing the views of The Citadel. Treat those with whom you engage online with respect. Deal with problem contributors politely through direct messages, if necessary. If you have any questions about the appropriateness of the material you are posting, check with your supervisor.
Engaging your audience: Keep content conversational. Talk like you would in normal conversation -- avoid contrived language. Include related graphics, when possible, to catch your audience's attention. Keep posts brief and memorable -- everyone is overwhelmed every day with information, much of which is unsolicited and not relevant. Social media is designed to be a two-way communication tool, so know your audience, and listen. Be relevant and dynamic. Try to post content that encourages comments or an action from your audience.
Timeliness: Social media presumes 24/7 interaction. Try to post updates regularly, or at least several times a week. Check posts on your account daily, and respond as appropriate. While regular and timely updates and discussions are key to building your community, please also keep in mind that you don't want to overload your audience with too much information.
Photographs: Due to the unique military culture at The Citadel, it is especially important to carefully select the photos you share with your audience. Pause and double check that the cadets featured in each photograph are wearing the proper uniform and that every detail of the uniform is in place. Feature cadets who are in good standing with the college and abide by the college's high standards of principled leadership. When in doubt about a photo, clear it with the Office of the Commandant. If you share a photo and learn that the particular image could be problematic, remove it promptly. In order to preserve the rights of our images, use clear, but low-resolution images on your social media page.
Make sure you have permission from the photographer to share their images. Citadel departments may share any official college photo taken by the campus photographer. If you are sharing event photos that feature minors, be sure you have a signed photo release form from their guardian.
Confidentiality: Do not post confidential information about The Citadel or any members of the college community. FERPA, HIPAA and public information laws should all be considered when posting on social media. Do not post anything you would not want to be published on the front page of a daily newspaper.
Responding to negative comments: Social media gives you an opportunity to set the record straight or acknowledge an error and rectify it. Acknowledgment can strengthen public opinion toward an organization. When you find yourself disagreeing with what the public is posting to your social media account, keep your responses appropriate, polite, and avoid being defensive. Be respectful of other people's opinions. Having thoughtful discussions on important topics is a great to way to build your community and is a very important aspect of having a successful social media site.
In order to be trusted by your audience, avoid deleting negative posts or comments from the public, unless they are degrading or harassing of an individual or group. Please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing for guidance should a questionable situation arise.
Expanding your Facebook reach: If you post something to Facebook and feel it may interest the public at large (ex: an event or announcement of a significant award), please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing. OCM will consider this content for The Citadel's primary Facebook account, and if appropriate, will share that post directly from your department or office's page, gaining exposure not only for the post but for your Facebook page as well.
Sharing campus-wide news: When telling your Facebook audience about a campus-wide event or significant college announcement, check The Citadel's primary Facebook account and directly 'share' its post about that content to your page (instead of composing your own post). This demonstrates that The Citadel is a connected campus, ensures that you are sharing approved content, and helps the campus communicate consistently.
If you have any questions about The Citadel's social media policy, contact Stanton Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org