These guidelines are intended to serve as a basic outline for how to best use social media channels representing the university, but should not be viewed as a comprehensive list of policies. Ask your supervisor for further guidance, follow all local, state and federal laws, and comply with other university policies.
If you want to exchange ideas with University of Texas at Austin colleagues who are engaging with social media, subscribe to the Social Media Collaborative mailing list, and let the discovery and collaboration begin.
Each college, school and unit at the university should evaluate what, if any, social media technologies are appropriate for their communication needs. When using social media on behalf of the university, do so with thought and purpose.
- Listening: Find and monitor the conversations already taking place in the social media sphere about the university, your unit and your subject of interest. Influencing: Identify and follow key influencers in your target subject of interest and learn what they find valuable in the social media realm.
- Engaging: Develop creative ways to provide value to your audiences through exclusive content, offers, advice, multimedia and more on your social media sites.
- Converting: Persuade your audiences to act on behalf of the university and your unit, whether it’s for information sharing or relationship building or through their influence, time or money.
- Measuring: Ensure your social media effort is on the road to success by returning regularly to your pre-defined measurable goals and objectives.
Before debuting a social media initiative, develop a social media strategy that should be a part of your unit’s overall communications plan. This strategy should be approved by your unit leader before releasing the social media property to the public. Provide your official University of Texas at Austin social media site URLs to the University Communications Social Media team. Doing so encourages cross-site collaboration with all university-managed social media properties and creates a one-stop directory for the university community to connect with our social media platforms.
Social media sites at the university should be marked “official” in some way, where appropriate (for example, in a Twitter bio or in the Facebook “about” section) and follow the university’s brand and visual guidelines. Official University of Texas at Austin social media properties should provide contact names and email addresses, or correct website URLs that point back to the university’s Web properties.
All University of Texas at Austin social media sites should be monitored (and moderated, where appropriate) to ensure the community is following the unit-developed site and comments guidelines. UT Austin-managed social media sites can’t host advertising. On third-party social media platforms, if ads can be turned off on university pages, they should be. Do not endorse other brands, businesses or products without appropriate approval.
All University of Texas at Austin-managed social media sites should meet the university’s Information Security Office standards. We emphasize the importance of controlling the administration of organizational social media accounts; that is, keeping the number of administrative publishers to a minimum and having rules in place for managing login credentials. Don’t share your social media passwords around the workplace or classroom.
All University of Texas at Austin-managed social media sites should meet the university’s Web Accessibility Policy. University pages on third-party social media sites should make the best effort to follow Web accessibility guidelines. University-managed social media sites can be hosted by third parties as long as they meet Web accessibility and Information Security Office guidelines. Follow copyright and fair use laws to the letter. Be aware of and follow the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974 protecting students’ personally identifiable information in educational records. Protect confidential or personal information from The University of Texas at Austin and of students, faculty or staff members. If you have any questions about what constitutes classified data, consult the Extended List of Category-I Data.