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Social media policy

This policy sits alongside the social media framework – please read these pages too.

Definition of ‘official’ accounts

An official University of Warwick social media account is defined as any account representing a department/faculty/team/service or similar in an official corporate context. It does not apply to accounts for individual members of staff using social media in a personal context – either academic or administrative - although some parts of this policy may be useful for individuals to be aware of.

If a member of staff is using an individual social media account for work-related purposes, they should be aware of this policy and also make it clear on their accounts that the views held are their own and not of the University of Warwick.

Before an account is created

Before any official University of Warwick social media account is created, you must get approval from the University’s Marketing department. We will also then be able to add you to the University’s social media directory.

The basics

  • Do not post offensive, illegal or libellous material
  • Do not post sensitive or confidential information
  • Do not share your passwords.
  • If a team member who has access to your social media profiles leaves, reset your passwords
  • Be open, honest and human
  • Post regularly – ideally at least once a day during the working week
  • Monitor your accounts and respond to incoming messages
  • Refer to our social media framework to help shape your social media voice and style

Copyrighted material

You must not post or use copyrighted material – including, but not limited to, photography, music and video – without the explicit permission of the copyright holder. For any queries about copyright, contact University Marketing.

You are, however, encouraged to use creative commons media, provided you attribute sources correctly – for an example of how to do this, see the use of images on the social media framework pages on Insite. Good sources of creative commons media include Compfight and Wikimedia Commons.

Retweets/sharing posts from other users

Sharing posts from other users – e.g. retweeting – is a big part of social media and something you should look to do; just be careful what and who you share content from. While functions such as retweets do allow you to establish some distance between your account and the original author, you will still be held accountable if you share anything offensive, illegal, libellous or similar.

Also, be aware of whose content you are sharing; for example, accounts offering essay writing services may send you fairly harmless messages that you may like to share – e.g. congratulating students at graduation – but it would be inappropriate for an official University account to be associated with their author.

Account management

Where possible, have more than one team member responsible for updating and monitoring social media accounts. This is far more sustainable and it allows for team members being on annual leave/off sick or otherwise out of the office.

Censorship

Where possible, do not delete comments or responses from your followers unless they are illegal/libellous/sexist/racist etc – people are entitled to their opinion even if it is a negative one. A comment that is simply negative or that disagrees with your opinion is not grounds for removal. For more information, see the section on ‘monitoring and responding’ in the social media framework on Insite.

Account ownership

Official University of Warwick accounts are owned, ultimately, by the University of Warwick. For projects/accounts where the University is collaborating with another institution, account ownership will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) guidance

All staff have a responsibility to comply with consumer protection law as it applies to universities. Consumer protection legislation has applied to the HE sector for some time, however recently-issued guidance from the Competition and Markets Authority means that considerable focus is trained on HEIs’ practice, particularly with regards to student recruitment-focused activity – including on social media.

The CMA is monitoring universities’ progress towards compliance with legislative provision. All staff should understand the provisions of the legislation and specifically the impact upon their area of work to ensure that appropriate account is taken.

Please familiarise yourself with the CMA guidance pages of the Academic Registrar’s Office website

CMA good practice

- If you get asked a question you don't know the answer to, do ask someone more knowledgeable if you can, and refer enquirers to specific services where you know specialist knowledge or expertise resides.

- Talk about current conditions affecting courses of study, rather than speculating about the future.

- Be careful to describe provision, services, experiences, in a tone and using vocabulary which is clearly rooted inevidence that is available for applicants to look at e.g. linking through to relevant webpages. You should try to answer questions in a factual way.

- Don't risk misleading people by omission. Don't leave things out, such as hidden course costs.

- Be clear about whether your social media account is administered by the institution or by students. Any student-run accounts should be referred to as providing a personal account of current students' experiences.

Competitions

Competitions are a great way to boost engagement on social media accounts, but can easily and unintentionally violate terms and conditions of different social networks. If you want to run a competition, please first contact the University’s Marketing department. You will also need to agree to the following terms:

  • Competition details and winners will be announced using the same account i.e. a competition’s winners should not be announced by an individual if the contest was organised via a departmental account.
  • A full list of competition terms and conditions should be written in advance, posting on a suitable webpage and linked to when the competition is announced.
  • Permission to run competitions should also be sought from your head of department.

For more information, contact Dave Musson, Senior Online Communications Officer (Social Media) on d dot musson at warwick dot ac dot uk.

Although this policy is aimed at staff wanting to create official social media accounts for the University of Warwick, you are free to reproduce and adapt it for your own use – please credit the University of Warwick.

Video and YouTube

Where possible, if you want to post video content on YouTube this should be done via the official University channel, where we can either create a specific playlist for your department/area or add your video to an existing one. To add your video to the University's YouTube channel, please contact University Marketing and bear the following in mind:

• Videos are to be well produced with high production values, within reason. Meaning that although videos do not need to be professionally produced, they must have high audio quality and include content that adds value to a viewer in a clear, engaging manner.

• Content of the videos is to support key university strategic objectives e.g. Student Recruitment, Research Dissemination

• If a video is be hosted on the University of Warwick’s YouTube channel, the content must be aimed at an external audience

• All video content must not contravene the points included in the University’s official social media guidelines and policy, which take into account both the legal and HR implications of content sharing