Using Social Media at Culverhouse
The Culverhouse College of Business recognizes the significant value of social media for connecting with stakeholders, promoting offerings, and showcasing academics and research. Social media serves as a powerful tool for fostering genuine digital connections, supporting the university’s mission of teaching, learning, and research, and engaging with a diverse audience. Emphasizing the importance of social media in higher education, Culverhouse encourages a serious approach to its use, whether refining existing strategies or starting afresh. We are here to help you navigate these platforms effectively, ensuring your message reaches the right audience.
Official University Social Media Accounts
In coordination with Legal Counsel and the UA System Office, The University of Alabama Division of Strategic Communications has recently instituted a new social media policy to support institutional administrators in their work generating content and moderating campus accounts. The complete policy can be read here, including the purpose and rationale behind its creation. See below for key highlights:
- All new accounts must be approved with StratComm at the form linked here.
- Completion of this form will induce a conversation with UA social media administration.
- Existing accounts should be registered ASAP.
- Only institutional AND generic email address should be associated with social media accounts — do not associate personal email accounts with a social media account used for work purposes, unless required for platforms such as Facebook & LinkedIn.
- There are more than 60 Culverhouse College of Business social media accounts spread across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Connect with them when creating accounts.
- Any social media account must have at least one full-time University faculty or staff member as the account manager.
- Students may be co-managers with staff supervision.
- All managers must be familiar with the UA social media policy.
- All accounts must have two other full-time University faculty or staff members with login information (user name and password) and account access at all times.
- The Culverhouse Director of Marketing and Communications will be one of the two keepers of login information.
- Use 2FA/two factor authentication with all accounts.
- Under no circumstances should unit-level social media accounts post announcements related to significant institutional news/issues/incidents that have not already been announced by the University.
- If UA institutional accounts have distributed info in a post, the best and preferred practice would be to share that post instead of creating new content.
- As a public institution, the University must afford opportunities for constitutionally protected speech. For this reason, constitutionally protected comments and remarks to a public post that allows commenting may not be removed or hidden by social media administrators.
- However, unprotected speech, including obscenity, harassment, illegal activity, defamation or other falsehoods, and spam may be removed.
- Contact the Culverhouse Director of Marketing and Communications for guidance, prior to deleting or hiding comments other than obvious spam.
- Have respect for all online community members engaging with your content. Never engage in an argument via a University-related social media account. Everything posted is a direct reflection of UA.
The University’s Social Media Policy also provides direction and details on the following topics:
- UA brand standards
- Compliance, with the law and with NCAA, SEC, and UA regulations
- Website security
- Account inactivity and platform removal
- Employee personal social media accounts
Social Media Best Practices
Regular posts keep your audience informed and demonstrate your readiness to assist, building trust and credibility. Use your platforms for instant communication and sharing current information to strengthen your connection with your audience.
Understand your audience’s interests by monitoring their posts. Stay informed about discussions related to your content. Analyze successful strategies employed by peers and competitors for useful insights.
Don’t just schedule posts and forget. Regularly check comments and engage with your audience. Exercise discretion when handling negative comments, considering responses that positively shape perceptions without immediate deletion. Familiarize yourself with Etiquette Guidelines and Social Media Decision Trees for effective comment management.
Please note that there is an additional expectation of quality for posts commensurate with the College’s reputation and prestige. You can utilize UA’s photo database maintained by Strat Comm to find high quality photos for your posts. Additionally, it’s important to have someone else look at your post before it goes out. This helps catch any mistakes or errors you may have missed.
Beyond complying with the policies summarized above and in full detail here, social media administrators should also ensure that their content:
- Is thoughtfully produced with excellent copy and high-quality imagery or graphics.
- Is distributed according to a schedule and at opportune times for maximum engagement.
- Avoids the use of text in images when at all possible.
- Has a strong call-to-action or other message (Discover/See/Connect with/Find Out/etc.) that directs users to visit a profile or visit a link to learn more.
- Has been reviewed and approved by staff or faculty if produced by a student.
- Has clear goals associated with it and the channel, e.g. growing followers, driving traffic to a website for business purposes, etc.
- Is accessible such as including captions for videos and alt-text for photos.
Social Media Planning
- Before starting a social media channel, ask yourself: Have I considered all the alternative communication channels to promote the content? Do I have the capacity to maintain the channel and can I do a consistently good job at creating and publishing the content?
- Create a long-term strategy that includes an editorial calendar, a management plan, and benchmarks to guide your progress.
- Limit your administrators to only staff and faculty. It’s absolutely acceptable to allow student workers to make posts and manage accounts on a day-to-day basis, but please let us know about these users and provide the appropriate oversight to ensure that posts meet expectations.
- Listen to your community. Monitor hashtags and keywords relevant to your faculty, unit, or department. Watch your Twitter lists. Don’t have lists? Here’s how to create them using Twitter.
- Monitor Culverhouse's main Facebook and Twitter channels to ensure that you’re keeping abreast of the larger, college-wide stories and news.
- Be consistent. If you’re unable to post content on a regular basis, ensure that you’re scheduling content for when you’re away and that there is someone to manage the channel for you.
- The Culverhouse social media team asks that posts be closely aligned with the College brand by tagging Culverhouse or Manderson in order to help notify college-level admins about posts of interest. You can also submit a request for social media coverage ahead of time.
- Measure your efforts. Knowing how your content is performing will guide when, how, and what you post. Each social platform offers varying analytics and measurement data that you can use to report on performance. Establish a process to track your performance over time.
- Be proactive about your content. Plan for events, seasonal promotions and recurring themes in the academic calendar, and incorporate and promote your own unique events and stories that you know will happen each year. By planning ahead, you will capture better content and optimize real-time media
- Continue to build your network. Follow key units at UA and browse the UA social media directory to learn more about other university channels and add your channel to the list.
Tell Us About You
In order to support this work, the Culverhouse marketing and communications team asks all internal social media administrators to complete this form. Besides collecting info on the principal users of social media within Culverhouse units and offices, this form also will kickstart a conversation about maximizing college-level social media channels for business purposes.