Bowling Green State University encourages positive communication efforts that reflect the University’s mission, values, and strategic goals. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni who create, use, and maintain social media and networking sites on behalf of BGSU are encouraged to use these guidelines to help maintain BGSU’s commitment to positive and effective communication with its target audiences. Please use social media as it relates to BGSU judiciously. In particular, please ensure that your communication helps to:
- Enhance the mission of BGSU as a premier learning community in Ohio and in the nation.
- Encourages students, alumni and other key audiences to support the future and growth of our world-class university.
- Builds relationships that support BGSU’s overall communication efforts and core values.
Choose the most effective vehicle.
Social media includes all types of communication shared in an electronic format, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, blogs, wikis, e-mail, social networks, instant messaging and video-hosting sites. Each vehicle has its own style and privacy options. Review the vehicle’s guidelines closely before posting information on behalf of BGSU.
One mission. Many voices.
Regardless of the social networking vehicle you use, aim for “best-of-class” communication. Be an ambassador for BGSU. Each time you tweet, blog, or post a message on Facebook related to BGSU, ask yourself:
Does this help advance BGSU’s mission?
Does it coincide with the values of the University?
Am I helping to build a positive brand through my message?
Is the information I’m posting factual and timely?
Can I dedicate the time necessary to keeping a social networking site relevant and active?
Privacy options protect you and Bowling Green State University. Set your privacy options carefully. Remember that privacy options do not provide 100 percent protection of your personal information.
Logos and Titles
BGSU recommends using the titles “Bowling Green State University” or “BGSU” as titles of Facebook pages and when referencing the University to maintain a consistent look and brand. Use University approved logos on all social networking sites related to BGSU. You can find approved logos for BGSU on the graphic standards website.
Profile pictures/Cover photos
Your picture should be representative as to what your organization is about. Please refrain from using the BGSU logo and Athletics logo as your profile picture. You may use them as a part of your photo, but not make them exclusively your photo. If you do use them as part of your photo, you may not alter them in any way.
Social media by student and alumni organizations and campus offices
These guidelines pertain to all student and alumni organizations that choose to post information about their programs and events. All information posted by these groups on social media outlets regarding BGSU should reflect best practices as they relate to individuals, the organization and BGSU.
Use extreme care with posting photos online. If you are unsure whether an individual would object to his or her photo being posted online, do not post it.
Photos of children should not be posted without the express written consent of their parents or guardians.
Any photo posted on a social network as it pertains to BGSU must be appropriate in nature.
For Facebook accounts created on behalf of Bowling Green State University, consider setting up a “pages” rather than “group” profile. Individual pages allow users the option to become “fans,” offer numerous features, and are specifically designed for organizations.
Try to post something at least 3-5 times per week. Come up with a plan among administrators as to who will be managing content.
Be sure to “like” other University pages and comment/like/share their posts. This will help grow your page likes and engagement. To find other University pages, go to facebook.com/officialbgsu and click “Liked by this Page” in the left column. You will see all the pages that BGSU likes and can also like them via your organization’s page.
For consistency and a checks and balances system, we recommend that all sites have at least two administrators. Student organizations should make sure current administrators train an incoming administrator whenever there is a change in leadership. It is recommended that the advisor of a student organization serve as one of the administrators.
Do not set up a “fake” Facebook account to manage your organization’s Facebook page. You must be connected to the page through your personal account. None of your followers will know who you are, unless you post as yourself. You will also receive notifications about activity on your page through your personal account, which is beneficial in responding in a timely manner. You can manage these notifications in your settings.
A Twitter account established as it relates to BGSU should be updated daily, include a bio, active links, and a standard image recognizable to subscribers.
Determine the goal/strategy of your account and how you plan to utilize it.
Be sure to share username and passwords with at least two people within your organization as well as the advisor. Also be sure to share the passwords when there is a change in leadership so that new accounts don’t have to be created.
Determine what tools, if any, you will be using if you plan on scheduling your tweets. Hootsuite and Tweetdeck are free tools you can use.
Tweet at least 2-3 times per day. Add a URL, photo or video whenever possible. Determine a hashtag that your group would like to use regularly and try to use it in every tweet. (See our social media directory for commonly used hashtags.)
Who to follow: Visit twitter.com/bgsu and click on Following. You will see the campus organizations that BGSU follows (this is updated regularly).
Before establishing an Instagram or Snapchat account, determine if this is another platform that will be able to be updated and managed on a regular basis. Taking on too many social media accounts can be overwhelming and finding content for different platforms may be difficult. Determine strategy before creating the account.
Social network sites should include timely and current information. Site managers should update sites regularly to maintain a positive image of BGSU and encourage engagement with the community. Site managers may contact the Office of Marketing & Communication for guidance on creating and maintaining a social network site.
GENERAL USAGE TIPS
Be a selective expert.
Write about what you know or are familiar with at BGSU. Consider sharing information on topics such as research or projects that you have worked on personally or are closely associated with at BGSU.
Use a personal style.
Social media uses a conversational tone. Avoid stilted and overly formal language. Proper grammar and punctuation are a positive reflection on you and the University. Choose a tone that is inviting and encourages feedback.
Qualify your statements as your own and identify your role as it relates to BGSU.
Avoid reactive communication.
When you tweet or post a message, its impact is immediate. Refrain from negative comments about a situation. Remember that everything you post on a social networking site may find its way to the Internet and Google searches. Others could perceive your intended message differently.
Correct errors immediately.
If you posted something incorrectly or feel your words may be misinterpreted, post a correction immediately. Refer to your earlier post when making a correction.
Honesty is appreciated.
Honesty is always the best policy, especially in communication. Share only information that you know to be factual.
Share good news.
Social networking sites offer a great opportunity to share contributions and success stories of alumni and those associated with the University. Use these vehicles to let others know why BGSU creates leaders and makes a positive impact on the community.
Creating new accounts.
If you create a new account please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are legally liable for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous or obscene (as defined by the courts).
We encourage positive, constructive communication that does not attack individuals or groups.
- BGSU approved social networking sites should not include:
- Derogatory comments (as they pertain to individuals, groups and institutions)
- Sexually explicit materials (This includes sexually explicit language, materials, including photos, and links to sexually explicit material.)
- Copyrighted material. (Do not share confidential or proprietary information or post other’s copyrighted material.)
- Academic dishonesty
- Negative statements about anyone associated with Bowling Green State University. (Libelous statements or those that attack faculty, students, staff or administrators of BGSU by name or in general are prohibited.)
- Personal Information (Do not post phone numbers, email addresses, home or work addresses, last names, grades or related personal information of others.)
- Outside promotion of products or endorsements (Do not use BGSU to endorse political parties, political candidates, products or causes)
Violations will be removed from the site and violators directed to the appropriate constituency council.