Social Media Policy
The intent of this policy is to provide guidance that faculty and staff can use to satisfy LSU’s public relations and marketing missions on social media. The policy applies to all Social Media Designees (SMDs) authorized by an LSU college, department or unit to create and distribute content through social media channels representing the University in an official manner. The policy provides direction for using social media in an appropriate, productive and lawful manner in accordance with other LSU policy statements and federal law. In addition to abiding by University policies, SMDs must be cognizant of federal laws and user agreements of social media channels that affect their content. Any questions regarding this policy should be directed toward LSU Division of Strategic Communications.
Managing Social Media Accounts
Creation of Social Media Accounts
All social media channels used for official LSU communications must be approved by Strategic Communications prior to their creation. Failure to obtain approval could result in that account being closed if it does not adhere to the university’s standards and/or the guidelines outlined in PS-10 or this social media policy.
All social media accounts used for official LSU communications should be associated with an @lsu.edu address. Secondary or departmental email accounts that multiple users may access are preferred over using personal accounts.
Publishing and Registering Social Media Accounts
Strategic Communications maintains a directory of all LSU social media channels. All official LSU channels must be included in this list. Colleges, departments and units managing social media accounts should provide Strategic Communications with the following information via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Name of Unit
- Social Media Channels - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
- Social Media handle, channel, name, etc.
- Email account tied to the channel – must be a university provided email account
- Name of department contact responsible for account
In the event of changes, the college, department or unit is responsible for updating this information with Strategic Communications. Maintaining accurate information on file with Strategic Communications helps ensure that all LSU channels are publicized effectively, allows Strat Comm to quickly pass along any urgent campus messages to employees posting on LSU channels, and provides a way for Strat Comm to assist units if their SMDs are unavailable.
Maintaining Account Credentials
SMDs must share login credentials with appropriate staff members so that unit access is available in the event of separation or extended absence from LSU. Credentials should not be written down and passed around, if possible. A service that keeps passwords securely all in one place is preferable. Strategic Communications requests that units share their credential information with the Strat Comm social media team. This helps avoid a situation where an SMD is unavailable or separates from the university suddenly and leaves their unit unable to log in to their social media channels. Providing credentials to Strat Comm can also allow Strat Comm to help units with analytics, ad buys, and other aspects of their channels.
Login credentials include, but are not limited to:
- Email address
- Social media account ID, alias or handle
- Security questions and answers
Social Media in Crisis Situations
During a crisis situation, social media can be an effective means of communication. To ensure correct and unified messaging, SMDs are encouraged to share official, unaltered EOC messages. In the event of Internet connectivity issues, contact the EOC at 578-3231 for assistance in updating social media.
During an emergency, SMDs should continuously monitor social media accounts for misinformation or questions as it is critical to answer questions or dispel false rumors quickly. If an SMD is unable to handle a question or is unsure of messaging, contact the EOC.
When the EOC is activated, or during any type of crisis, emergency, or tragic event that impacts the university, campus units should refrain from making normal posts and should consider whether the current situation warrant a more somber style of posting. Any previously scheduled posts should be reviewed and reconsidered. Strat Comm or the EOC can provide guidance if a SMD is unsure of how to proceed. Strat Comm may also use the social media directory list to reach out to SMDs with guidance.
Using Personal Accounts for University Messages
Do not use personal social media accounts to disseminate university messaging if there is any likelihood that pre-existing personal posts may damage the LSU brand or messaging. However, personal social media accounts do provide additional and likely receptive, audiences that can be leveraged in the promotion and dissemination of university messaging. But consideration must be given to the content present in personal social media accounts before using those accounts to promote university messaging.
Accessibility on Social Media Channels
Special attention should be given to how videos, attachments, and other files are used on social media channels to ensure they are in compliance with federal regulations on ADA Accessibility. How such items are posted to social media channels makes a difference in how effectively they can be read by screen readers and other assistive technologies. Strategic Communications can assist or answer any questions a SMD may have.
SMDs should monitor communications for reports of accessibility issues from consumers of the university’s social media posts. Reports should be acknowledged and the issue sent forward to Strategic Communications at email@example.com so that the university can take corrective action and the issue can be documented.
The following U.S. Government resource is available to help agencies provide more accessible social media for their site constituents, https://www.digitalgov.gov/resources/improving-the-accessibility-of-social-media-in-government/.
Strategic Communications maintains social media channels representing the entire university. The channels are managed with the intent of promoting LSU’s mission, services, programs, and academic offerings. Content specific to a college, department or auxiliary is often utilized in these endeavors.
Colleges, departments and auxiliaries are encouraged to submit ideas or content for use on the channels. Any suggestions will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- Relevance to the core LSU mission
- Involvement of an official LSU event or function
- Involvement of an officially licensed LSU product or vendor
- LSU cannot give an endorsement of a product, service or vendor
- Liability of the university or any of its colleges, department or auxiliaries
- Availability and quality of audio, video and photos
- Specific Social Media channel qualities – some channels favor certain content types (audio, video, photos/graphics, text)
Cross Promotion Related to Fundraising
Events, fundraisers, giveaways, etc. not related to an LSU college, department or auxiliary should not be featured on official LSU social media channels.
Advertising on Official LSU Channels
Social media advertisements are subject to the same university regulations and requirements as other types of advertising. Per PS-10, all text and graphics must adhere to LSU’s branding, graphics, photo and video guidelines and must be submitted to Strategic Communications for approval before use. Units should submit ads to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Units that would like assistance with social media advertising should contact Strat Comm’s social media team. The team can help with creating ads and with using analytics to determine a unit’s return on investment per ad.
LSU Related Policies
- Web Accessibility Standards
- LSU Diversity Statement
- LSU Brand Guide
- LSU Online Communications Policy
- User Agreements of Social Media Channels
The offices of the President and LSU Strategic Communications will hold users and their offices accountable for any policy deviations that harm the university’s brand.
PS-10 - Internal and External Communications/Advertisements
This policy is an extension of PS-10, Internal and External Communications. PS-10 is a policy that preserves, protects, and enhances LSU’s image by presenting the University in a clear, unified, consistent, and memorable manner. Content distributed through social media reinforces the brand and positive perception of LSU. All content distributed through social media must satisfy PS-10.
SMDs must be cognizant of the fact that members of the media often monitor social media channels. Consultation with Strategic Communications is not a requirement to publish content within social media channels, but if the content specifically targets media outlets, communicators should consult Strategic Communications. This contact should be made prior to publication.
PS-06.20 - Security of Data and PS-30 - Student Privacy Rights
PS-06.20, Security of Data outlines the responsibilities of all computer users in supporting and upholding the security of data at LSU.
SMDs are responsible for maintaining the security of personal information belonging to students, faculty and staff. Do not distribute any such information through social media channels.
PS-30, consistent with the regulations of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, defines policies and procedures regarding the management and release of personal information including:
- Social Security numbers
- LSU ID numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
PS-30, Student Privacy Rights stipulates that information made public by the owner in other information channels is permissible, but discouraged in order to prevent unforeseen negative consequences for the owners. Do not distribute such information in social media channels including:
- Phone numbers
LSU Branding Program
A consistent identity is a vital part of LSU's relationship with the public. Simple things like fonts, imagery, and colors, when used consistently, make for a stronger brand and add to the public's ability to identify LSU. The rules and principles defined in the LSU Brand Guide sustain LSU’s brand strength.
The degree to which LSU is able to apply its brand identity in social media channels varies greatly between each channel. To the extent possible, the following items should be included when customizing a department’s social media presence:
- The official LSU logo should be used when possible, as this provides credibility to the account by making it recognizable as an official account.
- The LSU logo may only appear in the official LSU colors: Purple, Gold, Black, White and Gray. It should be used at 100% saturation; fading or tinting is not allowed. No drop shadows or gradients should be applied.
- Within the department’s social media profile, LSU should be referred to as “Louisiana State University” or “LSU”. (The university should never be referred to as Louisiana State, LSU-Baton Rouge, L.S.U., or other aliases different from the acceptable references listed.)
- When customizing the layout of the departments in a social media service, use the official LSU purple and gold whenever that level of customization is available, otherwise a neutral, gray color palette should be utilized.
Other Connected Policies
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act
- Fair Use
- State of Louisiana Ethics Laws
- Accessibility Standards
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
To avoid violating the DMCA, SMDs should not use content obtained from the Internet unless the copyright holder gives permission or if the application of the content falls under Fair Use exceptions.
Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission. SMDs should strive to obtain permission when using copyrighted content. If permissions are not obtainable or cannot be obtained in a timely fashion, proper consideration should be given to the Fair Use doctrine. If any uses defined by the doctrine cannot be clearly identified, the content should not be used.
State of Louisiana Ethics Laws
The Code of Governmental Ethics defines what is and isn't considered ethical behavior and actions by state employees. All LSU personnel, being state employees, must adhere to the ethics laws.
SMDs must pay particular attention to R.S. 42:1116, section A:
"No public servant shall use the authority of his office or position, directly or indirectly, in a manner intended to compel or coerce any person or other public servant to provide himself, any other public servant, or other person with any thing of economic value. This Subsection shall not be construed to limit that authority authorized by law, statute, ordinance, or legislative rule in carrying out official duties."
What this means is that no Louisiana citizen can benefit financially from promotion provided by LSU social media unless a person or business has a valid contract for services or a license to produce LSU products as provided for in R.S. 51:224.