Social Media Policy


The Basics Social Media Guidelines Social Media Sites

The Basics

General Outline and Goals

Social media is a key ingredient to promote Houghton College as an institution along with events within our community to both internal and external populations. We have developed this guide to help you assess the need for a social media site, assist you in the process of creating/managing social networks and to help you ensure that institutional guidelines are followed.

What are social media sites?

Social media sites include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

What is the purpose of a social media site?

The purpose of social media is not just to advertise or inform…it is to engage in social conversation.  This requires intentional effort to not only post information but to also respond and engage your audience.

Who may have a social media site?

Any department, organization, class, or group that is directly associated with and representing Houghton College.

Social Media Coordinator

The role of the Social Media Coordinator is to assist individuals and departments in the creation and oversight of college-related social media sites.  The Social Media Coordinator will work with you to:

  • Create and maintain a more consistent/integrated look, text style and brand.
  • Develop more effective, centralized processes for creating and delivering information in all forms.
  • Ensure the quality (factually and creatively) of all content presentation.
  • Protect the College from liability (such as copyright law infringement) and inaccurate/potentially harmful representation.

Social Media Site Inventory and Responsibilities

The Social Media Coordinator is responsible for out-going content (such as text posts, photos, videos, graphics, etc.) on all social platforms representing the institution as a whole.  These sites currently include the following:

The Director of Athletic Communication is responsible for Highlander Athletics Social Media sites:

The following college-related sites are maintained by other individuals/departments, but are under general supervision of the Social Media Coordinator:

Student club or organization social media sites will be managed by students within that club or organization and monitored by the Social Media Coordinator or Director of Student Programs.  The SMC or DSP have ultimate authority to edit or delete content that is considered damaging to the College.  Some examples include:

  • Posts that state incorrect facts
  • Posts that are directed at an individual or organization and negative in tone or content
  • Posts that have inappropriate language or suggestive material.

Social Media Guidelines

Getting Started with a Social Media Site

Step 1: determine need for and ability to maintain a site

Prior to beginning the process of creating a social media site, we have a few questions to help assess your need of or ability to maintain a site.

  • Do you have enough information to post regularly (minimum of three times per week, ideally at least once a day)?
  • Do you have a person that can reliably make the posts above (year round)?
  • Do you have the ability to take pictures/images for posts?

If you answered yes to all of the questions above, please fill out the Social media site request form to begin the process.

If you answered no to any of the questions above, a social media site would not be right at this time.  If you wish to discuss this in more detail, please contact the Social Media Coordinator.

Step 2: Content Creation, approval and posting process

Let us help you to make it easy!  When starting a site, the Social Media Coordinator will help you develop a posting plan/social campaign or new social media page.  This will save you time and effort, create efficiency and assure consistency (branding).

Content Creation, Posting and Engagement on Social Media

Social media site managers should follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in real life while representing the institution. The same laws, professional expectations, and Houghton College community standards and policies for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and other college constituents apply in social mediums. The college’s current employee policies – including those found in the staff and faculty handbooks apply to employee use of social media, as do local, state and federal laws.

College employees and students are liable for anything they personally post to college social media sites.

Here are some specific guidelines to keep in mind when posting content and engaging with your social media audiences.

  • Protect confidential and proprietary information: Please do not post confidential or proprietary information about Houghton College, students, employees, or alumni. Employees must still follow the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA and HIPA, as well as NCAA regulations. In no instance should phone numbers, home or local addresses, birth date, and e-mail addresses be posted.
  • Respect copyright and fair use: When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the College. You must have written permission prior to using any copyrighted or proprietary materials such as music, art, photographs, videos or texts.  For guidance, contact the Social Media Coordinator.
  • Promotion: Do not use Houghton College’s name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.
  • Professional/Private: When speaking on behalf of the college, or about the college, disclose your affiliation with the college and use your real identity.
  • Terms of service: Obey the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed.

General Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Design

All social media sites that have a primary audience beyond the college campus should have their visual branding approved by the Social Media Coordinator to ensure the brand consistency of the College.  We have many resources already available for you to make use of.

Responding to Negative Comments

Because social media is a two-way conversation between the institution and the general public, there are bound to be times that negative comments are expressed.  In general, the institution does not censor negative comments unless they are a direct personal attack at an individual(s) or contain vulgar language.

Admin Access

To ensure that you always have access to your site, the Social Media Coordinator should have administrative rights to all Houghton College social media sites. This ensures that there is always an active administrator who has access to the site in the event that a current administrator graduates or leaves the institution.  For all student organization sites, the Director of Student Life should have administration rights, as well.


Using Social media to advertise is a valuable and growing marketing source. All paid advertising targeted to audiences outside of the Houghton College community should be approved by the Office of Marketing & Communications. We would be happy to assist your advertising needs and might be able to subsidize some of the cost.  We want to ensure that we are not duplicating efforts, not competing with existing efforts and that we are using proper tracking methods so that we are able to best analyze results and strategically target your demographic.

Think Twice Before Posting

Privacy does not exist in the world of social media. Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and the college. Search engines can turn up posts years after they are created, and comments can be forwarded or copied. If you wouldn’t say it at a conference or to a member of the media, consider whether you should post it online. If you are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, ask your supervisor for input or contact the Social Media Coordinator.

Strive for Accuracy

Make sure you have the facts correct before posting to social media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of the college in any capacity. If you are not confident about your grammar or spelling, write the post in a word processing application first and run a spell and grammar check.

Be Respectful

Understand that content contributed to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the department/organization and the college.  If a response is appropriate, respond in a timely and courteous manner. Disagreements may occur, but opinions should be appropriate and polite.

Social Media Sites


The Official college Facebook page is and is managed by the Social Media Coordinator.

If you have any general announcements or information you would like added to the Houghton College Facebook wall, please send that information to the Social Media Coordinator.

For department pages and other Houghton related Facebook pages, a minimum of three updates per week, with the expectations of one update per day, should be made to any Facebook Page. An inactive account reflects poorly on the college and defeats the purpose of having an account. One update per day helps maximize the purpose of the account. Any inactive accounts will be closed.

All terms and conditions should be read and understood in their entirety. Please read Facebook’s statement regarding content:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it….We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).”


The Official College Twitter page (@HoughtonCollege) is managed by the Social Media Coordinator.

If you have any general announcements or information you would like added to the @Houghton College Twitter feed, please send that information to the Social Media Coordinator.

Use #HoughtonCollege when tweeting about Houghton; the Social Media Coordinator will then see it and may retweet where appropriate.

A minimum of one update per day, with the goal of two to three updates per day, should be made to any Twitter account. Two or three updates per day helps maximize the purpose of the account. An inactive account reflects poorly on the College and defeats the purpose of having an account. Any inactive accounts should be reported to the SMC so that a determination can be made as to closing the inactive account.

Note: The SMC, per the policy above, will help you create a strong social strategy to help you maximize your growth and reach in all these platforms. For any questions regarding this policy or anything about social media contact him/her right away.