Social media

Social media websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, are great places to connect with VCU students and alumni and keep your audience in the know.

The following guidelines will help you use social media more effectively while adhering to university policies. Above all, use common sense and have fun!

Be active

Your page should be regularly maintained and as up-to-date as possible. In general, the more frequently the content is updated, the more users will revisit the page. Dated material should be removed as soon as reasonably possible.

When communicating with members, use your typical tone and speak as you would with real people in professional situations. Avoid overly composed language; it’s always good to bring in your own personality and say what’s on your mind.

Try to post content that’s open-ended and invites response, and encourage comments from readers. It’s the best way to get the conversation started.

Be honest

Never hide your identity when promoting VCU on a social media site and let users know if you’re representing the university. When promoting VCU, be sure your content is of interest to members.

Be confidential

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about VCU, its students, its alumni, its patients or your co-workers and follow all university policies and federal requirements, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. If you discuss a situation involving individuals on a social media site, be sure that they cannot be identified.

Be open

Every social media site maintains its own terms and conditions of use regarding language, posting pictures and videos, and other topics. Read the guidelines carefully and only report members or delete posted content that is in violation of these terms of service. When you see negative posts that are not in violation, don’t engage the poster, but instead focus your attention on promoting positive discussion on the site.

You may also consider posting a disclaimer discouraging profane and offensive language, such as the following:

This page is a public forum hosted by Virginia Commonwealth University. We ask that you refrain from using profane or offensive language when posting to the wall or discussion boards. Thank you!

Be branded

Social media sites maintained for a VCU department by a VCU employee are authorized to use the VCU logo.

In accordance with the VCU brand standards guide [PDF], the integrity of the graphic elements must be maintained in publications and on websites, including social media sites. No changes may be made to their design, proportion, typeface or other attributes.

Be a part of the VCU community

We encourage you to submit your official university social network to the VCU social media directory to help users find your site. Please contact wervcu@vcu.edu for more information about listing your network.