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Policies

Policy 60: Social Media

University of Missouri Libraries

General Policy Manual Policy No. 60

Social Media

  • Scope of Policy
    • This policy establishes guidelines and procedures for MU Libraries social media presence.
  • Goals and Purpose
    • We engage in social media to support the MU Libraries' strategic goals and missions. The social media team should formulate a set of measurable goals based on the MU Libraries' strategic goals for each academic year.
    • Social media is first and foremost about building relationships with users. It is not a broadcast medium.
      • Social media is about listening, not just telling or selling. It is two-way communication.
      • Social media is about them, not us. We build collections and services based on what our university community wants and needs. Our social media presences are an extension of that service mentality.
      • Social media is about people, not collections. It's about meeting our users where they are as they go about their everyday lives.
  • Administration
    • The social media team is made up of the primary coordinators for each social media account, a representative from LTS, and possibly an advisory team of contributors. Coordinators may log in to accounts and make posts or interact with patrons.
    • Responsibilities of coordinators include:
      • Recruiting content suggestions and ideas from all members of the MU Libraries staff
      • Managing posting queues and editorial calendars
      • Cross-posting content onto various platforms
      • Editing posts for length, style or tone
      • Assessing social media performance and reporting statistics
      • Supervising any social media interns/student workers and reviewing their contributions
    • The Communications Officer and the User Engagement Librarian will serve as coordinators for the main MU Libraries social media presences. Accounts for branch libraries and SCARaB will be coordinated by a key staff person tasked with social media in each of those divisions or departments.
    • The Communications Officer also serves in an advisory capacity for all MU Libraries accounts. In the event that social media policies are broken, the Communications Officer will resolve the issue.
    • To ensure consistency and continuity of efforts, social media should be made a part of each coordinator's regular duties, not placed into a committee rotation. Coordinators should serve on the social media team in an ex-officio capacity. All members of the social media team should undergo continuing training on marketing strategies, security, and issues related to various platforms.
    • LTS will maintain a list of passwords for all accounts and will update for regular password changes.
  • Audiences
    • Our primary audiences include students, faculty, and staff, and they may vary by platform. The social media team is responsible for identifying target audiences on each platform and tailoring messaging to reach that target audience. Most social media campaigns will be designed to reach the Libraries' primary audiences.
    • Campaigns may also appeal to the MU Libraries' secondary audiences. These include:
      • Public patrons / community members
      • Other universities / libraries
      • Prospective students
      • Donors
      • Administrators
      • Alumni
  • Platforms
    • As of January 2016, the MU Libraries operate on the following platforms:
      • Facebook
      • Twitter
      • Tumblr
      • Instagram
      • Pinterest
      • YouTube
      • Locally hosted blogs
    • The social media team may add or remove presences on social media based on performance and communication needs as outlined in the sections on assessment and approval processes. The team may also decide to delete or abandon underperforming accounts after a reasonable trial period.
    • Approval Process for New Accounts
      • For the most part, content pertaining to the MU Libraries should be posted on the main MU Libraries accounts. However, specialized libraries and collections may request additional accounts, which will operate as "channels" of the main MU Libraries accounts.
      • Requests for new accounts should be submitted to the Communications Officer, who will relay them to the MU Libraries social media team. Questions for the team to consider include:
        • How specialized is the content and audience for this account?
        • Is the target audience on the requested platform?
        • Will this presence fit with the existing culture of the platform?
        • Who will be permanently tasked with coordinating this account?
        • How often does the coordinator plan to post?
        • Will the posting frequency merit an additional account?
        • What are the goals for this account?
        • How will the prospective coordinator measure success?
        • (Adapted from "Ask these questions before jumping onto a social platform" by Joy Mayer: http://joymayer.com/2014/02/21/ask-these-questions-before-jumping-onto-a-social-platform/)
  • Posting
    • Posts should adhere to the University of Missouri Social Media Guidelines and the policies of the website on which they are posted. Remember that social media is permanent and public.
    • Content may be created by any member of the MU Libraries staff, including student employees, and submitted to the appropriate coordinator via web form or email. Coordinators will vet and edit posts for clarity, tone, or length before posting. Under normal circumstances, coordinators do not need to obtain approval for individual social media posts. However, if in doubt, coordinators should consult with the Communications Officer before making a post public.
    • House Style and Tone
      • For consistency and professionalism, all content creators should adhere to a basic house tone and style. The MU Libraries have adopted the persona of the friendly neighborhood expert to inform the writing style of all posts emanating from our social media accounts. The tone should be friendly, conversational, humorous (if applicable) and positive. Staff should strive to talk to patrons the way they would in the course of their everyday duties, without oversimplifying information.
    • Content Standards
      • Coordinators should evaluate social media content in the same way they evaluate information resources. Consider whether the tone of the resource being shared fits with our established personas, and try not to share anything too out of character. Before posting or re-posting content to any MU Libraries account, apply the CRAAP test:
        • Is it current?
        • Is it relevant to the interests of our audience?
        • Does it come from an authoritative source?
        • Is it accurate?
        • What is its purpose?
      • Posting about political issues is not appropriate. Topics to avoid also include:
        • Information that would violate privacy and confidentiality (see below)
        • Negative comments about other institutions.
        • Per university policy, MU Libraries accounts must not post about prospective athletic recruits.
      • Again, if in doubt, coordinators should consult with the Communications Officer before making a post public.
    • Copyright
      • Copyright on popular culture memes and gifs is currently a grey area on social media. For viral images, it is difficult to find known creators to credit, and they are often used and shared as de facto public domain images. Coordinators are encouraged to exercise caution and weigh risks and benefits when using copyrighted or unattributed content. The social media team should stay current on these issues should copyright become more strict in the future.
    • Privacy and Confidentiality
      • In order to protect patron privacy, coordinators must abide by the following rules:
        • File a signed photo release with the Communications Officer before posting a photo of a student.
        • File a signed FERPA release with the Communications Officer before posting any student work. Re-posting work that students published themselves is acceptable, but publishing student work by the MU Libraries requires a release.
          • Example: any student creates an image and tweets it from their personal Twitter account. The Libraries accounts can retweet this image without a release form (with proper attribution to the student).
          • Example: a student worker creates an image for the MU Libraries to use on an official account. It has never been posted or published before. This requires a release form and attribution of student work.
        • Do not identify patrons by name without their consent.
        • Keep details of unpublished research private.
        • Information from staff listservs and meetings is considered official communication, and its release on social media will be subject to decision by the Communications Officer (see below).
    • Official Communications
      • Social media accounts may be used for official announcements or emergency communication from library administration. The Communications Officer has responsibility for these types of communication.
      • Emergency Response
        • During emergency situations, coordinators will suspend activity on all MU Libraries accounts. New posts will be limited to information from the official MU Alert or main university accounts. Coordinators may go back to posting as usual when the emergency status is resolved.
  • Monitoring and Engaging with Users
    • The User Engagement Librarian will monitor social media for questions, criticism, or praise that is directed at any of the Libraries. Coordinators are also encouraged to monitor their accounts and respond appropriately to user comments. Coordinators and contributors should strive to respond positively and constructively to user comments whenever appropriate. Abusive, negative, or inappropriate comments should be referred to the Communications Officer and User Engagement Librarian immediately.
  • Assessment
    • Coordinators should assess engagement statistics for their respective accounts regularly. Metrics should focus on user reach, engagement, and follower count. Specific metrics should be determined in consultation with the entire social media team, the User Engagement team, and the Assessment Committee.
  • Personal and Professional Accounts
    • Staff are encouraged to engage in social media on personal accounts in order to provide a human face for the MU Libraries and interact more effectively with our primary audiences. However, employees are responsible for what they post under their own profiles. Personal accounts must make clear that employees are not speaking on behalf of the MU Libraries or the University of Missouri. For transparency, employees who use personal social media channels to talk about work or matters related to MU and the MU Libraries are asked to disclose their affiliations. Employees may consider adding a disclaimer to their social media accounts stating that their thoughts are their own.
    • In some cases, coordinators maintain several social media channels, with some for personal use and others for official business. Individuals must use care to separate the two uses and may not use MU Libraries outlets to distribute personal communications.

Approved by the Library Management Team: May 2016