It is now easier than ever online to express and spread your opinion and gather and share knowledge. Social media is a collective term for all internet applications that allow you to exchange information with other people and draw attention to whatever you find important. This applies to information in the form of text, but also to sound and images. Typical examples of social media platforms include Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia and Pinterest.
Maastricht University is happy for its staff and students to be active users of social media; they are the online ambassadors of our institution. But it is important for staff to remember that social media is increasingly blurring the boundaries between our business and private lives. Social media gives a face to the people behind companies and organisations. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.
When you are using social media in a professional capacity, it is possible to be personal without sharing private matters. Before posting, ask yourself how you want to be seen, and know how what you say online reflects both yourself and your employer. Almost all social media platforms allow you to set up a separate profile for business purposes. Facebook has its ‘fanpages’, and both Twitter and Pinterest have now launched business accounts.
Social Media Guidelines
You are personally responsible for the messages you post and the information you share. Please remember to:
- Be yourself - ...but always remember you represent the university. Be honest, but maintain your own privacy and respect that of others. Everything you put online remains online, and can be shared by others. Be careful with confidential information or information that is only suited for a particular context. If in doubt, consult with your manager or supervisor.
- Be social - the rules of social etiquette apply online just as they do offline. Have respect for the people you’re communicating with and don’t be tempted to make statements that could be seen as offensive or aggressive. Say nothing you wouldn’t want your mother or boss to hear.
- Focus on content & provide value - make sure the information you provide and share is valuable and interesting. Ask questions, leave comments and give answers. Don’t engage in unnecessary advertising, stay on topic with your contributions, and above all don’t spam people.
- Respect copyright - respect other people’s work – don’t just copy it. Broadly speaking, you can only use someone else’s material if you have received explicit permission from the creator. Mention the source and provide links to the original.
- If something goes wrong - contact your department head immediately to discuss your next steps. Deleting messages once they have been posted is not acceptable. So think before you post. What if something still goes wrong? Try to be the first to correct your own mistakes, without immediately changing or deleting earlier messages. Point out that you are the one who has changed the message. If you must delete something, give a good reason for doing so. Always make it clear what you are doing and why you are doing it.
The Social Media Guidelines are in compliance with the overarching UM Integrity Code of Conduct.
- consider who your audience is
- ensure that you have a clean and complete profile on social networking sites
- write clearly
- respect others
- consider whether the chosen medium is the most suitable for the point you want to make
- when in doubt, speak to your manager or the Marketing and Communications Department
- be social and always err on the side of caution
House style for social media
A house style reflects the identity of an organisation. And this also applies to social media. Due to the wide variety and great number of possibilities available within social media, a strong and easily recognisable identity is even more important.
Social media are part of the marketing strategy of an organisation (history/ branding). Everything that goes online remains accessible for a long time. The identity of the university, i.e., its name, profile image, the page and the profile text determine how the university is perceived and how people relate to it. All these factors can influence the reputation of the university. Therefore, it is important to ensure that everything that goes online fits in the university's profile. Online contributions should support and enhance the reputation of a brand.
The content and design of social media pages must go hand in hand with the offline media (graphic and print work). This makes the brand stronger and clearer. Important aspects such as user friendliness and technical possibilities should also be taken into consideration.
- to prevent people from using your photos without consent, we recommend using photos with 72dpi resolution and 800x600 pixels in size: this is ideal for web but not suited for print. UM policy regarding photos applies to the use of photos both online and offline
- base the page layout on the default settings of the social networking site in question (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
- general UM Facebook and Twitter profile photos may only use the UM logo, whereas accounts mentioning a faculty or service centre, or staff social media accounts, may not. Information on the UM logo and requesting a copy
- respect copyrights, confidentiality, and information property ownership when publishing photos/images
- check the pages regularly and update them whenever necessary, and note that new developments/updates can affect the page layout
Mariken van Meteren
Minderbroedersberg 4-6, room 2.119
6211 LK Maastricht
P.O. Box 616
6200 MD Maastricht