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Social Media Policy and Guidelines

Clayton State University recognizes the value of social media as a significant tool for the creation and dissemination of news and information about the University to its constituencies, including, but not limited to students, prospective students, alumni, faculty and staff, donors, members of the community, and news media. It is an integral part of the way in which we communicate today, and is another way in which we build and maintain relationships with our stakeholders.

Because of its very nature, there are risks involved. As good stewards of the State’s resources, in all of its forms, we are responsible for the way in which we present information and interact with our constituencies. What affects the reputation of the System and its institutions, affects the reputation of all of us.

These policies and guidelines are designed for Clayton State University employees and those contracted by Clayton State participating in social media usage as an official job function on behalf of the University, as well as personal social media usage to help ensure that we remain good stewards. Public Safety has a standalone policy.

Social Media Policy

  1. Prohibitions and Permissions
  2. In particular, department personnel are prohibited from the following:
    1. speech containing obscene or sexually explicit language, images, or acts and statements or other forms of speech that ridicule, malign, disparage, or otherwise express bias against any race, any religion, or any protected classes of individuals.
    2. speech involving themselves or other department personnel reflecting behavior that would reasonably be considered reckless or irresponsible.
    3. posts are to be used only for noncommercial purposes. You may not solicit funds or promote commercial entities; auxiliary services units are exempt from this requirement.
  3. Do not divulge information gained by reason of their authority; make any statements, speeches, appearances, and endorsements; or publish materials that could reasonably be considered to represent the views or positions of this department without express authorization.
  4. To avoid being subject to civil litigation, do not:
    1. publish or post false information that harms the reputation of another person, group, or organization (defamation);
    2. publish or post private facts and personal information about someone without their permission that has not been previously revealed to the public, is not of legitimate public concern, and would be offensive to a reasonable person;
    3. use someone else's name, likeness, or other personal attributes without that person's permission for an exploitative purpose; or
    4. publish the creative work of another, trademarks, or certain confidential business information without the permission of the owner.
  5. Generally speaking, do not post images without obtaining prior permission from individuals whose images are identifiable.
  6. Federal, state and local laws apply, including FERPA, HIPPA, and ADA, as well as any other applicable association (e.g.; the NCAA) rules and regulations. Do not post sensitive or proprietary information about Clayton State University, or personal, medical or financial information on its students, its alumni or your fellow employees.
  7. Do not use social media pages to post detailed policy or procedure information, for example, program admission criteria. Rather, users should be directed to the official Clayton State University publications/website for such information.
  8. Do not include sensitive personal information in a post unless the subject of the information has given express consent for the disclosure of that information.
  9. These prohibitions apply to employees, students, volunteers and nonpaid affiliates, if they are posting about Clayton State University. Students may only post to official Clayton State University social media sites with the permission of the site administrator.
  10. Other Clayton State University departments may have additional guidelines regarding the use of social media. Individuals must be familiar and comply with all guidelines and policies for their department as well.
  11. Please be aware that activity on behalf of the University and on official University social media channels is subject to the Employee Code of Conduct and Student Code of Conduct when relating to the public.
  12. Responses to Prohibited Posts
  13. The University reserves the right, at the discretion of the respective social media site administrators, to remove any post or to revoke a user's privilege to post to the University’s pages.
  14. The University will follow a notice and takedown procedure for complaints of copyright violation under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (
  15. The University reserves the right to block or remove the content of any post that violates campus policies, including, but not limited to harassing, threatening or profane language, or anything that creates a threatening or intimidating environment, any violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, obscene, or otherwise injurious or illegal material.
  16. The University reserves the right to remove: comments that contain commercial solicitations; are factually erroneous/libelous; that involve political campaigning or lobbying; that cannot be translated into English by Google Translate or other free online translation software; or that otherwise violate Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities or at the discretion of this page's administrators.
  17. Gratuitous links, i.e., links without a compelling reason, to sites may be viewed as spam and may result in the comment being removed.
  18. The University may remove comments that contain personal information (whether the commenter’s or someone else's), including home address, home or cell phone number, or personal e-mail address, in order to protect privacy.
  19. Violation of this policy may result in disciplinary action through appropriate channels, up to and including employment termination or disciplinary procedures through the Office of Student Conduct.


Social Media Guidelines

  1. First Steps
    1. The Reason for Social Media: Are you trying to communicate a campaign, generally promote your department, or communicate with constituents? How will your social media presence be different than other communications with your audience?
    2. Define your goals. Before jumping into social media for your department, program or office, spend some time determining what you want to accomplish. Understanding this will help you choose the appropriate tools, create relevant content and understand the best way to reach your target audience.
    3. For a group to be recognized by Clayton State University as an official social media account, the group administrators must seek approval from the Office of Marketing and Communications in writing.
    4. Make sure that your account is in the official list of social media accounts held by the Office of Marketing and Communications.
    5. Let the Office of Marketing and Communications know of any new efforts. This is so information can be updated, but also so the Office of Marketing and Communications can best support you.
    6. If you already have an account, inform the Office of Marketing and Communications of your social media channels. An assessment of the channel will be done to decide its continuance.
    7. When opening a social media account, please use your Office/Departmental Clayton State University email to set up the accounts versus using personal email.
    8. All social media accounts recognized by Clayton State University must have a Clayton State faculty or staff member as administrator at all times. Administrators are held responsible for managing and monitoring content on their officially recognized social media sites and are responsible for removing content that may violate the University’s conduct policies.
  2. Once an Account is Approved
    1. Name your account and notify the Office of Marketing and Communications Create a profile name that clearly and concisely identifies your program and the Clayton State affiliation. Do not identify yourself simply as the “Clayton State University” or “Clayton State” as that implies you are speaking for the entire organization.
    2. Identify the person or persons who will have primary responsibility for populating, maintaining and monitoring your site. Ensure they have the time and enthusiasm to devote to this project.
    3. Send a list of the administrators to the Office of Marketing and Communications.
    4. Where possible, social media pages shall clearly indicate they are maintained by the department and shall have department contact information prominently displayed.
    5. A member of the Office of Marketing and Communications team will be included as an administrator on any social networking site that is moderated and maintained as an official presence of Clayton State. This ensures that these networks are managed when staff members leave and allows us to communicate efficiently during an emergency and it allows us to track usage and quickly remove content that violates these guidelines or any applicable laws. Site administrators are still responsible for their social media networks and the Office of Marketing and Communications typically serves as a monitor.
    6. The administrators reserve the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of these social media guidelines or any applicable laws.
    7. Have a backup system. Make sure you have a social media back up system in place. If the person who generally handles social media is out of the office, someone else on the team should have log in access and be trained on how to monitor and update the pages.
    8. Post a disclaimer, such as: Users are fully responsible for any content they load on any of Clayton State’s social media sites. Comments posted here do not represent the opinions of Clayton State University.
    9. Youtube
      1. Youtube accounts should only be created at the college/division level.
      2. Departments should not create independent accounts.
      3. The VP/Dean will identify individuals to have administrative access and those who have permission to upload content on behalf of their respective college or division. 
      4. Video content created for the purpose of marketing an academic program, area or department within Clayton State must be approved by the Office of Marketing and Communications.
    10. Familiarize yourself with copyright and fair use laws. They also apply to social media. For information on use of copyrighted text or media (i.e., video, images), refer to
    11. Familiarize yourself with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. (
  3. Branding/Logo Usage
    1. Follow branding guidelines that are outlined on the Office of Marketing and Communications website.
    2. Use the official logos, taglines, mottos, etc.
    3. The Clayton State University logo is trademarked, and the Office of Marketing and Communications must approve use. The logo cannot be altered and must be used in compliance with the guidelines of the Office of Marketing and Communications.
    4. The name or logo should not be used to promote or endorse any activity, event, product, cause, political party or political candidate, without approval from the Office of Marketing and Communications.
  4. Being Social
    1. Post regularly and consistently. Posting too much can cause your audience to leave the community. So can posting too little. Social media presences require diligent care and feeding. If you do not have the time or resources to check in on these sites at least a few minutes each day, and to post fresh content several times a week, reconsider jumping into social media at this time. Be prepared to move quickly in response to new developments and announcements with relevant information on your site. If you start a social media account and then realize that it is not meeting your needs nor the needs of your audience or public, it is best to close the account rather than leave it inactive.
    2. Be Accurate. Be sure that content is relevant, credible and consistent with your professional role and with the Clayton State University’s standards.
    3. Make sure all of the details and facts are accurate and grammatically correct before posting or responding to inquiries.
    4. It's better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later.
    5. Cite and link to sources when it is appropriate and possible.
    6. Content should link back to the Clayton State University website,, as often as is reasonable.
    7. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. Deleting inaccurate data is discouraged on social media because of the amount of emphasis put on transparency, so it is important to get things right on the first post. If you make a mistake, admit it. People will notice if earlier posts change, so if you decide to make an edit, make it clear to all users.
    8. Regularly monitor official social media sites. Remove posts and/or comments that are inappropriate, offensive in nature, violates policies or that create a threatening environment.
    9. Be prepared to accept and respond to comments. Social media is, by design, a conversation and not a one-way broadcast.
    10. Have a comment response plan. Both positive and negative comments require a response from the organization in a timely manner. Who will respond to these comments? What is your unit's acceptable time frame?
    11. Engage in the conversation. Respond to questions or inquiries in a timely manner.
    12. Be a valued member of the social media community. If you join a social network, make sure you are contributing valuable insights and posting quality content regularly.
    13. Be responsible and judicious. Please keep in mind that comments may be made that aren't favorable or may not coincide with our own personal views. Take the high ground and be civil in your postings and responses.
    14. Stay away from statements involving sensitive language, including but not limited to obscene language, profanity, or ethnic slurs.
    15. Do not engage in a back and forth argument. We allow freedom of speech as long as it does not violate any guidelines, laws, etc.
    16. Correct misinformation. If a user posts a false accusation or an inaccurate statement, don't delete it. Instead, respond–in a respectful and friendly manner–with the accurate information. If a user posts, an ignorant and/or offensive remark, you can use the opportunity to help educate the person without being condescending, pointing him or her to reliable resources and correcting false impressions.
    17. Be responsible. Participation in Clayton State’s social media is an opportunity, not a right. Treat it as seriously and professionally as you would any other aspect of your job.
    18. Social media widgets and tools should not be used if content can be distributed without first being reviewed and approved by an employee or agent of Clayton State University. Also, be aware that when you use any scripts that are hosted external to Clayton State University managed web servers; you potentially expose the University and the visitors of its websites to greater risks.
    19. FERPA requirements apply. Permission must be secured from students before publishing content about them, and photos/video should not be posted without permission.
  5. Assessing Your Social Media Accounts
    1. Measure results. To evaluate post activity and interaction with a community, make use of analytics and tracking tools, which can help to refine your strategy and better understand your audience's preferences and behaviors.
    2. Adjust. Be prepared to re-align your strategy in response to who is viewing your site and how they are doing so.
    3. If you realize that social media is not meeting your needs or the needs of your audience or public, it is best to close the account rather than leave it inactive.
  6. What to Leave to the Office of Marketing and Communication
    1. In a crisis situation refrain from posting on social media accounts until official statements have been released from the Office of Marketing and Communications. Refer all Social Media activity around the crisis to the Office of Marketing and Communications. Departmental social media sites should not freelance emergency information without central coordination.
    2. All crisis and/or emergency communications will be generated by the Office of Marketing and Communications in conjunction with the Clayton State Department of Public Safety and be posted on the main Clayton State Facebook page and @ClaytonState Twitter feed with links back to additional information on Departmental social media sites should not freelance emergency information without central coordination.
    3. Refer news media inquiries to the Office of Marketing and Communications.
    4. The Office of Marketing and Communications is responsible for posting and publishing online official information on behalf of Clayton State University.
    5. The Office of Marketing and Communications may immediately remove the page and its content if any policies are violated. Other disciplinary action may follow if the action violates any policy of Clayton State University.
  7. Posting as an Individual Outside of Official Clayton State University
    1. Do not use any Clayton State University marks or images in a manner that appears as if you are officially representing the University via your personal online accounts. Do not use Clayton State’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause, political party or political candidate
    2. The line between professional and personal business is sometimes blurred. Be thoughtful about your posting's content and potential audiences. In personal posts, you may identify yourself as a Clayton State University faculty or staff member. However, please be clear you are not speaking as a formal or informal representative of Clayton State University.
    3. If you identify yourself as a member of the Clayton State University community, you may want to ensure that your profile and related content are consistent with how you wish to present yourself to your colleagues.
    4. You should participate in personal social media conversations on your own time.
    5. If the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the telephone, or in another medium, it will not be acceptable for a social networking site. Ask yourself, is this something I want to see on the front page of the New York Times, or posted on a billboard tomorrow or 10 years from now?