Office of Communications & Marketing

Campus & external communication, media relations and brand marketing

Social Media Policies And Guidelines

The University of Louisville has official social media accounts on the following platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest and Snapchat. These accounts are overseen by the Office of Communications and Marketing, which follows the sites’ specific guidelines regarding appropriate content (e.g. nudity, profanity, etc.).

This document does not affect other UofL policies that may apply to use of social media, including, but not limited to, harassment policy, computer use policy, workplace violence policy, university web policy. If your use of social media violates any of the institution’s policies in another forum, it will also violate them in an online forum.

UofL reserves the right to hide or delete comments/posts from its social media channels if the content is inaccurate, inappropriate, libelous or incendiary.

The University of Louisville tries to respond in a timely manner to comments that merit responses – such as questions regarding dining hours or parking tickets – and forwards questions to the appropriate offices to facilitate accurate dialogue.

The following guidelines are in response to negative comments, criticisms on social media:

  • Inappropriate comments—such as hate speech, derogatory attacks on individuals, profanity and commercial content/spam—will be hidden or removed from social media, when possible (can’t hide tweets).
  • Determination on whether or not to respond will be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Factors to be considered in making the decision include:  amount of response and traction a particular post/comment/tweet is garnering, the size of the poster’s reach (e.g. number of followers) and whether or not the post/comment/tweet includes factual errors.
  • Comments that highlight a specific issue requiring attention by a unit or department will be forwarded to the appropriate contacts for direct response or action.  OCM will post a standard response (e.g. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.  We have informed XXXX of your concerns.).  General and/or personal complaints (e.g. I don’t like the food choices at the SAC, it was too cold in my classroom, college is too expensive, etc.) generally will not be deemed an issue that requires forwarding or a social media response. 

Social media crisis communication

If a university crisis situation arises that merits an immediate statement released by the president or another member of the administration/board, that statement will be shared in full via the university’s official Facebook and Twitter channels. Follow up messaging will also be shared as appropriate on those channels.

Social media emergency communication

In the event of an emergency, such as inclement weather, active shooter, power outage, fire or water main break, the messaging will be shared on the university’s official Facebook and Twitter channels. Follow up messaging will also be shared as appropriate on those channels.

Personal use guidelines

The University of Louisville strongly recommends that any personal social media pages referencing an employee’s affiliation with the university includes a disclaimer that your content is yours alone and not a direct reflection of the university’s view.

UofL recommends refraining from including the university’s name or your associated program in your title or username.

Employees must remain in compliance with UofL’s policies regarding the use of company-owned computers or other electronic devices. The personal use of social networking sites must not occur during working time or through the use of UofL equipment or facilities. Employees may, however, access social media sites during breaks and lunchtimes.

Employees are not to use social media to make harassing, threatening, discriminatory, profane, obscene, sexually explicit, racially derogatory or homophobic comments to disparage employees, students, patients or anyone associated with or doing business with UofL.

Users of social media websites are personally responsible for their commentary. Users can be held personally liable for commentary that is considered defamatory, obscene, proprietary or libelous to any offended party.

Employees are cautioned not to have expectation of privacy while using UofL equipment, facilities or Internet for any purpose. Postings can be reviewed by anyone. UofL reserves the right to monitor comments or discussions about its employees, clients and the industry, posted by anyone, including employees and non-employees, on the Internet.

For the social media policy specifically pertaining to patient confidentiality and proprietary information at UofL Physicians or UMC, visit: https://www.uoflphysicians.com/sites/default/files/pdf-files/policies-procedures/UofL%20Physicians%20Code%20of%20Conduct.pdf.

Departmental/unit/affiliate social media suggestions

University of Louisville-affiliated social media pages, including individuals schools and units, departments and offices, Registered Student Organizations, housing, dining, etc., should try to adhere to UofL’s general guidelines and branding. Official UofL social posts are open to sharing by any affiliated page, and the University of Louisville reserves the right to share from any affiliated page and will tag the responsible parties as appropriate. Before starting a social media site for your college, unit, department or organization, get approval from a supervisor or director first. Only UofL employees authorized by their college, department or unit may be an administrator for university social media websites.

For content/event promotion consideration on any official UofL social page, email social@louisville.edu.

Some examples include:

  • Campus-wide events
  • Research and program development
  • School, organization, student, employee accomplishment or innovation 

It is important to note that any entity or organization maintaining a UofL-affiliated social media page must take full responsibility for the content.

Any social media site that relates to or uses the UofL name must be public. Any social media page that is made private is considered a personal page and may not use the UofL name. A private page is available only to users who have permission to access content.

Student or temporary administrators

In the event that a student employee or temporary employee is put into place as a social media administrator, that employee must be made aware of these guidelines and are subjected to consequences should any policy be violated.

Confidentiality

Employees may not disclose any confidential information of or about UofL, its vendors, suppliers, students or patients.

Some topics can present significant risk to the organization and should not be discussed on social media. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Speculation about future business performance, plans, unannounced strategies, potential acquisitions.
  • Non-public information about financial performance
  • Employees shall not announce news about UofL that is not already public
  • Any official UofL communication must come through the Office of Communication and Marketing
    Any identification of the author of any social media communication, including usernames, pictures, logos or profile web pages, should not use any UofL logos, trademarks or other intellectual property without prior written approval of UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.
  • If an employee is commenting on any aspect of UofL and is not providing an official and previously authorized message from UofL, the employee must include a disclaimer that the views are his or her own and not those of UofL.
  • Under no circumstances may employees post fake blogs, create false positive or negative reviews of UofL, its affiliates, policies, services and competitors.

 

Negative comments from employees about UofL on social media sites can adversely impact the university’s image. If there are concerns about UofL, these concerns should be documented internally so that they can be considered and addressed as appropriate. Employees may contact the compliance office at 502-852-8305.

Any concerns about an employee’s social media usage, including potential violations, can be directed to HR, 502-852-6542.

Social media advertising guidelines

The University of Louisville staunchly supports the freedoms established by the First Amendment, however we must ensure our advertising does not appear alongside content considered by many to be intolerant and offensive. Sometimes, through third party affiliates, this ad content may inadvertently appear on a website considered divisive. Suggested language in response to this discovery: “Thanks for letting us know. With ad servers, digital ads can get placed on unapproved sites. We are addressing this.”

Social media best practices

Creating a successful social media page requires careful planning and resource allocation. Before you begin to use social media on behalf of the University of Louisville, please remember the following:

  • Consistency and engagement are the keys to having a successful social media platform. Commit to both.
  • Content should be relevant to defined targets (e.g. students, prospective students, alumni). Audience targets tend to be different depending on channel.
  • Plan for the time commitment: A social media site is only effective if the administrators take the necessary time to generate interesting and interactive content to build relationships with the online community.
  • Make it easy for people to find your site. Use UofL in the title of the site if possible; try to avoid using acronyms.

Sharing UofL news, events or promoting faculty, staff and student work through social media is an effective and low-cost way to engage various audiences of the university. In addition to the general guidelines discussed above, employees creating or posting on social media sites on behalf of UofL should remember:

  • Be accurate
  • Realize your posts are public
  • Keep confidential matters private
  • Be transparent
  • Respond as best as you can, including to negative comments. Be respectful of other’s opinions. Having a thoughtful discussion is a great way to build community.
  • Oftentimes, social media can be a trial-and-error process; what generates engagement for one unit or school may not on another. Use social media channels’ analytics pages to understand what resonates best and when to inform you of further content strategies.
  • Ask for help if needed. The Office of Communications and Marketing can provide additional best practices or advice: social@louisville.edu.