University Social Media Policy
Social media can be a great way to tell your story and engage with your audience. While many departments and schools have individualized social accounts, those considering social media should first analyze necessity, resources and overall communication goals prior to jumping in. The next steps include developing a strategy, content plan and a strong understanding of the time commitment needed to manage and maintain a social media presence.
Washington University in St. Louis supports the use of social media by its community members as a way to facilitate communication.
Social media tools, uses and challenges are evolving rapidly, and the university continuously monitors our strategies and best practices for using these media. The following policy serves as a guideline and starting point for those initiating a social media feed that involves the university, its schools, departments, programs, groups, organizations and individuals. It is also a reference for those managing existing feeds, so that the university’s efforts in social media communications are as consistent as possible.
Washington University representation on online social media platforms shall be authorized through the Office of Public Affairs.
Any existing websites or pages that represent Washington University are reviewed routinely and may be amended or, when necessary, removed.
The Office of Public Affairs shall oversee the Washington University presence on key social networking sites and shall evaluate whether to launch a presence on new sites as they become available.
All policies, procedures and guidelines regarding university trademarks, names and symbols apply to social networking sites. The Office of Public Affairs can offer guidance about how properly to use names, logos, etc., to resolve branding and copyright/trademark issues in these venues. Before you launch a social media page or site, you are urged to consult with the Office of Public Affairs about your compliance with the policies listed here.
Applicable policies and guidelines are available online:
- Logotypes and other symbols
- Washington University domain name use
- Commercial use of Washington University names and symbols
- Licensing and trademarks for products
Washington University does not prescreen posted content, but it shall have the right to remove, in its sole discretion, any content that it considers to violate this policy. The university does not endorse or take responsibility for content posted by third parties.
The Office of Public Affairs works to correct inaccuracies on Washington University social media sites by responding with correct factual information and including source citations (links, video, contact information, etc.) when appropriate.
The university does not permit explicit or implied institutional endorsements of any kind through the use of its names, trademarks, logos or images — including pictures of campus buildings. Please reference Access to Campus for Filming and Photography.
Acceptable content may be positive or negative in context to the conversation, regardless of whether it is favorable or unfavorable to Washington University. However, language that is illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, infringing of intellectual property rights, invasive of privacy, profane, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any person or entity, or otherwise injurious or objectionable is unacceptable and shall be removed.
Washington University in St. Louis will not tolerate content that infringes on proprietary information, or that is defamatory, pornographic, harassing, libelous or inhospitable to a reasonable work environment.
Washington University encourages the use of social media. For answers to questions or for advice, please do not hesitate to contact:
Director of New Media Strategy
Office of Public Affairs
Julie Hail Flory
Interim Vice Chancellor
Office of Public Affairs
Social media has become an essential strategy for communication and storytelling professionals. Within the social media ecosystem, there are various platforms that house different dynamic tools that can be used to share your message and elevate your brand. Each social media platform has a purpose and personality that requires communicators to think thoughtfully on how to engage with their audience.