Office of Marketing

USM Social Media Marketing Policy

 Download a PDF version of this policy

Table of Contents

I. Introduction
II. USM Social Media Presence
          USM Primary Social Media Marketing Accounts
          Colleges, Departments, Administrative Offices and Other USM Entities or Persons
III. USM Social Media Account Administration
IV. USM Brand and Voice
V. Policy for Followers of USM Social Media
VI. Guiding Principles for USM Faculty and Staff
          USM Community
          Administrators of Official USM Social Media Marketing and Communications Accounts
VII. Policies for Facebook Promotions
VIII. Following the USM Social Media Marketing and Communications Policy

USM Marketing and Brand Management Contact Information

I. Introduction

Social Media is a great marketing and communication tool the University of Southern Maine can use to effectively engage our audiences – including prospective students, existing students, alumni, corporate partners, donors, community members, and the media. USM Marketing and Brand Management supports the use of social media for marketing efforts by students, faculty, staff and the general USM community. Our goal is to ensure that USM’s marketing and communications through social media are as consistent, accurate and timely as possible across all platforms.

USM Marketing and Brand Management will continuously review our strategies and best practices for using social media in marketing and communications. Since social media is evolving rapidly, the USM Social Media Marketing Policy is intended to be a document that will evolve over time.

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II. USM Social Media Presence

USM Primary Social Media Marketing Accounts

The University of Southern Maine has identified primary social media accounts that tie directly to our marketing and communication objectives to increase enrollment, raise the profile of USM and increase private donations.

Colleges, Departments, Administrative Offices and Other USM Entities or Persons

The USM community can contribute by submitting news, events, and other information to Marketing and Brand Management. Leverage our expertise in social media for marketing and communications and our dedicated staff members to ensure your content is distributed to the greatest number of USM followers in a timely and engaging manner. You can submit your news, events and information via email to Andrea Tripp, Interactive Marketing Manager. In your email, be sure to include a full description, photograph or video, and link. The most engaging and relevant content will receive first consideration.

If you feel that you need a separate social media presence for marketing and communication purposes, please complete the Social Media Planning Form. Marketing and Brand Management will review the form and set up a meeting to discuss the setup process, administration, profile naming conventions, approved graphics, etc. Marketing and Brand Management can provide guidance, training and tips to ensure your marketing and communications presence through social media is as successful as possible. Any entity or person creating a social media presence that represents USM must clearly identify itself as such.

Since the primary purpose of social media is to engage an audience, any USM social media presence already in place, will be assessed periodically for effectiveness by Marketing and Brand Management. If necessary, we will work with you directly to discuss ways to improve your social media presence.

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III. USM Social Media Account Administration

Marketing and Brand Management will oversee the strategy of USM’s primary social media marketing and communications presence (see Section II) and work directly with administrators of those accounts. A student can be an administrator in addition to a full-time regular faculty or staff member for a specific college, department or administrative office. There should always be two or more administrators of a social media marketing and communications account. All USM social media marketing and communications accounts should have one administrator from Marketing and Brand Management.

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IV. USM Brand and Voice

It is important to maintain a consistent brand and voice in USM’s social media marketing and communications presence. Please see the USM Style Guide for appropriate naming conventions and logo usage.

The adjectives used to describe USM’s voice are welcoming, lively, friendly, positive, engaging, professional and conversational. Conversely, the USM voice conveyed should not be stodgy, stiff, uninviting, negative or mundane. Sometimes it is helpful to have your audience in mind (perhaps even a specific person that would represent that audience). Then speak first and write second. If you say your post out loud first, it might help you to discern what kind of personality is conveyed. Here are two examples using the same news content:

USM voice example:
Lively, positive – a social conversation starter
USM Voice Example
Less engaging example:
Factual statement – like a press release
Less Engaging Example

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V. Policy for Followers of USM Social Media

The following is the posting policy for USM Social Media followers (including, but not limited to: existing students, staff, faculty, prospective students and their parents or guardians, guidance counselors, and community members). This policy will be posted in a tab on the primary USM Official Facebook accounts (Fan Pages) defined in Section II.

Policy for USM Followers
The University of Southern Maine (USM) welcomes and encourages you to engage with USM in social media. However, we will review all comments to our social media properties and will remove any that are duplicate posts, violate law or University policy, contain illegal suggestions, or contain advertisements, SPAM or other solicitation. If possible, we will remove any user content that violates the social media platform’s Terms of Use. Individuals who do not follow this policy may be banned from USM social media properties. Please understand that comments posted by others do not represent the opinions of USM or its employees. Please review the full USM Social Media Marketing Policy at http://usm.maine.edu/marketing/socialmediapolicy.

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VI. Guiding Principles for USM Faculty and Staff

USM Community

Be transparent: If you are posting in social media as part of your job, it must be obvious that you work for the university. If you are posting about USM on your personal time, please identify your connection to USM either in your post or in your personal profile description. Never hide your identity for the purpose of promoting USM through social media. It's both poor practice and regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You are also required by the FTC to reveal if you have been compensated in any way for promoting USM.

Be respectful: Retain dignity and civility. Act professional and encourage feedback and two-way communication. You are entitled to your opinion, but respect differing opinions from others. Encourage others to be respectful as well. Keeping a good outlook will serve as a positive model for others.

Be accurate: Think before you post. Make sure you have all the facts first and think about what you want to say. Remember that anything posted on the Internet is public and lasts forever. Even if you delete a post, archival systems may save this information.

In addition to having all of the facts, be sure to check your grammar and spelling carefully. Give yourself enough time to review your comments before posting. Remember that you are representing the University of Southern Maine.

Maintain confidentiality: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the University of Southern Maine, its students, its alumni or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA.

Be mindful of copyright laws: Show proper respect for the laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others.

If you receive media inquires about USM: Contact Judie O’Malley.

Administrators of Official USM Social Media Marketing and Communications Accounts

If you are an administrator, please also abide by the following policies:

Understand the social media platform: For any social media platform that you administer, learn the rules of engagement, features, functionality and terms of service for that platform.

Be engaging: Use engaging content that will spark the interest of your connections. For instance, rich media such as pictures and videos are considered to be the most engaging type of content in social media. You can also share links to relevant news, articles, blogs and other social media sites.

Listen and ask questions: Another way to be more engaging is to listen and ask questions of our audiences. By listening carefully, USM can gain a better understanding of the content preferences and needs of the audience. We also need to respond to posts in a timely manner (within 24 hours at a maximum, but less time than that is preferred). Ask questions in order to gain feedback and insight.

Respond to negative feedback: In addition to responding to posts in a timely manner, it is also very important to respond quickly, appropriately and respectfully to negative feedback. Always respond when a comment is erroneous to make a tactful and respectful correction. Try to turn negatives to positives and think of negative feedback as a way to improve service. Contact Marketing and Brand Management if you need assistance.

If followers post comments that violates law or University of Maine System Policy, contain advertisements, SPAM or other solicitation, remove or simply do not respond to the comment depending on which Social Media platform is used and the functionality of the platform.

If you receive a comment that violates law or University of Maine System Policy, please contact Marketing and Brand Management promptly at 207-780-4814 or email Andrea Tripp.

Be relevant and timely: Communicating relevant and timely content is the key to building engagement. Our audience will be more likely to engage with our posts if we reference topics that are already top of mind to them, such as current events, holidays or news.

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VII. Policies for Facebook Promotions

All contests that you plan to promote using a USM Facebook Page must be approved by Marketing and Brand Management.

Promotions include “sweepstakes” or “raffles” (winner is selected based on chance) and “contests” or “competitions” (winner is judged based on specific criteria or skill). Facebook has very strict promotion guidelines about using their platform. According to these guidelines, we cannot use Facebook features – such as the “Like” button or comments – to administer a promotion. For instance, we cannot select a fan at random to win a prize, have fans enter a contest by uploading photos or videos, or give a prize to one person who likes our page. However, we are allowed to use a 3rd party application to administer similar promotions and Marketing recommends Wildfire.

If you are considering creating a promotion, you will need to ensure your contest abides by Maine state regulations. You will also need to develop contest rules that should be reviewed by the University of Maine System Legal Counsel. It is also recommended that you discuss your contest with the CFO’s office, especially if your contest involves a tuition/fee waiver or prize worth over $1,000.

Please contact Marketing and Brand Management for details.

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VIII. Following the USM Social Media Marketing and Communications Policy

Anyone interacting in USM Social Media is required to follow this policy. The University of Southern Maine will not tolerate content that infringes on proprietary information, or that is defamatory, obscene, harassment or that otherwise violates law or University of Maine System Policy. Those violating this policy may be brought to the appropriate governing body for disciplinary or legal action.

For related USM policies, please refer to the following: Student Conduct, Faculty Handbook, University of Maine System Policy, and the Acceptable Use of Information Resources Policy.

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USM Marketing and Brand Management Contact Information:

Andrea Tripp
Interactive Marketing Manager
Email or 207-780-4814

Tracy St. Pierre
Director of Marketing and Brand Management
Email or 207-780-4771

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