Social Media Policy
Social Media Policy
…for Official LM Social Media Accounts
Lancaster Mennonite (LM) school recognizes the importance and benefits of communicating through social media. Social media is a powerful vehicle through which LM disseminates relevant news to our community, listens to voices and perceptions of LM, connects with our audiences online, and builds good will. Social networks and other online media are excellent tools for engagement and two-way communication, but there is the potential for significant risks associated with inappropriate use. Existing legal responsibilities and school policies remain in place when LM employees use social media.
Audience for this policy
This policy is for students, faculty, staff, and contractors on behalf of LM who manage or contribute to official LM social media channels (those channels that have some oversight by school faculty/staff) including but not limited to channels for academic departments, clubs and offices at LM Social media channels can include but are not limited to blogs, wikis, and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
This policy DOES NOT pertain to informal student groups (as opposed to LM-affiliated clubs) or to the personal use of social media by students and employees. LM employees and students are strongly encouraged to review the employee handbook and student handbook when using social media platforms to ensure they are not violating the code of conduct and incurring disciplinary action.
Before creating an official social media account at LM, please contact the Director of Marketing and Communications. They will discuss communications strategies specific to your needs, review the name of your social media account to be clear it is in line with current accounts and best placed for search-ability purposes. You should create an account only in the name of a recognized LM entity if you are authorized to represent that entity and share the passwords/access to the account to the Director of Marketing and Communications.
The Marketing and Communications brand ID manager will help provide a logo and necessary graphics for your account.
All official social media accounts at LM, with the name and contact information for the account manager, must be communicated to Marketing and Communications. Post only on behalf of LM or its affiliates in an official capacity where you have been explicitly authorized to do so. Discuss with your supervisor whether you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval to respond, or when you have questions about the appropriateness of content for posting.
Social media can be a potent tool for scammers and criminals. LM wants to be vigilant when it comes to protecting our online presence. Employees and students should follow these security steps if you are accessing or managing an LM social media account, and they are encouraged to:
- Create secure passwords and set up two-factor authentication (when possible)
- Keep software and devices updated
- Avoid phishing attacks, spam, scams, and other malicious threats
- In the event that your password has been leaked or you feel there has been unauthorized access to the account contact IT and Marketing immediately to resolve
Do not post confidential or proprietary information about LM, or LM employees, students, affiliates, or alumni that would violate such persons’ reasonable expectations to privacy under applicable federal and state laws, HIPPA, FERCA, or other school policies. As a general rule, permission should be granted before posting anything about LM or an individual that is not already known to the general public. Non-disclosure agreements that prohibit the school from disclosing information also bind its employees from disclosing such information.
Do not post anything to an official social media channel that should not be shared publicly. In particular, do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals on a social media site without their knowledge or permission. This does not include photos from the LM digital collections and archives or photos in which individuals are not clearly recognizable. Keep in mind that for reasons of privacy or security some students may not want it publicly known that they attend LM. Never share Social Security numbers, addresses or other private information. Remember that whatever you share may be public for an indefinite period of time, even if you attempt to modify or delete it.
Do not include confidential information about the school, its faculty/staff, or its students in materials posted on social media sites. Examples include information about a student’s grades or performance, admission status, GPA, Social Security number; personally identifiable health information such as medical conditions or injuries or healthcare sought or received; and other private personal information that the person has not consented to have published.
Use of social media on an official LM channel must be managed responsibly because it reflects on the school, its faculty/staff, its students, its alumni, and its employees.
- Emergencies and Crisis Situations: In the event of an emergency or crisis situation the Superintendent is the official voice of LM. Managers of official LM accounts are asked to share only official information provided by the main LM social media accounts and shared in official school messages. Sharing information found online or not approved by LM may lead to false or confusing information reaching the community and spreading online. Official accounts are also asked to delete or postpone any previously scheduled tweets or posts during an emergency or crisis situation.
- Confidential Information: Social media account managers should take steps in advance to prevent the exposure of confidential medical or student information. Confidential information should never be posted online. Photos should also be inspected closely before publication to make sure no confidential, personal information, such as Social Security numbers, addresses, or academic records, can be seen. Check with marketing for photo permissions for pictures of students.
- Other Users: Other users, including student groups at LM, may have different interests, attitudes and opinions than official LM social media accounts. Before retweeting or sharing content posted by others on official school channels, be careful that such content is accurate and reflects the school’s position.
- Fake Accounts: Employees should never create fake social media accounts (i.e., an account that seems to be the work of a third party) or share false or misleading information through a school account.
- Correcting Information: If you unintentionally post something online that is incorrect, correct it visibly and publicly as quickly as possible. Doing so will earn you respect in the online community.
To both protect the LM name and build trust with users, social media such as blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, etc. that are established on behalf of LM entities should be explicit regarding the nature of the relationship of such media to LM. Similarly, LM-related social media should not be used for any private business or financial transactions nor should any staff with administrative responsibilities realize any personal monetary profit from LM-related social media.
Content shared via official LM social media channels, as well as pages or accounts that these channels like or follow, should reflect the mission and values of LM. Official LM accounts should refrain from posting content and liking or following users or pages that reflect personal interests or that may be in conflict with LM mission or values.
Official LM accounts should encourage engagement and interaction with and among followers; however, they should reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing or derogatory. If the social network allows for it in the “Bio” or “About” section, official accounts should post a disclaimer similar to this: “Third-party posts on this wall do not imply endorsement of that content by LM. We reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing, and/or derogatory.”
LM official accounts must follow general copyright guidelines when posting intellectual property, including photos and videos, online.
- Materials posted online should be your property, in the public domain, have a Creative Commons license, or fall under fair use. For all other instances, you should seek permission from the copyright holder.
- Where possible, best practice is to include credit/attribution.
- Due to character limitations and platform norms, credit is not necessary on Twitter or Instagram.
- On Facebook and YouTube/Vimeo, you should include a credit.
Terms of Service
Official social media accounts at LM must follow the Terms of Service set forth by the social media channels they are using.
LM has created best practices and guidelines for the most popular social media platforms. Official channels should follow the best practices for each platform. In some cases, deviation from best practices is warranted, but failure to follow best practices to the detriment of the school may result in, but not be limited to, exclusion from official LM social media lists or platforms, lack of promotion from the main LM channels, and possible deactivation or deletion of the offending account. Deactivation and deletion will be at the sole discretion of LM and will be carried out by contacting and working with the school’s communications director or the highest ranking officer of the department.
General Practices to Remember
- The purpose of using these communication channels on behalf of LM is to support the school’s mission, goals, programs, and sanctioned efforts, including school news, information, content and directives.
- When using an officially recognized social media channel, assume at all times that you are representing LM.
- Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, associates and the school’s supporters/community (social media fans).
- Avoid discussing or speculating on internal policies or operations.
- A healthy dialog with constructive criticism can be useful but refrain from engaging in dialogue that could disparage colleagues, competitors, or critics.
- If you have school information and news that you would like to announce to the public or media, please contact LM Marketing & Communications.
- If you have any doubt about posting content on these social media sites, please consult the Marketing & Communications team.
- LM encourages our fans, followers, and friends to share their thoughts with one another by commenting on a story, feature, tweet, or post that speaks to you. We encourage positive and encouraging kind of talk, thoughtful and civil conversation with the following guidelines:
- Comments must be relevant to a topic discussed and to the point.
- Keep your comments clean and constructive.
- Posts that are off-topic, abusive, contain profanity, are threatening in tone or devolve into personal attacks will be removed. Period.
- Excessively long comments—as determined by the site’s editor—are subject to editing for length, clarity and space limitations.
- LM reserves the right to review and remove comments.
Social media channels at LM must be continually updated and monitored. Accounts that have been inactive for more than one month may be subject to deactivation or deletion. Deactivation and deletion will be carried out by contacting and working with the school’s communications director or the highest-ranking officer of the department.
While social media continues to evolve and develop as an effective tool for advertising jobs at the school and for recruiting candidates, it does not replace or otherwise eliminate the need to use the school’s existing recruitment systems and processes for posting positions, collecting applications, conducting background checks, making offers of employment and other related activities. Offers of employment should only be extended through existing and accepted processes, and should not be communicated through social media.
This policy is to be followed in conjunction with the school’s other policies related to social media for employees and students:
Technology Acceptable & Responsible Use Policy
Anti Cyberbullying Policy
Student & Employee Handbooks