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General Guidelines

These guidelines are for the publication of and commentary on social media by employees of South Dakota State University. These guidelines are in addition to and complementary to any existing or future policies regarding the use of technology, computers, email, website usage and the internet. Employees must continue to follow state policy regarding the use of computers, laptops and other technological equipment, as well as email and internet access.

University Marketing and Communications is the only department within South Dakota State University allowed to establish or maintain an official main account for the university, overseen by the university social media coordinator or designee.

Before establishing an official university account, colleges, departments, organizations or other entities must contact the director of marketing and communications, successor or designee and gain approval.

An individual must be designated to manage the content of an official university social media account. That individual is responsible for notifying UMC or other designated university officials if the account is compromised, requires enforcement action or is no longer needed and has been deleted.

Users are responsible for following university and SDBOR policies, and any content shared must be in accordance with university social media guidelines. Final decisions regarding content on official university accounts are at the discretion of the director of marketing and communications and/or the vice president of technology and security, or their successors.

An official university account should clearly identify the college, program or department it represents, and follow university branding guidelines. It’s important to include South Dakota State University, South Dakota State, SDSU or SDState in the name of the account whenever possible.

Do not post confidential information about the University, its students, employees, or affiliates derived from University records. Employees must follow the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA and HIPAA, as well as other applicable laws, regulations, and policies.

University guidelines for engagement should be readily available through and followed by official university social media accounts.

While they represent the university and are managed by approved individuals, official social media accounts are owned and operated by outside companies that have their own policies, procedures, and terms of service that must be agreed to and followed.

Official social media accounts are a representation of South Dakota State University. Care and consideration should be given to every decision surrounding the page, including, but not limited to, branding, interactions, contents and posts, shares or retweets and page promotion. Other best practices include:

  • It’s OK to have fun. You represent SDState as an official account, but light-hearted, entertaining posts, banter and connections are what social media is perfect for.
  • Be genuine. Tell your story, engage with your audience, and avoid overuse of marketing messages – you’ll wear your audience out.
  • Take a breath. Negative posts, attacks, criticism or spam are just part of the game. Take a breath before responding, correct misinformation and point towards a positive. Responding to a negative post with defensive or negative responses doesn’t fix anything.
  • Be present. Simply having an account doesn’t mean your message will be shared and your audience will grow. Engage with comments, respond to messages in a timely fashion, share other posts, constantly create content, and utilize your stakeholders to spread your message or create content for you.
  • Be knowledgeable. Write and share what you know and stay out of areas you don’t. Use your accounts to tell your story, not others.
  • Take time to reflect. Once you hit “post,” the message you’re sharing is out there. If something does not feel right, ask someone else to look at it. Beyond that, grammar, spelling, and quality matter. Take one more look at it, then go for it.
  • Make it yours. If you’re wanting to hop on the latest trend, find a way to connect it back to South Dakota State University, or tweak things slightly so you’re not just posting to enter yourself into the latest conversation.