Social Media at SSU

Best Practices

Form a strategy. Identify purpose, who you want to reach (audience), types of content you intend to share and overarching goals. From there start with one social media outlet, such as creating a fan page on Facebook, and develop a presence.

Set your goals. Are you trying to communicate a campaign; promote your CSU group/department/program; connect with alumni; create a community for fans; or increase overall awareness and recognition of your CSU entity? Your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely. Common social media goals include: increased traffic to website, reputation management, brand awareness, search engine rankings, and thought leadership.

Make the time. Don't start a social media effort unless you have the dedicated time and resources to maintain new content on a regular basis. New content is critical to thrive in social media communities.

Conduct research. Before starting a social media campaign, research other organizations on social media networks for ideas on what works and what doesn't.

Jump in. Be an active user. Listen to conversations, engage with comments, answer questions, and keep your account fresh with regular posts.

Measure success. Determine what success means for your purpose and goals. Increased traffic to your website? Better communication with prospective students? Number of fans, followers, comments?

A Few Things to Consider

Be authentic. Social media is all about people connecting with people. Remember to humanize your social media interactions. On social networks it is okay to use an exclamation point and phrases such as "check it out" rather than "read more."

Be accurate. Make sure you have all of the facts before you post. Cite and link to sources whenever possible to help build a community. It also doesn’t hurt to spell-check your content before posting. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn you respect in the online community.

Be respectful. Respect for the dignity of others and to the civil and thoughtful discussion of opposing ideas is critical. Feel free to respectfully disagree with a position but please do not propagate online confrontation as it reflects poorly on both the individual and CSU.

Be positive. A good rule of thumb: if you would not say it in person, don’t say it online.

Encourage open conversation. Listen to people and respond to as many comments as possible with constructive feedback. Allow negative comments, delete the spam, and seek to respond rather than censor.

Allow comments. Even the negative ones. A good philosophy for comments is to encourage thoughtful discussion, debate and differing viewpoints, with the understanding that all comments made must be civil, respectful, and appropriate for your audience. If comments are lewd, libelous, incite violence or are otherwise hurtful or hateful speech directed at either individuals or groups, CSU employees who serve as account administrators reserve the right to delete such comments.

Copyright 101

Guidelines for posting potentially copyrighted material on your social media accounts

First, determine who owns the material you want to post. Typical examples of copyright "owners" include:

  • Author of a written work
  • Photographer who took the picture
  • Composer of a song or melody
  • Videographer of a video
  • Journal/publisher of a published work
  • Creator of artwork
  • Programmer of software
  • Employer of any of these people if the work was done in connection with their employment

How do you get permission to post copyrighted material?

  • Contact the owner
  • Contact the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com
  • Contact CSU General Counsel's office for assistance with CSU-recognized social media accounts at (970) 491-6270

Could posting of the material be considered a "fair use" under the Copyright Act?

Use is likely fair if:

  • Character of the use is nonprofit, educational, or personal
  • Nature of the material used is factual published material
  • Only a small amount of the material will be posted
  • Impact on the market for the material is very small

Use is likely not fair if:

  • Character of the use is commercial (promoting a product or service, charging to access the copyrighted material, advertisements)
  • Nature of the material used is imaginative and/or unpublished
  • The majority of the material will be posted (for example, an entire book or chapter instead of a quoted sentence)
  • Use detrimentally impacts the market for the original
  • Use was "fair" at one time, but has been repeatedly reused or more widely distributed, or the copyright owner has requested that the use be limited or discontinued. For example, use of a portion of a journal article or a photo may have been Fair Use one time, but used annually for the same event or purpose, loses its Fair Use character.

What are the penalties for infringing someone's copyright?

  • Typically, a copyright holder's first response to an act of infringement is to send you a "cease and desist" letter demanding that you stop infringement. The copyright holder can go to court to get an injunction or a court order requiring you to remove the infringing material from your account, Web page, or profile. Additionally, a copyright holder can file a claim for actual damages suffered by the copyright holder as a result of your infringement.
  • If the copyright has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the copyright holder can file a claim for "statutory damages" without proving that the copyright holder was actually harmed by the infringement. An award of statutory damages can be as little as $750 or as much as $30,000. If the copyright holder can prove that you knew the work was protected under the law, an award of damages can be as much as $150,000.

What are the implications of posting copyrighted material on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube?

  • When you post copyrighted materials on these social media websites, such as Facebook, they automatically obtain a license to use those materials, commonly known as an Intellectual Property, or "IP" license. They can use this IP license to share the materials all over the world without your further permission and without paying you any royalties. Some websites also reserve the right to change, commercialize and publicly perform or display the materials. This IP license ends when you delete the materials or terminate your account unless the materials have been shared with others and they have not deleted it. This could mean that the social media website effectively owns a license to use the materials you posted, for whatever purpose it desires, forever.

Questions about copyright?

  • For copyright, fair use and faculty/staff ownernship of works at CSU, contact CSU's General Counsel at (970) 491-6270
  • For online or written license agreements or "clickwrap" terms, contact CSU's Contracting Services at (970) 491-6166
  • For tips on maximizing the benefit of your Facebook, Twitter, or other CSU-recognized social media account; problems with content or use of social media; change of account administrator; reporting misuse of an account; establishing a new account; use of CSU logos, graphics or trademarks, contact CSU's Social Media Policy Staff.