Social media is a powerful communication tool and one that HCC actively uses to educate, inform, and collaborate with its students, staff, faculty, and alumni, as well as members of the community. Social media provides college staff and faculty with the ability to reach students outside the classroom and a way to better inform the public about college news and events.
When it comes to social media usage on behalf of the institution, HCC expects its employees to be honest and transparent in their electronic communications as they would be in person and to respect privacy, confidentiality, and copyright laws. Posted content on college social media sites should always be accurate, concise, student-oriented, sensitive to diverse audiences, and respectful to the college, its employees, students, and the community.
Social Media at HCC
The Public Information and Government Relations (PIGR) Office is responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of official college accounts on several social media sites as a way to provide announcements and information about upcoming events and activities as well as to provide a forum for open discussion among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community. As the administrative gatekeeper of social media, the PIGR Office is responsible for establishing, maintaining, and enforcing HCC’s social media policy and guidelines as necessary.
Social Media Guidelines & Procedures
College staff and faculty administering institutional social media accounts are expected to follow established social media guidelines and procedures. Please note that faculty, staff, and students are NOT permitted to establish their own department, program, or student organization social media accounts without written approval from the PIGR Office.
Official Social Media Pages and Groups
HCC currently maintains an official social media presence on several sites including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Flickr. Institutional accounts are maintained by PIGR. In addition, various programs, student organizations, and college-affiliated have their own social media accounts.
Best Practices for Effective Online Communication
To be successful on social media, faculty, staff, and students posting on behalf of HCC should:
Be respectful of others.
Whether you are an administrator or a fan/follower, always treat others fairly. Be sensitive to different perspectives and viewpoints and never react in a defensive or hostile manner.
Be accurate, honest, and transparent.
Make sure you are providing accurate information. Take the time to verify information before it’s posted. If you make an error or need to post a correction or retraction, do so publically so that others are aware of it. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue, or misleading.
Respect confidentiality and privacy laws.
Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about the college, its students, its alumni, or staff and faculty. Follow college policies and federal requirements such as FERPA. If in doubt, contact the PIGR Office for guidance.
Don’t violate copyright laws.
Follow the laws governing copyright and fair use dealing with copyrighted materials owned by others, including HCC’s own copyrighted material and brand. It is good practice to give credit to the owner/author/creator for content that is not your own and provide a direct link or URL to that content if possible.
As an employee, remember that you represent HCC. You are the public face of the college and should always consider the intended audience when posting or commenting. Proofread your content prior to posting and try to avoid spelling and grammatical errors.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If you need help, are uncertain of how to respond to a question or complaint, or need advice on how to handle a difficult situation, contact the Social Media & Public Information Specialist by calling 240-500-2262 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Think before you post.
Once something is posted online, it lives forever. Search engines frequently catalog posts and archive social media content. Don’t make the mistake of posting something that you will regret later or that could negatively impact the college, your current or future career, or your personal reputation.