Illinois College - Home Logo
Open Menu

Marketing and Communication

Social Media Policy

Social media as a platform is a powerful tool for communication, marketing and interactive dialogue. These online forms of communication reflect upon the College and the Illinois College/Jacksonville community. Because of this, we want to help make sure you are using social media effectively and for the right reasons.

The Office of Marketing and Communication currently operates the following platforms:

Is Social Media Your Best Approach?

We are fully committed to maintaining a high level of quality in the social media world. Before establishing a new presence in one of these areas, consider the possibility of providing your content to be shared on our current platforms. Consider these questions:

  • Is social media the best medium? Too often, people think they must have a social media presence in the same way they have a web page. If you simply want to take a traditional web page and translate it to Facebook, for example, you are not using the medium correctly. Facebook is a place for interaction and dialogue – not simply presenting information.
  • Is the “conversation” you wish to initiate sustainable over time? Is it of enough interest to engage more than a few viewers? Will your page be relevant six or twelve months from now?
  • Do you have time and energy to keep the content current and fresh? Social media needs constant attention. How often will you be able to post new content?
  • What “added value” is being created? Could we perhaps use this information on our official College pages or maybe we need to chat about updating your web page?

If you still think a social media platform is for you, contact Bryan Leonard or Katie Bunner and let's chat!

Social Media Guidelines & Best Practices

Guidelines :: Maintaining the Presence
Once a clearly defined strategy for your page has been defined, it is necessary to understand how to maintain the content:

  • BE ACTIVE & TIMELY: The success of a social media site relies on constant monitoring and updating to ensure the target audience is up to date. Social media audiences expect frequent updates and real-time responses to messages, events, you name it. Consistency is key, right? Well, consistent interaction is a must. The content doesn't need to be unique, but the post should be. Your response time develops will help to develop a positive relationship between site and audience. 
  • BE ACCURATE: They say if you're not first, you're last. (or was that Ricky Bobby?) Though you strive to be the first to provide new information to the community, you want to make sure all details are facts and accurate and PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD! It is easier to ensure posts are accurate from the start rather than having to delete or correct them constantly. Give credit where credit is due by linking to stories or sharing information from appropriate sources/pages.
  • THINK BEFORE YOU POST: Remember that anything that goes online lives there forever, so be thoughtful and confident in the posts that are shared. Ensure that content is relevant and credible, whether it be original material or content shared from another site. Only post if you are comfortable with it being seen by a wide audience and in other formats (such as quoted in a newspaper article). Never post anything you would not want to be seen by a general audience. Never post information that is defamatory, libelous or harassing.
  • BRANDING: Always check with the Office of Marketing and Communication to confirm that your organization, group, etc align with the institution's brand identity. The guidelines not only apply to our printed and media pieces but also to our visual and social media. 

Best Practices and Responsibility

While the staff in the Office of Marketing and Communication will closely monitor official sites and must be included as administrators for all College social media accounts, we recommend the following best practices for updating official sites. If these best practices cannot be met, we will recommend the site be removed. 

Post regularly, but not too often: Official pages should have 1-3 postings a week in order to keep followers interested without overwhelming them. Rarely should multiple posts be made on the same day. If necessary, spread them out over the course of the day. Never post multiple items in a row.

Be open to critics: Transparency equals credibility in social media and the nature of the platform opens users up to criticism. Critical posts should usually be left up and carefully addressed. Often these posts are appropriately addressed by other users. Only posts that are threatening, libelous, or qualify as spam should be removed. Contact the staff within the Office of Marketing and Communication for advice on responding to or removing a questionable post. 

Be vigilant: Like any password protected space, be vigilant in protecting the site and the password. Avoid phishing schemes and alert IT and your divisional vice president if the site is compromised.

Know the rules: The NCAA has specific rules about contacting recruited athletes via social media. Please refer to NCAA rules and be certain all social media interaction is in compliance. In addition, all FERPA and other field-specific privacy rules apply in this and every medium.