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Front of Ponce Hall from the southeast - taken on a sunny day.

Digital Media Best Practices

In order to assist students, employees, and other individuals, Flagler College has prepared these “Best Practices” that must be considered. Although this section applies to those posting on behalf of an official Flagler College unit or on Official College Channels, these “Best Practices” may be helpful for anyone posting on digital media in any capacity:

Posting on Digial Media Platforms

Think Twice Before Posting – Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that may reflect both on the poster and Flagler College. Even if deleted, internet posts are potentially available through third-party digital media hosts. If students or employees would not say it at a conference or to a member of the media, they should consider whether to post it online. If students or employees are unsure about posting something or responding to a comment, they should ask their supervisor or professor for input.  Posting certain information may subject individuals to discipline, liability (criminal and civil), ridicule, and embarrassment.  Think twice (or three times) before posting.

Honesty is the Best Policy – Students and employees should not mislead others into believing they are someone they are not. Students’ and employees’ posts should clearly reflect that they are posting on behalf of Flagler College if it is their intent.  Remember that student and employee posts will reflect on Flagler College even if it is not their intent.  Do not misrepresent facts – just be honest.  If students or employees publish anything related to Flagler College on their personal pages, it should clearly state that they are a student or member of the faculty or staff. Students and employees should also make clear that the views and opinions expressed are their own and not necessarily those of Flagler College.

Do Not Post Private or Confidential Information – It is vitally important that students and employees not post information that is private or confidential.  As an educational institution, Flagler College is responsible for adhering to the requirements set forth in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules and regulations, copyright and trademark laws, and Florida and Federal confidentiality and privacy laws.

Strive for Accuracy - Get the facts straight before posting on digital media. Review content for grammatical and spelling errors. This is especially important if posting on behalf of Flagler College in any capacity or on an Official College Channel.

Be Respectful - Understand that content contributed online could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. It is not unusual for disagreements to arise.  It is easier to type a negative or inappropriate message than it is to say something directly to a person.  Students and employees should respect others online and act as if the recipient of their message is standing in front of them.  Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or Flagler College and its institutional voice.

Remember the Audience - Be aware that a presence in digital media is or easily can be made available to the public at large. This includes prospective students, current students, current employers and colleagues, and peers. Consider this before publishing to ensure the post will not alienate, harm, or provoke any of these groups.

Be User-Centered- Whether students or employees are posting on a College social media site or creating an official blog, they must understand their audience’s needs and the questions they are asking that leads them to the site. We strive to provide the best user experience on all platforms.

Photography - Photographs posted online can easily be appropriated by visitors. Consider adding a watermark and/or posting images at 72 dpi and approximately 800x600 resolution to protect intellectual property. Images at that size are sufficient for viewing on the Web, but not suitable for printing.

Logos- Use of all Flagler College logos must comply with the Marketing Department’s Visual Identity Guidelines which can be downloaded from the Trademark Policy webpage.  The Visual Identity website contains Flagler College logos in a variety of digital formats.  Official College Channels must abide by Flagler College’s Trademark Policy, Trademark Guidelines, and Branding Guidelines.

Follow Terms of Use – Flagler College has adopted comprehensive Terms of Use that must be strictly followed when posting on behalf of Flagler College or on Official College Channels.  Also be aware that most digital media hosts require that users abide by terms/guidelines/privacy statements.  Make sure to read these documents before posting.

Maintaining and Managing Digital Media Channels

Having a presence on social media can be a great tool for growing a brand, connecting with an audience and providing a high-level of customer service. With those things in mind, it’s always a good idea to have a sound strategy for social presence and keep in mind a few tips.

Decide if a Social Platform is Needed. If students and employees are primarily promoting events, it may make more sense to partner with someone who has a more-established presence on social media. If students or employees are launching a new channel, they start with one follower – not a large audience for getting their message across. Explore ways of sharing posts on a page with a built-in audience.

Students and Employees Do Not Have to be on Everything, Just What Matters. Look at the audience and decide how they are engaging with similar brands through social media. For example, if the target demographic is males age 18-24, Pinterest may not be the most effective platform.

Quality Content is of the Utmost Importance. Each post on social media channel is an opportunity to set students and employees up as experts. Resist the temptation to post “just to keep things going.” Take a look at what is being said how the message will come across to followers.

Stay On-Brand. Students and employees should look for ways to loop in current events and conversations but make sure they are staying true to their brand. If people are talking about something and students or employees want to join in, that’s Ok, but they need to find a way to relate it to who they are; with a little planning and thought, it can be accomplished.

Make Time for Social Listening. The heart of social media is connecting with an audience and, because of that, it’s a great way to offer stellar customer service. Look daily (sometimes multiple times a day) at what people are saying on page and off. Websites like Hootsuite and TweetDeck offer free services for monitoring social media.

Maintain a Content Calendar. Students and employees should keep track of ideas, events and content that they want to share on social media using a content calendar. They may even consider pre-scheduling some posts. Doing this will allow them to turn their attention to other matters, and will ease the time-consuming strain of an active social media presence.