Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices

This page provides a list of best practices and guidelines for social media account managers when using Wentworth accounts.

For policies regarding social media at Wentworth—including how social media is defined, what constitutes a social media manager at Wentworth, and how to register an account—please see Wentworth’s Social Media Policy.

Representing Wentworth

Posting on social media using a Wentworth account adds a certain amount of responsibility to what you are communicating online. What you post using a social media account for Wentworth can have a lasting impact on the entire Institute.

Remember that anything you put online, though it may seem easy to delete, could have been saved and shared by anyone. Be sure that what you say on social media, even in direct or private messages, is something you would say in a professional setting, and that it adheres to Wentworth policies.

Wentworth social media accounts are ones that have been registered with the Office of Communications. When using personal accounts or ones that are not registered, please refer to the rules outlined in Wentworth’s Social Media Policy.

If you are trying to determine how to separate your professional social media presence from your private one, please contact the Office of Communications at editor@wit.edu.

Regarding personal accounts, employees are encouraged to share Institute news and events that are a matter of public record, with their family and friends. We strongly advise linking straight to the information source as the most effective way to pass along news on personal accounts and to avoid potential issues with copyright infringement.

When using your personal account:

  • Do not use the Institute logo on your personal site;
  • Do not use the Institute logo or name to promote or endorse any product, cause, or political party or candidate; and
  • Avoid sharing information that you have as a result of your employment that others would not otherwise know; and
  • Make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of the Institute. A disclaimer, such as, "The views expressed on this [blog; website] are my own and do not reflect the views of my employer," may be appropriate.

Civility

As a social media account manager, creating a social media post on your computer or smartphone can feel more impersonal than speaking in person. However, what you say online is no different than speaking to any member of your social media following in person. Speak with the same level of professionalism. Be polite and courteous.

Transparency

Social media account managers should never appear deceptive with their messages or carry a hidden agenda. Social media channels should not be used to promote any commercial enterprises. In addition, account managers with administrative access to Wentworth social media accounts are not allowed to personally profit through said account.

Social media can be used to promote fundraising efforts related to Wentworth, but transactions must not occur through the social media account itself. All fundraising efforts should be approved by the Institutional Advancement team, who will provide accurate links and language to be shared via Wentworth social media accounts.

It is important to remember that Wentworth as an institution is non-partisan and cannot assume a side in partisan politics, and should not assume a role in political, religious, or similar matters unrelated to the Institute’s mission. Specific departments or groups on campus may post according to their specific mission statements, but such cases are an exception and will be taken on a case-by-case basis by the Communications office. The Office of Communications reserves the right to intervene when it believes that a certain account is operating outside of these parameters.

User engagement should always be encouraged. Posts by other users to an account—even negative or critical to the Institute—should not be deleted unless they pose an immediate, personal risk to other users. However, it is acceptable to remove posts that promote hate speech, use obscene or harassing language, advertise a commercial entity, or serve as spam.

When possible, include a disclaimer in an “About” section that indicates that your Wentworth account does not condone the aforementioned types of messages, and that Wentworth reserves the right to remove them.

Crafting a Social Media Post

There are steps you can take to ensure that your posts align well with the greater Wentworth community. Follow the Wentworth Branding Guidelines, and include approved Wentworth logos, colors, typefaces, and templates. The Wentworth Writing Style Guide is also available on the same page and should be followed.

When posting on social media about a specific event on campus or within the Wentworth community, use the appropriate hashtags and tag the relevant social media accounts. Using relevant hashtags and connecting to the relevant social media outlets can be extremely beneficial in raising awareness for a particular event. Be sure to research hashtags or any other trends first, however, to assure they are not being grouped with inappropriate posts or ideas.

Know Your Audience

Remember that you are speaking to an entire audience of people. Using information or humor that targets specific people will not be as beneficial as posting items that your entire audience will understand and appreciate. Make sure that what you are posting is both relevant to your entire audience and to the conversation at large.

Clarity and Accuracy

Take the time to review your work before publishing. It is easy to post on social media, and it is equally easy to do so without thinking first about what you are posting. Make sure that the wording, spelling, and grammar of your social media posts are easily understandable. Be sure that any acronyms or instances of shortening words are well-known, recognizable, and do not carry a negative connotation (some acronyms or words might relate to things beyond your intended use). Read and re-read any social media posts before you send them to ensure that they have no grammar or spelling errors.

It is also important to verify that information you are posting on social media is as accurate as possible. Posting false or misleading information can have a serious impact on the credibility of your college, division, or department, and on Wentworth. Do not post information on social media if you cannot ensure its accuracy.

Crisis Situations

Social media channels should refrain from posting anything during a time of emergency, with the exception being to share or repost content that emanates from the @WITnews Twitter account. Be sure to also check on any content you might have pre-posted prior to the emergency and have it removed until the crisis is over. See Wentworth’s full Crisis Communication Policy, which includes how Wentworth defines a crisis, as well as steps to take when one is underway.

Accessibility

Within the limits of a social media platform, make every effort to make your content accessible to people with disabilities. In addition, make sure that accessibility options are enabled on any social media platform that has already made provisions for them.

Read more about Wentworth’s accessibility policy.

Disagreements and Negative Comments

Social media is not the place for an account manager to air grievances about any aspect of Wentworth. Inflammatory statements, especially related to Wentworth, are not acceptable in the professional social media atmosphere.

When encountering negativity from other users—as in comments, replies, or social media posts directed at your social media account—be polite and try to direct the person to the proper channel to solve their problem. Difficult comments should never be responded to impolitely.

If a comment is offensive, inflammatory, or discriminatory in a way that you are unsure how to handle, discuss the best means of dealing with the situation with your Wentworth supervisor. You may also pose a question to Wentworth’s Communications office by emailing editor@wit.edu.

If a comment or post directed at your social media outlet seems to indicate an emergency (threats against individuals or campus safety, implications of self-harm or suicide, threats of violence), contact the Department of Public Safety immediately at 617-989-4444.

For Questions or Assistance

If you have any questions about the above guidelines or require assistance on anything related to using social media for Wentworth, please contact editor@wit.edu.