Blogs, social networks, and websites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, etc.) are excellent ways to share information and connect. UWL is active in these online communities and supports participation by colleges, departments and university organizations.

However, departmental use of third-party social media services to conduct university-related communication introduces a variety of legal and policy issues.

Departments and organizations that choose to use third-party web applications, including social media, to augment their activities should use the following recommendations to ensure that they are used effectively, protect the university’s reputation, support the UWL brand and adhere to university policies. These groups should be prepared to educate staff, volunteers, and other participants about expectations related to the use of third-party web applications, privacy concerns and other relevant policy and legal issues. Keep in mind that social media is not a substitute for official communication from your department or organization.

UWL departments must use secure UWL-controlled services to conduct required or official university activities including communication that contains privacy-protected information.

Nick Ragner  Profile of Nick Ragner

Comm & Social Media Specialist
115G Graff Main Hall
nragner@uwlax.edu
608.785.8498

Specialty areas:

Social media

Videography/Video editing

Why go official? expanding section

Official vs. Unofficial

University Communications considers a social media page or profile to be “official” when it follows the guidelines created on this page. Official pages and profiles receive support from UWL Communications as well as campus leadership.

Why go official?

Separation of personal from professional

Conduct business as “the organization” rather than under a personal profile. This allows personal conduct to be kept private and uninvolved in university practices.

Increased visibility

Official UWL pages will be added to the university’s main social media account. This will enable UWL's social media content manager to be aware of your page’s updates and outreach efforts. With official status, your content also has the potential to be shared on the flagship pages.

Consumer confidence

There are countless “rogue” pages created on behalf of the university. Therefore, having an official and UWL branded page is the best way to instill confidence that your page will be trustworthy and professional.

University Communications support

By having University Communications as an administrator on the page, your organization/department/group can have assistance in planning, monitoring and maintaining your page activity. This also includes access to various specialized staff under University Communications. University Communications can also provide support and bridge the gap when there are changes in your administrators. Consistency is key!

Social media principles expanding section

UWL social media pages are inclusive

UWL pages are open to any person who has interest in the topic or organization of the page.

Social media participation is extracurricular

Participation in the page must be voluntary. Non-participation cannot result in negative repercussions for a student or employee. Faculty and academic departments should never discipline students on social media networking sites. Facebook is not to be used to conduct official or required university activities. All UWL Facebook pages should be considered a method for augmenting existing official channels of communication (such as the departmental website) rather than replacing them.

Page participation should follow the ground rules

Page administrators and participating members are all accountable for upholding the expectations of the page.

UWL social media pages are public

Never communicate personal, educational or health records via social media or any other non-secure third-party system.

The Good, The Bad, but not The Ugly

Regardless of whether an external user’s content is favorable or unfavorable, it is allowed if it is in context of the conversation. But if the content is ugly, offensive, denigrating, or completely out of context, it may be rejected. Transparency is key in creating a trustworthy, successful social media page.

Pages and profiles follow UWL branding

UWL has set branding that includes logos, fonts, colors and more. Be sure to follow these branding elements to comply with UWL policies. 

Before creating an official UWL page expanding section

There are a few questions to ask yourself before committing to an official UWL social media page:

  1. Why do we want and/or need a social media presence outside of what has already been created?
  2. Can we meet our organization/department purpose by doing so?
  3. How much time per week can we commit to managing the content and activity?
  4. Who will be our official page administrators?
  5. Are we willing to comply with University Communications’ policies and procedures regarding social media profiles?

In answering the questions above, you will ultimately decide the best path for you and your department/organization. Should you create a Facebook page? Should you create a Facebook group under an already established Facebook page? Should you create a Twitter or Instagram account instead? Should you create a social media page at all?

UWL has six requirements for pages to be an “official page.”

  1. A page must follow the official naming convention.
    1. Ex: UW-La Crosse English Department
    2. Ex: UW-La Crosse Psychology
    3. Ex: UW-La Crosse Department of Theatre
  2. University Communications must be one of the page administrators.
    1. Profile name: Web Communications
    2. Profile email: icomm@uwlax.edu
  3. Must use a profile image created by University Communications.
  4. Must feature an “about” description that includes information about your organization/department.
    1. Suggestion: “Welcome to the official (insert name here) page of the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse”
    2. Suggestion: Copy something similar to what is already on your home page at www.uwlax.edu
  5. Must feature a general description that includes link to social media community standards:
    1. uwlax.edu/social-media/policy
  6. Page managers must actively engage with University Communications after the page has been created including taking part in an annual check-in to discuss trends, best practices, overall page use, etc.
Creating an official UWL page expanding section

Place a request with University Communications to set up a page for your organization/department. A meeting will be scheduled to discuss the request, as well as the information in this document. University Communications will create the page and provide access to those who have been named page administrators as discussed by the organization/department and University Communications.

*You must have a personal profile if you plan to be an administrator for a Facebook page. Other platforms (Twitter, Instagram) are created independently but a Facebook page will need to be linked to your personal profile.

“We already have a page that we’d like to continue using.”

We can easily transition an already existing page into an official UWL profile. Notify University Communications to begin the process. No existing content will be altered outside the aforementioned requirements.

“We have an old page that we want to delete.”

Would you like to merge or delete altogether?

Are you falling behind on your social media account? Do you not see the same benefit of the page when it was first created? Is there an older account that you would like to have closed in favor of a new page? Deleting a page will erase all history of the page, as well as the followers who currently “like” or “follow” the page. Merging two pages together will permanently delete the older page, but will also automatically add the follower list to the new page. This is the best option for managers that would like to create a new page and carry over followers from an older page. Have University Communications handle this process as there is a chance you could accidentally delete both your old and current pages.

*page names need to be similar in order to merge!

Determine a termination date for the old page

Leading up to the termination date, let your followers know that you will be either deleting the page or utilizing a different page. Keep them updated with your plans to lessen confusion and inconvenience.

Deleting a page or merging pages

Have University Communications handle this process.

After creating an official UWL page & best practices expanding section

The very first thing you should do with your new page is experiment. Understand the various features it provides and how to best go about making it an engaging, informative resource for your fans and followers. Change settings, update the page layout, and do more. 

You can always make your page "private" if you would like to test things before making it public.

Once you feel comfortable with your page/profile, it’s time to get to work:

  1. Invite fans/followers – engage students, alumni, staff, and others to get your page noticed. Make sure to have a comprehensive plan for your startup so when you gain followers, you keep them!
  2. Post frequently with engaging content – we recommend 3/day maximum or 1/week minimum.
  3. Engage your followers – you need to communicate for your page to catch steam. Try to start conversations and solicit questions.
  4. Like and tag other UWL official pages – an easy way to collaborate and connect with other pages on campus. Liking their pages makes it easier for you to tag them in content.
  5. Show personality - remind fans and users that there is a person behind the account – not a scheduling robot!

Above all, publicize your pages! Don’t just simply invite people and expect them to follow suit. You need to put in the work for your page/profile to gain traction. Update department documents, brochures, your website, and any other marketing materials that you regularly use. If you are going to put the work into having a social media presence, don't let it fail due to lack of front-end advertising!


Click here for a regularly updated social media best practices guide from University Communications

Official Social Media Accounts

General expanding section
Facebook Twitter Instagram
UW-La Crosse Facebook Instagram
Admissions Facebook Instagram
Alumni Association Facebook Instagram
Athletics Facebook Instagram
Equity & Affirmative Action Facebook
Facilities Planning and Management Facebook
Human Resources Facebook
ITS Facebook
Murphy Library Facebook
Parking & Transportation Facebook
Parents and Families Facebook
Police Facebook Instagram
Screaming Eagle Marching Band Facebook

 

Academic expanding section
Facebook Twitter Instagram
Adapted Physical Education Facebook
Art Department Facebook
CBA Dean's Office Facebook
Chemistry & Biochemistry Facebook
Communication Studies Facebook
Computer Science Department Facebook
English Department Facebook Twitter
Ethnic and Racial Studies Facebook
Geography and Earth Science Facebook
Graduate Reading Program Facebook
Graduate Studies Facebook
History Department Facebook Twitter
Medical Dosimetry Program Facebook
Music Department Facebook
Occupational Therapy Program Facebook
Physics Facebook
Political Science and Public Administration Facebook
Professional & Technical Writing Facebook
Psychology Department Facebook
Research & Sponsored Programs Facebook
School of Education Facebook
School Psychology Facebook
Sociology & Criminal Justice Facebook
Theatre Department Facebook

 

Clubs & Organizations expanding section
Facebook Twitter Instagram
English Club Facebook
Habitat for Humanity Facebook
History Dept. Peer Tutors Facebook
Hmong Organization Promoting Education Facebook
MVAC Facebook
Organization for Campus Women Facebook
Planetarium Facebook
Pre Vet Club Facebook
Pride Center Facebook
Small Business Development Center Facebook
Student Veterans Association Facebook
University Staff Council Facebook
Resources & Services expanding section
Facebook Twitter Instagram
Budget Office Facebook
Campus Climate Facebook
Cashier's Office Facebook
Creative Imperatives Facebook
Financial Aid Facebook
International Admission Facebook
International Education & Engagement Facebook
McNair Scholars Facebook
Multicultural Student Services Facebook
Murphy Learning Center Facebook
Precollege MARC/SMART Facebook
Records and Registration Facebook
Scholarship Resource Center Facebook
Student Affairs Administration Facebook
Student Health Center Facebook
Student Life Facebook
Student Support Services Facebook
Student Union Facebook
Veteran Services Facebook
Recreation expanding section
Facebook Twitter Instagram
Intramural Sports Facebook
Outdoor Connection Facebook
Rec Sports Facebook Twitter
Rec Sports Alumni Facebook