Carnegie Mellon University

Social Media Guidelines

As an administrator of a Carnegie Mellon social media account, you are speaking on behalf of the university. We ask that you follow the following guidelines to ensure the best experience for our audience. The following guidelines can be applied to any channel you choose to use.

If you have questions or wish to provide feedback about our social channels, contact Lawerence Synett at 412-268-4831 or lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu.


Getting started

Get in Touch

Before starting, please email lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu. The central social media team can offer advice to best channels and practices, as well as help you leverage your new channel by sharing it among our audiences.

Who You Are

Carnegie Mellon's schools, departments and centers vary in missions, but they're all part of the larger institution — Carnegie Mellon University. When naming your social media page, be sure to use Carnegie Mellon University, Carnegie Mellon or CMU, as space allows. If the full "Carnegie Mellon University" doesn't fit as the page or account name, be sure to include it in the description area. For advice on including the university Wordmark in page graphics, contact the Marketing & Communications brand manager, at 412-268-9523 or marketing-info@andrew.cmu.edu.


Audience & Tone

Know Your Goal & Audience

Audience demographics and interests change across channels. When developing a new channel or considering content to post, think about the audience you want to reach and what type of content in which they are most interested. Through insights available on each channel, you'll be able to make data-driven decisions about what resonates with your audience best.

Make It Easy for Them

Ask for help if you don't know the answer. If you can't answer a user's question, don't be afraid to confer with the larger university social media community — either privately or publicly — to get the correct answer. Give direct URLs, not "go to cmu.edu." Give them a person's name and phone number, not "call Student Affairs."

Be Polite

You are a representative of the university when on these social media channels. Please listen to your audience and if you choose to respond to comments, do so with the polite voice of the university. If you question a response, please contact Lawerence Synett at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu for help.

Represent Your Service/Department's Tone

Consider the presence of the university brand. Think about your service or department, including your mission and culture, and bring that same personality to social media. For instance, if you handle functions like financial systems or other business operations, you will want to communicate in a more formal tone.

Be a Friend/Fan/Follower

The goal of social media is to connect people and information. In order to use it successfully, you'll need to be a part of the conversation — not just the broadcaster or the listener.
A great way to join the discussion is by connecting with individual users and replying to messages/posts. Similarly, a good way to broaden your network is to watch other university social media outlets and learn from each other. A social media directory with links to many of the social media pages can be found at cmu.edu/social-media.

Use Every Instance as a Way to Connect with Community

Any time you post something or receive a reply, the world is watching. Use such contacts as an opportunity to share information and expand your audience.


Content

Review Guidelines

The tools available on social media are ever evolving. If you would like to try a new animation, graphic, video filter, etc., please keep in mind our Visual Identity guidelines and Photo & Video best practices. If you have questions, please contact the Marketing & Communications brand manager at 412-268-9523 or marketing-info@andrew.cmu.edu.

Frequency & Timing

When developing your social media plan, consider the work distribution among those who will be administering the social media account(s). If you do not have the bandwidth to contribute to every channel well, consider limiting your social media footprint to one or two channels. Start by experimenting with frequency and timing of posts to gain a baseline of your audience. Then, use the insights available across all channels to develop a posting plan that will engage your audience best. For help with this, please feel free to reach out to Lawerence Synett at lsynett@andrew.cmu.edu.

Accountability

As a representative of the university on social media, a fair rule of thumb is if you question what you're about to post, it's best not to post it. More specific things to consider:

  • Do not follow accounts from the university channel that shouldn't be associated with the university brand.
  • Do not like posts from the university channel that shouldn't be associated with the university brand.
  • Do not respond with your personal opinions to posts from the university account.

When to Delete

Fans and followers of your social media pages have the right to disagree with your posts and the posts of fellow fans and followers. These comments should be allowed to create an environment of open dialogue. However, decide as a unit when to delete. For example, bullying and profanity are automatically deleted from central comments.

Admit a Mistake

Mistakes happen — a misspelling, a dead URL link, etc. Admit when it happens and correct it. If someone points it out to you, thank them for it, correct it and move on.

Always Check Links & Sources

This seems like a no-brainer, but it is easy to just repost a link you've seen somewhere else. Take some extra time to click on the link yourself and make sure it is appropriate for your audience.

Using Social Media Personally

Use caution when posting with "Carnegie Mellon University," "CMU" or "Carnegie Mellon" in your profile as a self-identifier.

If you participate in social media personally, you are posting your personal views, and they do not represent the views of Carnegie Mellon university. We ask that you use the media responsibly and carefully consider any possible professional implications.