»Social Media Resources and Guidelines

What is Social Media?

Social media describes a collection of online tools and platforms that cultivate social connectivity, interaction and discussion. Each social media site offers a unique, visual way to build relationships and share information. Users publish content to each site as text, status updates, tweets, photos and video. Social media platforms effectively share new information and/or re-purpose existing content from other social media pages and websites. 

Common social media platforms include, but are not limited to:

Social media requires you to be, well, social! Personal and brand profiles find friends and consumers with similar interests.

Socialize with Chapman — view our university social media pages here

Social Media Philosophies

  • Social media thrives when conversations occur between online users. Do not simply broadcast marketing messages; focus on customer service. Respond. Engage.
  • Social media is best-received when users (and brand pages) are authentic, honest and transparent.
  • Social media page administrators have the unique opportunity to learn what people are saying about their brand. Be receptive to audience comments and respond thoughtfully in a timely manner. Listen, then respond.
  • Engage your fans and followers with compelling and relevant information. Identify your audience and present appropriate content and responses. Think twice, post once.

  • Getting Started
  • Social Media Policy
  • Social Media at #ChapmanU
  • Best Practices [PDFs]

    “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”
    – Agatha Christie. 

    Identify. Define. Execute. Use our Social Media Planning Guide to identify your objectives,
    define the right social media platform for your brand and execute a stunning page/handle.

    Identify and Define

    Will my department achieve their marketing and communication goals by using social media like Facebook and Twitter?

    This is a decision you must make. Consider every available platform of social media before making a decision. While all services provide social interaction with fans and followers, they each have a unique way of displaying information.

    • Facebook and Google+ allow users to display messages as updates, photos, links, and video. Your brand can upload photos and videos to live permanently on those pages, or you can embed video for a temporary lifespan.

    • Twitter delivers short, instantaneous, (and sometimes candid) messages. Photos, videos, and webpages appear as links within the 140 character limit.

    • Pinterest and Instagram capitalize on imagery to convey a message. Brands on Pinterest can create ‘boards’ that include crucial, yet personable information in the form of ‘pins.’ Instagram is a photo-feed that allows for a short description. Both of these platforms require extreme creativity because they rely heavily on images, not text. Tell your story through visuals.

    • YouTube broadcasts short videos that give space to text descriptions and tags. If YouTube is a good fit for your endeavors, please contact Panther Productions, ezell@chapman.edu, for more information about our official Chapman University channel. 

    Do I have time to manage a social media site?

    Social media requires ample time to write content, listen and monitor, and respond. Sites also demand a consistent level of posting in order to build awareness and generate loyalty. Chapman University encourages three posts per week. Once you select the social media site, you can determine time and resources. 

    Does my department have a large enough audience to be effective online?

    Determine the potential social media fans and followers your social media site might recruit. If you have a small, niche audience, you may consider an intimate online setting such as Facebook Groups in place of a brand page. 


    How do I set up my social media presence?

    Please download our Social Media Planning Guide to learn more about the platform you have selected.

    How will the University know our page is live?

    Please register with Strategic Marketing and Communications. Review the policy and best practices before registration to ensure you are following social media and university guidelines. Begin to build a network and online community by liking and following other university pages. For a complete list of university social media account, visit social.chapman.edu


    Social media has emerged as a multi-faceted and dynamic way to communicate with Chapman University constituents at a variety of levels, from institutional to individual. These communications tools also have the potential to create a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations.  To properly portray, promote and protect Chapman University, as well as protect the personal and professional reputations of faculty, staff and administrators, the following policy has been reviewed and approved by administration and accepted as university policy. 

    Establishing formal social media guidelines will:

    • Encourage colleges/schools, departments, programs and organizations to participate appropriately and effectively in social media opportunities.
    • Encourage the adoption and implementation of social media best practices that include consistent and timely postings, balanced and factual information, civil and productive discourse and respectful and personalized interactions.
    • Provide for the official endorsement of social media accounts that adhere to CU social media policy. 

    Common social media platforms covered by this policy would currently include (but are not limited to):

    • Social Networking: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+
    • Micro-blogs: Twitter, Tumblr
    • Blogs: WordPress, Blogger
    • Photo and Video Sharing: Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, Picasa

    This policy applies to social media accounts created to represent Chapman University and its affiliated units.[1] The policy is designed to provide input and direction, and ensure the adoption and implementation of best practices in social media. 

    This policy and official endorsement does not apply to student organizations at this time. Student organizations will be eligible for endorsement at a later date. For consideration at that time, the organization must be a registered group with Student and Campus Life.  

    EXEMPTION:  Social media activities by faculty and staff that are considered “personal sites” will not be covered by this policy. University employees acting in an individual capacity are expected to communicate clearly that they are not acting in a representative capacity or expressing the views of the university. However, personal/individual sites maintained by faculty and staff that inherently represent the university must comply with this policy.[2]


    To ensure that Chapman University is properly portrayed and protected on the Internet, this policy establishes criteria by which social media sites become officially endorsed by the university. Such recognition enables CU to monitor its presence on social media sites that purport to represent the institution or affiliated units, without involving excessive censorship or limiting academic freedom. The goal of endorsement is to ensure the university is represented in a fair, accurate and legal manner while protecting the brand and reputation of the institution. 

    Official endorsement means the social media site will be listed on the university’s social media website and, whenever feasible, will be linked to, promoted and featured in marketing and communication activities.

    The following actions are required to become officially endorsed:

    • Notify the university’s Interactive Marketing Specialist of the proposed site. (The site or platform must already be vetted by the appropriate administrative leader, i.e., dean, chair, director, etc.)
    • Register the site and the name(s) of the parties responsible for content for each site with the university’s Interactive Marketing Specialist. This ensures effective communication and content coordination capabilities.
    • Submit for approval the profile image/avatar of each account/site to ensure CU branding standards are upheld.
    • Clearly indicate in the account’s description that it is the official representation of the unit and legally associated/affiliated with Chapman University.
    • Include a disclaimer statement regarding content and opinions contained on the site.[3]
    • Agree to a consistent level of posting in order to build awareness and generate followers. Guidelines recommend a minimum posting schedule of every other work day, but consideration may be extended to affiliated units during periods of heightened work activity. For consideration, please contact the Social Media Specialist.
    • Sites not updated within 14 consecutive days will be removed from social.chapman.edu until consistent postings can be reinstituted.
    • Sites that model spam will also be removed. Use an editorial calendar to organize your posts, tweets and pins and avoid posting excessive messages within the same timeframe.
    • Monitor replies and comments, and respond promptly and appropriately. Unanswered questions or unaddressed concerns may generate negative posts that reflect on Chapman University’s social media effort as a whole. (Best practice suggests checking and responding at least twice per day.)
    • Sites that fail to address follower concerns, questions or comments over a period of 14 consecutive days will be removed from social.chapman.edu.
    • Adhere to the same standards of conduct and communication that are expected in the workplace.
    • Respect privacy laws. Do not include confidential information about the university, its faculty, staff or students. Posting confidential information and violating FERPA will result in immediate removal as an endorsed account.
    • Post accurate information. Clarify and consult sources before posting.
    • Be mindful of intellectual property rights and copyright rules. Cite and link to sources whenever possible.
    • Avoid content that could be interpreted as obscene, offensive, threatening or illegal.
    • Adhere to Terms of Service (or Terms and Conditions) as defined by the social media website in which the user is participating.

    Responsibilities and Clarification

    The Direction of Web and Interactive Marketing will be responsible for administering this policy. The Social Media Specialist will supervise the endorsement process and monitor endorsed sites. The Social Media Specialist will also be responsible for posting endorsed sites to social.chapman.edu (or remove the sites as needed). 

    Neither Chapman University’s name or logos/marks nor an officially endorsed social media site can be used to indicate official support of any product, private business, cause or political candidate. Affiliated units are prohibited from entering into advertising agreements with social media sites. Any affiliated unit wishing to purchase advertising on social media sites are encouraged to work with Strategic Marketing & Communications to achieve their goals. 

    While Chapman University is committed to the protection of academic freedom, it shall have the right with respect to any site maintained in the name of the university to remove (or cause to be removed) any content for any lawful reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.

    Those whose jobs include posting to social media sites are encouraged to contact the Web and Interactive Marketing team at any time for advice, assistance and consultation.

    Recommendations and Best Practices

    Start with a plan

    • Strategize exactly how the social media platform will be used to achieve departmental objectives. Your site should endorse department goals; promote department and university events; highlight student, staff and faculty accomplishments; and provide information relevant to the field and subject matter of your unit.
    • Don’t create a new site simply because “everyone else is doing it.” Plan how to incorporate the university’s key messaging characteristics of leadership, creativity, collaboration and research.

    Use Available Resources

    • Work with the university’s Web and Interactive Marketing team to ensure all content appropriately represents the university, the design reflects the university’s commitment to brand identity, and the overall site is compliant with Internet best practices (privacy rules, disclaimer information, contact information, ADA compliance, etc.).

    Follow Best Practices and University Policies

    • To ensure the success of your social media site, please adopt these recommendations:
    • Post often. Social media sites work effectively when readers come to rely on a fresh flow of information. Posting infrequently makes it less likely that your site will become a “must read” for your audience. Consider developing an editorial calendar to help you plan for and schedule relevant content on a regular basis.
    • Post carefully. Think twice before posting once. If an error is made, correct it quickly and visibly. This will earn respect from followers. Please notify the Social Media Specialist when the error might be detrimental to multiple departments or to Chapman University.
    • Use appropriate images. Photos and images should use little to no text. Titles and tag lines are acceptable, but images that resembles fliers are not acceptable. Images that provide additional contextual text are not ADA friendly. For long posts, interviews, spotlights, and other news, please consider submitting your story to the blog network.
    • Avoid spamming fans and followers. Allow space between your posts and do not post the same message multiple times in the same week. Alter your copy and content to generate a new, fresh perspective if you must repost.
    • Be personable and accessible. A personality and passion for communicating with your followers will draw an ever-increasing audience. Consider engaging with other endorsed Chapman University social media profiles. Retweet them, tag them in posts, and refer your followers to their sites.
    • Be respectful. Social media often opens a conversation that may generate negative or confrontational comments. When interacting with a negative post, remember the university’s commitment to the reasonable discussion of opposing ideas, and its respect for the dignity of others. Vigorous discussion can create an intellectual and engaging conversation or it can harm the identity of the university. You are encouraged to work with the Interactive Marketing Specialist when you’re confronted by a negative post. 


    The university’s Web and Interactive Marketing team is committed to helping affiliated units create a fun, safe, and engaging social media presence—one in which students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, future students and friends of the university can all interact comfortably.

    To receive guidance and help, please contact your web coordinator

    [1] Affiliated units are defined to include any school, college, department, program or organization that receives the majority (50.1% or more) of its operating revenue directly from Chapman University.

    [2] “Inherently represent the university” is defined to mean that the site/account owner consciously and consistently uses his/her web presence to indicate an affiliation with Chapman University. Examples might include a faculty member who uses his/her Twitter account primarily to communicate with students, an administrator who uses a Facebook page to share work-related information with subordinates, or a staff member who blogs primarily about his/her work at Chapman University.

    [3] While disclaimer content may vary, a comprehensive statement might include: All information provided on this site is for social networking purposes only and does not constitute a legal contract between the university and any entity unless otherwise specified. Chapman University does not guarantee the information contained in these sites or information contained in links to other external web sites, and does not endorse any views expressed or products or services offered therein. Any links to external web sites and/or non-university information are provided as a courtesy. They should not be construed as an endorsement by Chapman University of the content or views of the linked materials.

    These sites are unmoderated forums containing opinions and expressions of the persons who post the entries.

  • Chapman University uses social media to deliver key university messages and communicate with our key stakeholders: future students, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and the community. The university is well-served by social media because it is instantaneous and accessible. 


    1. Create a strong social culture on our audience’s preferred platform: the web. Strengthen our relationship with our online community.
    2. Listen, post, respond in a timely manner.
    3. Post relevant, well-thought content to university social media pages.
    4. Build a network to drive brand recognition and brand experience, and deepen customer intimacy.
    5. Modernize customer service, communication, and public relations. 

    Current social media endeavors

    • Social.Chapman.edu: Social.chapman.edu will be an interactive site that lists university pages and displays a live feed of their posts, tweets, instagram photos, and pins.

    • Inside.Chapman.edu: social media elements include status updates, Facebook and Instagram photos, and tweets are displayed alongside trending blog posts and stories.

    Social Media in Higher Education

    Social media is a platform for discussion of ideas, experiences, and knowledge-exchange. Universities are well-endowed in thoughtful individuals and life experiences. 

    Universities resemble the Business-to-Person (B2P) model. We directly connect and impact an individual. The B2P model identifies closely with social media because it includes valuable contents, genuine contributions, transparent honesty and commitment to enhancing a customer’s experience. 


    “Laggards who do not understand the value of social media networking [and]
    its appeal to the emotional side of customer relationship management
    will lose competitiveness and, ultimately, market share.
    Perhaps most importantly, they will lose
    the ability to connect and learn from their customers.”

    – Bulmers & DiMauro, 2009.


    Social Media Planning Guide [PDF]

    Begin your social media experience with a strong beginning. Ask yourself the right questions and work with the right websites. 

    Facebook FAQS [PDF]

    Facebook FAQS dives deeper into Facebook’s social networking culture. Similar principles apply to Google+.  

    Twitter Tips [PDF]

    Learn more tips about mastering Twitter. With only 140 character limits, you need to be creative!

    Instagram Info [PDF]

    Explore the Instagram platform where you can customize, post and share your photos 

    Pinterest Pointers [PDF]

    Learn how to share your stories with virtual pins and boards.