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Social Media Guidelines

Social Media Guidelines


Basic guidelines

Before launching your own Doane social media channels, please ask yourself if you or your department will commit to at least 4-5 posts per week. If you cannot commit to that or you do not feel you have enough content, it is likely a better fit to work with OSM to weave your content into existing Doane University channels. Please consult OSM before launching any new Doane social media accounts.


  • Departments and groups can use social media as a valuable tool to build awareness, interest and engagement, but only when it makes sense in the context of strategic goals.
  • Do not create social media accounts just for the sake of having them.
  • Someone within the department or group should take ownership of the social media account, and make sure content is steady year-round. You need to commit to a minimum of 4-5 posts per week in order to justify an effective account. 
  • Who is your audience? If you are just hoping to reach the Doane community, might you be best served to utilize email as a form of communication rather than social media?


  • Content should reflect the college’s brand identity: An exceptional college that offers countless possibilities.
  • Content presence should maintain quality and consistency fitting of the media.
  • Content should be relevant to the intended audience but not duplicate institutional Doane University accounts.


  • Be timely and relevant with content.
  • Respond to messages as quickly as possible, maintaining an environment of accountability, credibility and inclusivity.


  • Find your audience on social media: what are they using/where are they communicating about you? Create accounts in different social media if necessary.
  • Do not create accounts in different media for the sake of having them.


  • If Doane is being talked about, we should be part of the conversation. We can most effectively communicate our brand, goals, identity and strengths.


  • Remember that social media is about conversations. Listen to your audience and interact with them—not to them.
  • Be true to Doane’s brand identity. Be active and engaging. Share what makes Doane special.


Social media in 5 steps

Step 1: Set-up

  • Make sure “Doane” figures prominently in your title for the account.
  • For profile visuals, contact the Office of Strategic Marketing (OSM) for official logos and photos.

Step 2: Approval and approach

  • Remember that you are representing Doane—not yourself—in all circumstances. Refrain from using your personal views.
  • Finally, to make sure Doane recognizes the authenticity of the account, it needs to be approved and verified by OSM.

Step 3: Producing accurate content

  • Look for or produce content that is of interest to your audience. If it’s accurate and helpful content from a trusted outside source, feel free to share it.
  • Be accurate with grammar and spelling. Remember: you are representing an institution of higher learning.
  • Fact check. Being right is better than being first.
  • Avoid lengthy posts and let content speak for itself.
  • For example, introduce linked or visual content on Facebook with no more than 2-3 sentences. Give your audience the most important information and/or an incentive to read/see the rest of the story.
  • Write professionally and adhere to the Doane Styleguide, which follows AP Style. Most importantly:
  • Do not use over-abundant punctuation.
  • e.g., “!!!” or “!?!?!?”
  • Use capitalization only with proper nouns and calls to action.
  • e.g., “Doane University” or “WATCH now: …”
  • If you need photos, videos, help with writing or have questions about appropriate material, contact OSM.

Step 4: Posting

  • Timeliness is essential. Make sure news items or topics have a context to the academic, athletic or calendar year as well as your goals/group.
  • Use content that is appropriate and a positive representation of Doane.
  • If you make a mistake, fix it quickly. If editing options are not available, delete the post and retry.
  • Share a variety of content (photo, video, written, etc.) to keep your audience engaged.
  • Take responsibility for content. Edit and monitor as necessary.

Step 5: Maintenance and monitoring

  • Have someone take ownership of the account who will make sure to produce and/or post content consistently.
  • Follow best practices for how much to post in a particular media.
  • Stick to a consistent style and voice. It creates authenticity, credibility and personality.
  • Respond to comments or questions in a timely manner to show a relationship with the audience.
  • Handle complaints, criticisms or crises in as private a manner as possible.
  • Consult OSM if you have questions about handling issues.
  • Be respectful of others in all cases.


Fair-use practices

Respect rights

  • Do not post personal or proprietary information about Doane, its students, prospective students, employees or alumni.
  • Follow FERPA guidelines. For reference, visit
  • Stick to copyright and fair use laws. Copyrighted text, photos, graphics, video and other materials are intellectual property. Do not post copyrighted material without permission or credit.
  • When in doubt, do not post sensitive or copyright-protected content.
  • Follow college and host application guidelines regarding copyrights.