If you manage a VCU-affiliated social media account or are thinking of starting one, review these social media guidelines and complete our approval form to register or update your accounts.
We also invite you to join our VCU Social Media Administrators Group. This group meets monthly to explore best practices and key issues facing communication through social channels. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to receive communication about upcoming meetings.
Social media sites offer opportunities to engage individuals, institutions and organizations through an interactive process that has the potential to foster recognition, enhance creativity, build stronger relationships and contribute to the success of VCU by sharing information and dialogue. Content posted to social media sites is public and therefore has associated risks.
The purpose of the VCU Social Media Guidelines is to ensure proper portrayal, promotion and protection of the institution. These guidelines apply to all VCU-owned social media accounts and administrators of those accounts who engage in social media usage as part of their assigned VCU responsibilities.
Inappropriate disclosures, use of information, or acts of unprofessional behavior are not tolerated and will be addressed by university disciplinary procedures. VCU will report suspected unlawful conduct to appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Expectations for social media property and community administrators of VCU-owned accounts include:
Your VCU-owned social media accounts are authorized through VCU University Relations and will be included in the university’s social media directory. All departments should have a social media strategy and plan approved by the unit’s social media leadership team member for review and assessment prior to the debut of any social media program. VCU-owned accounts are required to:
All VCU-owned social media accounts must follow VCU identity and brand standards.
VCU’s social media branding requirements are:
All policies, procedures and guidelines regarding university trademarks, names and symbols are followed for all VCU-owned social media accounts.
VCU University Relations must approve logo usage. Additional requirements for VCU’s identity standards are listed at https://brand.vcu.edu/.
Review and follow the social media identity section in the VCU brand standards guidelines.
Must be strong and can be achieved by a combination of the following factors:
Contain lowercase and uppercase letters
Contain at least one number
Contain at least one special character
Be a minimum of eight characters
A password should not be related to any personal information or phone numbers.
Do not use the same password for VCU-owned social media sites as for other nonwork-related or personal account access.
Passwords should always be stored in a secure fashion.
A password should not be a recognizable word out of a dictionary.
Avoid simple variants or permutations of words (e.g., replacing S’s with 5’s, your name or department name backwards or repeated)
Never reuse passwords across social media channels, third-party applications used to access social channels or email.
Never share passwords for VCU-owned accounts with anyone outside of the immediate social media team and never share passwords for personal accounts used to access VCU-owned accounts.
All passwords for VCU-owned social media accounts must be changed twice a year (i.e., every 180 days) or when there is a staff change.
Community administrators must be aware of these guidelines and adhere to them. Administrative specifications are as follows:
Emergency communications, including inclement weather closings or delays, should always originate through VCU Police, VCU News, VCU’s Alert page or VCU’s central social media accounts. Never share information that has not been issued by central university administration on any VCU-owned social site.
In the event of a major announcement, information should not be mentioned on social media until it has been made official and posted on news.vcu.edu. Once official, information may be shared through other university social media channels.
If you suspect a security breach on a VCU-owned account or personal account used to access a VCU-owned account, contact your social media leadership team representative and central administration immediately at email@example.com or (804) 828-1231.
Best practices for avoiding security breaches
Secure your passwords. Do not share passwords with anyone for VCU-owned accounts or personal passwords for accounts that are linked to VCU-owned accounts.
Consider setting personal profiles linked to VCU-owned accounts as private. Be cautious about accepting friend requests from strangers. Avoid connecting to online applications through personal social media channels linked to VCU-owned accounts.
Exercise caution when opening links on social media sites.
Do not leave a computer, tablet or mobile device unattended if VCU-owned accounts are accessible.
Regularly change passwords on personal accounts that are linked to VCU-owned accounts.
Be wary of “official” communication from social channels sent through unusual channels. For example, Facebook will never send official communication via Messenger.
Always check that you are logging into official social channel URLs. Scammers often set up fake pages that look like login pages.
Turn on login approvals or two-factor authentication for an additional layer of security if someone attempts to log in from an unrecognized device. Consider using a social media manager system like Facebook Business Manager or password management system.
If a threat is known or suspected to be an emergency situation, call VCU Police immediately at (804) 828-1234 to report the situation. If a credible threat is made or suspected against an individual or group, it shall be documented, reported to the appropriate law enforcement agency, and in some cases it will be removed.
Upon discovery of any threats, harassment or personal information trolling, please report it quickly to a page administrator. If a threat appears to be urgent, you are encouraged to report this to VCUPD. If it appears to involve only VCU employees or students, then consult the VCU Threat Assessment Team information available at https://police.vcu.edu/facts/threat_assessment.html. All emergencies are to be reported to VCUPD immediately at (804) 828-1234.
If the situation does not seem to be a threat, then consult with the site administrator and supervisor in your area to determine whether to reply with an invitation to discuss the matter offline with the posting individual.
All nonemployment-related advertising by university entities must be expressed in writing to University Marketing in the Division of University Relations in order to ensure that it is consistent with the VCU brand identity standards and image.
VCU units must review VCU’s Outgoing Sponsorships, Advertising and Endorsement Policy and submit a Request to Advertise form for review and approval by the vice president for university relations. Advertising materials must meet VCU brand identity standards before they can be placed. University Marketing will confirm that advertising materials meet VCU brand identity standards. All media purchases must be made in compliance with applicable procurement policies and procedures.
The Division of University Relations will provide input and assist in outreach on these guidelines and best practices for social media. Please direct policy questions to University Public Affairs within the Division of University Relations.
Questions regarding implementation of these guidelines or reports of inappropriate behavior on VCU-owned social media property, may be sent to the assistant director of social strategy and integration at firstname.lastname@example.org or via telephone at (804) 828-1463.