Social Media Guidelines

The Texas Collection
Social Media Guidelines

Social media was initiated to actively engage the public in the full spectrum of materials and events at The Texas Collection and to create a dialogue with patrons. Though social media is a collaborative effort, a single staff member is assigned to administer one or two of the social media platforms, which helps diversify the content posted on the social media sites, providing a unique voice and perspective for each platform. Every administrator has a special gift for communicating in a particular way and will connect with a different group of constituents. Administrators have the freedom to set the course for the site based upon the following guidelines.

Mission:
The Texas Collection uses social media to highlight collections and services while providing a medium to engage users.

Social media will:

  • promote The Texas Collection and its holdings and establish the collection as a significant and scholarly source for research on the State of Texas;
  • increase visibility and strengthen the public image of The Texas Collection and Baylor University;
  • engage former, current and potential users and donors;
  • engage other institutions and collections;
  • highlight collection holdings and exhibits;
  • serve as a public relations tool and be part of the marketing strategy.

Current social media used in The Texas Collection:
  • Type: Blog
  • Began: September 2010
  • Frequency Updated: Minimum: 2 times/month
  • Primary Audience: Researchers, scholars, enthusiasts
  • Notes: Each month, one post focuses on Baylor materials and the other post focuses on non-Baylor materials. The blog should also cover both archival and library materials, as well as relevant news and events. Each post should be between 300-600 words unless the post heavily relies on audio-visual components. All images uploaded on the blog should be sourced from the TC Flicker page. This helps with cross-promotion and provides source information for Pinterest.

  • Type: Facebook
  • Began: December 2010
  • Frequency Updated: Minimum: 2-4 times/week
  • Primary Audience: Anyone with an interest in Texas and Baylor University
  • Notes: Posts are used to highlight materials (particularly images), other social media and events/exhibits. It can also be used to link to other sources and serves as a way to communicate with other institutions and fans.

  • Type: Flickr
  • Began: July 2010
  • Frequency Updated: Minimum: 2 times/month
  • Primary Audience: Anyone interested in Texas and Baylor; enthusiasts
  • Notes: Flickr serves as an online exhibit space for items found in The Texas Collection. Items may be tagged and favorited. There is also the ability to join groups. Images found on the blog should first be posted on Flickr. This will provide content and source information when images are pinned to Pinterest.

  • Type: Twitter
  • Frequency Updated: Minimum: 1 time/week
  • Primary Audience: Anyone interested in Texas and Baylor; similar institutions, librarians, and archivists
  • Notes: Use hashtags when appropriate (#Baylor promoting Baylor items.) Staff members attending conferences should tweet using the conference hashtag. Tweeting may include participation in special Twitter events (i.e. "Ask Archivists Day") and the use of a regular feature (i.e. "#findoftheday).

  • Type: YouTube
  • Began: August 2011
  • Frequency Updated: Minimum: 2 times/semester
  • Primary Audience: Anyone interested in Texas and Baylor
  • Notes: Short videos are used to educate, engage and entertain the public. Regular features include research fellow interviews and interesting finds in the collection (cross promotion with Twitter and Facebook). Equipment (digital video camera, lighting, microphones, and tripod) for producing short features are available in the collection.

General Guidelines:
Planning
Social media should be updated frequently. Depending on the platform, some media are updated more frequently than others. The social media team should meet several times each semester to plan accordingly for updates. Inactive accounts could provide patrons with a negative impression.

Posts
Use the following guidelines when posting content to social media:

  • Posts should be written in first person plural (unless indicated) to indicate The Texas Collection as a whole.
  • Each posting is a reflection on The Texas Collection. No inflammatory, degrading, defaming, racist, politically-leaning, etc. language should ever be used. Be sure that posts do not alienate readers. Consider how each interaction could be interpreted and adjust accordingly.
  • Social media should provide a sense of community where people feel comfortable asking questions, posting content (where applicable), and connecting with the organization. Posts by staff should be friendly, positive, and engaging.
  • Be sure to protect confidential and proprietary information.
  • Social media is work, so balance the time spent on it with other required tasks. There is immediacy with social media, both in creating timely content and in responding to readers. Encourage conversation and follow up with readers' questions and comments. Incorporate into day-to-day schedule as needed.
  • Be aware of patron demographics (patron sex, age, location, etc.) and peak activity time for each media and determine the best days/times to post.
  • If patrons ask reference questions via social media, treat those questions as reference. Make sure questions are answered in a timely fashion. Sometimes the correct place to answer a patron question is via email, especially if the question contains personal or sensitive information.

Comments
The Texas Collection staff reserves the right to remove any content posted by users.
Receiving and responding to comments is what makes social media "social." When patrons leave comments, it is important that we follow up in a timely and positive manner to let them know that we want to build a dialogue, we are interested in what they have to say, and that we are readily available.
Understand that not all comments will be positive, and respond to negative comments professionally and by providing any additional information that may help resolve the issue.
On the blog, comments are moderated to help protect from spam comments. Moderation also helps protect patrons, who, not understanding that comments may be made public to other readers, sometimes reveal private information.
On Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, and YouTube, comments are not pre-moderated. If a questionable comment arises, use the comments guidelines to determine whether it should be deleted.
Comments may be deleted or not released if they are:
  • Threatening, attacking, harassing, or embarrassing other members
  • Promoting hate of any kind
  • Using profanity and offensive language
  • Not appropriate for all ages
  • Off-topic
  • Blatantly spam
  • Included numerous times in a single thread
  • Infringing on copyright law or university policy
  • Advertising a specific commercial service
  • Knowingly misleading other members
  • Reported as abuse
Media
When posting links, images, video, etc., always provide proper attribution (photographer and date for images, if possible). This includes items in The Texas Collection. Be aware of public domain.

Any images placed on social media (except YouTube) should be no larger than 72 dpi.

At this time, watermarks are not used on images.

Evaluation
Most social media provides analytics, which tell us what sort of posts users interact with and enjoy. Twitter does not provide analytics, but there are web applications that can provide statistics. The Texas Collection also uses bit.ly to monitor the engagement of any links posted on social media.
User surveys may also be used to analyze public perception of The Texas Collection.

Analytics should be shared with staff (and possibly patrons). Others may have ideas about posts that can help influence numbers. It is important that analytics are as uniform as possible and accurately convey usage when translated into monthly reports. Data should be gathered and evaluated at least once a semester. This data should be actionable and should work for The Texas Collection. If not, there may be the need to reassess what it is that should be tracked.



The Texas Collection