Social media offers an opportunity for the Rice community to reach a larger audience, but also requires that Rice must be properly represented by all university-associated accounts. Account managers are serving as the voice of Rice online and should adhere to the university’s brand standards. You can find the brand standards and the web guidelines here.
Visuals – Profile pictures, or avatars, should be a Rice approved logo or image. Cover or header photos should be kept up to date. Many options can be found in the links below. All images are copyrighted materials of Rice University. All images should match the size requirements of each platform. A social media image cheat sheet can be found here.
|Rice-approved Logos||Generic Rice Images|
Consistency — While it is not necessary to have each account photo or description exactly the same, they should convey appropriate information about the school, department, institute, center or organization. Contact information should be the same across all social media channels in order to provide consistent, accurate information on how to reach each school, department, institute, center or organization.
Engagement — Engaging with fans and followers can help create a community of online supporters and advocates.
- Contact or communicate with users who may be under 18 years of age carefully. If a user asks questions that could easily be answered on a Rice.edu website or a generic question — such as what are an organization’s operating hours — there is no issue. But if questions are more specific, such as requesting a product or announcing a commitment to a Rice Athletics team, do not respond. If there is a question as to whether it is appropriate to respond, contact the Rice social media team.
- If a user is a potential Rice student–athlete, NCAA compliance rules apply. Best practice is to allow Rice Athletics handle most athletics inquiries in accordance with NCAA rules.
User generated content — User-generated content, also known as fan photos, can be obtained when the owner of a photo or video shares it with your social media account via message; mentions your account’s handle; uses a hashtag promoted by your account; or mentions your department, group, unit or initiative represented by the account. Always credit the user when sharing the content by tagging the user or mentioning their name in the post.
Confidentiality — Social media platforms and the internet as a whole offer very little privacy. Tweets and posts are immediately searchable. Do not post confidential, proprietary or protected information about students, employees, alumni, projects or programs. Know and observe all applicable university and governmental privacy and confidentiality policies and laws. All employees are subject to FERPA, HIPAA and other laws mandating the nondisclosure of personal information.
Professors, lecturers, instructors and Rice employees — This guideline applies to personal and professional social media activity in which an individual is identified as a Rice employee through a biography or comments. In these cases, a disclaimer should be included in bios or account descriptions to identify that an account is personal and not representing Rice. If the account does not identify the user as being affiliated with Rice, the disclaimer is unnecessary.
- “The views and opinions expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of Rice University.”
- For Twitter or other similar platforms with restrictive word-count allowances: “Tweets my own.” or “Views my own.”
Professionalism, accuracy and transparency— Social media sites should be used to engage positively and credibly with an online community. It is important to monitor posts in order to remove false, offensive or inflammatory comments, as well as any advertising or spam. Comments that simply do not agree with the original post should not be removed. Responding to comments is encouraged but should be handled appropriately, with care taken to avoid responses on personal accounts that could be perceived to reflect Rice. As previously mentioned, posts, comments and tweets are easily searchable and shareable. Also be thoughtful about any other accounts and users followed from Rice accounts to avoid misperceptions that Rice endorses a certain cause, group or person.
Press inquiry— If a member of the news media contacts you through social media for comments or interviews, direct all inquiries to the News and Media Relations team.
The guidelines were created by the Rice University Office of Public Affairs, which is charged with the responsibility of developing and implementing standards that promote, protect and project Rice University’s reputation and brand.