Social Media

About Social Networking

Social networking is the use of web-based tools to interact with other people through text, images, or sound.

Social networking tools should be selected as part of a broader communication plan and used to:

  • Provide easy access to University content and other content relevant to the University’s disciplines.
  • Showcase the University and help build relationships with key audiences.

These requirements and guidelines clarify how social networking can effectively be used for conducting University of Minnesota business.

Before Using Social Networking

Step 1: Know What You’re After

First answer the POST questions:

  • People. Who are you trying to reach?
  • Objective. What’s the main thing you want from them?
  • Strategy. What kind of social interaction will lead to what you want?
  • Technology. What tool will best support that interaction?

Step 2: Know How You’ll Know When You’ve Achieved Your Goal

You should be able to  answer these two questions:

  • How will you know if you’ve reached your audience?
  • How will you know if you’ve accomplished your objective?

Below are some articles describing how to best evaluate social networking efforts.

4 Ways to Measure Social Media and Its Impact on Your Brand

How to Measure Social Media Marketing Performance

How to Measure Social Media ROI for Business

STATS: 84% of Social Media Programs Don’t Measure ROI

Step 3: Look for a UMD-Based Tool

Using UMD tools helps to enhance the University’s profile, promote a consistent University image, and support the University’s investment in technology.

Consult with collegiate or departmental communication leaders before initiating any University business on an external site to make sure any new efforts fit within a cohesive and consistent communication plan.

And beware, if social networking technology is not owned nor administered by the University, the risk is high of losing control (ownership) of material. Always use University resources to store original content such as videos, photos, text, and more. If needed, place a copy of the content on the desired social networking channel.

Best Practices for Establishing a Social Networking Site

The web is not anonymous. Everything written or posted on behalf of the University can be traced back to the University and to a specific individual.

Before launching a social networking site:

  • Notify your college/department/unit communication staff.
  • Vow to keep University contact information accurate and current.
  • Understand that passwords and administrator access to the site must be carefully managed.
  • Establish criteria for replying to comments, including timeliness and appropriateness.
  • Avoid duplicating efforts. Be aware of current initiatives by coordinating with University Marketing and Public Relations and other University units.


Raise awareness of your communications efforts by:

  • Link back: Provide links back to a unit’s web page(s) from the social networking sites.
  • Look like the University: Use the University Profile Icons and tap instant recognition from being affiliated with the University of Minnesota Duluth.
  • Share your social networking site: Many University units and programs have official University social networking presences. Submit your unit’s social media accounts to [email protected] to be featured on our social directory.

Registering a New Site

University of Minnesota Duluth social networking sites should not be tied to an individual’s email address whenever possible.

  • Use an organizational/functional email address for official University business.
  • Use a student organization email address for student sites.

Terms of Use

Know the terms of service for the site being used. Also, understand that by using any site there is implicit agreement not to:

  • Send or post unauthorized commercial communications (spam).
  • Upload viruses or malicious code.
  • Solicit another user’s login information or access her account.
  • Bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
  • Post content that is hateful, threatening, pornographic, or gratuitously violent.
  • Do anything unlawful, misleading, malicious, or discriminatory.

House Rules

Post a link to the University’s House Rules on any Facebook site when possible. The House Rules clarify the University’s official position on monitoring sites, removing comments, and more.

Post this link:

Profile/Site Naming Conventions

  • The University of Minnesota Duluth should be part of the profile name.
  • If space constraints exists on a site, use “UMD” as the first letters in the name (e.g., “UMDLSBE,” “UMD_LSBE”). Avoid abbreviating the University’s name since other universities have the same initials.
  • Use a profile graphic that supports University identification. Contact University Marketing and Public Relations for a customized profile image or download a template.
  • The University wordmark must never be used on social networking sites or profiles.
  • For questions, email the Office of University Marketing and Public Relations.

Profile Images

Use a profile graphic that supports University identification. Contact University Marketing and Public Relations for a customized profile image or download a template to create your own.

Icons and Other Images

University logos are reserved for official University business and may not be used to promote non-University activities or imply endorsement.

The University wordmark or bulldog logos must never be used on social networking sites or profiles. Instead the University of Minnesota Duluth should be a part of the profile name. Units may use the UMD icon in profile image spaces. Contact University Marketing and Public Relations for a customized profile image or download a template.

For detailed information about use of social media logos, refer to the terms of use on the social media sites your unit uses.

Social Networking Requirements & Guidelines

When conducting University business, it may not always be possible to employ the requirements that are in place for other University electronic publications.

When possible units must include:

Videos must include the wordmark, closed captioning, and copyright information. The University has standards and guidelines for using the UMD trademarks in video.

Embedding Content on UMD Websites

Beware--your embedded content may be here today and gone tomorrow. Content embedded from a third party could be removed by that party, or the servers at the source may fail, without notice.

  • Embedded content must come from a profile set up as an official University of Minnesota account.
  • Content must be related to University business.
  • Avoid embedding feeds that contain public comments.
  • Do not use images of people without their permission
  • UMD images uploaded to Flickr must include the following text on the image itself: “Copyright University of Minnesota Duluth. All rights reserved.”
  • Do not embed widgets displaying photos of individual’s profile pictures, such as Facebook’s Photo Badge.

For all questions about embedding content, email  University Marketing and Public Relations.

Copyright and Intellectual Property

Sharing of images, video, audio, or newspaper or journal articles, is subject to copyright law.

  • Conduct a fair use analysis and keep record of it.
  • Include, whenever appropriate, a UMD copyright statement such as: “© 2017 University of Minnesota”
  • For the copyright’s year range, use the original year of publication through the current year.

For questions about copyright policy refer here.

Code of Ethics

  • Tell the truth.
  • Write deliberately and accurately.
  • Acknowledge and correct mistakes promptly.
  • Disagree with other opinions respectfully.
  • Disclose conflicts of interest
  • Keep private issues and topics private.
  • Adhere to the University’s Code of Conduct.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Beware of the damages to individuals or the University that can result through inappropriate disclosure of personal or confidential information.

Possible damages:

  • Defamation lawsuit.
  • Copyright, patent, or trademark infringement claims.
  • Privacy or human rights complaint.
  • Workplace grievances under a collective agreement or unfair labor practice complaint.
  • Criminal charges with respect to obscene or hate materials.
  • Damage to the University’s reputation and business interests.

Be aware of laws that may apply to your use of social networking.

Student Education Records

Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) is the federal law that protects the privacy of student education records such as grades, transcripts, and student identification numbers. For more information: see the Managing Student Records policy.

Academic Freedom and Responsibility

The Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota Duluth reaffirms the principles of academic freedom and responsibility. See the Academic Freedom and Responsibility Policy (PDF).

Academic freedom is the freedom, without institutional discipline or restraint, to discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research, and creative expression, and to speak or write on matters of public concern as well as on matters related to professional duties and the functioning of the University.

Academic responsibility implies the faithful performance of professional duties and obligations, the recognition of the demands of the scholarly enterprise, and the candor to make it clear that when one is speaking on matters of public interest on is not speaking for the institution.

For more information, see the Academic Freedom and Tenure website.

Discipline-Specific Codes of Conduct

University of Minnesota Duluth students should be aware of additional discipline-specific codes of conduct, which may apply to their social media activities.