Office of Communications and Marketing

Social Media Handbook
Official Social Media Accounts

If my page/group is "official", what does that mean?

Best Practices

Transparency: When posting on an official Skidmore social media account, always post as a representative of your department, be sure that the department is named, and provide contact information. 

Have a strategy:  Know what your group or department wants to use the social media outlet for, who your audience is, what you want to communicate, and on what timeline.  Know what Twitter hashtags you want to use to identify yourself, and what abbreviations you will use when necessary to conserve space. 

Avoid endorsements: Remember that your friend/like list can be construed as an endorsement by Skidmore College.  Know what types of accounts or individuals you want to friend, like or follow, and how that relates to the message you want to send to your audience, and the Skidmore College audience in general.

Decide on commenting:  Know in advance whether you will allow comments, and to what extent.  Know who will respond to comments/questions/concerns, and what the response plan is for negative commentary.  Know what should be done in the case of discriminatory/derogatory commentary (you can always partner with Communications or HR on this topic).

Respect the rules:  Various rules govern your interactions.  Copyright, FERPA, Skidmore's general code of conduct, social media site Terms of Service, these guidelines, and other rules may apply.  Know the rules of your platform.

Protect your account:  Institutional accounts are tempting targets for "phishing".  Protect your passwords and change them whenever administrators join or leave the group.

Protect your privacy: Use the privacy settings for your social media site to restrict public access to personal data, but always remember that this provides limited protection.  

Measure your results:  Who do you reach?  Who are your fans?  Who connects with your pages?  Facebook has built-in analytics for fan pages.  To track your results on other social media sites, you can use a link tracking service, such as, which shortens your links for Twitter posting, and allows you to track clicks.  Informz mailings are tracked statistically for 30 days after mailing (request a link from your Informz coordinator.)  Use these statistics to know what audience you are reaching, what they explore in your site, and what content you could provide more or less of.


* Many thanks to Ball State University for inspiration on the topic of official social media accounts.