Social Media Guidelines - NIU - Communications and Marketing

Social Media

Northern Illinois University
Division of University Relations – Department of Communications and Marketing

Social Media Guidelines

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Divisions, colleges or departments launching social media profiles or developing mobile applications must notify the university's Social Media Specialist in the Department of Communications & Marketing in advance of finalization/deployment of any new social media profile or mobile application. The Department of Communications & Marketing maintains a comprehensive database and inventory of all university-related social media profiles.

Contact Information for Communications and Marketing social media:

Brad Hoey

Holly Nicholson
Social Media Specialist

Considerations prior to launching a social media profile/page or developing a mobile application:

  • Will the initiative promote the mission of NIU Social Media?
  • Will the initiative add value to the university’s social media community, or will it better serve in collaboration with an existing university social media initiative?
    • Any new profile should add value to the NIU community and not compete with or duplicate another existing university affiliated initiative.
    • NIU Mobile is the university's official mobile app and is strategically managed by the Division of University Relations. Requests for module development in NIU Mobile should be submitted to for consideration.
  • Is the initiative sustainable? Will staff be available to monitor and respond to feedback as well as provide fresh content in a timely manner?
    • Each social media profile must have a minimum of two administrators who will be included in a database maintained by the Department of Communications & Marketing. The Department of Communications and Marketing should be notified in case of administrator changeover.
  • Are protocols in place for utilizing the proposed social media profile/site in the event of a university emergency?  Have those protocols been created in advance and coordinated with the university’s Department of Communications & Marketing?


Be authentic

  • Be open about your identity and professional affiliations.
  • Keep deletions to a minimum; only remove content that is offensive or is clearly spam.
  • Admit mistakes and be upfront and prompt with corrections.

Be sensible

  • Consider search engine optimization when creating a username, and be prepared to stick with it. Some sites won’t let you change a username once it is set.
  • Check for accuracy before posting. Make sure you have proper permissions to post written content, images, and videos. Be careful not to post confidential information.
  • Use proper etiquette – be constructive and respectful, don’t speak poorly of other universities or institutions, don’t self-promote, don’t spam.
  • Be thoughtful about controversial or volatile topics. Many times it may be best to leave them out of the conversation.
  • Faculty and Staff are encouraged to consider the consequences of networking with students on personal social media sites.

Be vigilant

  • Questions and concerns (as well as compliments) should receive quick responses: an appropriate goal is to respond within 3 hours.
  • Keep social media profiles/pages updated with fresh content. If you are no longer able to maintain and monitor the page, assign the task to another staff member or delete the profile/page (please notify the Department of Communications and Marketing if the profile/page is deleted).

Be interesting

  • Use a natural and conversational tone.
  • Post a variety of content using multiple media.