Social Media Policy

Social media channels can help support efforts to communicate and market the diverse departments and programs at NIU. The division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications is available to support and guide page managers in their efforts to be successful on social media.

Mission of Northern Illinois University Social Media

  • To build community among prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty and staff, and community members by informing, listening, responding and engaging.
  • To promote community through engagement and coordination across multiple social media platforms.

Application of this Policy

This policy applies to all employees and units of the university, not to students. Student postings that may represent a potential violation of the Student Code of Conduct, or other applicable university policies, will be referred to Student Conduct.

Northern Illinois University’s presence on social media

  • Northern Illinois University has established its official representation on social media as another form of communication with the university community. Northern Illinois University is not establishing any public forum with its official social media representation. As such, comments, posts, or photos which contain threats to self or others*, illegal activity*, sexually explicit content*, bullying*, inappropriate tone or language, or spam will be removed.
    *stated, visually represented or implied

Section 1: All NIU Social Media Sites

  • NIU social media site users should be familiar with applicable Terms of Service and Community Guidelines and respect general copyright and fair use policies.

    • Example: Facebook profiles must represent a real person, and each person may only have one profile.
    • Example: Contest terms of service differ for each platform. Some require third-party applications.
  • Do not post confidential information. Adhere to state and federal laws and regulations related to the security and privacy of information (e.g. FERPA and HIPAA) and NCAA and Mid-American Conference (MAC) guidelines, as well as to university privacy policies. Do not share unpublished experimental methods and confidential research results or reveal protected intellectual property.
  • Remember, the NIU Foundation is the only agency authorized to seek gift support using the university's name. Consistent with university policy regarding fundraising, all solicitations, by any method, including through any NIU social media sites, must be coordinated with and approved by the NIU Foundation through the NIU Development office.
  • Generally speaking, it is permissible to capture university photographic images of people in public places performing public activities. For staged photography set-ups, NIU photographers should obtain signed release forms from the subjects. While shooting photographic images, NIU photographers will respect anyone's request not to be photographed. It is permissible to request that anyone not wishing to be photographed to move, within reason, to a location away from the area of photographic interest. View the complete list of best practices regarding university photography and personal privacy.

Section 2: Institutional Social Media

  • Divisions, colleges or departments launching social media profiles or developing mobile applications must notify the university's Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager in advance of development of any new social media profile or mobile application. The division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications has posted additional guidelines for university-related social media profiles and applications at The division of Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications maintains a comprehensive database and inventory of all university-related social media profiles and mobile applications.
  • Use the Social Media Strategy Worksheet to develop a strategic plan for each social media profile/page. Contact the Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager if you have any questions or concerns when filling out the worksheet.
  • Adhere to NIU’s Communications Standards for Institutional Brand Identity when designing profiles or background graphics.
    • Please remember that the Huskie logo is specifically reserved for media directly related to the NIU Athletics program; the Presidential Seal is reserved for use on media related to the Office of the President, Board of Trustees, or formal university documents.
  • Remember that departmental sites do not represent the university as a whole, but do reflect on the university. Use good judgment and be professional. When participating in the NIU social media community, remember that page administrators are speaking on behalf of the university and not in their personal capacities.
  • Accounts must have two or more administrators. Administrators may not be students. Please provide account administrator names to the Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager so they can help communicate recommendations and best practices with account managers and keep the database up to date.
  • When a page administrator leaves their role or the university, the other administrator(s) must change the password and update page administrators on the social channel and inform the Social Media and Digital Marketing Manager to keep the database up to date.
  • Monthly analytics and monitoring reports should be submitted to Enrollment Management, Marketing and Communications by the 15th of each month (for the previous month). The report can be accessed online.
  • Compliance with analytics and monitoring reporting will ensure inclusion on NIU’s public social media directory. Non-compliance will put the account at risk for internal audit.
  • Follow NIU’s social media response protocol, available in the social media toolkit.

Policy Approved by President's Cabinet on August 15, 2011

Updated June 10, 2015

University Statement on Freedom of Speech and Social Media

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