REG 08.00.12 – Social Media

History: First Issued: June 9, 2015.

Related Policies:
NCSU POL08.00.01 – Computer Use Policy
NCSU REG08.00.02 – Computer Use Regulation
NCSU REG01.25.03 – Copyright Regulation – Copyright Implementation Pursuant to Copyright Use and Ownership Policy of the University of North Carolina
NCSU REG01.25.06 – Use of the University’s Names, Marks, Symbols, Images, and Copyrights 

NCSU RUL01.25.01 -Trademark Licensing Rules
NCSU REG04.00.05 – Use of NC State Campus for Commercial Photography, Filmmaking and Videotaping
NCSUREG 01.25.12 – University Record Retention and Disposition Regulation
NCSU REG 04.00.02 – Public Records Request

Additional References: 
Trademark Licensing Website

Contact Info: University Communications (919) 515-7373


The use of social media is increasingly common for North Carolina State University (NC State) colleges, departments, units, programs and have become important and influential communication channels for the university community.  NC State supports the official use of social media to communicate with audiences important to the institution including students, potential students, parents, employees, alumni, visitors, fans and others. This regulation and its supporting guidelines establish the procedures for creating and managing a university presence or participating in social media in an official capacity on behalf of NC State.

This regulation and its supporting guidelines are intended to properly portray, promote and protect the institution and its employees, and to assist NC State entities in effectively creating and managing social media accounts.


When used in this regulation:

2.1  “Account Administrators” are university employees designated to serve as social media account administrators.

2.2  “Chief Communications Officer” means Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Communications Officer and his or her designee or appointee.

2.3  “Departments and/or units” include NC State colleges, departments, units, programs, centers and entities, as well as their designated university employees who have the approved authority to use social media as communications channels on behalf of the university or a specific NC State college, group, department, unit, program, center or entity.

2.4  “Social Media” are media for social interaction using highly accessible and scalable communication techniques. The goal of social media is to use Web-based and mobile technologies to turn communication into interactive dialogue. Social media platforms include but are not limited to online social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+, blogs, podcasts, discussion forums, RSS feeds, video-sharing services such as YouTube, interactive geolocation services, and online collaborative information and publishing systems that are accessible to internal and external audiences (i.e., Wikis).

2.5 “Social Media Account” refers to social media accounts that are created or maintained by or on behalf of NC State colleges, departments, units, programs, centers or entities as defined above.

2.6  “Social Media Team” is led by the Director of Web Communications and includes staff from departments and units deemed appropriate by the Chief Communications Officer. The team’s function shall be to review and make recommendations to the Chief Communications Officer regarding requests for social media account registration, review and recommend changes or additions to this regulation and guidelines, and advise university employees on the regulation, and encourage compliance with this regulation.

2.7 “University employee” means all EHRA and SHRA staff and faculty, lecturers, instructors, postdoctoral scholars, part-time employees, and student workers, including those on a graduate assistantship or fellowship.


3.1  This regulation applies to social media accounts created by and representing NC State departments and/or units.

3.2  This regulation does not apply to employees’ private social media accounts. University employees acting in an individual capacity should exercise caution to communicate clearly that they are not acting in a representative capacity of, or expressing the views of, the university.

3.3  This regulation does not apply to student organizations at NC State.


4.1  Whenever a social media account is created, the social media site requires the account creator to agree to certain terms and conditions for use of the site by clicking “Yes” or “I accept” as part of the account creation process.  As the acceptance of these terms and conditions creates a legal contract (“clickwrap agreements”), the university has created a framework to review and evaluate these clickwrap agreements.  The department and/or unit should review the list of university-approved social media sites.  If a social media site is not listed, the department or unit should consult with OIT before accepting the terms and conditions of that site.

4.2  All departments and units must register their social media accounts through the university’s Web Registry (

4.3  All social media accounts must be reviewed by the Social Media Team and approved for registration by the Chief Communication Officer. The Social Media Team will interact with the requesting department or unit as necessary during the review process.

4.4  All social media accounts must have at least two university employees serving as account administrators at all times in order to ensure adherence to this regulation.

4.4.1  Pursuant to the registration procedure, the department and/or unit must provide the name and contact information for the university employees who will be account administrators.  All departments and/or units must update their social media account registrations if any change occurs in the designated account administrators, including in the event the account administrator(s) leave university employment or is/are reassigned to another university department.

4.4.2  Should an account administrator leave the university for any reason or no longer wish to be an account administrator, it is the department and/or unit’s responsibility to designate another individual to be the account administrator and remove the former employee’s administrative permissions to the social media account.

4.5  Upon completion of the registration process, all social media accounts will be publicly listed by the university in a directory on the NC State social media website.


5.1  Account administrators are responsible for managing and monitoring the content of their social media account(s), identifying problems that emerge and taking any appropriate action when necessary.

5.2  Social media accounts cannot be used for purposes of political activities or making any political statements.

5.3  Social media accounts cannot be used to identify, promote, endorse or commercially advertise the goods or services of non-university organizations or individuals without the approval of the dean, vice chancellor or director (or his/her designee) having supervisory authority over the department and unit, as well as the university’s Trademark Licensing Office.

5.4  Any use of university’s names, marks, and symbols on social media accounts shall comply with the NC State regulation on the Use of the University’s Names, Marks, Symbols, Images and Copyrights – REG 01.25.06 and the university’s Trademark Licensing Rules – RUL 01.25.01.  Only social media accounts registered through this regulation may use or display the university’s names, marks, symbols, images and copyrights.

5.5  Social medial accounts must adhere to the university’s brand guidelines.

5.6  Any use of social media accounts shall comply with all state and federal laws, and university policies and regulations including, but not limited to, those related to protections of confidential and proprietary information and conflict of interest and commitment.

5.7  Content posted to, messaged to, or appearing on social media accounts must be archived to comply with all applicable state law and university policies and regulations related to public records access, retention and disposition.


6.1  The Chief Communications Officer will be responsible for administering and monitoring compliance with this regulation.

6.2  Exceptions to this regulation, in whole or in part, may be approved by the Chief Communications Officer.



The rapid growth of social media technologies, combined with their ease of use and pervasiveness, makes them attractive channels of communication.  Social media can be a very effective way to communicate, promote, and brand NC State to multiple audiences across and outside the university, but also let us hear directly and immediately from students, faculty, staff, parents, fans and friends about what is important to them.  This conversation is what makes social media so different from traditional forms of institutional communication.  To help you identify and avoid potential problems, this document is intended to help guide university colleges, departments, units, programs, centers, and entities (collectively “department or unit” herein) in the use of social media for official university communications. This guidance document also aims to provide relevant department and unit staff with basic guidance on how to best use social media toward communications goals, both as owners of an account and as users/contributors.  These guidelines are examples of best practices from various institutions and are intended to help you use social media effectively, protect your personal and professional reputation, and follow university policies.

Seek approval:  Before creating a social media account for your department or unit, make sure you have approval from the dean or vice chancellor (or his/her designee) having supervisory authority over you.

Keep in mind other university policies:  These guidelines do not affect other University policies, regulations, or rules that might apply to the use of social media, including but not limited to the Computer Use Policy; Computer Use Regulation; Copyright Regulation; Use of the University’s Names, Marks, Symbols, Images, and Copyrights; Trademark Licensing Rules; University Record Retention and Disposition Regulations; and Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy.

Plan for having at least two administrators:  Having multiple page administrators for every social media account will ensure that the account can continue to thrive and be updated regularly, even if one of the existing administrators is not available, changes jobs, or leaves the university.

Be accurate:  Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. Cite and link to your sources whenever possible — that’s how you build trust.

Realize your posts are public:  There is no such thing as a “private” social media site.  Search engines can turn up posts for years after the publication date.  Comments can be forwarded or copied.  Archival systems save information even if you delete the post.  In addition, as an employee of a public institution, your social media accounts are subject to the North Carolina Public Records Act.  Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you or the University.

Keep confidential matters private:  Do not post proprietary information about NC State, including information about students, alumni or employees.  Remember that most records related to students are protected from disclosure by FERPA, and disclosing any personally identifiable student education records through social media is a violation of FERPA.  Information collected in connection with research may be protected under a Nondisclosure Agreement, research protocol or other applicable law or agreement.

Be transparent:  If you participate in or maintain a social media account on behalf of the department or unit, clearly state your role and goals. Keep in mind that if you are posting with a university username, other users view what you post as coming from the university. Your posts directly reflect on the university. The line between professional and personal business is sometimes blurred.  If you create social media accounts to conduct university business as an individual, be sure to identify yourself as a university employee.

Be timely:  Page administrators should regularly monitor postings and content. Aim for standard times for postings and updates. The recommended minimum frequency is at least daily. But be sure not to overload your updates. Followers will stop paying attention if you overload them with information.

Be responsible:  What you write is ultimately your responsibility – but remember that it reflects on NC State. Participation in social media on behalf of NC State is not a right but an opportunity.  As a representative of NC State, you have more responsibility than average users about what you post on social media.  Realize that there can be consequences for things that you communicate online.

Respect others:  NC State encourages freedom of expression and recognizes the value of diverse opinions.  Users are free to discuss topics and disagree with one another, but please be respectful of others’ opinions. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.  Don’t post material that is profane, libelous, obscene, threatening, abusive, harassing, hateful, defamatory or embarrassing to anyone.

Be a valued community member:  If you use your social media account to comment on someone’s blog or other social media site, make sure it is appropriate for you to comment in your capacity as a representative of NC State and that you are contributing valuable insights. Post information about topics like NC State events or news only when you are sure it will be of interest to readers.

Keep your personal views separate:  Uphold the university’s mission and values in your activities.  Don’t include political comments or comments on social issues, and do not conduct any political activities on behalf of any party or candidate.  Do not represent your personal opinions as being endorsed by the University or any of its organizations.

Respect trademarks and copyright:  Always give people proper credit for their work, and make sure you have the right to use something before you share it.  Secure written permission prior to using/incorporating any copyrighted or proprietary materials except when such material is covered under Fair Use provisions. If you are unsure whether certain content is protected by intellectual property laws, contact the Director of the Copyright and Digital Scholarship or the Office of General Counsel.

Be thoughtful:  If you have any questions about whether it is appropriate to write about certain kinds of material in your role as a NC State employee, ask your supervisor before you post.

Know the rules:  Become familiar with the terms of service and policies of the social media sites and networks in which you participate.  Pay attention to updates.

Use of NC State logos and marks:  Do not use social media to endorse or promote any product, vendor, or site unless you have obtained permission to do so.  For more information, review the University’s regulation on Use of the University’s Names, Marks, Symbols, Images, and Copyrights and the Trademark Licensing Rules.

Adhere to the University brand:  If you are creating a social media account on behalf of your department or unit, please use official logos and graphics that represent and adhere to the university brand guidelines.  Whenever possible, North Carolina State University or NC State should be listed prior to the department or unit.  University Communications can provide guidance with graphics and design.

Sources:  These guidelines were compiled from numerous university perspectives, as well as published sources from both within NC State and externally.