Cornell University recognizes the value of social media platforms for a range of business goals and must balance its support with the preservation of Cornell's brand identity, integrity and reputation. To this end, all social media accounts associated with Cornell University must comply with Policy 4.16, "University Social Media Accounts." Please familiarize yourself with this policy if you manage or are considering establishing a social media account for your unit, department or group.
What is a university social media account?
A university social media account is any registered account run by an official university unit, on any social network, in support of the business function or needs of that unit (Policy 4.16). Typically, these accounts include the names of both Cornell University and the applicable unit. The university social media directory is the official list of university social media accounts.
Launching new accounts
Brand Ambassador orientation
Whether you are launching a new account or transitioning into an administrator role for an existing unit's account, all university social media account managers are required to participate in Brand Ambassador orientation. This training must be complete before a unit’s social media account can be followed or promoted by the university and before it is listed in the university social media directory. Brand Ambassador orientation will cover university policy, administrator responsibilities, brand guidelines, social media strategy and best practices. To schedule a session, contact Cornell's New Media team at email@example.com.
Social media strategy
Cornell Strategic Communications and communications professionals at the college or unit level collaborate to review and approve the establishment of new university social media accounts. You will need a social media strategy and to comply with Cornell best practices. Consider how the account will work with the unit's existing communications to support the overarching mission, the account's intended audiences and their reasons for following, and which platforms will be most effective for the audiences and content.
Questions to ask before starting a new account:
- What is the reason for launching a social media account for your unit?
- What will your content look like? How often will you post? Do you have enough content for your presence to be consistent and sustainable?
- Who will manage the account? Is there a back-up account administrator in place?
- How will you measure success? What will you do if your communications strategy doesn’t succeed?
Personal use of social media
Cornell does not seek to limit personal use of social media by faculty, staff or students. Cornell affiliation may be mentioned in the "bio" or "about" section of personal social media accounts. However, it is prohibited to use Cornell brand elements on personal accounts in any way that may be interpreted as representing the university, such as by using the Cornell insignia as a profile image (Policy 4.16).
Accounts that do not meet the definition of a university social media account are not sponsored by the university, and the university is not responsible for the content they share (Policy 4.16). This includes social media accounts administered by students on behalf of student-run clubs and organizations. Nevertheless, accounts identifying themselves as affiliated with Cornell are expected to comply with university best practices.
Best practices for student group accounts:
- Identify the account as student-run in the "bio" or "about" section.
- Refrain from using Cornell's official seal in the avatar or cover images.
- Understand and adhere to each platform's community guidelines.
- Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to submit events and images for promotion on official university accounts.