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Social Media

Before You Begin

Before you dive into creating a social media page or account, you should consider your overall strategy and what you hope to accomplish. Here are a few areas to examine:

Primary Goals

Are you trying to communicate a campaign, generally promote your department, communicate with alumni? Define your goal for your social media presence.


Identifying your audiences will help you tailor your content and also choose the right tool. List your primary audiences.


Identify the person or persons who will have primary responsibility for populating, maintaining and monitoring your site. Ensure they have the time and enthusiasm to devote to this project. List the team members.

Current Conversation

This is when the listening begins. Survey the social media landscape for the "thought leaders" in your field. What are people already saying? What are people saying about you? Who is saying it? List the topics, people and sites that are leading the conversations that are relevant to you.

Name & Design

Identify a simple and descriptive name for your profile that clearly identifies your affiliation with ODU. The university has icons and graphics that can be used and adapted for individual schools, colleges and programs.


Identify the content you have to share. Is it primarily news updates, research developments, or networking information? Photographs? Video? List the content you will be sharing via social media and your goals for content development in the future.

Measuring Success

Determine how you will measure the success, or lack of success, of your site. Consider the ways and tools you plan to use to measure the site's success. Keep in mind that success in social media is not always defined in hard numbers, but also in the anecdotal evidence found in the quality of conversations and other intangibles.


Set a timeline for when you will conduct an evaluation of your site's success. That is a good time to consider changes to your site's content, management of your site, etc. Ongoing evaluation should also be part of your strategy. Define your timeline in terms of when you would conduct your evaluations.

Is Social Media Right for You?

After considering the factors above, you decide creating a social media site is not for you, that's okay! If you find that you simply want to promote events or send out news about your school, department, group, etc. a website or an electronic newsletter might be a better choice for you. Facebook, Twitter and other pages require daily care and feeding that may not be practical for your purposes. You are always welcome to send your news and announcements for consideration for ODU's official Facebook and Twitter.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and others give the ODU community the opportunity communicate on a more personal and meaningful level. Social media platforms also offer institutional organizations like ODU new opportunities to engage target audiences, including prospective and current students, parents, alumni, faculty and staff, donors, media, opinion leaders, and others.

Before you decide to start a social media presence, read the "Before You Begin" sidebar at right. Many offices' needs can be addressed by partnering with existing social media presences, rather than starting a new one. Combining socia media efforts takes the pressure off of just one office and provides more frequent and relevant content across a greater breadth and depth of the university! The university's social media administrator or the director of University Web Communications will be happy to discuss options with you.

You are also encouraged to read the Tips for Survival and Success in Social Media.

Account Administrators

All social media accounts officially recognized by ODU will have at least two ODU employees as administrators at all times.

Should an ODU employee administrator of an account leave the University or cannot, for any reason, continue to be an account administrator, it is the responsibility of that individual's supervisor and/or the individual themselves to designate another ODU employee to be an account administrator prior to removing himself or herself from that role.

If two employees are not available to serve as account administrators, a staff member in the Web Communications Group in the Office of University Relations will serve in that capacity.

If there are any difficulties identifying a new administrator, contact the Web Communications Group for assistance. (contact info here).

ODU employees identified as administrators of accounts are responsible for managing and monitoring content on their officially recognized accounts. Administrators are responsible for removing content that may violate university conduct policies. Administrators at any time may contact the Office of University Relations' Web Communications Group for guidance and assistance regarding content.

Student organizations wishing to create social media accounts intended to be officially recognized by the university must be registered through ODU's Office of Student Activities and Leadership. Unregistered student organizations are welcome to create social media accounts; however, they will not be officially recognized by ODU and the University will not be responsible for their content.

Profile Image/Avatar

Sample ODU social media iconODU Social Media Icon (sample)
Sample ODU social media icon on blue backgroundODU Social Media Icon in reverse (sample)

All social media accounts representing the University, including any department or college, must use an official ODU social media icon. This icon must be generated by University Marketing & Communications and will be released to the account administrator(s) upon approval of the account by University Web Communications.

Additional imagery (Facebook cover photo, Twitter banner photo, etc.) is at the discretion of the account administrator(s). Administrators must adhere to image copyright laws and terms of use. Account administrators may not create a "logo" for their organization.


Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws. Do not to include confidential information about the University, its staff, or its students.

You may not post any content that is threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.

Representation of your personal opinions as being endorsed by the University or any of its organizations is strictly prohibited. You may not use the ODU name to promote any opinion, product, cause, or political candidate. Be sure to include the statement: "this is my personal opinion and not necessarily that of the university" when necessary.

By posting content to any social media site, you agree that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to that content or that your use of the content is protected under fair use guidelines. In addition, you may not knowingly provide misleading or false information, and you indemnify and hold the University harmless for any claims resulting from the content.

While ODU does not regularly review content posted to all officially recognized social media sites, it shall have the right to remove any content for any reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.

When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, or videos, include citations whenever possible. Provide a link to the original material if possible and/or applicable.

Do not use information and/or engage in activities that may violate local, state, or federal laws, and regulations.

Rules of Engagement

The use of social media at ODU is governed by the same policies that govern all other electronic communications at the University. The ODU social media policy only applies to accounts created to represent official ODU groups, departments, programs, entities, etc. and does not apply to private individual accounts.

Any ODU college, department, group, program, etc. that would like to start and maintain a social media account representing an Old Dominion University entity must submit an online application. It is recommended that an ODU employee who intends to serve as one of the accounts' administrators fill out and submit the online application.

If you already have an existing account that is represented as an official ODU account, you must submit an online application as well.


Social media users acting on behalf of the university must adhere to all ODU policies related to electronic communications, identity standards, web guidelines, codes of conduct, privacy and security.

Old Dominion University reserves the right, but is not obligated, to remove comments that are racist, sexist, abusive, profane, violent, obscene, spam, that advocate illegal activity, contain falsehoods or are wildly off-topic, duplicate, or that libel, incite, threaten or make ad hominem attacks on ODU students, employees, guests or other individuals. We also do not permit messages selling products or promoting commercial, political or other ventures unless we deem them related to the university, its members or its operation.

In addition to requirements of the ODU social media policy, all content and posts are bound by the Terms and Community Guidelines for that service. In other words, you must follow the rules of the platform(s) you are using. Here are direct links to some of these:

Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

Twitter Terms of Service

YouTube Terms of Service and Community Guidelines

Flickr Terms of Service and Community Guidelines

Foursquare Terms of Use

Pinterest Terms of Service

All officially recognized social media accounts will be given a disclaimer to post to the account declaring it as an official Old Dominion University social media account and include a link to ODU's social media policy.