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Social Media Guidelines

Topics covered: Security, Succession Planning, Naming Conventions, Avatars and Cover Photos, Bio/About Information, Content, Emergencies/Crises, Deactivating Accounts, Register Accounts

As an admin of a JMU-affiliated social media account, you have an integral role in the JMU community. You have a direct line to the JMU community to communicate about campus life, alumni stories, academic news, and more! Social media is a two-way conversation that provides opportunities for real-time engagement and feedback with the JMU community. We’re excited to walk alongside you and provide some best practices and things to consider when starting/running/sunsetting accounts. 

Please note: these guidelines are meant to be a resource for social media admins and content creators across campus and are not meant to replace, but rather supplement, the official JMU Social Media Policy. 

As a representative of JMU on social media, you will be required to uphold these industry standards and follow these social media guidelines and the JMU Social Media Policy. JMU Social Media Administrators are encouraged to join the JMU Social Media Community of Practice for up-to-date social news, workshops, and resources. To request access, please email socialmedia@jmu.edu. 

These guidelines do not apply to student-run groups on campus, though student groups are encouraged to contact socialmedia@jmu.edu for consults.



Each social media account will have at least two administrators at all times: one administrator and one backup administrator. A student may help manage an account, but should not establish or have admin rights to the account.

Instagram and X accounts should have a JMU departmental email address, a username that starts with @JMU, and a secure password, so the account is not tied to a specific individual.

Account administrators will be responsible for managing and monitoring their social media accounts and removing content that may violate the Social Media Guidelines or any JMU policies. 

It is HIGHLY recommended that you use two-factor authentication on every social media account you access, including any personal profiles used for administering Facebook Business Pages and LinkedIn Pages. Two-factor authentication adds another layer of protection to your account. It is preferred that you set up two-factor authentication through the Duo Mobile app. 

It is recommended that passwords be changed on a consistent schedule or immediately after any suspicious activity, such as a security notification or when the account social media administrator transitions. 


Succession Planning 

Social media platforms should always be monitored and should never go without an active administrator. If the owner of a social media account is leaving JMU or no longer wishes to be an account administrator, a new administrator should be identified immediately and JMU’s social media manager should be notified of the transition.  

Ownership should be transferred to that individual and any administrative access the former employee had should be removed. For some platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook), this requires the removal of their profile as an administrator. Other platforms, such as X and Instagram, require a change of password. If you have Two Factor Authentication enabled, make sure that the authentication measure is changed to the new administrator by updating the Duo Mobile or cell phone number used. 


Naming Conventions 

When you name your social media channel, it is very important to establish a clear connection to JMU. Using “JMU” in your profile name and handle is preferable, followed by your department or program name. Be consistent with your profile name and handle across social media platforms. Make sure you use the name people already recognize for your department, office, or program. 

Ex: “JMU Dining” = @JMUDining 

If your department, office, or program name is too long to use in full, abbreviate only when necessary. If you must use an acronym in your name or handle, list your department, office, or program’s full title in the bio section for each platform.  

Ex. “James Madison University Center for Civic Engagement” = @JMUCivic  

If you have an existing social media account whose name does not follow these guidelines, most social media platforms will allow you to change the name after the account is created. 


Avatars and Cover Photos 

University Communications provides an official profile image for all college programs, departments, and offices. By using these graphics, accounts are aligned with JMU’s visual identity, and it ensures social media users can instantly recognize an affiliated JMU account. University Communications will work with you to create these graphics when you reach out to socialmedia@jmu.edu for an account creation consult.  

Accounts are encouraged to use imagery that corresponds to their department or area as their cover images. (I.e. buildings, people, events, etc.) Photos for cover photos can be found in the Content Marketing Photo Library. 


Bio/About Information 

Your bio is key to describing your department or program’s mission and affiliation with JMU. For Instagram and X,  the bio is the first thing your audience sees when they visit your profile. Make sure this section is concise, up-to-date, and contains accurate contact information. Include a link to your JMU webpage when possible. 



Accounts must be regularly maintained and comply with all JMU policies.  

Content should follow JMU’s Brand Guide and Editorial Style Guide. Reach out to socialmedia@jmu.edu if you have questions. 

Do not discuss confidential or sensitive internal/external issues on JMU-affiliated accounts. Be conscious of the laws and regulations governing the privacy of student education records (FERPA), protected health information (HIPAA), and personally identifiable information. Do not post confidential or private information about faculty, students, alumni, or other employees.  

When representing JMU on social media: 

  • Use appropriate, inclusive language (we, us, our) and represent JMU and its mission.  
  • We encourage our community to post, comment, and interact with JMU social media accounts and with others in our social media community. Make sure to encourage conversation and engage with positive comments. Don’t participate in arguments or respond to negative comments and direct messages unless you can provide information that may help resolve the issue; clarification or acknowledgment is needed. When in doubt, contact University Communications. 
  • You may delete or hide comments that are abusive, contain profanity, are threatening in tone, devolve into personal attacks, or are spam. 
  • When you discuss matters related to JMU, you may need to coordinate your copy with University Communications. Please contact University Communications for guidance or consultation when in doubt. 


Emergencies/Crisis Communication 

In an emergency or crisis situation, account administrators are asked to share only official information provided by the main JMU social media accounts and in official messages. This ensures accuracy, a consistent message, and the latest information being shared. You will receive guidance directly from University Communications in these situations in the JMU Social Media Community of Practice.


Deactivating Accounts 

If any of your social media accounts are inactive and you don’t have the resources or plan to resume activity, strong consideration should be given to indefinitely hiding your page or unpublishing/deactivating the page. Remember, most social media outlets allow you to hide your profile from public view with the ability to reactivate it at a later date. Please notify socialmedia@jmu.edu before doing so. 


Registering Your Account(s) and updating your information 

Once you have reviewed and implemented these guidelines, make sure to register your social media accounts to be considered for inclusion in the JMU Social Media Directory. 

Any change or updates to the administration of your accounts should be sent to socialmedia@jmu.edu. 

If you would like additional guidance related to these guidelines, reach out to socialmedia@jmu.edu. 

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