It’s important to tell the Dominican story through these online channels, but it’s equally important to tell stories in a way that reflects the brand values of Dominican. Use this guide to understand best practices.
It’s best for every account to be intentional. It should have a goal and a strategy, a target audience not already being served by an existing Dominican social media account, and measurable results.
Users on social media are quick to follow those who are authentic and tell real stories. By using social media, you are representing Dominican and the Dominican values. Telling real stories that are reflective of our values is the ideal way to communicate to our audiences.
When acting on behalf of the University, you are required to meet compliance obligations under FERPA and University policies prohibiting discrimination and harassment. In general:
- Avoid any conversations that may suggest lobbying or taking a political stance not already established by University leadership. Remember, you are not speaking as yourself, but as the University.
- Only comment as the University when you are directly engaging with users on your page. Never comment as the University on another institution's or user's page.
- Take great care and sound judgement when reposting content from outside the University. When in doubt, ask Communications and Media Relations for advice.
- Do not engage with negative comments or feedback whenever possible. Please contact Communications and Media Relations if you feel your page has received any comments that could be seen as hateful or threatening.
- Do not respond on behalf of the University unless you have the correct facts and information. Seek guidance of subject matter experts before posting.
While social media is typically informal, it still needs to be clear, accurate and appropriately represent the University. Please use proper punctuation and grammar. Dominican follows AP Style which you can use to guide the content in your posts.
Each platform serves a slightly different audience. Twitter for example, is more news-centered. The tone is fast-paced. Facebook posts often have a warm, friendly tone that encourage users to share posts within their community. Instagram posts are more quick witted and rely mainly on photos to tell the story.
Remember to communicate in a way that accurately represents the University and consistently reflects our mission and ideals.
All social media content must be posted in a way that is accessible to all. The following are a list of general social media accessibility tips:
- Include mentions and hashtags at the end of your text so it’s less confusing for those using screen readers. Use "camel case" to separate words. #ThisIsDUC
- Avoid using acronyms in captions when possible, and always explain what the acronyms mean if you do use them.
- For YouTube or Vimeo, ensure all videos have closed captions and audio description included.
- Writing in plain language is a way to ensure that people can understand and use the information you provide.
- When you post or tweet a hyperlink, indicate whether it leads to an [AUDIO], [PIC], or [VIDEO] file.
- Turn on alternative text for images in your Twitter settings and in Facebook and Instagram, add alternative text that describes the contents of the photo for people with visual impairments.
If you are the owner of a social media account representing the University, it is asked that you post consistently, 1-3 times per week.
If you are not keeping the account active, please follow the proper procedure to close the account. If you lack the credentials to officially close the account, please post a "sunset" message that alerts followers that the account is no longer actively maintained.
Here's why: An "abandoned" or rarely updated social media account does more damage to the University's brand and reputation than having no account at all. Your social media channel reflects on your department and, ultimately, the University. If you cannot guarantee a robust posting schedule, it's better to close the account.
From a user perspective, hashtags allow people to find posts that are relevant to their interests and interact with other social media users who share those interests by joining the conversation. At Dominican we encourage the use of #ThisIsDUC to increase the visibility of Dominican stories. We do not recommend using other hashtags without thoroughly researching the content associated with each tag.
Here's why: #penguinpride on Instagram might seem like a fitting hashtag for a Dominican post. However, when you visit this page on Instagram, it shows more than 5,500 posts, broadly ranging in topic. Does the content of this page reflect Dominican's mission and ideals? Does it serve to attract and retain students or connect with alumni? Since Dominican's content is lost among thousands of disparate posts, this particular hashtag is not meeting these goals.
Other hashtags, like #bayarea, also might seem relevant. However, a quick glance at this page reveals several images that could be considered inappropriate or offensive. Please do not use hashtags that violate Dominican's code of conduct or that could reflect poorly on the University.
However, when you visit Instagram's #ThisIsDUC page, you see a well-curated page devoted almost solely to Dominican University of California. If a prospective student was interested in learning more about student life at Dominican, the #ThisIsDUC is a great place to start.
You may not post images protected by copyright without permission from the source. As best practice, you should credit a source, unless the photo credit is referenced in the linked story itself.
When you are online, you are representing Dominican University of California. There is no room for bigotry, prejudice, misogyny, or hatred at our University or on our associated social media feeds.
Dominican reserves the right to hide or remove comments, as well as untag ourselves, if the comment or post is racist, sexist, abusive, profane, violent, obscene, spam, advocates illegal activity, contains falsehoods, threatens or attacks individuals, or is wildly off-topic and/or is duplicate. We also do not allow "thread hijacking."
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.
General language related to social media includes the following:
- We do not use or allow comments that contain hate language
- We do not allow posts that would be offensive to a reasonable person
- We do not use profanity, or placeholders of profanity, in posts
- We encourage reasonable dialogue and offer a balanced perspective and multiple points of view
The Communications and Media Relations will use @DominicanCAnews to deploy emergency messages. In the case of an emergency, managers of Dominican social media channels should share/retweet exactly what is posted by @DominicanCAnews.
Managers of social media channels should not:
When the Office of the President releases an official statement, managers of social media channels should not:
- Post their own updates or versions that differ from what is posted by @DominicanCAnews or the Dominican Facebook account.
- Reinterpret, add to or delete from language used by @DominicanCAnews or the Dominican Facebook account.
- Replace official images or graphics that differ from what is posted by @DominicanCAnews or the Dominican Facebook account.
Dominican Social Media Accounts
The following is a list of primary Dominican social media accounts. If you would like your social media account listed here, please contact the Marketing Department.
- dominicanuniversityca: Primary audience: Prospective students and families
Contact: Anna Lebedeff
- dominicansports: Primary audience: Current student athletes, families and supporters
Contact: Spencer Shamo
- dominicanalumni: Primary audience: Dominican alumni
Contact: Victoria Grajeda
- asdu_dominican: Primary audience: Current students
- dominicanbsb: Primary audience: BSB students and alumni
Contact: Emily Beach
- DominicanUniversityofCalifornia: Primary audience: Prospective and current students, alumni, staff & faculty, broader Dominican community, partners, media
Contact: David Albee
- dominicanathletics: Primary audience: Current student athletes, families and supporters
Contact: Spencer Shamo
- DominicanAlumni: Primary audience: Dominican alumni
Contact: Victoria Grajeda
- DominicanBSB: Primary audience: BSB students and alumni
Contact: Emily Beach