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Guidelines for Social Media

Penn Highlands has developed these guidelines to ensure the College is represented most effectively and strategically, to protect the institution, and to assist with the promotion of the College’s mission and vision across social media platforms. These guidelines are intended to serve as a set of “best practices” for the College’s officially affiliated social media channels, and may not necessarily apply to social media for instructional or personal use.

Officially recognized College social media accounts are managed by the Marketing & Communications Office. Marketing & Communications holds the right to maintain social media integrity and holds full responsibility for content loaded to social media.

As social media is constantly evolving, these guidelines are subject to change.


As marketing and informational tools for Penn Highlands, our purpose is to provide a social media presence that:

  • Builds and maintains relationships with students, community members, supporters, and prospective students
  • Provides relevant, accurate, up-to-date, and concise information
  • Maintains consistency and branding
  • Reflects the College’s mission and vision
  • Encourages engagement


As both a marketing tool and informational tool for Penn Highlands, our purpose is to provide social media content relevant to the identified following target audiences:

Primary Audience

  • Current and prospective students
  • Community members

Secondary Audience

  • Faculty, staff, and alumni
  • Community and business partners
  • Donors and prospective donors
  • Board members
  • Higher education partners
  • Legislators

While social media endeavors to cater to a broad audience, prioritizing the primary target audience ensures that we deliver content finely tuned to achieve the College’s external marketing and communication goals.

Roles & Responsibilities

Marketing & Communications Office: Maintains and manages all official College social media accounts. This office is responsible for the upkeep of all College accounts and web presence.

Marketing & Communications holds editorial discretion in determining the frequency, focus, and visual aspects of materials posted. Marketing & Communications has undergone training in appropriate conduct specific to each social media platform, as well as reviewed these guidelines, allowing them to hold this privilege.

Faculty & Staff: Have access to submit content in an official capacity via the Social Media Project Request Form. The form was designed as an easy way for members of the College to submit content for public consumption.

Clubs, Organizations, & Students: Have the ability to submit content through proper College officials. Clubs and organizations are encouraged to have their advisors submit content. Students are encouraged to reach out to the Student Senate President to submit content. All parties may have the Student Activities Office submit content. All college-related content is to be submitted via the Social Media Project Request Form.

Use of Social Media Accounts for General Business, Marketing, Personal, and College Communications

Content providers listed under ‘Roles & Responsibilities’ must understand that the Marketing & Communications Office follows basic requirements and best practices when posting information on social media. Marketing & Communications is open to provide any College member with basic social media platform overviews and best practices for educational institutions.

The following requirements apply to all College social media accounts:

  • Advertising on behalf of external vendors is prohibited.
  • Posting confidential information related to the College, including details about students, employees, or alumni, is strictly prohibited without written permission.
  • Content that adheres to federal privacy regulations, including FERPA, HIPAA, and college privacy and confidentiality policies, is permitted for posting. However, employees or students who disclose confidential information risk facing disciplinary measures and personal liability.
  • Posting the College’s logo, images, or icons on personal social media sites is prohibited without explicit written or electronic consent from the Marketing & Communications Office.
  • Posts must not be inappropriate, threatening, harassing, derogatory, hateful, indecent, profane, obscene, defamatory, or otherwise disruptive. Do not post images/videos that are inappropriate, incriminating, or depicting hazing, sexual harassment, vandalism, stalking, underage drinking, illegal drug use, or any other inappropriate behavior/language.
  • Do not post any content, information, or images that violate state or federal law.
  • Representation of personal opinions as being endorsed by the College or any of its organizations is strictly prohibited. The College’s name may not be used to promote any opinion, unrelated product or cause, or political candidate.
  • When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, or videos, always include citations or links from credible sources. Provide a link to the original material if applicable.

Non-Affiliated Social Media Presence

Any non-affiliated, non-official social media sites created and managed by College members are not the primary concern of the College and may be supported whenever possible. If necessary and available, Marketing & Communications staff may assist in helping non-affiliated channels obtain higher standards.

Creating a successful social media page requires planning and proper resource allocation. Before you begin, please remember the following:

  • Be accurate. Ensure you verify all facts before posting. Research, data, and analysis shared online must be accurate. Always cite and link to sources to build your community’s trust.
  • Recognize posts are public. If you’re unsure about the appropriateness of your social media posts, consult your supervisor or faculty member. Remember, as a public institution, all communications by faculty, staff, and students fall under the Pennsylvania Right to Know law.
  • Keep confidential matters private. Do not post proprietary information about Penn Highlands, including information about students, alumni, or employees. Remember that most records related to students are protected from disclosure under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Disclosing any personally identifiable student education records through social media sites is a FERPA violation.
  • Be transparent. Make sure to post responsibly and with respect to others in your community. Your posts directly reflect on the college.
  • Respond effectively to negative comments. When disagreeing, stay polite and appropriate. If discussions turn antagonistic, avoid defensiveness. Respect others’ opinions. Thoughtful conversations on key topics can strengthen your community.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you receive a question you cannot answer or if you see incorrect information about Penn Highlands, contact the Marketing & Communications Office for assistance.

Content Strategy

Penn Highlands Community College believes that the sharing of information and experiences benefits the communities and members that we serve. Content shared on our social channels should be relevant to the work of Penn Highlands, and the interests and values of our community. If we post content on behalf of partner organizations, it should also support our strategic goals, and be consistent with the College’s mission and vision. Information can only be shared from credible sources, and when possible, link back to the Penn Highlands website.

More than just promotion, our social media presence is meant to elicit user engagement. Penn Highlands will limit the number of posts to each platform based on industry standards and will not highlight individual credit classes, and instead, strive to post content that highlights interesting or factual aspects of programs and the individuals/organizations within the College.

It is important to reflect the diversity of Penn Highlands and its work in the community. No one program, topic, location, type of post, or issue should dominate the College’s social media at all times. Content should be posted with a comprehensive approach to the College’s Operational Plan, Strategic Plan, and Integrated Marketing Communications Plan.

Visual Identity

Only the College’s official social media channels may use the green and black logo as a profile picture, with rotating timeline photos and images as the background.

Non-official or personal social media sites should refrain from using any official College materials or graphics.

Commercial Use and Trademark Rights

Staff, faculty, and students may not use any social media site for advertising or commercial use. The logo, name, and all graphics on Penn Highlands social media outlets are exclusive to Pennsylvania Highlands Community College.

If an image, quote, or article is used, please attribute it to the original source. Users are to properly cite sources and post only items that are covered by fair use or published under Creative Commons. Otherwise, seek permission first.

Privacy Rights for Employees

Penn Highlands discourages staff in management/supervisory roles from initiating “friend” requests with employees they manage. Managers/supervisors may accept friend requests if initiated by the employee and if the manager/supervisor does not believe it will negatively impact the working relationship.

Employees who disclose their roles at Penn Highlands on social media should be conscientious about the content they post. Even if profile settings are private, employees are prohibited from sharing internal or confidential information. This includes information about Penn Highlands students, its staff, the Board of Trustees, donors, contact information for others, and other private information. Employees should also include a disclaimer stating that the views expressed are their own and do not necessarily reflect the organization. In reality, anything posted reflects the individual and Penn Highlands Community College.