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Hilton M. Briggs Library Policies

Social Media Use Policy

SUBJECT: Social Media Use

NUMBER: 10.15

  1. Purpose

To establish standards for the acceptable and intended use of the library’s social media accounts. 

  1. Definitions

“Social media” refers to publicly accessible digital platforms that allow users to create and share content and engage with one another. These include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and LinkedIn.

“Library social media platforms” include the social media accounts for both Briggs Library and Archives & Special Collections, unless otherwise noted.

  1. Policy

Briggs Library uses social media platforms to promote the library’s mission, values, services, resources, news, events, and exhibits to its patrons, supporters, and the general public. 

The library’s intended audiences for its social media platforms include SDSU students, employees, alumni, library supporters, university organizations and departments, and the regional public. The audience of each social media platform varies, and should follow along the lines of the audience types outlined on the University Marketing and Communications’ (UMC) Digital and Social Media webpage at

A social media manager, typically the Library Operations Manager, is designated to manage the content of the Briggs Library social media platforms. A second social media manager, typically the Digital Initiatives Coordinator, is designated to manage the content of the Archives & Special Collections social media platforms. Social media managers should be aware of the best practices for each social media platform and of the mission and values of the library. All library posts and responses should be made in a friendly, professional tone.

The content shared and maintained on library social media platforms must be in accordance with the University Social Media Guidelines, per the UMC’s Digital and Social Media webpage. All official library social media platforms must publish and consistently enforce the standards in the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Acceptable Use of Social Media policy 7:1.

The library is not responsible for comments or posts made by any social media users of the library’s social media platforms. Per SDSU policy 7:1, the university prohibits and reserves the right to remove without notice, content, comments, and posts that: are off-topic; represent advertisements or spam; constitute or encourage illegal activity; create a security risk; infringe upon someone’s rights; contain obscenities; direct and target physical threats; or that reasonably appear to violate state or federal law, or university or South Dakota Board of Regents policies. 

The library will not sell or knowingly transfer any personally identifiable information related to social media engagement with the library to any third party. Users should be aware of the privacy policies set by individual social media platforms. 

  1. Procedures

Library faculty and staff who seek to utilize the library’s social media platforms will contact the appropriate social media manager or designee. 

The social media managers are responsible for notifying UMC or other designated university officials when a library social media platform is compromised, requires enforcement action, or is no longer needed and has been deleted.

Complaints or negative comments should not be deleted by library staff, but should be addressed as a patron complaint. However, those comments may be edited so they do not identify individuals. Staff may take the discussion to a private setting, such as chat or messaging. Staff should consult with the Dean of the Library, UMC, or others for questions on content posted by social media users. 

When using personal social media accounts, library employees are responsible for ensuring that their audience understands when they are speaking as private citizens and not in their professional roles as university employees in accordance with SDSU policies, including but not limited to SDSU policy 7:1. 

The library’s Social Media Guidelines provide recommendations on usage.

  1. Related Documents

South Dakota State University Acceptable Use of Social Media policy 7:1

University Marketing and Communications’ Digital and Social Media web page

Briggs Library Social Media Guidelines (see below)

  1. Responsibility

The Library Operations Manager or designee is responsible for the annual and ad hoc review of this policy. The Policy and Procedures Committee is responsible for review of this document every four years. The Dean of the Library is responsible for approving the policy and all future revisions.


Reviewed by: Library Faculty July 1, 2020

Approved by: Dean of the Library July 2, 2020 

Originally adopted: July 2, 2020 

Revision dates: (Date)

Social Media Guidelines

Hilton M. Briggs Library
July 2020

These guidelines provide recommendations and standards for library staff when they are using the library’s social media accounts and when they are commenting or posting in their professional role.

“Social media” includes community-created content sites like Facebook, YouTube, and blogs. It involves:

  • Content created by staff on sites hosted and created by the library.
  • Content created on other social media sites when acting as a library employee.

A social media account is the digital face of the library. Content should be written from the “we” perspective and represent the library as a whole, not as an individual staff member. The library’s social media followers should receive the same level of customer service as patrons in the physical library.

Library social media posts should adhere to the South Dakota State University (SDSU) Social Media Guidelines: Library social media posts should follow the branding standards of SDSU and Briggs Library:   

When staff use social media in their professional roles, their behavior and content is not only a reflection of themselves but also of the library and SDSU. Employees should not represent themselves as a university spokesperson, whether posting professionally or personally. Staff should be aware that an SDSU affiliation on a profile or in comments may affect the university as a whole. Always think before you post. 

Guidelines for Posting Images

  1. Only post images that reflect the library and the university in a positive light.
  2. Obtain approval from non-library employees with a signed consent form before posting their images online. Confirm verbal consent from library employees for photos that will be online.
  3. Cropping images
    1. Crop the image if it will improve the overall look of the photo.
    2. Crop the photo, or blur an individual’s image, to remove someone who doesn’t want to be in the photo. 

Indicate the approximate date an image was taken and, if possible, identify people in the photo, within the given constraints of each platform.

Some Reminders About Social Media

Social Media Do’s

  1. Be Professional: Speak the way you would in professional situations.
  2. Be Courteous: Be sure to listen and ask questions.
  3. Be Accurate: Check your facts before you post and provide supporting sources if necessary.
  4. Be Useful: Add content because you have something interesting to say, not for the sake of regular posting.
  5. Be Intelligent: Provide some value. Don’t be condescending. Offer insight.
  6. Be Conversational: Avoid overly ‘composed’ language. Don’t be afraid to bring in your own personality.
  7. Be Non-Confrontational: If you disagree, do so respectfully.
  8. Be Prompt: If you need to moderate or respond to a comment, do so as quickly as possible.
  9. Be Identifiable and Transparent: Disclose that you work for the library if this is relevant and be honest and truthful.

Social Media Don’ts

  1. Don’t Share Secrets: If you aren’t sure you can disclose something, don’t do it. Remember privacy and confidentiality, and ask permission to use other people’s content.
  2.  Don’t Belittle Others: Keep your language clean and avoid insulting people or organizations.
  3. Don’t Complain: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
  4. Don’t Act Impulsively: If it doesn’t help the library or the university, don’t do it. Remember that once something is posted, it is archived online and can be saved by others through screenshots, so it is very difficult to completely delete a post.
  5. Don’t Defame: Show everyone respect.
  6. Don’t Forget Your Day Job: Remember your other duties. Moderate, balanced social media use is essential.
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