The SMC Web and Social Media Office provides technical and informational support for the college’s affiliated social media sites. If you have questions about how to format and add new content to a site, how to edit or update content on a site, or other topics about managing and maintaining a site, please contact Interim Director of Web and Social Media Strategy Paul Trautwein to request help with a specific topic or to schedule a friendly and informative online tutorial.
There are five main steps for a "sponsoring unit" — a college department, office, or student organization, for example — to launch a new SMC social media site or channel:
The sponsoring unit must receive approval from the appropriate vice president, dean, or director.
Before developing the social media site, the sponsoring unit must contact the SMC Web and Social Media Office to discuss details related to the site's design and content.
The sponsoring unit must identify an SMC employee who will serve as the site's editor/content creator. That would be you, and in that role, you will be responsible for developing content, monitoring content, and keeping content up-to-date.
The Web and Social Media Office will set up the new site and serve as its primary administrator, routinely reviewing the site and coordinating with the editor/content creator regarding content.
The editor/content creator must arrange for a tutorial from the Web and Social Media Office on how to add, delete, and edit content, as well as other details you need to know to successfully manage the site.
- Make sure your social media account includes the SMC name. The shorter the name, the easier it is to remember.
- Instagram and Twitter: @SMC_
- Facebook: SMC ____ or ____ at SMC
- Email account info to firstname.lastname@example.org and add your name as admin to:
- Get access to high-quality photos and calendars.
- Get help with marketing your department/program.
- Get listed in the SMC Social Media Directory.
- Post content at least 2 to 3 times a week.
- Text: Keep it short and vary its content to prevent staleness. Tag other accounts and locations if relevant. The SMC hashtag is stylized as #ProudToBeSMC.
- Graphics: Has Keep text to less than 20% of the graphics for accessibility. Text in images can't be read by people with disabilities. Do not use borders.
- Photos: Use high-quality, engaging, and vibrant photos.
- Share and engage with your audience.
- Respond to questions and comments in a timely manner.
- Be professional. Stay neutral and do not endorse any particular point of view.
- Be kind, helpful, and transparent.
- Follow copyright and other intellectual property standards.
- Get expert responses when in doubt about inquiries or inappropriate posts.
Editors/content creators who do not want to manage a social media site, but still want to contribute content, are encouraged to send timely photos and text to the SMC social media sites on various online platforms.
People visit social media sites to interact with other people. Engaging with your site's members will keep them coming back, so welcome new audience members, respond to comments, and wherever possible, provide brief, but useful information or a link to more extensive details.
As a member of the SMC community, you are personally responsible for what you post.
Check your sources, facts, grammar and spelling, etc., before posting content. Your social media audience expects you to be responsible in presenting accurate information related to SMC. If you make an error, correct it quickly and visibly, which will earn you respect in the online community.
Consider how a post can be interpreted by the public. If the content of your post would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the phone, or in another medium, it is more than likely not suitable for an SMC social media site. Always assume everything you post will be public. Keep in mind that SMC has many international students, so local posts can have global significance.
Also, be aware that what you post online could be around forever. Search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after their publication date.
Try to avoid offending potential students or their parents. Be authentic, but maintain a professional attitude in exchanges with other posters. Monitor member posts to keep an eye out for potential problems. Social media sites are for communicating with others, which may encourage disagreements or discussion of opposing ideas.
Disagreements are OK, but personal attacks are not. Avoid criticizing other people and institutions, as this may reflect poorly on SMC, alienate you from your social media audience, or escalate into a conflict.
Monitor your social media sites carefully to ensure you notice quickly if an unauthorized person gains access. The larger your audience, the more tempting the social media site becomes as a target.
Be honest and transparent about who you are at SMC and what your role is as an editor/content creator for the social media site.
Be careful not to post personal information such as your home address or personal telephone number. Connect to others through posts on the social media site or your @smc.edu email address.
Never provide personally identifiable information (PII) about yourself or anyone else. Do not list home addresses (yours or anyone else's) or private telephone numbers.
Be careful not to reveal confidential or proprietary information about SMC students, employees or alumni.
Talking about your work is OK, as long as you do not disclose anything that contains confidential, proprietary, personal, or private information about SMC or its employees, students, affiliates, suppliers, and vendors, or suppliers.
Social media sites affiliated with the College are accountable under established employee and student guidelines included in SMC Board Policies and the District’s Administrative Regulations.
As a social media editor/content creator, you must follow a number of confidentiality policies and state and federal laws and regulations. Since all SMC official social media postings are considered public record and represent a public institution, you must become familiar with and adhere to several federal and state laws and organizational guidelines, including:
Accessibility requirements ensure that information on a social media site is accessible and usable by people with the widest range of capabilities possible. All online posts and messages must be accessible.
Write in plain language so that people can understand and use the information you provide.
Use short sentences whenever possible.
Use the active voice ("Jane posted details") instead of the passive voice ("Details were posted by Jane").
Limit the use of hashtags, abbreviations, and acronyms, especially if they might be unfamiliar to your audience.
When appropriate, use camel case (or CamelCase), which joins words together and capitalizes the first letters of the words, like #ProudToBeSMC.
See Accessibility Standards for other important considerations when composing text.
For images and videos:
Do not post PDFs.
Avoid quickly flashing GIFs. These can be disorienting and make it difficult to focus for individuals with sensory or processing disabilities. GIFs can also, in some instances, be seizure-inducing for people who have epilepsy.
Add alt-text to your image in your posts for more detail for blind or low-vision users. Keep the text as simple as possible to convey what can be visually understood from the image. All the relevant text must be included in the caption/description section of the post.
In addition to alt-text, add captions to posts for more clarity and better context for all users.
You can find helpful tools and techniques to ensure accessibility to the SMC social media sites in:
Photos and videos with inappropriate images may not be posted. Inappropriate content includes:
An image that includes vulgar hand gestures or facial expressions.
An image that contains nudity.
An image that presents a pose or posture that is sexually gratuitous.
An image that displays or implies a sexual act.
An image that shows or implies the elimination of bodily waste or fluids.
An image that displays clothing that reveals more than would be appropriate for standard campus attire.
An image that contains content that describes or implies an illegal act.
An image that includes embedded content such as text or sub-images whose content is not appropriate under these guidelines.
An image that contains or refers to content that describes or implies religious or political beliefs.
An image that contains or refers to content that describes, implies, or incites a violation of policy or regulation.
Social media editors/content creators are responsible for making sure that content posted on the site does not infringe on the intellectual property rights (including copyright) of others.
When you post content to any SMC social media site, you must make sure that you own or otherwise control all the intellectual property rights to that content, that your content is protected or falls under fair use, and that you will not knowingly provide misleading or false information. Intellectual property rights of content that is shared with the public on the social media site will be governed by federal copyright law, the terms of service of the social media site's platform, and/or Santa Monica College policies.
If you do not own or control content you wish to post, include citations such as direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, or videos. Better yet, provide a link to source material whenever possible. Doing so will respect intellectual property rights, reduce the spread of misinformation, and possibly offer the additional benefit of driving traffic to the site.
It is important for you to monitor posts and respond to queries on a regular and frequent basis. Monitoring the social media site daily is the best practice, but if this is not possible or the site has little activity at the time, then check the site at least 2 to 3 times a week.
SMC is committed to fostering an educational environment that allows for freedom of speech and expression in accordance with the First Amendment. However, the college will not tolerate any posting that loses First Amendment protection, such as any post that is unlawful, defamatory, or obscene (as defined by California and federal law).
Do not post content — including music — with foul or offensive language.
Do not post content that could be considered any type of harassment, hate, bullying, hazing, retaliation, reprisal, threat, obscene, in violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or is otherwise harmful or illegal.
Do not post ads or other content that promotes commercial products for financial gain or political affiliations.
Do not use official SMC social media sites to discuss business transactions, including credit card or payment information, educational records protected by FERPA, medical records protected by HIPAA, or any other confidential information.
Avoid self-promoting behavior, which can be viewed negatively.
Do not censor or delete posts with which you disagree. Your own personal boundaries may not be the same as those for a broad audience. Everyone has a First Amendment right to speech, and even hate speech is protected by the Constitution.
If there is an emergency that impacts or involves the campus community, DO NOT POST any crisis-related communications other than official messages from the SMC Emergency Operations Team and the Public Information Office.
Social media content creators are often the first to come across posts signaling possible or actual conflicts or crises. These can include posts about an occurrence on an SMC campus or tweets from a student showing signs of anger, suicidal ideation, or other emotional distress.
If you see a post that you consider cause for concern:
- Do not respond to the post unless and until you are directed to.
- Take a screenshot of the post and save it for your records. Note the date when it was originally posted and who posted it.
- Notify the Web and Social Media Office.