Grand Valley State University Social Media Guidelines

As an institution, Grand Valley recognizes the value of social media applications and supports their use. Social media is a powerful communications tool that has a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations. Because social media blurs the line between personal voice and institutional voice, Grand Valley has crafted guidelines to help clarify how best to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations when participating in social media.

Grand Valley maintains official pages on various social media platforms. You can find links to those pages at These pages are maintained for the purpose of reaching people and engaging them with the university and its services.

Although you are encouraged to use social media in your work, please respect university time and resources as you provide or read content. During your time at work your first priority as a Grand Valley employee is to execute the business of the university.

Following are some guidelines for using social media at Grand Valley.

General recommendations
Be Respectful

Be Transparent

Add Value

Reconsider Before You Post

Be Responsive to Feedback

Link to Grand Valley Webpages
To provide further information that will remain up-to-date, link to Grand Valley webpages. This also increases the search engine optimization of those pages. Follow Information Technology policies and procedures.

Posting on behalf of Grand Valley
The use of Grand Valley logos and protected trademarks as avatars on social media sites is reserved for use on official university sites and should not be used by individuals unless a part of an offered social media theme provided by the university. Photography showcasing a university location in a positive light is acceptable. See identity standards for social media to learn more and to request a theme.

Respect copyrights and fair use

Political Statements
Refrain from making them when representing Grand Valley (See 2.2.3 in GVSU’s Administrative Manual)

Define Your Role
Check with your supervisor to be clear about when and how you should post or respond to posts as a Grand Valley employee.

Existing Grand Valley Conduct Policies
Social media users acting on behalf of the university must adhere to all Grand Valley policies and procedures including:

Posting Photographs or Videos
Follow the guidelines below when posting photographs or videos on your social media sites.

Use of Social Media Sites for the Placement of Advertising
Grand Valley’s web policy regarding advertising and sponsors [] applies to official social media pages.

Free Expression
Grand Valley encourages freedom of expression and recognizes the value of diverse opinions. However, page administrators have a responsibility to remove comments, images, or other material deemed inflammatory, vulgar, or otherwise inappropriate, especially when they appear to threaten the welfare or safety of the poster or others.

Application and Enforcement
The purpose of these guidelines is to have a set of standards for social media pages and blogs that can be applied equitably across all areas of the university and can assist department leaders, Web managers, and others in planning future Web use. The standards are designed to protect the reputation of the university and the safety of alumni, students, prospective students, and others. If absolutely necessary, the university, through various offices, has the ability to remove content that does not comply.

Confidentiality and Privacy
Beware of the damages to individuals or the university that can result through inappropriate disclosure of personal or confidential information. Possible damages include:

Personal site guidelines
Be Transparent
Feel free to identify yourself as a Grand Valley faculty or staff member, but be clear that your views shared on your personal site are yours and are not necessarily shared by the university.

You are legally liable for what you post, no matter if it is your own site or that of others. Possible liabilities include:

Grand Valley Logos
Do not use any Grand Valley logos or registered trademarks on your personal sites for any reason and especially not to promote any products, causes, or political parties or candidates

Protect Yourself
Be careful not to reveal information that could put you at risk for identity theft (Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English)

Please call University Communications if you have questions (616) 331-2221

In the spirit of good social media practice, we would like to acknowledge that we especially referenced these three sites while compiling these guidelines: