Social Media Policy
Social Media Policy
keyboard with social media logos on the keys

Consider the Big Picture

Before creating a social media presence on one or more sites, discuss questions like:

  • What is the mission of our congregation and how will that mission be furthered by use of new media tools?
  • What kinds of conversations do we want to have online and what kinds of information do we want to share?
  • What are the larger goals of our social media use?

Welcome Visitors

  • Any public site will be seen by people who are new to your congregation, as well as by congregants.
  • Put the congregation’s best foot forward; avoid unnecessary airing of “dirty laundry.”
  • Your Facebook page, Twitter feed, or other new media site might be the first point-of-contact that a newcomer has with your congregation; help them take the next step to get more engaged.
  • Link to your main congregation’s website and if there’s a place to do so, post basic information like your congregation’s location, contact information, and service times.

Update at Least Weekly

  • Keep your social media presence up-to-date by posting content on a regular basis (whether that’s once a day, once a week, or somewhere in between). Hopefully, people will look forward to reading your blog, listening to your podcast, or otherwise engaging with your congregation online! But if your content dries up without explanation, newcomers may be confused and regular listeners or readers may be disappointed.

Engage the Congregation

  • Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, blogs, etc. that represent the congregation should be authorized by an appropriate congregational committee or process.
  • Share administrative access to the congregation’s social media tools among relevant leaders and staff within the congregation. More than one person should have full administrative access to the congregation’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, blog, or other new media sites.
  • Announce the establishment of a new Facebook page, Twitter feed, or other congregational social media endeavor. Good venues for such an announcement may include an e-mail to the congregation, a story in the congregation’s newsletter,  a poster on the congregational bulletin board, or a post on the congregation’s existing social media sites.
  • Encourage congregants to participate in the congregation’s social media presence. For example, welcome congregants to post comments on the congregational blog or write on the wall of the congregation’s Facebook page.

Consider Safety and Confidentiality

  • Use a tone in your text, audio, and video content that reflects the values of your congregation. Establish clear expectations for behavior by both content creators (i.e. the people writing blog posts, wall posts, Tweets, etc.) and commenters (i.e. the people who are commenting on a blog, responding to a wall post, responding to Tweets, etc.)
  • Content moderation policies are a good way to clarify what kinds of comments and feedback are allowed on your site. The UUA’s Facebook page policy is:
    “The UUA has the right to delete any inappropriate content from this page, including but not limited to: irrelevant content, hateful content, attacks against an individual, financial solicitations, endorsements of a political candidate or party, and content that violates Facebook’s terms of use, code of conduct, or other policies. Content that violates Facebook’s policies may also be reported.”
  • More safety information can be found in the Safer Congregations Handbook.

Covenant

You may also find it helpful to have a covenant among people who manage and produce content for the congregation’s social media tools.

  • Consistently hold people accountable to the stated policies.
  • Err on the side of honoring reasonable expectations of confidentiality.
  • Do not post photos of children unless you have the consent of their guardian.
  • If an event is being recorded or photographed for the congregation’s blog, Facebook page or other online site, notify participants in advance and at the event, and provide an opt-out option if possible.

Sample Social Media Policy

(adapted from the UU Congregation of Fairfax's policy)

All material posted to social media represents the congregation to the public and may be accessed by any user who is interested in the congregation.

Staff and appointed volunteers will monitor the use of all social media and edit/delete as necessary according to the guidelines  to maintain a positive public image.

Written permission must be obtained from a parent or legal guardian to post photographs or videotapes of children under age 18 on the congregation's social media accounts. Adults may ask to opt out of having their photos shared.

Confidentiality of private information must be maintained. When sharing information from another person’s Facebook page, do not share personal or sensitive information.

Copyrights must be respected. Copying other people’s writing is considered plagiarism. Such posts will be removed.

Postings will be removed by the administrator that contain any of the following: insensitive, inflammatory or offensive language, jokes or slanderous comments, whether in text form or image form, based on a person’s gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, politics, age or religion.

Personal attacks and attacks on the congregation are inappropriate and will be removed by the administrator.

Solicitations to support personal or organizational fundraisers are not permitted and will be removed.

Personal affiliations and conflicts of interests should be noted by those posting comments. If the administrator notes postings where this information is not revealed, such postings are subject to removal. \

Facebook

The congregation has one primary Facebook page: <URL>

  • Administrative privileges are granted to program staff and volunteers designated by staff.
  • The Facebook page serves as vehicle for announcements, events and other items that further the mission and vision of the congregation

The congregation also has one primary Facebook Group

  • Administrative privileges are granted to program staff and volunteers designated by staff. 
  • Posting privileges are granted to member and friends and are subject to the congregation's covenant and other policies

Other Facebook Pages/Groups

Affiliated groups using the congregation's name and/ branding may wish to establish Facebook pages to communicate specific programs and/or establish identities to a broader audience than that served by a Facebook Group.

  • Establishing a Facebook page must be affirmed by __________
  • Each page must be set up by a staff member using a congregational email address. The primary administrator will be designated by the sponsoring committee. There must be more than one administrator for each page, including at least one staff member.
  • The most current congregational branding must be used on all affiliated pages
  • Primary administrators are responsible for conduct on their pages and will be responsible for deleting inaccurate or offensive posts or posts in violation of the policies outlined in this document.

Twitter

  • The congregation has one primary Twitter account: @handle

    • Administrative privileges are granted to program staff and volunteers designated by staff. 
    • The Twitter account will be linked so that the Facebook page posts automatically post to the congregation's Twitter feed.

YouTube

The congregation's official YouTube channel is  ________________

  • The channel is public and houses sermon videos as well as member testimonials and other videos that highlight the congregation's mission, vision and values.
  • Administrative privileges are granted to program staff and volunteers designated by staff.

For more information contact conglife@uua.org.

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