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West Ohio Conference Social Media Guidelines

West Ohio Conference Social Media Guidelines

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Published by John Henderson

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Published by: John Henderson on Oct 24, 2011
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The West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church
Online Social Media Guidelines
Introduction to Social Media
The West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church believes in the importance of social mediaas it allows us to be connected with the world and aware of cultural issues as we reach out as followersof Jesus Christ. Social media may include, but is not limited to, social networking sites such asFacebook and Twitter, blogging sites like WordPress or Tumblr, and photo and video sharing websitessuch as Flickr and YouTube. Whether you contribute to these social media outlets regularly or onoccasion, it is important that you know and follow the basic procedures of the West Ohio Conference asa way to positively and accurately represent the West Ohio Conference, The United Methodist Church,and yourself. Employees of West Ohio are expected to act with honesty, professionalism, integrity andrespect for the rights, privileges, privacy, sensibilities and property of others. In acting in this manner,individuals will be abiding by the United Methodist
Book of Discipline
, the denomination’s ethics
statement and applicable laws. These basic guidelines provide safety and security for both you and thechurch whether you are directly promoting the West Ohio Conference, the United Methodist Church orusing social media for personal purposes. They have been developed to help those associated with theWest Ohio Conference better communicate through social media while representing the values andbeliefs of the West Ohio Conference and The United Methodist Church.
Social Media Purpose and Commitment to the Four Areas of Ministry Focus
As United Methodists, we recognize the Four Areas of Ministry Focus and commit to making an impacton the world in the name of Jesus Christ. People of all backgrounds and cultural experiences are talkingabout issues that pertain to the life and function of the church and since the introduction of socialmedia we have had the opportunity to respond in real time to dialogue happening across the globe.Social media gives conference leaders a tool to reach new audiences and engage in conversationsrelated to the ministries of the church. Through social media, we, as the church, are able to buildrelationships with individuals and organizations that stand for the same principles and values as ourown. Social media allows the church and its people to go beyond the church building and engage inmeaningful two-way conversations with people of all backgrounds and cultures.The West OhioConference encourages the sharing of information through various social media networks. When youuse social media, please adhere to the following policies of the West Ohio Conference.
West Ohio Social Media for Business Use
West Ohio staff and departments may use social networking websites for department, event, andinitiative promotion with the approval of the West Ohio communication department and social mediateam. If authorized and in keeping with policy, you may post on a social network profile: your affiliationwith West Ohio and your West Ohio email address or telephone number for contact purposes alongwith other pertinent information. All business related social networking should comply with West Ohiobrand standards. Contact the West Ohio communication department should you need assistance orhave questions on effective execution.
Social Networking Photo Privacy Guidelines
Photos are a great way to illustrate events and share experiences with others. Many social networksallow users to share photos online but with this, it is necessary that you keep in mind the content andappropriateness of any photos that you post.
Photos of children under the age of 18 should not be posted without verbal or written consent.
Avoid posting photos that could possibly offend any one person or cultural group.
Photos of yourself or of others should be appropriate and reflect the values of the West OhioConference and The United Methodist Church. Photos should not defame or violate the legalprivacy rights of others.
Photos should not be altered without a written disclaimer or falsely portray any one person.
Appropriate photo credits should be given to the proper sources.
Logos and Titles
The look of your page should align with West Ohio Brand Standards as defined by the WestOhio Conference communications department.
Use of logos and titles on social networking sites should accurately represent your position withthe West Ohio Conference and The United Methodist Church and should not be used formalicious or ill intent.
Facebook Page and Group Management Guidelines
Facebook allows users to create personal profiles in order to connect with friends, family andorganizations. Users have the ability to share multimedia including photos and videos and trackupcoming events. Users can create and connect with other common interest groups and engage inconversations both publicly and privately with other Facebook users. Facebook currently has over 600million active users and is growing worldwide. Many organizations and businesses have utilizedFacebook to connect with members and customers through two-way conversation.
The following policies pertain to the group and page management system used by the West OhioConference social media team in relation to special interest groups throughout West Ohio districtsand conference ministries.
There is to be only one official Facebook page representing the West Ohio Conference.
(West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church)
Other ministry areas and affliated groups may be branded as being associated with the WestOhio Conference. Pages must align with West Ohio band standards as defined by the WestOhio Conference communications department. Please contact the social media team orcommunications staff for further information
Districts, local churches and other West Ohio related ministries should have pages only if thereis enough content to justify regular updates and research has determined that there is potentialfor a substantial following.
For groups with smaller followings and no physical location but with common characteristicsand interests, organizers should consider developing a Facebook
instead of a page.
The West Ohio communications department and social media team should have knowledge of and administrative access to all pages and West Ohio branded groups. If access is not provided,the group or page will not be branded according to West Ohio brand standards.
 Groups vs. Pages
Pages, rather than groups, are the preferred method of creating an organizational Facebook presence.Pages have more customizable features, are easier to b
rand, and appear in fan’s personal news feeds
.Pages are designed for organizations and are the accepted means of Facebook communication fororganizations. It is policy that staff members use Facebook groups for the exchange of more personalinformation.
Twitter Guidelines
This social media platform allows organizations to engage in real-time conversation with peopleworldwide and share resources and
information with “followers”. “Tweets” are messages sent through
this platform and are composed of 140 characters or less. Active Twitter users are most interested inreal time conversation and follow certain people and organizations in order to learn from what theypost. Followers have the ability to provide immediate feedback to posted content.
There is only one official West Ohio Conference Twitter handle (@WestOhioUMC).
For personal Twitter accounts, make clear your position with the West Ohio Conference bystating it in the bio.
Retweet and follow other organizations with values that align with the West Ohio Conference.
There is a difference between speaking “on behalf of” and speaking “about” West Ohio.
Beconscious when mixing business and personal lives via Twitter.
If departments have initiatives needing publicity through Twitter, please contact thecommunications department for consideration.
YouTube Guidelines
YouTube is a worldwide video community that allows people to watch and share videos of all qualities
and styles. According to YouTube, the website “provides a forum for people to connect, inform, andinspire others across the globe.” YouTube currently attracts more than two billion views each day and
more than 24 hours of video are uploaded every minute. Organizations and individuals have the abilityto develop customized YouTube channels in order to post video content, attract subscribers and choosefavorite videos that relate to videos posted by the organization directly.The official West Ohio Conference YouTube channel (WestOhioUMC) is maintained by the West OhioConference communications department and West Ohio social media team. If a department orconference leader wishes to have a video added to the official YouTube channel, please contact theWest Ohio the communications department or a social media team member.
Videos posted to the West Ohio YouTube channel are official videos approved by the WestOhio communications and social media team.
Videos will be categorized under corresponding playlists within the channel.
1. Transparency
. Avoid anonymity. Whenever possible, include your name and in some situations, itmay even be necessary to include your title and connection with the United Methodist Church or theWest Ohio Conference. With the difficulty of separation between professional and personal worlds, it isextremely important to completely identify yourself. If posting a blog, commenting on a messageboard or article posted by a news service or other blogger, identify your relationship with the churchand make clear whether or not what you post directly represents the views of the church and theconference.

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