Social Media

Engagement Guidelines

It is important to remember when posting on social platforms that you are an official representative of the school. The following guidelines are meant to help us work together to build strong relationships across our online communities:

Think before you post. Please keep in mind that content posted on social media can be viewed broadly - by faculty, staff, students, the news media, and others. Therefore, faculty and staff should adhere to the School's community values of honesty, accountability, integrity, and respect when engaging in online activities.

Define your purpose and have a plan. Don't maintain a social channel just to have a presence in the space. Why do you want people to follow you? Who do you want following you? Take the time to define your audience, create a strategy and set goals within your department or initiative. The questions found in "Considering Social?" are a great start for new channels, but are also useful for existing channels to revisit from time to time so your department or initiative can continue to evolve your social strategy and goals. It may seem laborious, but these steps are key to making your social platforms a success.

Know how to speak with your audience. Above all, social media is a conversation and conversation happens between people. Our goal is to humanize the HBS brand and give people access to our brand in a way that didn't exist before social platforms. We want to avoid sounding rigid and institutional and instead be friendly, informative and inclusive. While tone may vary from audience to audience or platform to platform (for instance we tend to be more informal when communicating with our MBA students on Twitter, and more formal when conversing with Executive Education candidates on LinkedIn), we always want to make it easy to engage with HBS.

Be engaging. Social media is about building communities and relationships and having real conversation, which requires more than simply broadcasting information. Yes, we do have a need to promote programs, events and news, but when appropriate, weave the audience into the conversation by asking and answering questions (and continue to participate in those discussions), highlight great audience insights, and connect community members with similar interests.

Collaborate! Use our social media dashboard and the Social Media Managers listserv to highlight specific planned discussions for our managers across the school to help extend reach.

Moderate in moderation. People will post both positive and negative comments about the School. We work on relationships in our communities in hopes of developing brand ambassadors who often will step up and turn a discussion around. Likewise we can use negative comments to generate positive feedback. If someone is unhappy and the situation calls for it, take the opportunity to ask why and rectify the issue. While we prefer to leave both favorable and unfavorable content up about the School, use good judgment. If the content is gratuitously offensive or obscene, remove it.

Admit when you make a mistake. Typos happen - even at Harvard Business School. Of course we aim to get a post right the first time, but if someone points out a mistake, don't delete and ignore. Acknowledge the mistake and then correct building trust with your community members.