The website manager at Girl Scouts Heart of the South should review your website or web page before it is published to ensure that it complies with GSUSA and council standards. If there is a site already published, email us with the URL so that we can review the site.
Social Media Guidelines for Volunteers
The term ‘social media’ refers to tools that allow the sharing of information and creation of communities through online networks or people. It is a method to have two way conversations online. Some of the most common types of social media include social networking sites (Facebook), microblogging sites (Twitter), forums, blogs and content-sharing services (YouTube).
Girl Scouts Heart of the South is continuing to develop a social media presence. The goal of our social media presence is to recruit potential Girl Scouts, volunteers and donors, as well as to retain current membership. The use of social media enhances the visibility of our council as a united front—reaching out to the community and media regarding council activities, events and more. We continue to strengthen the mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
Social Media Etiquette
Below are some general tips to remember when using social media.
- Be honest and fair Be transparent about your role as a Girl Scouts Heart of the South volunteer when communicating about Girl Scout-related issues online.
- Be friendly, helpful, considerate and caring Treat others as you want to be treated. Don’t use social media to attack other volunteers, troop members, the council or staff.
- Be courageous and strong Careful monitoring of social media is important in maintaining a positive image of Girl Scouts Heart of the South. If you see posts, comments or behavior that concern you, please notify your membership manager. Don’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions.
- Be responsible for what you say and do Remember that what you post online will be around for a long time (think of it as your online carbon footprint), and nothing is really “private” anymore. Use discretion and if you have questions about whether or not you should post something, ask your membership manager.
- Respect yourself and others Respect other people’s privacy and your own personal boundaries by using discretion when choosing to accept or invite a fellow volunteer and/or parents as your Facebook “friend” on your personal Facebook page or who you follow on Twitter. (For the service unit or troop Facebook page, the privacy settings will give you the ability to give permission to only those who are involved with the service unit or troop.)
- Respect authority Girl Scouts Heart of the South reserves the right to block or delete any postings, administrators or group members or to restrict volunteer access to social media sites within council control. Also, if you are contacted by a member of the media through a social media site and asked to comment on an issue, please refer them to Jenny Jones, Director of Marketing and Communications at 662.350.6041.
- Use resources wisely Your time is a valuable resource and your social media activities should not interfere with your volunteer commitments.
- Make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout This is true regardless of how you are communicating.
- Be mindful of how you look and act by living the Girl Scout Promise and Law Your online presence can reflect positively or negatively on Girl Scouts Heart of the South. Be wary of your actions captured via images, posts or comments. It is always recommended to set your personal Facebook profile to “private” (only your Facebook friends can see it), especially if you have Girl Scouts Heart of the South listed as an organization that you volunteer for or represent. Please remember that your Facebook profile picture can always be viewed publicly, so use discretion when choosing how the world sees you.
- Deliver effective and deliberate communication to internal and external customers Respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner. Be a valuable resource for information.
Online Guidelines for Girl Scout Troops & Service Units
Nearly all Girl Scout members surf the web regularly and many Girl Scout Troops and Girl Scout Service Units are designing their own web pages and social media accounts. Websites and the information they contain may be viewed by anyone, anywhere! Ensuring the health and safety of girls is the cornerstone of the Girl Scout Movement; therefore GSUSA highly discourages troops or service units from creating websites.
Any easier and more manageable option is to create a Facebook page or
group that is set to private.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when creating an online account.
- Before you begin developing a Girl Scout social media account, you must first designate one (1) adult who will be the primary volunteer responsible for managing the account. This person will be responsible for monitoring the account so that it meets the guidelines below. You should always have multiple administrators on the account.
All troop or service unit accounts must identify themselves by including "Girl Scout Troop/Service Area XXXXX" or "Girl Scouts Heart of the South Troop/Service Area XXXXX" to let a viewer easily identify the troop, service unit and council.
IDENTIFYING MEMBERS ONLINE
- If you wish to post Girl Scouts’ names on the page, first names are recommended and you should not use a girl's entire name.
- Never identify personal addresses of Girl Scouts, however you may list your recruitment events.
- If you must include contact information, create a generic email address (such as "GSTroop11223@yahoo.com") to which communications may be sent that will effectively hide any individual identity within the Girl Scout Troop or Service Unit. Make sure you respond to emails in a timely fashion, usually within 24-48 hours.
- Never post photos without permission. A signed Girl Scout Membership Form includes permission for photos to be used for Girl Scout purposes, but we strongly suggest you collect Publicity Release Forms for each person pictured on your website for your own records. For more information on the GSHS Publicity Release Policy and Publicity Release forms, click here.
Remember that anything you place on your page is a reflection of Girl Scouts Heart of the South and GSUSA, so be cautious in selecting content. Ask yourself, what information would be appropriate for a stranger to see on your page?
- Make sure that the girls and adults in your Girl Scout Troop or Service Unit who may be contributing content to the site realize that this is a Girl Scout page, not a personal page, and that everything they contribute must be scrutinized carefully by the Designated Adult (see Adult Responsibility) before it is uploaded, both for appropriateness of content and for safety/security of Girl Scouts Heart of the South members. References to race, color, religion, age (except when referring to girl program grade levels), sex, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, learning disability, physical or mental disability, ancestry, genetic information, political affiliation, and any other protected class status, as well as political and personal opinions, have no place on a Girl Scout web page.
- Speak with the girls in your Girl Scout Troop or Service Unit and make sure that they understand the importance of preserving the Girl Scout image online. Don’t allow them to post content on any page, forum, blog or chat room on behalf of the Girl Scout Troop or Service Unit without examining the content first, and encourage them to use good judgment and discretion in choosing what they post on their own websites.
- Have Girl Scouts fill out the Internet Safety Pledge, available by clicking here, and discuss online safety with them. Make sure the Girl Scouts understand the potential dangers of using the Internet, and educate them about not sharing personal information, photos, contact information, etc. with strangers online.
COMMUNICATION WITH PARENTS/GUARDIANS
- Invite parents/guardians to contact you if they have any concerns regarding the content of your page, and be understanding and flexible in dealing with any content that raises concerns.
- Consider hyperlinks with care. If you link to another webpage from your page, share a story or a post, make sure that the content is consistent with Girl Scout values and doesn’t contain inappropriate or controversial material. Remember, anything you link to will be associated with your page, even if you did not create the objectionable content.
- In some cases, websites require permission to link to them, so obtain any necessary permission according to the particular website’s guidelines before linking to the website. You may link to the Girl Scouts Heart of the South site (www.girlscoutshs.org) and Girl Scouts of the USA (www.girlscouts.org) from your Girl Scout Troop or Service Unit webpage if you choose.
SOCIAL NETWORKING FRIENDS, MEMBERS AND FOLLOWERS
- If your page is hosted by Facebook or another social networking site, exercise extreme caution in placing other users on your "friend list." Just as with external website links, you must examine the profiles of other users before permitting the "friend" connection and make sure to avoid any questionable or controversial content on the other users’ sites. Do not add users to your "friend list" if you do not know them. Whenever possible, set your profile to private so that only those on your "friend list" may view it.
ADVERTISING AND PRODUCT SALES
- Do not sell advertising on your site, either in text or graphic format. This includes banner ads, skyscraper ads, sponsored links, etc. The sale of advertising creates an implied relationship between Girl Scouts and the goods or services advertised and cannot be permitted.
- Girls and adults may post notices on websites alerting their communities about Girl Scout Cookie Sales or Fall MagNut Sales. However, orders may not be taken on-line.
- If Girl Scouts Heart of the South or GSUSA contacts you and requests that any content or links on your page be removed or altered in accordance with their guidelines, it is required that you comply with the request.
- If you find that a Girl Scout website is in violation of any of the Girl Scout Website Guidelines, email Kristen Posey Russell, Girl Scouts Heart of the South Director of Communications and Creative Services at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please describe the violation in detail in the email and include the URL of the website in question.
BRANDING AND MESSAGING
Make sure that you follow all Girl Scouts Heart of the South and GSUSA branding and messaging guidelines when creating the content of your website, and observe copyright restrictions and guidelines for use of the Girl Scout service mark and other materials. Click here for Girl Scouts Heart of the South Branding Guidelines.
TRADEMARKS AND COPYRIGHTS
A group website may not use copyrighted designs, text, graphics or trademarked symbols without specific permission from the copyright or trademark holder. The basic principle is: If it is not yours, don’t use it. This rule applies to copyrights and trademarks held by Girl Scouts Heart of the South and GSUSA, as well.
- Trademarks owned by GSUSA include:
- The Girl Scout Service Mark
- The words Girl Scout Daisy, Girl Scout Brownie, Girl Scout Junior, Girl Scout Cadette, Girl Scout Senior, Girl Scout Ambassador, Girl Scouts, Girl Scouting, Girl Scout Cookies, Girl Scout Journeys, and the Girl Scout Leadership Experience
All trademarks must be used in accordance with guidelines for their use. Click here to read the Girl Scouts Heart of the South Branding Guidelines, and click here to read the Guidelines for Use of the Girl Scout Service Mark.
- You may not use illustrations, photographs or other graphics taken from Leader Magazine, the Girl Scout Journey Books, or other Girl Scout handbooks/publications on your website without the express written permission of GSUSA. This includes official Girl Scout insignia such as images of Girl Scout Brownie Try-Its, Girl Scout Junior Badges, Girl Scout Interest Project Awards, the Girl Scout Gold Award, etc. All of these images are the copyrighted property of GSUSA and/or the artist. In order to obtain permission, you must contact GSUSA at email@example.com.
- You may not post Girl Scout songs, stories, poetry or articles on your website unless you have first determined that they are not copyrighted by another party or by GSUSA. If the materials are copyrighted, you can request permission for their use from the owner, author or publisher of the materials, but do not use the materials until the permission has been granted in writing. For songs, please note that copyrights cover both the words and the music, so neither can be used if the song is copyrighted and you do not have permission to use it.
- You may not post copyrighted videos on your website without written permission from the creator or owner of the videos.
- Using the phrase "no copyright infringement is intended" (or similar wording) on your website DOES NOT mean that you can upload copyrighted or trademarked material without permission. All necessary permission must be obtained, or the material cannot be posted on your website.
Websites and Social Media Platforms
All service units in Girl Scouts Heart of the South are encouraged to share information with their volunteers via a service unit website or other social media platform. The purpose is to enhance the communication between service unit members and volunteers, which will enrich the experience for girl and adult members. Girl Scout troop leaders will also find these effective resources to enhance communications with parents.
Once you have created a site, we encourage you to share it with Kristen Posey Russell, Director of Communications and Creative Services.
The next section of these guidelines gives specific information on how to start Facebook and Twitter accounts. Other platforms such as Google or Scoutlander may also be used. Each service unit is encouraged to discuss which medium would be most effective for their own use. We are not endorsing a specific product, but giving information so Girl Scout members may use social media effectively.
Facebook - Girl Scouts Heart of the South
We are posting regular status updates, pictures, links and more on our Girl Scouts Heart of the South Facebook page. We also invite our fans to participate in discussions and share information. To “Like” us—Search for “Girl Scouts Heart of the South” in the Facebook search bar. When you find us, simply click the “Like” button.
Best practices for Facebook:
- Update your status regularly
- Brighten your profile with photos and videos
- Join groups and networks
- Write on friends’ walls
- “Like” pages, share links with friends and organize events
Creating a Closed Facebook Group
The first step is to create your own Facebook account, if you have not done so already. If you do not have a Facebook account, you can create one at www.facebook.com. It’s very simple and takes only a few minutes.
To create a group, take the following steps:
- At the “home” page on your Facebook account, on the left side column, there is a menu item called “Create a Group.” Click on that option. A box will appear on your screen for creating a group.
- Choose your group name. This should be the name of your service unit (or your troop if you are creating a group page for your troop). For example: Tipton Service Unit 449. Please do not include “Girl Scouts Heart of the South” in your group name
- You can now add other service unit members to the group who also have Facebook accounts. Please make sure to add only service unit members and Girl Scouts Heart of the South staff.
- Pull down the menu labeled “privacy.” Your options will be Open, Closed or Secret. Select the “Closed” option. This ensures that only members of the group will see the information posted in the group page.
- Click “create” and you’re finished.
- If you choose to add a profile picture, the Girl Scout Trefoil is a graphic you can use.
Things you can do with a closed Facebook group
- Post messages—remember a Facebook post has a limit of 420 characters
- Use the Notes section for longer posts
- Post photos
- Create an event on the calendar and get RSVP via a “yes,” “no” or “maybe” response
- Post links to other sites
- Post videos
- Create documents on Facebook
- Chat with group members
In a closed group, any member can invite other members to join, as long as they are Facebook friends. Remember to protect everyone’s privacy by only inviting adult members of Girl Scouts. The creator of the closed group is the administrator by default. For that reason, we encourage our volunteers to create the closed group. It is a good practice to have more than one administrator, so that the responsibility of the account can be shared.
You will need to invite council staff to be a member of the group so we can share important updates and information.
Twitter—Girl Scouts Heart of the South
We are posting 140 character tweets from our Twitter account @GirlScoutsHS.
The basics of Twitter are to:
- Follow relevant accounts
- Post tweets
- Retweet posts you like and want to share
Remember that people like the human touch and will appreciate posts with your thoughts and experiences more than you think. They also like it when you say ‘hi’ and respond to their comments.
Best practices for Twitter:
- Build relationships on Twitter
- Listen for comments about Girl Scouts
- Respond to comments and queries
- Ask questions
- Post links to things people would find interesting
- Retweet messages you would like to share
- Use a friendly, casual tone
- Don’t spam people
Creating a Twitter account
- To create a Twitter account visit: www.twitter.com and click on “Sign Up.” Full Name—Use your real name. It will appear on your public profile.
- Username—This is your “handle” on Twitter. (Ex: Ours is GirlScoutsHS.) It can be your name (ex: JaneSmith25), or something that is “you” (ex: CookieFan18). Use your service unit name and number or an abbreviation of the name, when creating a Twitter account for your service unit. When creating your username, be mindful that user names count as a part of the 140 character limit.
- Password—You will need a password to sign in to your account.
- Terms of service—Agree to these. You are agreeing to not spam other users. Click “create account.”
- Once your account is created, you will see an account page where you can fill in more information about yourself. Please do this.
- Before finishing, be sure to click on the “Picture” tab and upload a photo of yourself. A head shot is the best idea. Use the Girl Scout Trefoil for a service unit.
- If you have any questions about creating accounts, please contact your membership manager.