Media Inquiries to USB
The United Soybean Board welcomes media inquiries and responds to them in an accurate, thorough and timely manner. As much as possible, media requests for interviews should be fulfilled by USB farmer-leaders. Contact the USB communications staff to determine if additional communications support is necessary and to maintain a record of each request.
Photo Usage Guidelines
USB has a library of photo images available on our Flickr page. All media industry or outside parties must credit the United Soybean Board for use of high-resolution photos. All USB contractors should use USB Consent and Release Forms when taking photos for USB use. The release forms must be kept on file as long as the photography remains in the USB photo library.
Audio/Video Usage Guidelines
Available United Soybean Board videos and footage are posted on our YouTube channel. When new audio or video is captured on behalf of USB, subjects must sign USB Consent and Release Forms. The release forms must be kept on file as long as the audio or video remains in the USB library.
USB Web Standards
Websites either fully or partially funded by USB are considered external communications and must be consistent with the USB Communications Guidelines and USB approval processes.
Every effort should be made to utilize existing USB-funded websites as a means to publish information on the internet instead of creating new websites and domain names. The USB communications team has the responsibility of ensuring that USB’s internet presence is as clear and concentrated as possible and that information is up to date and not duplicated on current USB-funded websites.
All USB-funded websites must clearly identify the soybean checkoff as the source of funding for the website on the home page and must contain a link to USB’s primary website, unitedsoybean.org. All USB-funded websites should adhere to the USB brand guidelines so all sites are easily identified and connected with the soybean checkoff. Any party who wishes to establish a USB-affiliated website must go through the USB communications staff, who has the central responsibility for the strategic direction and administration of USB’s primary website (unitedsoybean.org). This procedure is necessary to reduce the chances that duplicative content dilutes the effectiveness of USB’s online strategy.
When linking to websites that are not checkoff-funded, one of the following messages must be shown prior to connecting to the outside website: “You are now leaving a United Soybean Board site.” or “You are now leaving a checkoff-funded site.”
Social Media Guidelines
Similar to all other external communications, all USB social media messages and content must follow internal review and approval guidelines set forth by USDA-AMS. Any links to external articles or websites must also be approved by USDA-AMS. All postings will be pre-approved by the USB/USDA where appropriate, often as part of a draft release submitted to USB/USDA before distribution. Each posting will reflect best practices in utilizing relevant keywords and other language that aid in their delivery to targeted publics.
- Utilize Twitter and Facebook to support awareness of USB interests and engage relevant audiences within the parameters of USDA communication guidelines.
- Empower leaders and employees of USB on its behalf to contribute to the goals of USB through online channels.
The online strategy of USB will consist of a three-pronged approach reflecting the following groups:
- Approved representatives of USB who “tweet” or post to its Facebook page from accounts held by USB, in the name of the organization. These initial postings are strategic tools and serve expressly to further the goals of the organization.
- Leaders, staff and sanctioned “friends” of USB who utilize social media channels as representatives of the organization. These postings are secondary to the strategic goals of USB, serving to amplify its presence and messages online. In other words, these postings will help spread USB’s strategic messages online, rather than initiate them.
- Individuals affiliated with the organization who “tweet” or hold Facebook pages for purely personal reasons and fall outside of the guidelines below.
Requirements and Procedures:
The Initial and Secondary postings will adhere to the following requirements:
- Initial Postings
- Will be pre-approved by the USB/USDA where appropriate, often as part of a draft release submitted to USB/USDA before distribution (see Example 1 below).
- Will reflect best practices in utilizing relevant keywords and other language that aid in their delivery to targeted publics.
- Secondary Postings
- Will be professional at all times. They will present USB and its peers in a positive light, avoiding any reference to opposing groups and critics.
- Will be transparent. They will include a true representation of the individual posting the material and his or her intentions.
- Will include disclaimers that clarify the postings reflect the views and opinions of the individual, not USB. Such disclaimers will reside in the ‘Bio’ section of the Twitter and Facebook accounts or other, similar positions on the sites. Example:
- “The postings/recordings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent the positions, strategies or opinions of the United Soybean Board.”
- Will be made in the context of caution, judgment and integrity with regard to exaggeration, colorful language, use of copyrighted materials, unsupported assertions, or other confrontational language.
- Will not include information about USB’s financial matters, employees, strategy, legal proceedings, or any other information that has not been publicly released by USB.
- Will reflect good-faith efforts to avoid inaccuracy or unfair use of others’ work.
- Will require individuals to contact the appropriate USB/O&B media representatives if he/she is solicited for information/comments/quotes by traditional media, thought leaders, activists, or other content providers.
- Will not engage in two-way exchanges with anyone regarding controversial issues such as organic vs. traditional agriculture; animal production; vegetarianism; or politics.
- Will not mention supporting or not supporting any legislative or other regulatory initiative on the local, state or national level.
- Will not mention any particular agriculture brand; i.e., Monsanto, John Deere.