SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
Social media accounts must support and uphold the institution’s brand identity, integrity, and reputation. Their use must be professional, protect the reputation and brand of the university, align with university priorities, and comply with UF policies and applicable state and federal laws and regulations.
The University of Florida’s social media policy guides employees using social media to communicate with audiences on matters concerning or impacting UF.
Registration and approval are required before launching a social media account with university content. The standards apply to all university employees and other people (such as volunteers and appointees) who use university computing resources, and they cover all forms of social media. Authorization to present a social media account as an official university activity must come from the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing. A departmental administrator should be provided log-in access to serve as a backup when needed. Please note that your unit might have additional standards and requirements.
Creating a New Account
You should be able to answer the following questions before creating social media accounts.
- Will your channel support the mission and goals of your unit? A social media plan is strongly encouraged before creating accounts.
- Is there an existing social media account with an established following that can help you meet your goals and share your messages?
- Who is your audience?
- Are your proposed social media platforms the best way to reach them?
- Do you have enough solid content for each proposed social media platform? Remember that each platform is different, and posting the same content everywhere is not a best practice.
- Have you connected with SCM on UF social media best practices?
- Have you reviewed the UF brand guidelines?
- Do you have sufficient staff time and resources to manage the platform(s)? Consistent and frequent posting, interacting, and engaging are essential to a successful social media presence.
- Do you have a social media backup contact?
- Have you evaluated what your peers are doing on social media?
Once you’ve answered these questions, submit your accounts below for the Office of Strategic Communications and Marketing approval.
NEW SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT APPROVAL
Social Media Directory
Keep up with what’s happening across the university by following along with the official UF social media accounts.
Click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org to submit your approved accounts for consideration in the UF social media directory.
Social Media Accounts
Community Commenting Guidelines
Please add the following guidelines to your Facebook page “About” section and link to them for reference, as needed.
The University of Florida welcomes your comments on our social media posts and encourages interaction among Gators around the world. We also encourage our community to foster respectful and vibrant online connections. Before you post, please consider the UF Core Values and review these UF Community Commenting Guidelines (“Guidelines”).
We review all comments made, and when necessary, we reserve the right to remove comments that are:
– Containing links to third-party websites or content
– Made in violation of Florida or federal law
Comments made by outside users are the authors’ opinions, not the university’s. By posting a comment on our social media pages, you agree to follow the University of Florida Community Commenting Guidelines, host social media channel Terms of Service, Florida, federal law, and UF regulations and policies – including but not limited to the university’s Acceptable Use of Computing Resources Policy. Your comments may be removed if they violate these Guidelines.
Branding and Style Profile Requirements
Official University of Florida-affiliated social media accounts must adhere to the University of Florida social media guidelines to ensure consistency across platforms and are encouraged to use the official University of Florida logo, following the logo guidelines.
The official University of Florida logo is available to download and has been adjusted to fit the various profile image displays. If you use your unit lock-up or another unique brand identifier as a profile image, please review the logo usage guidelines and note that you may not alter the logo in any way when creating a profile image. Be aware that profile photos on social media are often resized, so it’s best to upload a high-quality image so people can see a more discernible image when clicked.
Official university accounts should include “UF” in their username @handle and account name, along with mentioning our full name, “the University of Florida,” in their bio. Fully populating an account profile allows others to discover the account and content easily, so they should add the appropriate location (e.g., Gainesville, FL) and link to their website. Maintain consistency with social account naming conventions across platforms whenever possible.
Make your content accessible, remove barriers, and create inclusive content
- #CamelCase your hashtags so that assistive technology can interpret each word – when using acronyms, test these with a screen reader to determine the appropriate letter case.
- Always add alternative (alt) text and captions, and never rely on the auto-generated options. THEY ALWAYS NEED EDITS!
- All primary social platforms except for Instagram Stories allow for alt text.
- Remember that Twitter is the only platform where you can’t retroactively edit or add alt text.
- Note which platforms need open captions (embedded/burned-in – inaccessible to screen readers) versus closed captions (SRT file upload – accessible to screen readers). All platforms now have options for auto-generated captions, but remember to edit these. Instagram is the only platform that does not allow in-feed post caption editing, and Instagram (Stories included) and TikTok are the only platforms that don’t allow SRT uploads.
- Shorten URLs and remove “www.,” “https://,” etc.
- Consider how assistive technology interprets emojis – avoid overuse and don’t replace words with emojis.
- Use person-first language.
- When designing social graphics, check color contrast and combinations, keep text minimal, and consider typeface legibility and readability – left-aligned is best.
- For more on how to write alt text, platform features, and almost everything you need to know on accessibility (until the next app update), view Accessibility Over Everything training.
For questions about these social media standards, please email email@example.com for guidance.