UIC Social Media Guidelines and Best Practices
Social media policies
Role of primary UIC social media accounts
The primary University social media accounts are managed by the Office of Public and Government Affairs (PGA). These include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. These primary channels focus on University-wide information, and an editorial process is used to determine what is posted. Content from other areas of the University is welcome and encouraged but posted at the discretion of PGA staff. The primary University accounts also are used in times of crisis to support how we reach the general community and public.
Other schools, divisions, departments, etc., also have official UIC-affiliated social media channels to reach diverse and niche UIC audiences, as well as foster a sense of community among prospective students, current students, alumni, faculty, staff and Chicagoans.
For a list of UIC accounts, visit the UIC Social Media Directory.
Social media review
PGA will routinely review all UIC-affiliated social media pages to ensure they adhere to PGA’s social media guidelines and best practices and uphold the UIC brand. New and existing accounts should share username(s) and password(s) with their unit’s dean or vice chancellor and chief college communicator to ensure that accounts are accessible to the University and are not abandoned. If social media guidelines are not followed, PGA may make recommendations to modify or shut down accounts.
We will reach out to social media managers as needed to discuss solutions for pages that need support. PGA is happy to provide counsel to help optimize the effectiveness of social media content.
As new channels become available, PGA will evaluate the outlet and usage flow to determine whether to launch new accounts.
The University can remove or change any content or accounts at the discretion of the Interim Vice Chancellor/Vice Chancellor for Public and Government Relations.
All official University social media accounts must also adhere to state and federal laws and regulations and University policies.
Starting a social media channel
All official UIC social media accounts must be reviewed and approved by the Office of Public and Government Affairs. UIC employees who want to start a social media channel must first have approval from their college or unit’s chief communicator and then their dean and or unit head. Employees should then fill out the social media account request form online. Each new page will be under review for the first six months of its existence to ensure that it conforms to UIC’s social media policies and guidelines. To be added as an official channel, accounts must follow the guidelines listed below.
- UIC is committed to providing social media content that is universally designed to be accessible to all community members regardless of disability.
- Ensure that all photos include alt-text to provide a narrative description for blind users.
- Ensure that videos include captioning as well as descriptive audio features, in order for individuals with visual or hearing disabilities to understand content and to meet accessibility requirements.
- For any social networking service being used to provide content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.), identify and communicate with available support and accessibility teams for the given service in order to ensure that content posted will be accessible. Where possible, within social media postings provide contact information for applicable support and accessibility teams.
- For additional information and guidance regarding social media accessibility generally and across the various platforms, refer to the Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit.
Social media guidelines
Page administrators for UIC-affiliated social media accounts
UIC social media accounts and page administrators must follow these policies:
- Have approval of the dean or vice chancellor
- Have at least two account administrators with uic.edu email addresses in addition to providing their chief college communicator access to accounts
- Include a comments policy/disclaimer re: opinions and links posted on the site
- Adhere to state and federal laws and regulations on security and privacy, such as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and NCAA guidelines
- Comply with all applicable University policies, including human resources and technology policies
- Be familiar with applicable terms of service and community guidelines, and respect general copyright and fair use policies
- Use official UIC logos approved by Public and Government Affairs
- Relinquish access to the page after leaving the University and change the password when other page administrators leave the University
- Review and use the University Style Guide related to UIC identity messaging
- Officially represent UIC units, departments, programs, groups and entities (not personal viewpoints or opinions)
- Update and monitor regularly, have feedback opportunities
- Follow accessibility guidelines outlined in the Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit
Content around selling third-party products or services, advertising, promotion of commercial venture, or advocating for political candidates or issues is NOT permitted.
Social media best practices
The most successful social media channels have clear message strategies, update content frequently and know target audiences. Tips include:
- A well-defined target audience(s) plan
- Know which social media channels are best – right messages, right audiences
- Consider content in context with the channel (typically brief, visual, call to action)
- Ensure posts are accurate, grammatically correct
- Have a dedicated, full-time staff member to manage and monitor social media accounts
- Consider multimedia (photos, video clips, images) – images get the most traffic
- Create measurement goals and targeted outcomes
- Update content frequently and devise an editorial calendar/publishing schedule
- Be open to the spontaneity of news, current affairs and be creative, fast in posting fresh content (in addition to the regular content calendar)
- Incorporate monitoring tools/analytics study performance results
- Share content from and link to other UIC official social media accounts
- Consider tone — be approachable as social media tends to be more informal and colloquial
- Bring personality to posts while keeping in mind that the account represents the University
- Be conversational, yet professional
- Be authentic
- Listen to, engage with and respond to followers
- Ensure that content is accessible to all users (see the Federal Social Media Accessibility Toolkit for more information)
All UIC social media accounts should aim to:
- Promote UIC’s reputation, increase awareness, and support the University’s mission, goals, programs and initiatives
- Support institutional and departmental objectives
- Build community among UIC students, employees, alumni and stakeholders
- Support enrollment, retention, recruitment and/or alumni relations
- Drive action (awareness, attendance, web visits, etc.)
Comments should be monitored regularly to ensure that they adhere to the comments policy, and account managers should be prepared to monitor and manage conversations and posts, as appropriate. UIC social media outlets are places where the UIC community and friends can learn about research, academics, people, issues and activities related to the University of Illinois at Chicago. People are encouraged to post comments in this spirit, with respect for other users. Account and page managers reserve the right to delete profanity, off-topic or abusive comments. If counsel is needed on deleting content or a user, contact PGA for assistance. Posted comments from viewers/users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the University.
All logos used on social media must be approved by the Office of Marketing and Brand Management within PGA. Logos can be downloaded from the Office of Marketing and Brand Management’s website.
UIC Marketing and Brand Management also provides a gallery of campus images and videos that can be used on social media. Contact PGA for additional questions or needs. Ensure that all photos have alt-text and videos are captioned to meet accessibility requirements.
To learn more about social media and patient health information, please view the UI Health social media guidelines.
UIC has policies related to the use of technology, codes of conduct and confidentiality that must be adhered to when posting on social media. For more information, please review these policies:
If you have any specific questions about these social media guidelines, please contact Public and Government Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org
Suggested reading on social media best practices:
Tips for faculty who want to start personal social media channels: