Prepared by University Communications and Public Affairs
This guide was developed to empower UC San Diego schools, divisions, departments and programs to establish and manage their own social media networks. We recognize the value of social media sites as a vital resource to positively promote and communicate news, events and other information about your organization or area of interest to our campus community. Because many of you have been designated the social media spokesperson for your UC San Diego area, we would like to share some guidelines to make your job easier, and your efforts consistent with best practices.
Social Media Guidelines
As university communicators, you already have an innate sense of what’s appropriate to say (and what’s not) to your various target audiences. Follow that intuition when you are on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, and you will make fewer mistakes. A key rule for social networking, and life: use your best judgment.
Below are suggested UC San Diego social network usage best practices and content parameters to follow as you move forward with your unit’s social networking efforts:
Be smart. Everything you write or receive on a social media site is public. And it could live forever, and ever, and ever.
Identify yourself. Be transparent. No matter when or where you jump into the conversation online, speak in your own voice and clearly identify yourself and your affiliation with UC San Diego. Remember you are your area’s spokesperson. When setting up a social media account for your department or organization, use the following guidelines:
- Facebook: Include “UC San Diego” before your department or organization name. In the “about” section of your page, write a short description of what your department or organization does, including helpful links and contact information.
- Twitter: There is a 15-character limit for usernames. You should always add “UCSD” before your department or organization. In the “Bio” section, be as specific and descriptive as possible within the 160-character limit. Include a link to your official website.
- Blogs: Include “UC San Diego” before your department or organization name. Again, include a clear description of your organization and include a link to your official website.
Try to establish a consistent naming convention--and avatar--across all of your social media channels.
Follow university branding. We strongly encourage all schools, divisions, departments and programs that launch official social media presences to feature identifiable UC San Diego branding, including the current logo. In order to leverage the full strength of the university’s name, fame and reputation we recommend that your social media presence be consistent and complimentary to the UC San Diego brand. UC San Diego has strong name recognition; use it to your advantage!
Be professional and ethical. Respect your audience. Never use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable. Only post accurate and honest content, and if you offer your own opinion, it should be identified as such. Review the UC San Diego Principles of Community for guidance. Remember, social media is not an official means of communication and should not replace official university correspondences. However, it can help amplify your message.
Add value. Don’t join the discussion unless you have something to say. Be part of the conversation; don’t take it over. There are times when it is appropriate to push out content, but be strategic.
Quality matters. The speed of social media is a great feature, but it also means that time to edit or reflect must be self-imposed. Take time to check spelling and grammar before publishing your content. If you are uncertain about a post, you may want to have someone else review it for an outside perspective.
Avoid duplicating efforts. Could your content be funneled up to an umbrella organization’s social media network instead of creating your own page? For example, if you are a program or office within a department, could you share your information on the department’s page? If so, try working with the administrator of that page first, rather than creating a duplicate (or very similar) account that would compete for users’ attention.
No endorsements. Do not endorse or promote any product, political party, candidate or cause.
Obtain permissions. Get permission from your supervisor before you set up your sites. Get appropriate permission before you refer to or post images, copyrighted material, intellectual property, etc.
Keep it legal. There are legal issues such as intellectual property, privacy and more that could not only get you in trouble; it could get the university in trouble. Do not disclose anything that contains confidential or proprietary information about UC San Diego, its employees, students, affiliates, vendors or suppliers.
Who to Call
We hope that the suggestions and ideas outlined in this guide will inspire your involvement and be helpful as you move forward with your own social media strategy. If you have questions or need help, additional resources are listed below:
Messaging, Protocol, Best Practices
Branding, Logos, Creative
We also suggest reviewing the University of California Office of the President's Social Media Guidelines.