Social Media Guidelines
UNF has a presence on a variety of social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. The University's audiences should be provided with an engaging social media experience no matter which UNF-affiliated account they follow. We aim to provide the Osprey community with unique, creative, informative, engaging and consistent content. This means, across campus, multiple people become the voice of UNF through social media.
Social media platforms are useful marketing and communications tools for sharing, promoting and engaging with the Osprey community. These guidelines, policies and best practices will help you effectively manage social media channels.
Policies and Guidelines
Creating A New Account
Thinking about creating a new UNF-affiliated social media channel? Contact the UNF social media team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for guidance. The team will help you determine the most effective way to get your message across - whether it's by creating a new account, utilizing an existing one or looking to other forms of communication. The appointed departmental social media administrator will be responsible for creating and maintaining any new social media accounts.
Approved social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. If you are looking to create an account outside of the approved platforms list, please contact the UNF Social Media Team. We highly discourage the use of TikTok at the University of North Florida.
UNF affiliated accounts must be maintained by an authorized faculty or staff member of the University. UNF students may create and draft content; however, the authorized University faculty/staff member is responsible for approving and publishing content for University channels.
- Departments/programs who decide to create social media accounts must have at least one faculty/staff member designated as an admin. Students should only be secondary admins.
- Social media admins are responsible for management of all accounts affiliated with their department (this includes usernames, passwords and content).
- The UNF social media team is not responsible for loss of departmental account usernames, passwords and content.
- Be Responsible: UNF affiliated social media accounts should not be used to express one’s personal, religious or political views.
- Be Cautious: Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely known and how that might reflect on both the University and the person making the post. When in doubt, leave it out!
- Be Accurate: Ensure the information being posted is correct and free of grammatical and spelling errors.
- Be Respectful: Understand that content on a social media site might spark comments or discussions of opposing views. Responses should be considered carefully and moved to direct message (DM) if necessary.
- Be Creative: While you are representing the University, don't be afraid to post creative and engaging content. Have fun - it's social media.
- Be Platform Specific: When developing content for platforms be mindful of image sizes and platforms specific features.
- Be on Brand: Follow the Visual Identity Guidelines
Responding to Comments
Comments can/should be responded to if:
- There is a sincere question being asked by someone who might be open to a productive conversation
- There is a point being made that provides for a natural conversation response
- There is misinformation that needs to be corrected
- There is a positive point being made that you want to draw more attention to and make more visible to others
- There is a negative point being made that you feel needs a response to send a signal to the entirety of your audience (be careful with these and reach out to University Marketing and Communications for help, as needed)
Comments don’t need to/should not be responded to if:
- The commenter is obviously trolling or trying to bait the account into a response
- The commenter has ties to groups or organizations that can be especially problematic
- There is nothing foreseeably productive to come from starting a conversation with the commenter
- You don’t want to draw unneeded attention to the comment
- You aren’t willing or prepared to face additional negative comments that might come in response to your response
- You’re not confident that your response is truthful, respectful and in-line with University policies and procedures
Please feel free to reach out to University Marketing and Communications for guidance when your department notices negative comments or messages on social media.
Social Media Directory
The Follow UNF social media directory includes academic programs, research, admissions and more. UNF departments are invited to share their links and be recognized as official UNF social media sites.
If departments would like to be included on the Follow UNF page, please read the social media guidelines and submit the social media agreement form.
The UNF Social Media Team reserves the right to remove any accounts from the directory if they do not abide by these guidelines.
To be recognized as an official UNF-affiliated account and listed on the Follow UNF social media directory, accounts must meet the criteria below. If your account(s) needs to be added, or if you need help meeting the criteria, please contact the UNF Social Media Team.
- Fill out the social media agreement form
- Active (must have posted within the last 30 days)
- Using alt-text
- Using captions
- Account Manager(s) must be a University faculty/staff member
- Adhere to all University Policies and Procedures such as the Florida Sunshine Law, Online Communication Policy, Code of Conduct and Ethics Policy, and Americans with Disabilities Act. Also, adhere to all federal, state, copyright and intellectual property laws, rules and regulations.
- Avoid copyright infringement when sharing content. Rights and permissions should be received prior to posting, sharing and distributing materials that are copyrighted, which includes, but is not limited to, music, art, copyrighted photographs or texts and portions of copyrighted video.
- Be sure to receive permissions when taking a photo. Most UNF students sign a photo release when they start at the University, giving permission to have their photo taken and published. However, some students have not given permission or have opted out, so it's best to ask first.
- Do not take or share photos or video of children under 18 without written consent by a parent or guardian. A photo and video release for should be filled out by the parent or guardian of the child.
- All YouTube videos must have closed captioning to achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- Protect our campus community. Do not post confidential or proprietary information about UNF students, employees or alumni. Follow all applicable state and federal requirements such as FERPA, HIPA and NCAA regulations. Remove all posts that compromise confidential information.
- A copy of the EOD statement must be posted in the information section of your Facebook page.
- EOD Statement: UNF is an equal access/equal opportunity university.
All posts on social should include an image description in either the caption or alt-text of the posts. Alt-text is available on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. If the post is a video, closed captioning must be available. Videos posted to YouTube should have proper captioning included. To find out how to add alt-text or closed captioning, please visit the links below:
Social Media Accessibility Guides
Social Media Accessibility Recommendations
- It’s highly recommended to use high resolution branded UNF photos instead of graphics
- If you are creating a graphic, avoid using large amounts of text and keep the text to a minimum
- The majority of text should be included in the caption
- Avoid graphics with poor color contrast
- Use a color contrast checker
- Avoid using acronyms in your posts
- GIFs have little to no accessibility support, so don't rely solely on them
- Hashtags made up of multiple words need to have capitalization for each word (ex. #ThrowbackThursday)
- Be considerate when using emojis as they are read by screen readers as "clapping hands," "smirking face," etc.
- Use a URL shortener to minimize the number of characters in the hyperlink
- Avoid using QR codes on posts they are not scannable on social media and are best used for printed materials
For campus events and lectures that appeal to a wider audience, campus communicators have the option to livestream activities on their UNF affiliated social media accounts. This can be done through the platforms themselves, using Facebook Live, Twitter's Periscope and Instagram Live. Zoom can also be used to live stream to Facebook or YouTube. For questions on how to set up Facebook or YouTube Live via Zoom, please contact ITS.
Social media administrators are responsible for setting up livestreams through their UNF affiliated social media, as well as monitoring and answering questions during.
In all cases, livestreamed events should be well planned and rehearsed in advance. Administrators should be aware of and prepare for the potential issues that might occur during a livestream.
- Technical issues
- Anything can happen; remember, it's streaming LIVE
Hashtags are a label for content on social media that users can use to take part in online conversations about UNF. Hashtags should be short, less than a sentence long, and spelled out without spaces.
University Hashtags: #UniquelyUNF #YestoUNF #SWOOPLife #SWOOP #UNFGrad
For more information, contact the UNF Social Media Team.