UAHS Guidelines for Official Social Media Use

Effective: November 3, 2014

Purpose and Benefits

The University of Arizona (UA) encourages students and employees to embrace social media as a means to engage, innovate, partner and build synergy within our communities, nationally and globally. While the use of these tools is encouraged, social media users must also be aware of their responsibilities as representatives of the university and their individual colleges, departments and programs.

The following guidelines describe how units within the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center (UAHS) may use social media platforms strategically to support our goals and project a positive voice and face for UAHS, UA and our partners. They are designed to:

  • Help UAHS units capitalize on the potential and power of social media
  • Manage the risks associated with social media
  • Ensure that social media efforts are supporting larger communications and business goals of the units and UAHS as a whole
  • Identify official account managers and unit-level social media leads and make them aware of their responsibilities
  • Highlight resources available through the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences to assist in successful use of social media
  • Encourage strategic teamwork and coordination among UAHS units, faculty and staff
  • Centralize social media efforts whenever po­ssible to promote cohesiveness and prevent derelict or poorly managed accounts

This is a living document, which will be updated as the social media landscape evolves and UA policies that govern technology use change. Please contact the UAHS social media lead with any feedback or questions.


These guidelines cover official social media accounts—those that are used on behalf of UAHS or its constituent units (e.g. colleges, centers, or programs under the UAHS banner) for the purposes of representing the unit, disseminating news and information, answering user questions, promoting activities or otherwise communicating with the UAHS community or members of the general public. Examples include:

  • A Facebook page for the Sarver Heart Center
  • A Twitter account for the College of Nursing
  • A YouTube channel for the Department of Surgery at the College of Medicine
  • A Pinterest board for an UAHS interprofessional program
  • A LinkedIn group for the Office of Student Services at the College of Public Health
  • A Google+ account for a degree program at the College of Pharmacy

These guidelines do not address social media groups that are student-organized and administered or informal groups of UAHS community members that do not give the appearance of representing an UAHS unit or program.

Nor do these guidelines address employees’ individual accounts. For rules about individual social media use by members of the faculty or staff of an UAHS unit, please refer to the University of Arizona Division of Human Resources’ UA Social Media Guidelines.

Note: Only official social media accounts operating on behalf of a unit are authorized to use the name, logo or icon of an UAHS unit or program.


These guidelines:

  1. Explain the process and approvals required to become involved in social media on behalf of an UAHS unit, including, but not limited to, starting a new account or presence on a social media platform
  2. Describe the requirements and responsibilities of account managers and those to whom they delegate social media tasks
  3. Describe the responsibilities of the social media leads
  4. Describe the resources available to assist with successful social media use and implementation of best practices

1) Process and Approvals

An UAHS employee who wishes to become involved in social media on behalf of his or her unit, should take the following steps:

  • Determine your goals for participating in social media. They should be tied to the larger strategic goals and priorities of your unit and aligned with UAHS goals and priorities. At a minimum, you should be able to articulate:
    • Which broader goals and priorities you aim to support (e.g. how this effort ties into your college’s strategic plan)
    • The desired function or purpose of your unit’s social media efforts (e.g. public education, brand awareness/reputation building, marketing services/patient recruitment, community building, etc.)
    • Target audience (with whom are you trying to communicate?)
    • Messages and content (what are you trying to convey and how will you produce regular content that is appropriate to your audience, goals and platform(s)?)
  • Research and observe your unit’s already-established social media efforts, including broader channels at the center, college, or institutional level. Carefully consider how your articulated goals could be served via these already-established channels. It may be helpful to contact your unit’s social media lead at this point.
  • Request a social media consultation, during which you will meet with the UAHS social media coordinator and your unit’s social media lead (usually a member of your unit’s communications or marketing team) to discuss:
    • Goals, target audience, content plans and production/management capacity
    • Which platform is the most appropriate for your goals and capacities
    • How to most effectively achieve your goals while supporting larger unit and institution goals—if possible by utilizing already-established channels
    • How you will measure success
    • Next steps, which may include: referral to managers of established communications channels, additional research, further articulation of goals, discussion with other members of your unit, development of sample content and a content schedule, etc.
  • Once a plan has been agreed upon and cleared by your supervisor and other relevant officials in your unit, work with your unit’s social media lead (and the UAHS social media coordinator as needed) to implement the plan.
  • If a new social media account or presence is warranted:
    • Obtain your unit head’s approval before creating the account
    • Work with your unit’s social media lead to articulate the strategy, content plan and measures of success
    • Assign a primary account manager and at least one secondary (See Section 2: Responsibilities of Account Managers below)
    • Register the account, including the names and contact information for the account managers, in the UAHS database
    • Post a link to the User Participation Guidelines for Social Platforms on your new account's profile or page. Depending on the nature of your account, you may also wish to include one of the short text disclaimers provided.

All official social media accounts established prior to this guideline must have account managers assigned, be registered in the UAHS database and post a link to the User Participation Guidelines. If a strategy is not yet in place for these accounts, the account managers should work with their social media lead and/or the UAHS social media coordinator to develop one. See the Compliance Checklist for Current Account Managers for details.

2) Responsibilities of Account Managers

An account manager is any person who has direct access to log-in, post content, moderate comments, change settings or otherwise alter an UAHS social media account on behalf of an UAHS unit (e.g. a page administrator for a Facebook page, a YouTube channel manager, etc.)

Every account on a third-party social media platform (e.g. Twitter, YouTube, Facebook) must have:

  • At least one primary account manager who is responsible for developing the account’s strategy and for the overall quality and responsiveness of the account and its content. This includes responding to user-generated content and escalating any issues to appropriate authorities. This person should be actively involved in the account’s management by directly posting the regular content and/or by monitoring the account on a daily basis. This person must be a regular UA employee.
  • At least one secondary manager who is in close contact with the primary, has access to the account should an emergency arise, and who will cover for the primary manager if s/he is unavailable. This person may also be a regular contributor to the account, but at a minimum should be well versed in using the platform on which s/he is a designated manager and familiar with the strategy and escalation protocols for the account. In most cases, this person will also be a UA employee, but exceptions may be made in specific instances for highly-qualified individuals working closely with the primary account manager.

Account managers are responsible for:

  • Ensuring that all accounts comply with these guidelines and any additional guidelines set forth by your unit. If you need assistance, please contact the UAHS social media coordinator or request a consultation.
  • Updating the registration information for each account should the managers or their contact information change.
  • Promptly revoking access for managers who are no longer associated with the unit or are no longer actively working on social media.
  • Ensuring that accounts are actively managed—posts are made on a regular basis at an appropriate frequency for the platform, comments and mentions are monitored on an ongoing basis, and questions are addressed in a timely manner (usually within 24 hours).
  • Ensuring that content is accurate, professional and supports the unit’s overall goals.
  • Ensuring that all UA, UAHS and unit logos and icons are used in compliance with UA brand guidelines and trademark and licensing guidelines.
  • Respecting copyright and image release protocols and maintaining records of model/subject releases and media permissions per your unit’s protocols.
  • Knowing, abiding by and enforcing other rules and regulations that pertain to your unit and your work as an employee, especially:
  • Obeying the terms of use for each social media platform, including staying up to date when the terms change.
  • Making your social media presence and content accessible to those with disabilities whenever possible.
  • Monitoring your accounts’ progress against the articulated goals.
  • Reporting metrics to your unit’s social media lead and the UAHS social media coordinator regularly as requested.
  • Periodically re-assessing goals and updating the strategy as needed.
  • Closing the account, or combining it with another account, if your unit is no longer able to actively maintain it or determines that it is not serving the unit’s goals.
  • Seeking training and help as needed to implement best practices (See for example the UAHS Social Media Toolkit).
  • Ensuring that anyone to whom you delegate social media responsibilities is aware of and abides by these guidelines.

3) Responsibilities of Social Media Leads

The social media lead for each major unit is an employee designated to help centralize and guide social media efforts so that they align with the unit’s overall communications strategy and priorities. Often, this person is also the primary account manager for unit’s central social media presences.

Social Media Leads are Responsible for:

  • Helping disseminate and raise awareness of these guidelines and UAHS social media resources within your unit.
  • Guiding the social media strategy for your unit as a whole.
  • Working with the UAHS social media lead to review requests for new social media efforts within your unit and determining strategic ways to meet the needs of programs and departments within your unit.
  • Assisting the UAHS social media lead in identifying account managers and updating, combining, or closing accounts when appropriate.

4) Resources Available

The Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences offers a number of resources to assist units with implementing best practices and maximizing social media impact. These include:

  • The UAHS Social Media Toolkit, which offers online tools and resources for successful social media management in an academic health sciences context.
  • The Online Media Group (OMG), a community of professional practice for employees who manage social media accounts on behalf of an UAHS college, center, department or other unit.
  • Consultations and support from the UAHS social media lead.