Social media

If you are just starting a social media presence for your school, college, office or department please consult with University Relations about the platform that can best serve you and your social communications goals.

You should use social media as part of your communication plan. It may seem simple, but it can be time consuming and a bit overwhelming. University Relations can help you find the platform and type of content that will help you achieve your goals.

The general purpose of social media is to:

  • Reach the audience in a different way.
  • Have a different sort of conversation.
  • Engage people without expecting them to go to the website.
  • Offer an authentic voice.
UAF social media platforms

At UAF, the purpose of social media is to:

  • Support a lifetime connection with alumni (which translates into engagement).
  • Recruit prospective students.
  • Inform and educate.
  • Offer customer service to campus and the public.
  • Support the academic mission of teaching, research and scholarship.
  • Encourage publicity for the university.
  • Support internal communication (e.g., with the campus community).
  • Build community.
  • Reinforce the UAF brand and messaging.

General policy-like language related to social media at UAF includes the following:

  • We do not use or allow comments that contain hate language.
  • We do not allow posts that would be offensive to a reasonable person.
  • We encourage reasonable dialog and offer a balanced perspective and multiple points of view.

General communication guidelines already in place also apply to social media:

  • Members of the UAF community who manage social media channels on behalf of the university are not official spokespersons.
  • If you are unsure about whether a social media post will be mistakenly viewed as an official announcement from UAF, check first with University Relations.
  • The policy you have about how sensitive topics are communicated should also cover social media. Be cautious about posts related to condolences, tragedies, personal and private concerns, etc.

Emergency communication is the purview of the UAF emergency management team. The following applies to the use of social media for emergency communications:

  • The emergency team will use UAF on Alert to deploy emergency messages.
  • In an emergency, managers of UAF social media channels should share/retweet exactly what is posted by UAF on Alert.

Managers of UAF social media channels should not:

  • Post their own emergency updates or versions that differ from what is posted by UAF on Alert.
  • Reinterpret, add to or delete from language used by UAF on Alert.

Hashtags

Creating and using a hashtag:

#NanookNation is UAF's official hashtag. Almost every post can end with this tag. Think of it as a kind of intellectual and emotional punctuation mark. It declares to users of that platform that your content is part of the broader mosaic of things happening at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Making your own hashtag:

Hashtags provide a way for users to find your content and to engage with it. A hashtag should ideally be quite short and can be as simple as the name of the event (#eventname) or creative to encapsulate the spirit of the event (#weheartglaciers). Users will use the hashtag you create to let their social networks know what they're doing, that they are going to or are at #eventname, or that they are part of the event and are feeling the vibe of whatever's going on, e.g., "Up here at UAF for #weheartglaciers. It's so cool it's hot."

Think of a hashtag as your logo on social media. It should in some small way capture who you are or, in the case of an event, what you are doing. Hashtags can be disposable and go away after a specific event. They can also be used in perpetuity as a foundation for all of the things you share and provide a way for a user to search all relevant content on specific social platforms.

Hashtags can be somewhat tricky to think about and use if you are unfamiliar with them. Please contact Andrew Cassel at acassel@alaska.edu if you would like to talk more about creating and using a hashtag.


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