Social media

Overlapping screenshots of UAF Facebook and Twitter profiles
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.

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.

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.

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.

Review UA's web accessibility training page for guides on how to make your content accessible on various social media platforms.

While the university doesn’t have a specific social media policy, the following guidelines are based on both university policy and regulation and current legal standards.

General communication guidelines 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.
  • Be cautious when posting about sensitive topics such as condolences, tragedies, world events, personal and private concerns, etc.

Managing comments and conversations

Comments on the university’s social media platforms may be considered to take place in a limited public forum, much like the free expression activities in the public spaces on our campuses. This generally means any action we take must be viewpoint-neutral. This rule applies to all pages and accounts managed by a university department or unit and includes comments and conversations on paid ads. What does this mean in practice?

  • Don’t do these things:
    • Hide or delete comments, even if they are negative, rude or offensive, or if you disagree with the opinions of the commenter. Remember: If you wouldn’t hide positive comments, you can’t hide negative ones.
    • Block users from your page. 
  • It’s OK to do these things:
    • Turn off all commenting on your posts or ads, if the platform allows it. One important thing to note: Social media platforms run on engagement. If people can’t comment on your posts, the platform will show your content to fewer people. 
    • Turn on the platform’s standard profanity/obscenity filters.
    • Hide and report unsolicited, sales comments and related commercial spam (“Click here to make $5,000 working from home”). Please note: Use the “hide” option, rather than the “delete” option.
    • Hide (not delete) and report obvious scam bots, such as repeated comments like this on others’ comments: “Pardon me. I see you are a nice person and would like for you to accept my friend request.”
    • Report spam bots.
  • You must do these things:
    • Report threats to law enforcement.
    • Report any allegations of misconduct to the UAF Office of Rights, Compliance and Accountability.

What about responding to comments? 

There’s a reason why the phrase “don’t feed the trolls” exists. That said, sometimes it makes sense to join the conversation. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is there information in the comments that are factually inaccurate? If so, then it’s a good idea to correct that inaccurate information. 
  • Do you have something substantive to add that will clarify a misunderstanding? If so, it may be a good idea to join the conversation.
  • Are the comments a matter of opinion? If so, it’s probably best to let the conversation continue without weighing in. Oftentimes, the community will correct users who say offensive or rude things. 
  • Can you weigh in without making the situation worse or starting a comment war? For example, if someone is criticizing students on a sports team, would a gentle reminder to show kindness to the students help redirect the conversation?

Do you still have questions? Email and we will do our best to help. 

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.

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 University Relations at if you would like to talk more about creating and using a hashtag.