Any references made to “social media” in these guidelines encompass online networking technology platforms such as, but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Vimeo. These are the platforms in which UC Santa Barbara is actively engaged with its audiences on a university-wide level.
Voice communicates personality. Our voice should always be consistent. Tone communicates our attitude toward an audience and subject matter, and it will vary depending on the audience. Look at your follower demographics in the analytics section of your social media platforms, and get to know your audience. In general, on social media, the tone we use to represent UC Santa Barbara is informal while trusted. Our language is intelligent but not stilted, relaxed but not juvenile.
When representing UC Santa Barbara on social media:
- Do use language that is appropriate, inclusive (we, us, our), and representative of UCSB and its mission.
- Do adhere to our brand standards in support of a consistent, unified voice of the university.
- Do correct yourself if you make a mistake, and be clear if you choose to go back and edit a post.
- Do keep in mind the UC Statement of Ethical Values and Standards of Ethical Conduct when posting and engaging with your followers.
- Do encourage conversation and engage in positive comments.
- Don't comment on or post anything related to legal matters.
- Don't share personal opinions or endorsements as if they belong to the university.
- Don't use first-person pronouns, jargon, acronyms, institutional language, or abbreviations.
- Don't remove post comments offering criticism if they are otherwise respectful.
- Don't participate in arguments or respond to negative comments and direct messages unless a clarification or your acknowledgment is needed on behalf of the university.
- Don't share confidential information, false information, or information that could potentially damage UCSB’s reputation.
We are committed to creating an online environment where people with disabilities have equal opportunity to consume UC Santa Barbara’s social media content and engage in meaningful conversation. Please consider the following when composing your posts and comments:
- Alternative text helps people visualize images. Take the time to describe what’s taking place in your images via the alt text options available in each of the major social media platforms or your selected publishing tool.
- Video captions don’t just help people with hearing impairments; they can also be helpful in no or low-sound environments and in assisting language learners. Use a service such as Rev, Amara, or 3Play to create a caption file that can be uploaded alongside your video.
- Hashtags with multiple words can be difficult to read without using medial capitals, or camel case. Capitalize each word in your hashtag to increase legibility for all users and compatibility for screen readers. For example, instead of #gauchosaregrateful, use #GauchosAreGrateful.
- Emojis are read aloud by screen readers. Be considerate of which and how many emojis you use together and be sure to space them out.
For additional reference, visit the UC Information Technology Accessibility Policy.
The use of hashtags can help unify a campaign and also make your post more discoverable in search, connecting your content with other relevant social media posts. Avoid overuse of hashtags and always try to work them into your post copy if possible; otherwise, tag them onto the end of your post. Short and catchy hashtags perform best. Before implementing a hashtag, consider its potential lifespan and do a search across platforms to ensure it hasn’t been used widely. If you think your hashtag should be added to the list below, or if you’d like guidance on creating one, please email email@example.com.
Below are the most commonly used UC Santa Barbara hashtags.
Responding to Inquiries
With hundreds of social media accounts across multiple platforms representing different areas of campus, you may receive questions from time to time that are not relevant to your area. When replying to inquiries, always respond in a timely manner and do your best to direct the individual to the appropriate channel. For example:
“Thank you for contacting UC Santa Barbara. This account is administered by the Office of Public Affairs & Communications. Your question will be best answered by Housing, Dining & Auxiliary Enterprises. Please fill out the contact form at housing.ucsb.edu or message @UCSBHousing directly.”
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