University Marketing & Communications

Social media guidelines

These guidelines are intended to help steer you through the process of developing and maintaining a social media strategy. There are also social media guidelines for UW employees, developed and overseen by the Office of the Chief Information Security Officer.

Use of social media sites:

If you’re responsible for a social media strategy, you should not be restricted from accessing these sites during the work day from a work computer, with the following caveats.

You cannot use these sites:

  • For personal benefit or gain.
  • For the benefit or gain of any other individuals or outside organizations.
  • In a way that compromises the security or integrity of state property, information or software.

When representing the University of Washington:

  • Follow the University’s brand guidelines.
  • Incorporate the University’s Web colors: #39275B for purple and  #C79900 for gold.
  • Adhere to the UW Privacy Policy.
  • Adhere to the terms of use of the social network you’re using. (For Facebook, those are here:
  • Respect copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.
  • Don’t pick fights.
  • Correct your own mistakes.
  • Verify information before you post it.
  • Make sure your links work.
  • Make sure you’re creating dialog, not just pushing content. Give your fans something to respond to or act on.
  • Thank people for input and feedback, including negative feedback.
  • Be human, even when you’re interacting as an entity rather than as an individual.
  • Be relevant and timely and add value! That means being aware of conversations that are already going on without you.

Facebook Dos and Don’ts

  • Do post fresh content regularly—at least once a week.
  • Do allow fans to engage with your page via Wall postings, photos, videos, etc.
  • Do include fan guidelines on your About tab. Feel free to use these guidelines from the main UW Facebook page.

Don’t allow fans to post:

  • Profanity
  • Disrespectful comments
  • Inaccurate or misleading information
  • Irrelevant comments or content
  • Content that’s self-serving

If they do, you should remove the posting; if the postings are egregious, you should also ban the poster. In the case of photos and videos, you can also report them to Facebook for things like spam/scams, pornography/nudity, graphic violence, attacks on an individual or group, hate symbols and illegal drug use.

Twitter Dos and Don’ts

Do use Twitter for:

  • News & event updates
  • Play-by-play reporting from events, conferences, etc.
  • Other types of eyewitness reporting
  • Encouraging conversations with your followers
  • Do consult/coordinate with the Office of News & Information before tweeting in an official capacity about emergencies or other highly charged situations. And think about whether general UW information really belongs in your more-focused Twitter feed.
  • Consider following your followers so you can become aware of what they’re interested in and whether conversations about the UW are taking place outside of your account.
  • Don’t set up an account if you’re not going to feed it regularly.

Blog Dos and Don’ts

  • Do create an editorial calendar so you can ensure that blog content gets refreshed regularly, though this should just provide a framework; it should not keep you from posting unplanned content.
  • Do moderate comments.
  • Do correct misinformation that’s posted in comments, but keep in mind that commenters can and will do this too. Sometimes it’s better to sit back and let the conversation happen rather than always being the first one to jump in and correct people.
  • Don’t remove respectfully written comments that are critical of your posting.