The future is a global community of readers and viewers who decide what content they want to see and when and how and where they want to see it.

Seventy-four percents of online adults use Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other sites to create and publish content to connect, inform and amuse. Social media is any online tool that enables you to engage your audience.

Content can take many forms — words, photos, audio, video or a link. It can be a story that offers insight into research results or brags about public service, an invitation to an event or photos or video of the event during and afterward.

UAB encourages its employees and units to use social media to reach professional and business objectives, and we’re here to help you understand policies and practices that apply and guide you in using these tools to best serve your unit, audience and the interests of UAB. Social media is covered by UAB’s Digital Mass Communications and Content policy.

The UAB Office of Public Relations and Marketing maintains an institutional accounts on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube. A list of other institutional accounts can be found on this site.

UAB units and departments are free to create and maintain a presence on social media that is professional, technically secure and does not violate university Web policies or laws that govern the dissemination of public information. These include UAB’s Digital Mass Communications and Content policy.

These policies are part of the implicit and explicit agreement you make with UAB for the use of its resources, including its logo and branding. Direct questions about these guidelines to webcenter@uab.edu.

UAB Medicine employees should contact Health System Marketing Communications for the specific Web standards and social media guidelines established for UABMedicine entities.

Don’t establish a social media presence for the sake of it. Think about who you are trying to reach and why. Then develop a plan of action that clarifies your objectives, expectations and conduct and consider these items:

  • Articulate your strategy. Develop a clear plan that reflects the unique personality of your unit, the audience(s) you hope to reach, and establishes objectives and desired outcomes. Plan your work, and work your plan. Review and adjust as needed.
  • Be transparent about who you are. You are an ambassador. Focus on telling your organization’s story honestly and providing accurate, timely information that is relevant to your audience. This will encourage them to share your information with their own followers with confidence.

The effectiveness of social media relies on content, consistency and developing a sense of community and cooperation, beginning with your unit and UAB.

Start by talking to your unit’s communications director or team. If you’re not sure who they are, contact your dean’s office. Work with them to define your unit’s objectives and tactics. UAB’s Strategic Plan and your school or division’s plans are a great place to start. Clearly state your goals, the manner in which you intend to achieve them and the values that guide you.