Social Media Guidelines


The social media accounts you manage on behalf of a school, hospital campus, department, program or service are a reflection on our institution. In many cases, your social media account may be the first interaction a person has with UTMB Health. Students, current and potential employees, community members and other important audiences can be influenced by how your efforts reflect on our organization. Prospective patients may make decisions about whether to seek treatment here based on the impression they get from and interactions they have with your university-branded Facebook, X/Twitter, LinkedIn or other social accounts.

It’s essential that all social media accounts affiliated with our organization and using the UTMB Health brand accurately reflect our institution’s mission, vision and values, as well as our commitment to professionalism and service.

These guidelines outline the requirements associated with creating and managing a UTMB Health social media account. Some of these guidelines may be specific to one or several social platforms, but the general guidance applies to all social platforms and account managers.

FacebookA global social networking platform for connecting with friends, sharing updates, and joining interest-based groups.
Instagram A visual-centric platform for sharing photos and short videos, often with creative filters and stories.
Twitter x logoX/TwitterA microblogging platform for sharing short text updates (tweets) and following topics, trends, and influential figures.
LinkedInA professional networking platform for building business connections, sharing resumes, and industry updates.

Before you Start

As an alternative to creating and managing a site (for an occasional post or event), the university community can contribute content to UTMB Health’s main social media accounts.

The Office of Strategy & Communications manages UTMB Health’s primary institutional accounts, and partners with university entities on others. UTMB’s institutional social media channels include: external and internal* Facebook pages, X/Twitter @utmbhealth and @utmbnews, Instagram, and LinkedIn. The group monitors emerging social media channels (read about state restrictions on use of TikTok). UTMB Health programs and departments can submit content to be considered for distribution on the main UTMB Health social media accounts.

Content suggestions for the primary social media outlets can be emailed to

*The “internal” UTMB Facebook page features content targeting employees and students but is not a closed group and does include members of the public.

Getting Set-up

Social Media Guidelines

  • Registration Request

    Any social media account affiliated with UTMB Health is required to be reviewed and approved by UTMB’s Office of Strategy & Communications. All approved sites created for or under UTMB’s name are required to be registered, and are added to a searchable inventory of digital assets.

    The completed form will capture the names and contact information of people associated with the site as well as ask some basic questions about objectives, audience, and resources allocated to the effort. Other elements collected on the form include:

    • Strategy: Accounts must have a clear strategy, goals and editorial (content) plan.
    • Account management personnel: Every UTMB Health-branded social media account is required to have at least two administrators/editors. This is to ensure coverage during absences and emergencies. An area should select staff to manage their channels that have the appropriate communication skills and social media experience. 
    • Account administrative access: When a new site is created or an existing site is registered, administrative rights to accounts are to be shared with the Office of Strategy & Communications. This allows the team to provide necessary support, to mitigate the impact of any undesirable activity, and to collaborate with areas on site management. Contact for assistance adding administrators to your account.

    A response to a registration request will be sent within 3-5 business days.

    Accounts and users must adhere to UTMB Health’s Social Media Policy as outlined in the Institutional Handbook of Operating Procedures, and follow the guidelines outlined in this document. Failure to do so may require the appointment of a new account manager, closure of the account, or disciplinary action.

    As social media is dynamic, these guidelines will be updated as needed. Changes will be communicated to all registered social site managers by the Office of Strategy & Communications.

    Questions may be directed to the Digital Team in the Office of Strategy & Communications, at

Branding & Design

Social Media Guidelines

  • "About" Text

    Each UTMB Health-branded social media account must include “About” text that clearly and succinctly explains the purpose and publisher of the account. 

    In general, departmental or other addresses and phone numbers should only be listed when they align with consumer expectation (as examples, if you serve patients at a listed location, or staff a phone line to answer customer questions). About text should include a link to or your school, departmental or program website, as appropriate. 

  • Account Name

    For Facebook, your official account name should begin with UTMB or UTMB Health (e.g., UTMB Bookstore or UTMB Health Pediatrics). Preferably, UTMB / UTMB Health should not appear at the end or in the middle of the name.

    For X/Twitter, your username and/or name should include UTMB/UTMB Health if possible. 

    Existing accounts that do not meet these naming conventions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Contact with questions. 

  • Branding

    Please make sure that you review and adhere to the official UTMB brand standards and identity guidelines, including use of the university logo. Visit the UTMB Health Identity Site for details.

  • Facebook Categories

    Facebook page managers have the option of selecting one category and multiple subcategories for their new pages. In most cases, your page should be categorized as Companies & Organizations, then “Health/Medical/Pharmaceuticals” or “University.” 

  • Profile and Cover Photos

    Each Facebook page must have a profile photo and a cover photo. Each X/Twitter account must have a profile photo and a header image/photo.

    • Use the UTMB social media badge for profile photos on all UTMB social channels.
    • Your cover/header image should be clear, simple and attractive, easy to understand and indicative of your account’s goal. Assistance with image selection and proper sizing for various social channels is available through the Office of Strategy & Communications.
    • Each time you post a cover photo or social media badge, please review them live in your Newsfeed and on your social media page to confirm that they appear correctly and that they do not appear pixilated or stretched. Also review them on a mobile device to make sure your image is displayed properly. 

Strategy & Management

Social Media Guidelines

  • Content

    The majority of the content shared through your departmental social accounts should be original content related to your department’s area of expertise. You can, however, share occasional content from the following sources: 

    • Other UTMB Health-branded social media accounts 
    • Governmental social media accounts, such as the NIH, CDC and FDA. 
    • Quality, accurate news articles sharing information that is aligned with your site’s goals and is appropriate for UTMB Health and your audiences 
    • Affiliated community partners and organizations

    Please use your best judgment and only share content where the messaging is consistent with that of your department and UTMB Health. Only sharing content from other sources and not generating original content is not appropriate.

    Posting frequency:

    Facebook account managers should post content on their page at least every 2-3 days, spacing out the timing of posts so that they are not sent out back-to-back. X/Twitter account managers should ideally post at least every other day, but should use their best judgment and post and retweet in moderation. X/Twitter managers should also space out the timing of their tweets and retweets, so that they are not all sent out back-to-back. Ideal post frequency on other platforms varies. No social accounts should go more than three to four calendar days without a post.

    Accounts not monitored on the weekends should post the hours that they are monitored. We recommend setting up an auto response for direct messages (see more below).

    Appropriate content sources and attribution:

    Share content available from UTMB sources including iUTMB, or whenever possible. Share or retweet information from other UTMB pages.  Share appropriate news and events from your own school, department or field of expertise.

    Attribute the source of your content by tagging the account or page where you found the content. Attribution is required regardless of whether you share the content directly from another social media account or from a page on the UTMB Health website. 

    Use of Images:

    Departmental social media accounts should not post copyrighted images in social networks without proper licensing/authorization.

    Likes, follows:

    Most social media platforms allow pages to like, follow, subscribe or otherwise connect to or associate with other pages within a given platform. Be cautious and aware when “liking” commercial entities, organizations, products, brands, political candidates/causes or any other page as the action might be construed as UTMB Health endorsement of a brand, product or person. Endorsements, whether overt or implied, are prohibited on UTMB-associated accounts, unless authorized by the UTMB president and outlined in a formal co-marketing agreement approved by Legal and Regulatory Affairs.

    If you choose to like or follow other non-UTMB Health pages through your UTMB-branded social media site, include the following disclaimer in your page’s “About” section:

    The likes, follows and links to websites and social media pages belonging to other people and organizations: 1) Do not constitute UTMB Health's endorsement of these individuals or organizations, nor of any products, services or publications offered by them; 2) do not signify UTMB Health’s comprehensive support of the information, views and opinions expressed via the pages; and 3) do not reflect UTMB Health’s official views or positions.

    Editorial style:

    Messaging—including posts, tweets, descriptive text and ads—should always be professional, warm and easy to understand.

    • Use appropriate variations of our name. UTMB, UTMB Health or The University of Texas Medical Branch are correct. Check our website for official names of departments, programs, clinics, etc. Contact with any questions. 
    • Always be mindful of your audience when writing social media posts. If you’re trying to reach a lay audience (e.g., patients, family members), you should avoid jargon (scientific, medical or technical) as much as possible.
    • Avoid slang and overly informal language.
    • Social Media “Brand Voice”: The university’s social sites should strive to use a consistent character and tone on posts to its various pages. The UTMB tone is professional, warm, friendly and confident. Our language should be engaging, informed/scientific but not jargony, and community-minded and conversational. Read more about our voice and see examples.
    • Social media accessibility: As a place of healing, health sciences education, scientific discovery and innovation, UTMB Health strives to provide digital content that is accessible to all. When developing your social media content:
      • Write alt text or image descriptions to describe photos on all social media platforms. Do not rely on auto-generated alt text.
      • Put important information in the text of your post, not in the image or only on a linked event flyer, as an example.
      • Use “camel case” for hashtags: capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag so that screen reader software will read the hashtag correctly. (example: #SocialMediaGuidelines)
      • Be sure to provide closed captioning for all video content. The platforms that autogenerate captions can do a decent job but do require manual review. Use open or “burned in” captions for videos on platforms where closed captioning is not an option.
      • Use emojis sparingly. Screen-reader software will read each emoji symbol aloud. Make sure emojis you use aren’t replicated needlessly, and that they convey the intended meaning if represented verbally rather than visually.

    Learn more about digital accessibility at UTMB.

    Social media during a UTMB emergency:

    Social media can be an effective tool to reach people quickly in an evolving crisis at any of our UTMB locations. It can also be a source of conflicting information and confusion. In a crisis, do not share or repost any information not coming directly from UTMB’s Alert site, home pages, or main institutional social accounts: Facebook @UTMBHealth and @IAMUTMB and X/Twitter @utmbhealth and @utmbnews.

    Posting in external crisis situations and situations of mass suffering:

    When disaster strikes, when there’s an incident of global strife, or major acts of violence make the national news, account managers should immediately cease posting “as usual” and postpone any scheduled posts or tweets. Never attempt to capitalize on misfortune or tragedy. Consider the objectives of your social channel before commenting or posting on topics outside your program goals.

    URL links:

    • Do not use long URLs or links directly in your social media posts. Use the UTMB Mini URL tool to shorten the link, and then use the shortened link on your social post.
    • It’s never appropriate to share only a URL (shortened or otherwise) Any social post with a link should also include text that tells readers what they can expect to find when they click on the link.


    Hashtags are appropriate in posts. At times UTMB may provide a recommended hashtag for events such as commencement. Always review search results for any particular hashtag to make sure it pulls the content you intended, and not something that may be inappropriate.

    Linking to products and apps:

    UTMB Health-branded social networking accounts are not permitted to link to or recommend specific products or apps of any kind. Doing so may be misconstrued as an official UTMB Health endorsement of those brands and products. Exceptions may include partnerships or formally established programs (e.g. MyChart and Epic); any questions may be vetted at

    Online promotions and giveaways:

    Because UTMB Health is a state institution, giveaways and raffles are not permitted to be conducted through UTMB Health-branded social media accounts.

    Paid Social Advertising:

    All advertisements on social media channels must be reviewed by the Office of Strategy & Communications prior to launch to ensure they align with the institution’s brand advertising strategy and standards. This includes ads with copy, images and/or video, boosted posts, promoted tweets, and any other type of paid advertising on any social media platform. Contact to discuss and review social advertising at least one week prior to the time you want your ads to launch.

  • Responding to Followers

    Social media account managers are responsible for actively monitoring their accounts and should be responsive to followers’ comments, messages and questions within a reasonable timeframe.

    • Social media accounts will ideally be monitored daily. If resources prevent weekend monitoring, accounts must post the hours that they are monitored, and questions, comments or messages should be responded to the following business day.
    • If you don’t know the answer to a question, advise the message sender that you’re working on getting a response for them and will get back to them soon.
    • If the person’s post or comment concerns a negative experience they have had at or with UTMB Health, do not delete or respond the comment. Instead notify the Office of Strategy & Communications at for support.
    • Do not delete or respond to posts or responses that you deem vulgar, offensive, critical or negative. Notify the Office of Strategy & Communications at for support.
    • You should never respond to specific health or care-related questions online. If a commenter asks a personal medical question, you should respond: “Unfortunately, we are not able to address specific medical concerns through our social media channels. Please discuss all specific medical questions and concerns with your health care provider, or contact UTMB Access Services at (409) 772-2222.”
    • Responses to patients should not include any information that would acknowledge the patient’s relationship with UTMB or any particular provider, even if the patient has already revealed such information in their comment (see the HIPAA section).
    • Posts, comments, or responses should not be deleted, removed, or hidden without first consulting with the Office of Strategy and Communications, at

    Addressing spam:

    Account managers are responsible for monitoring their accounts for spam. Spam includes posts and comments promoting products, brands or websites, and, in many cases, comments that don’t relate to your page or post in question.

    Do not delete posts or responses that you believe may be spam. Notify the Office of Strategy & Communications at for support.

  • HIPAA Compliance

    Patient confidentiality, HIPAA Authorizations and media releases:

    Unauthorized disclosure of a current, prospective, or former patient’s protected health information (PHI) – including the patient’s name or other identifying information, photos, videos or other electronic files – violates federal and state privacy laws and may result in fines and penalties, as well as adverse reputational consequences. Account managers and content contributors may not share any PHI without the appropriate, completed HIPAA authorization and/or media authorization forms from all relevant parties.

    You are responsible for identifying and immediately removing posts and photos for which you do not have the appropriate HIPAA Authorization and/or media releases. For more information and copies of these forms, go to Media/Photo Release Form and FAQs.

    Responses to patients should not include any information that would acknowledge the patient’s relationship with UTMB or any particular provider, even if the patient has already revealed such information in their comment. Remember that any communication on social media is not private or protected, which means any conversation could be a disclosure of PHI.

  • Account Security


    Account managers are responsible for carefully managing and regularly changing the passwords for all of their social media accounts. We suggest following the guidance outlined in the UTMB Office of Information Security’s Password Management Practice Standard. We also recommend deploying the highest levels of security offered by any given platform: login notifications, security code generation, two-factor authentication, etc.

    • Ideally, social media passwords are never shared. Each person has and manages his/her own authentication.
    • Occasionally, co-management of some types of social media accounts requires the sharing of a single log-in (X/Twitter) or use of a social media management application such as Tweet Deck (X/Twitter only), Hootsuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, etc. These co-managed accounts and the credentials to access them present a risk that should be recognized and cautiously managed.
    • As with any password, never share passwords via email or in writing (such as on a Post-It note), as this may make it easier for other people to gain access to your passwords and accounts.
    • Everyone with access to manage a social media account must have completed UTMB’s social media training.
    • Passwords and/or access to a social media account(s) must be changed immediately if an account manager changes roles, leaves a department or UTMB Health. Or, in the case of Facebook, the roles should be updated to remove the departing person’s management access.
    • If you or your area manages several social media accounts, each should have a distinct password to reduce the impact if one is compromised. You should use different passwords to access UTMB resources and social media accounts (don’t sync social media with your UTMB-users-m credentials).
    • Each password should be complex and difficult to guess, using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numerals and characters.
    • Any device (smart phones, tablets) used to manage a UTMB social media account must have its security passcode requirement activated.
    • It is a department or program’s responsibility to control who has access to its social media accounts, and to manage transitions and access. If students or trainees help manage social accounts, they should be supported by a departmental administrator or staff member whose role is not transitional.
    • If you believe an account you manage has been compromised, you are required to immediately contact the offices of Information Security and Strategy & Communications at

    Facebook administrative access:

    Account managers are responsible for maintaining the list of people with administrative rights to their Facebook accounts ensuring that each page administrator has only the level of administrator privileges necessary for them to do their job.

    • When a new site is created or an existing site is registered, administrative rights to accounts are to be shared with the Office of Strategy & Communications (Facebook @UTMBMarComm). This allows the team to provide necessary support, to mitigate the impact of any undesirable activity, and to collaborate with areas on site management. Contact for assistance adding administrators to your account.
    • To check or edit your list of Page admins, go to your Facebook brand page > Professional Dashboard > Page Access. Whether you’re removing administrators or adding new ones, be sure to press “Save.” Otherwise, the changes won’t take effect.

    Limiting devices with Facebook access:

    When you or someone with your account information logs into your Facebook account, Facebook remembers the device, making it easier for that person to log into your account in the future. Facebook account managers are responsible for checking to see what devices have access to their account at least once a month and removing access for any devices that should not have or do not need access.

    • To find out what devices have access to your Facebook account, log into Facebook (mobile) > Menu > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Activity Log > Security and login information > Where you’re logged in.
    • Account managers should select “Remove” for any unfamiliar devices, as well as any public devices, devices used by others and devices that should no longer have access to your Facebook account.

    Limiting applications’ access to social media accounts:

    Many apps, games and websites you use may seek or have access to your social accounts, enabling them to automatically post on your behalf. Account managers are responsible for checking their accounts at least once a month to see what apps have access to their accounts. Account managers are responsible for revoking access for any apps that do not need to have access or that may harm the integrity of their account(s).

    • To find out what apps can access your X/Twitter account, log into X/Twitter >Settings & Privacy > Security & Account Access > Apps & Sessions. Similarly on Facebook, check under Settings.
    • Account managers should select “Revoke access” for any games, as well as any apps they don’t use regularly or that may post to your account without your knowledge or permission.
  • Training, Development and Review


    Prior to account launch, all new account managers and content contributors are required to review the training module on social media policies and practices at UTMB, and/or meet with UTMB’s Social Media Manager to review guidelines and address any questions.

    Provided by the Office of Strategy & Communications, the one-time training covers important social media standards and practices and offers useful tactics and tips.


    All UTMB Health-branded social media account managers must review their social media goals, audience, strategy and metrics regularly and be able to submit an update on a site when requested.