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URMC Branded Accounts Guidelines

These guidelines do not apply to employee internet activities that do not identify an employee or faculty member with URMC and are purely personal. 

Considering a Social Media Account?

If a department, faculty member, staff member, student or student group wishes to establish a social media presence that represents URMC in any way, they must agree to preserve and promote URMC’s reputation – in terms of content, tone, and visual presentation.

To ensure that a consistent brand and voice is presented online, all official social media accounts (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.) that claim to represent URMC entities must be initiated and/or authorized by URMC Public Relations & Communications. Any pre-existing, public-facing social media account branded with or referencing URMC will be subject to review by Communications and may be amended or removed. Approved social media accounts may also be removed if users fail to follow these guidelines and/or any other imposed limits.

Before you decide to make a request for a new social media account, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I need a social media account?  There are many available options for posting content online. We invite you to read about our alternatives to creating a new social media presence below to see if your needs might be met with one of our existing communications channels. Please read this list before submitting an application.
    • Does a related social media account already exist? Check the list of approved URMC accounts to make sure your area isn’t already covered. If it is, we strongly encourage you to direct message the account to contact the current owner and discuss having your content posted by them.
    • Are you trying to reach other employees? The URMC Intranet and its news pages and related e-newsletters are great ways to reach our internal audience. Reach out to our Internal Communications team for details on sharing your content on one of these channels.
    • Are you trying to promote an event? The University of Rochester Events Calendar is the central repository for all events across the University and the Medical Center. View their submission guide for information on how to get your event(s) posted.
  • What’s your goal? If you’re prepared for an active, ongoing conversation, a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account might be a good fit – as long as you have the time and content necessary for keeping up a back-and-forth dialogue.
    • Are you looking for periodic, one-way communications (e.g., promoting events, or sending out news about your department)? If so, a news article, web page, calendar listing or an e-newsletter might be a better choice.
    • If your communication need is short-term, you may always send news and announcements to our Internal Communications team or email the URMC Communications office. We can help you determine how best to promote your content.
  • Who will manage the account? All URMC-sponsored social media platforms must have a primary account manager who is responsible for closely monitoring the account, producing content and posting with the desired frequency. Accounts must be monitored seven days a week, and account managers should alert the URMC Social Media Team with any concerning posts/comments. Communications will involve HR, Patient Relations, Public Safety, or other URMC officers, as needed.
  • Who are you trying to engage? Identify your primary target audience and consider which platform would be best to reach them on, i.e. Twitter for specialists and other industry professionals, Instagram for younger audiences.
  • Can you commit enough time? Building and maintaining a successful social media presence takes time – at least several hours a day. You also need the resources to promote the account as well as provide close monitoring.

Applying for a Social Media Application

To apply for a social media application, read the terms below and then fill out the application form. A PR representative will contact you once your application has been reviewed. (Please note: An application submission does not guarantee approval for your requested account to be created. Furthermore, if your application is for a Facebook page and is approved, you will be given the info for a master account that should be added as a page administrator. This measure is for security and access purposes only – not for actively managing or supplying page content.) If your application is approved, you and any other individuals responsible for managing the account will be asked to complete a social media training module in MyPath.

Upon signing your account manager agreement form, you are agreeing to the terms below:

Terms for URMC Social Media Accounts

If you or your department applies for a social media account and you are named an account manager, you are responsible for posting content and maintaining compliance with URMC policies including those related to HIPAA, human subjects protection, conflict of interest, security, safety, non-endorsement, and human resources. You're also responsible for ensuring that your content is accurate, protects intellectual property and privacy, and that any comments are respectful/adhere to basic URMC policies. This requires close daily monitoring.

Account managers must sign an agreement form. Inability to comply with the requirements of the agreement form may result in the termination of your social account. Account managers should also be familiar with other applicable University IT policies (available for review on the University IT website).

Each account manager agrees:

  • To protect patient privacy. URMC protocols around HIPAA consent must be followed, including working with URMC’s Social Media Team to fill out authorization forms for the release of a patient’s medical information or images to the general public. Learn more about HIPAA and social media.
  • Many types of photos and videos require consent for use. Please review the SMH photography/filming/recording policy before posting pictures or video on social.
  • To reflect the ICARE values (Intranet site) in all social media activity. Social media provides a window into our organization. It is important to use these values – inclusion, integrity, compassion, accountability, respect, excellence – to guide the content we post on social media and the responses we provide to comments and questions we receive on our channels.  
  • To post relevant, appropriate content. Always keep your audience in mind, be tasteful and use discretion when considering content.
  • To ensure that only qualified URMC professionals will provide general medical or health information. Social media cannot be used to provide individualized medical advice.
  • To respect copyrights and disclosures. Account managers are responsible for obtaining the consent of all parties involved in publication of recordings, photos, images, and text.
  • To prevent stagnant conversation. Social media content must be consistent. For example, aim for at least three new posts weekly for Facebook and four times weekly for Twitter and Instagram.
  • To use social media efficiently. All social media platforms should have a specific purpose; content posted should be relevant to the mission of URMC.
  • To moderate all comments and reviews. Account managers agree to take all reasonably possible steps to abide by, prevent, and eliminate such comments as outlined in the guidelines below.
    • Comments should be managed promptly - ideally within 24 hours at all times, including evenings and weekends. Comments that are illegal, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to any other person or entity, or that breach confidentiality are not acceptable and should be removed/reported. Note: Comments that are negative about URMC should not be deleted, i.e. negative reviews.
    • To involve the URMC Social Media Team in managing negative or threatening feedback about our organization.
    • Commercial activity unrelated to Medical Center or University business is not acceptable.
    • Proprietary information may not be disclosed. 
    • To abide by URMC branding guidelines. This includes using the appropriate profile image provided to you by a PR representative upon approval of your application. Branding information is located on the URMC Intranet under Marketing’s Brand Center.

Managing Your Platform

In addition to supplying fresh and relevant content, account managers are responsible for moderating obscene, harassing or unacceptable comments, as well as involving the appropriate authorities whenever an inappropriate comment poses a personal threat, violates any law or URMC policy, or disparages URMC. 

For help managing issues related to privacy, security, legal concerns and more, please email the URMC Social Media Team or call the main Communications office at (585) 275-3676.

Finally, once your account is approved, be sure your new URMC social media platform includes a link to the following Participant Guidelines: 

Thank you for participating with the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in social networking communities such as Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.

We ask that you treat others with respect, even if disagreements occur. Please do not post material that could be considered an infringement on the rights of others. URMC reserves the right to delete postings or block users that it deems to be slanderous, obscene, soliciting, harassing, threatening, or otherwise contrary to these guidelines or URMC policies.

Remember that these are public forums and whatever information you share will be viewed by others. Consider this carefully before posting detailed personal medical information. Furthermore, the information provided by URMC on these platforms is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended as an endorsement, or a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

If you are an employee of URMC, please remember that all laws and URMC policies apply, including but not limited to Privacy, HIPAA, Security and Safety. We suggest that you take time to review these policies. Please consult your manager if you have questions about the appropriateness of your comment.

By participating with URMC in social networking communities, you agree to comply with these guidelines.