So You Want to Start a Social Media Account...

At first glance, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites seem like an easy way to promote your department or clinic. But maintaining these accounts and gaining a meaningful following isn’t easy.

A successful social media presence requires:

  • Promotion — free and sometimes paid
  • Frequently sharing content that your audience finds interesting
  • Optimizing your content to work within the site’s parameters
  • Daily monitoring
  • A clear response plan for comments and questions

A department's social media website reflects on the Health System as a whole. An outdated or error-ridden profile will give its viewers a negative impression of that department that can extend throughout the organization. Inappropriate or politically charged content can reflect poorly on UVA and have public relations implications. There are also plenty of horror stories about marketing professionals mixing up their personal and professional accounts or using poor judgment when posting on behalf of their organization.

Therefore, all Medical Center and School of Medicine departmental social media presences need to be approved by Strategic Relations and Marketing.

Who Will Maintain Your Account?

You’ll want to have at least two team members responsible for the social media presence, because it will require daily monitoring and frequent posts. They will need to:

  • Have good writing skills and follow Health System style.
  • Indicate an understanding of appropriate content and Health System views versus personal views.
  • Be comfortable with basic photo editing and the social media site they’re using.
  • Have good customer service skills and respond to comments and questions quickly and with a friendly tone.
  • Be able to consistently update and monitor comments and have flexibility to quickly deal with issues and questions that arise.
  • Have a good working knowledge of your area and team members.


Starting the page

If you would like a social media account for your department, please:
1. Read the rest of this document.
2. Apply for the account through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In your email, please explain:

  • What type of account you’d like (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, a blog)
  • Your target audience
  • Your goals for the account
  • Who will be responsible for updating and moderating the page
  • What you plan to use for your account avatar/cover photos
  • What you plan to name the account (e.g., UVA Children’s Hospital)

Additionally, please include sample posts from either the previous two weeks or the upcoming two weeks. Include all types of information that would be posted, such as photos or videos, and write your posts as you would for the platform you’re requesting (i.e. Facebook posts or tweets).

The purpose of this is to give us a sample of the content you’d like to share and its frequency.

Marketing will respond to your request within 10 days.

Maintaining the page

If you’re using Facebook, we’ll send you a disclaimer that must be put on your page. The disclaimer has been approved by the Health System’s legal team and includes information about deleting comments and dealing with threats.

We strongly recommend that you:

  • Have at least two team members responsible for the account.
  • Monitor the page daily for comments, questions and concerns.
  • Update at least a few times a week. An editorial calendar can help.
  • Stay current with social media trends.
  • Follow the best practices outlined in this document.


Not sure about taking on an entire account? There are currently more than 30 Facebook and Twitter accounts for Health System departments and clinics, as well as numerous print and online publications. Consider taking advantage of these existing resources before starting your own. The Marketing Department is continuously looking for patient stories, new treatment information and groundbreaking research.  

Unsure where to start? Contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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University of Virginia Health System
Strategic Relations and Marketing
PO Box 800224
Charlottesville, VA 22908
P. 434.924.0366

UVA Health Brand Online

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