Social Media Style Guide

How should your UC Davis Student Affairs social media account write for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram? The purpose of this style guide is to outline best practices for writing for social media, which can be different than writing for other channels.

Social Media Voice

The UC Davis marketing toolbox provides information on the university’s brand essence and personality.

Our Brand Essence

We’re applying fresh thinking, collaboration and problem solving to innovate and address the greatest challenges of the century. UC Davis advances in food, energy, health, education and the environment are protecting and improving the quality of life for all.

Conveying the Brand

  • Celebration of breakthrough discovery
  • Established collaborations in state, nation and world
  • Excellent scholarship
  • Creativity
  • The role we play in enhancing the quality of life for all living beings

Brand Personality

  • Unique
  • Creative
  • Bold
  • Genuine
  • Diverse
  • United
  • Problem solving

Ownership of Posts

  • All messages on all Student Affairs media platforms are posted in the character voice described above. We don’t attach names or initials to posts.
  • We present our messages with a positive attitude, and we are honest and transparent in the information we share.
  • We always do our best to mention another account (when appropriate or available) in any message we share.
  • When possible, we reference the account mid-message as opposed to the end.


  • Use a colon and a space before a link.
  • An exclamation point or question mark can also introduce a link.
  • Limit the use of an exclamation point to once per social media post.
  • Never use all-caps, unless it’s part of an acronym.
  • In a list, do not use a comma before the final item. Example: My favorite colors are blue, gold and white.

Network-Specific Guidelines


  • Twitter allows only 280 characters per Tweet.
  • Photos no longer count for characters. Links will account for only 23 characters regardless of how long or short the link is.
  • Replace “and” with an ampersand (&) to save characters when necessary (Please note: This is an exception to university style guidelines, which generally discourage use of ampersands).
  • Include relevant mentions (@account) as long as that account is active.
  • Avoid using more than 3 mentions in a single post.
  • Contractions are acceptable.
  • Try to include at least one hashtag per post.
  • Never add “nd,” “st” or “th” to a date.
  • Abbreviate months according to AP Style: Jan., Feb., March, April, May, June, July, Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov. and Dec.
  • Abbreviate days of the week only if necessary: Mon., Tues., Wed., Thur., Fri., Sat., Sun.
  • You may leave the periods out of am/pm (7 am, 8 pm).
  • Shorten all links using


  • There are no character limits on Facebook, but brevity is encouraged. Follow the SAMC Editorial Style Guide when writing posts.
  • Shorten all links using
  • Use line breaks.
  • Include any relevant mentions by typing @Area/Department Name, as long as the account is active and the names of the mentioned accounts aren’t so long as to be cumbersome.
  • Delete the text URL from your post if displaying the link preview.
  • For a post where you don’t want the preview to show, use a shortened link ( in the message itself. However, use the link preview if you are attaching some sort of other media (picture/video) to your post.


  • There are no character limits on Instagram, but brevity is encouraged. Follow the SAMC Editorial Style Guide when writing posts.
  • Do not use links in Instagram captions. They do not work. If you need to link students to your post, in the captions let them know that your main link will direct them to the link you want to promote by including “More: Link in bio.”
    •  We recommend only changing the link for 24 hours. You need to change it back to your main link, as to not confuse followers that didn't see the post.
  • Use 3 to 10 hashtags for each post.
  • Include any relevant mentions by using their account name in the copy or tagging their account in the photo.


  • Always use a high-resolution photo or video when posting on social media to encourage user engagement and reach.
  • Design applications like Canva can provide visuals.
  • The UC Davis image database is a resource for photos.
  • Social media administrators are expected to follow all copyright and intellectual property laws when posting to any social network. Always get permission to use copyrighted material, and always give credit for the material.

UC Davis Hashtags