Social Media

SUNY Cortland encourages the use of social media as a way to promote programs and activities. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others help inform students, employees, alumni and fans of events and newsworthy information. It is a fantastic way to connect and engage audiences.

If you haven’t already, register your social media site.


  1. All social media must comply with all applicable SUNY Cortland policies and guidelines, including but not limited to:
    • The Brand Identity Guide
    • Information Resources policies
    • Human Resources policies
    • SUNY Cortland Handbook
  2. Include contact information on your social media account page. List a primary phone number and email address where users can reach your office or provide a link to your website that lists the appropriate contact information.
  3. Make sure your content is accessible. See tips below.

General tips

  • Multiple channels: Make your social media content available through more than one channel. Provide easy points of entry for more information. Most social media sites allow embedding of widgets on your website.
  • Simplicity: When possible, write in plain language, limit your use of hashtags, abbreviations and acronyms.
  • Visuals: Photos and video make a difference. Text on its own on Twitter or Facebook can be effective, but if you can include a photo or video, it will be more impactful. Check out our media library for images and see video tips below.
  • Text in images: Let photos speak for themselves. While apps like Canva have become popular and allow you to add text over photos or graphics, this can prevent them from being accessible to all viewers. If you do use text in an image, make sure to add that text to the caption or description. 
  • Time of day: The time of your post can matter. Evenings are generally the best time to post since the audience is larger. Time of day, however, is not a magic solution. Good content will shine any time.
  • Frequency: Take time between your posts. You don’t want to compete with yourself for attention in a crowded landscape. It’s OK to post multiple times in one day, but leave a few hours between messages.
  • Hashtags: Hashtags are often used as flair but can still help you reach new audiences and connect series of messages. They can also be useful to run and maintain a contest.

Accessibility best practices and tips

These tools that we have come to use and love are often equally important to a person with a disability. It is our responsibility to make the posted content on all of SUNY Cortland's social media sites accessible and in compliance with Web Consortium Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level A and AA, according to the Office of Civil Rights.


 Best practices

  • Include descriptive text when you post a photo.
  • Add a caption file, Facebook’s auto-captions, or use YouTube’s captioning services for Facebook videos.
  • Avoid using acronyms in your posts.

Alt text

Automatic alternative (alt) text is a feature that uses object recognition technology to create a description of a photo for those who are blind or have visual impairments. Learn how to edit the alt text for photo.

Descriptive text

Add descriptive text to the photos that are posted on Facebook. Good descriptive text can both explain and enhance the meaning of the picture. Avoid extraneous textual information in images.

Video captioning

There are two options for adding captions to videos on Facebook: pages can automatically add captions or a SubRip Subtitle (SRT) may be uploaded.

Accessibility updates 

For more information on accessibility features on Facebook and to stay updated with new ones, visit the Accessibility page on Facebook.



Twitter allows image descriptions to be added to images in a tweet, but the feature needs to be turned on in your settings on Twitter.

Navigate to Settings and privacy Accessibility > and turn on Compose image descriptions

You will now have the option to add descriptions when posting an image.

Best practices

  • Add descriptions: After enabling image descriptions, select the image when composing a tweet to add the descriptive text. The limit is 280 characters.
  • When tweeting a hyperlink, indicate whether it leads to [AUDIO], [PIC], or [VIDEO].
  • Place mentions and hashtags at the end of your tweets.
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word in a hashtag — #CortlandPride vs. #cortlandpride.
  • Avoid using acronyms.


 Best practices

  • When uploading an image, add alternative text by choosing Advanced Settings, then Write alt text. Save and finish uploading.
  • Use the post description area to include a transcription of video posts or to reiterate the text within your image.


All videos should have closed captions and, if applicable, audio descriptions. Additionally, a transcript can be helpful for those with both visual and hearing impairments.

YouTube automatically captions many videos, but the transcript should always be checked to make sure it is accurate.

If YouTube does not automatically caption your videos, it may be because:

  • The video is too long.
  • The audio quality is poor.
  • The speech from multiple speakers overlaps.

Learn more about video accessibility in SUNY Cortland’s Policy for Official Video.


 Best practices

  • Organize your snaps so that they make sense to all users.
  • Use the larger text option for captions.
  • Make sure there is good contrast and balance between the background and the captions.


At the time of writing this guide, TikTok does not have built-in accessibility tools, but there are steps you can take to make your content more accessible.


  • Use the app’s text tool by selecting the “text” button at the bottom of the screen after recording or uploading your video and manually enter your captions. Be sure to use a legible font size and appropriate color contrast.
  • Or use a third-party captioning service provide and video editor to create your captions before uploading your content to TikTok.

Video descriptions

  • Use the video description box or the comments section to describe the visual content of the video, such as basic details of people, places, objects, animation or relevant facial expressions in the video.


Social media directory

Video tips

The Marketing Office offers training to aid content creators in following the university’s policies and guidelines. Request training

  • Preparation: Review your material ahead of time and do a test recording. Does the recording look and sound right? Are you happy with your appearance?
  • Orientation: Rest device on a tripod or stable service. In most cases, shoot horizontally. This will work best for YouTube and social media posts. Vertical video should only be used for Instagram or Facebook stories. Do not change orientation mid-video.
  • Framing: Keep the subject’s nose slightly above center and try to keep the face centered horizontally with a level, natural angle (not looking up or down). Avoid cropping the head.
  • Sound: If you have access to a microphone, use it, as it can improve sound quality drastically. Be mindful of background noise that may make it hard to hear who’s speaking. Move to a quiet space if possible.
  • Lighting: Be mindful if your subject is in shadow and consider moving to a more well-lit area if possible. Also think about backlight. Sitting in front of a window will leave your face in shadow.
  • Length: Shorter is almost always better. Aim to capture your audience quickly, try to tell your story efficiently and lead with your most important information.
  • Accessibility: Videos accompanied by an audio track need captions. Closed captions (that can be turned on and off) should be used whenever possible. YouTube and Facebook offer automatic captions, but these need to be manually edited for accuracy. Instagram does not support closed captions, so captions need to be “burned in” to the video.

Cortland hashtags

For reading comprehension and clarity, use CamelCase, capitalizing the first letters of compound words: #CortlandPride rather than #cortlandpride.

General usage

  • #SUNYCortland: Use for anything related to the university.
  • #RedDragonStrong: Show support or encouragement and highlight courage, compassion, solidarity and friendship.
  • #RedDragonPride: Celebrate accomplishments, victories and the things that make Cortland and Red Dragons special.
  • #CortlandPride, #ProudRedDragon, #RedDragons and #CortlandFamily: Display general school spirit.
  • #CaptureCortland: Share photos/short video clips of interesting sights around campus.
  • #WhyCortland: Crowdsource responses from alumni, current students, faculty and staff on their positive reasons for coming to Cortland.


  • #Cortland21: Append appropriate class year and use for Commencement posts.
  • #CortlandReunion: Use for posts related to Alumni Reunion.
  • #CortacaJug: Cheer on Cortland in the annual rivalry football game against Ithaca College.


#CortlandBound, #TourCortland, #NewDragons21


General: CortlandAlumni, #HireRedDragons, #AlumFromDayOne, #ParksAlumniHouse
Regional: #CortlandNYC, #CortlandFLA, #CortlandSYR, #CortlandSOF, #CortlandLAX, #CortlandSAN


#OneTeamOneFamily, #RollRed


#CortlandChallenge, #CortlandGives