Social Media Ranks in Higher Education

It’s fair to say that all universities across the globe are utilizing some form of electronic outreach namely, social media. Which institution is utilizing social in the most effective way? According to CollegeAtlas.org Boston College ranks 21 in ‘most influential colleges in social media’. The site aggregates data from 30 data points from 400 colleges and universities. The most ‘influential’ category measures the established presence of the five major social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin and Instagram.social-media-infographic.jpgIn the category of ‘most engaged social media college communities’ Boston College ranked 27; the category measures social media success in regards to the quantity of ‘likes’ a university’s page has received as well as measuring engagement through comments and posts. CollegeAtlas.org places Boston College at 16 for ‘most influential colleges on Twitter’; however, BC was not ranked in the Facebook category. This is an interesting find because one can deduce that BC is lighter on Facebook due to the new resurgence of Twitter and Instagram usage among generation ‘Z’; however, maintaining a strong Facebook presence could prove to be valuable for connecting with alumni who have recently adopted the platform. BC was also not ranked for high engagement levels in the Google plus category or the Linkedin category. Instagram is becoming evermore popular with BC’s target market. Interestingly enough BC’s ‘Gassongram’ has propelled BC to a 4th place ranking in the Instagram category.Untitled-1If we average out the overall rankings and by default give BC an arbitrary ranking of 35  for unranked categories then we arrive at an average score of 25 which is around the ball park of US News’ BC ranking of 30. There seems to be a correlation with top US News’ and CollegeAtlas’ rankings. Harvard was in the top two in 5 out of the 7 categories and their average of all the rankings was approximately 3, which is not too far off from Harvard’s US News’ ranking of 2. There wasn’t much correlation with Stanford which places high in the US News with a ranking of 4; the university received a social media average of 8.2 which is a larger relative deviation compared to Harvard and BC. What is worth noting is Texas A&M’s social media prowess in relation to the their US News ranking of 70. A&M ranked in the top 3, in 3 out of the 7 categories and consistently placed in the top 20 in all categories with an average of 5.8. It is difficult to pin point if the institution had an increase in US News ranking as a result of their social media success. The most consistent institution in terms of consistency across all platforms is Harvard. BC honed in on newer platforms, ranking above Harvard, Yale and Notre Dame in Instagram engagement. As I reiterated, is there value in leveraging ALL platforms? If your business is proficient in a widely used, newer platform, then how much value will you sacrifice by not developing a more traditional platform? It is challenging to measure ROI of developing quality engagement on all platforms vs excellent engagement on a select number. I am not familiar with the origin of the ‘Gassongram’, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a term that was used in passing and stuck, creating a viral sharing phenomenon that propelled BC to be among the top of the charts. Trends can prove vital in creating awareness for a business. I believe It really doesn’t matter how or who starts a trend such as the ‘Gassongram’, all that matters is how the opportunity is continually cultivated on social. What tools and strategies do institutions use to maintain the balance? Is it a better business strategy to focus on new platforms?

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