According to CollegeAtlas, these are the best colleges and universities on each major social media platform:

Facebook

1. Harvard University

2. Texas A&M University

3. University of Michigan

Twitter

1. Harvard University

2. Yale University

3. Stanford University

LinkedIn

1. University of Phoenix

2. University of California, Berkeley

3. Pennsylvania State University

Google+

1. Harvard University

2. University of Pennsylvania

3. Duke University

Instagram

1. Stanford University

2. University of Wisconsin – Madison

3. University of Michigan

The report emphasizes that the colleges that are most successful are the ones that are the most creative and understanding of the different tones and strengths offered by each platform. Additionally, schools always seem to do best, no matter what the platform, when they engage the interests and spirit of their community directly, making followers feel keyed in to what is happening on campus.

As stated in the report, “successful schools are aware of what users are looking for when they visit a specific platform and understand platform-specific best practices. Interaction with user posts, sharing information from other pages, and interlinking between social accounts are essential to developing a healthy presence on any platform.”

On Facebook, sharing content that displays school spirit may help when it comes to a page’s popularity, as well as providing useful resources and content. Facebook also offers the ability for institutions to create event pages and promote them continuously, which can help schools create a strong community between students, administration, and people who live in the surrounding area.

With Twitter, authoritative and semi-professional posts highlighting news about excellence by students and faculty seem to do particularly well, though schools are advised to try to cover a wide variety of topics and retweet influential figures in the campus community often as well. Twitter also provides a potent platform for sharing videos, so schools can promote their YouTube channels to great effect. Finally, Twitter allows schools to provide updates on major events as soon as it happens, which means people will often look to a school’s Twitter account when they want to find information quickly.

Though Google+ is still working to carve its niche in the social media world, some schools are working to use the platform in innovative ways; for example, by including frequent use of hashtags, differentiating the different forms of content posted, and utilizing features unique to Google+ such as the Hangout video chat feature regularly.

LinkedIn has become a useful tool as well, as it allows the institution to connect its alumni and students with business opportunities and useful contacts. Most importantly, LinkedIn gives schools the opportunity to keep up to date with students while they are attending college and after they have graduated, giving colleges and universities an opportunity to serve their students. If a prospective student is wondering how much a school might be able to help them achieve a bright future, a robust LinkedIn page very well could seal the deal when it comes to choosing an institution.

Finally, even though Instagram has a reputation for being a social media platform that is mainly for a younger crowd, schools can still use the photo-sharing network to great effect. Instagram gives institutions an opportunity to let loose and post fun content that gives visitors a feel for what an institution is all about. Timely photos that empathize with student concerns, pictures that give a good view of fun happening on campuses, and calls for photo submissions along with institution-specific hashtags can all be major factors for giving colleges and universities appreciation on Instagram.

(Next Page: See the infographic on social media’s most influential schools)


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