[Editor’s note: This story, originally published on May 10th of this year, was our #6 most popular story of the year. The countdown continues Monday with #5, so be sure to check back!]
Technology and data company Engagement Labs released its 2016 ranking of the top 50 U.S. colleges and universities on social media networks Facebook and Twitter.
As the higher education landscape becomes more competitive than ever, social media has become an increasingly important way for colleges and universities to gain an edge over one another. Social media is especially helpful for schools not only with regards to recruitment and retention, but also to communicate with current and prospective students in a timely and effective manner that matches their tastes.
“Some people might look at social media as, ‘what’s the cost of doing it?’,” said Bryan Segal, CEO of Engagement Labs. “These days, though, it’s ‘what’s the cost of not doing it?’ Social media helps colleges and universities on multiple fronts, including the acquisition of new students, staying in touch with alumni, and building communities. Colleges are all about community. Being able to use a channel like social media is important for where they were, are, and need to be with the demographics they’re trying to reach.”
“There’s not a huge barrier to entry, so it’s all about tactics,” he emphasized.
The colleges and universities examined included those categorized as Ivy League, for-profit, and those within the following NCAA conferences: the Big ten, the Big 12, the ACC, the Pac-12 and the SEC. Also, while the company measures content across numerous social media networks, they decided to focus on the two that they found to be the most impactful and active, which were Facebook and Twitter.
The rankings were assembled based on data compiled by the company’s own eValue Analytics scores. This system was created to offer ongoing third party, competitive benchmarking data analytics based on a worldwide scoring system to accomplish somethign similar to what Neilson does for Television. The eValue score is comprised largely of three sub-scores:
Engagement – The amount of content and participation between consumers and a brand. This includes how many posts, tweets and images an institution puts out, as well as how many likes or retweets they get.
Impact – How large a reach an institution’s social media presence encompasses.
Responsiveness – How a brand responds to, and interacts with, its consumer base. This includes how often they respond to followers’ posts, how long it takes for them to do so, and the quality of the response.