New data and infographic breaks down a college’s presence on social media and lists the most popular schools on each of the 5 major platforms

social-media-institutionsAs social media platforms continue to grow in popularity, it is becoming increasingly important for colleges and universities to maintain a respectably steady online presence, as this enables institutions to easily spread information and carve out a consistent presence in the public discourse, allowing for marketing campaigns and attracting new students in the process.

However, even though social media profiles are tools utilized by most institutions today, some colleges, say a new infographic, are certainly more adept at making the most of their online presence.

Who are the best, you ask?

Thanks to some visual data published by higher education encyclopedia CollegeAtlas, research has supposedly revealed the answer to that question. In addition to breaking down the most popular social media platforms, the most active users and the most discussed schools, the infographic reveals the top three most powerful institutions on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram.

In addition to the infographic, CollegeAtlas also published a full report analyzing their research and providing detailed case studies that reveal what makes the top schools on each social media platform so successful.

 (Next Page: The most influential colleges; keys to success for each platform)

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


1. Harvard University

2. Texas A&M University

3. University of Michigan


1. Harvard University

2. Yale University

3. Stanford University


1. University of Phoenix

2. University of California, Berkeley

3. Pennsylvania State University


1. Harvard University

2. University of Pennsylvania

3. Duke University


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)

Other fun facts:

Most Active “Posters”

  • Facebook – Purdue University posts an average of 6 times per day—nearly 2,200 posts per year.
  • Twitter – The University of Wisconsin tweets an average of 15 times per day. That’s 32,000 tweets since their account opened on August 1, 2008.
  • Twitter launched June 15, 2006 (2,899 days ago). Since that time, the top 100 social media schools have generated 1,585 likes/follows per day.

Social Media Savvy Schools


  • Most Talked About Schools: Texas A&M has been mentioned on Facebook nearly 39,000 time. Harvard University has been mentioned on Facebook nearly 24,000 times.
  • Schools with the Most Profile Likes: With 3,270,949 Facebook Likes, Harvard has the most likes of any other college; Coming in with the second most likes is University of Phoenix with 1,836,181.


  • In aggregate, the top 100 colleges have been active on Twitter for a total of 180,628 days, or 495 years, or 124 full presidential terms, or 110 round-trips walking to the moon.
  • Google+ launched June 28, 2011 (1,060 days ago). Since that time, the top 100 social media schools have generated 2,174 followers per day.

Ron Bethke is an editorial intern at eCampus News.

For a larger view of the infographic, click here.


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