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Social Media Influence in Higher Education

What does being influential on social media mean? It means that people actually care and pay attention. They will respond to your posts, retweet, share, favorite and like them. In order to maximize their influence, higher education institutions must have personality, consistency and engagement.

Collegeatlas.org ranks colleges in different categories based on their social media presence. What makes these colleges stand out above the rest? We decided to take one of the top players in four “most influential” categories and check out how they are crushing the competition.

Most Influential Colleges on Twitter: Harvard University, #1

SET THE STAGE. Harvard’s description is “Devoted to excellence in teaching, learning, and research, and to developing leaders who make a difference globally.” This statement clearly announces their mission and aligns with the rest of their scholarly content.

BE CONSISTENT. Logos, photos and type are standard throughout the page, matching with their other platforms. Harvard’s social media look honors their academic look and feel, as opposed to other universities that focus their social media look and content on sports or culture.

ENGAGE. Harvard posts a minimum of 4 times a day with engaging photos, videos and articles. They ask questions relating to students, present articles about Harvard history that are relevant to both current students and alumni and share student successes with the rest of the Harvard population.

Most Influential Colleges on Facebook: Texas A&M University, #2

HAVE A HASHTAG CAMPAIGN. Texas A&M had a campaign for #TAMUGRAD featuring graduates’ stories and pictures on their page. Graduating students then used the hashtag to show pride in being recent alum and had the chance to be featured on Texas A&M’s page. Simple posts incorporating the school’s community show strong student and alumni relations.

COMMIT TO A PERSONALITY. “Howdy!” is the first word you see in their “About” section. Photos, videos and messaging show their southern and friendly personality, creating a consistent brand voice.

Most Influential Colleges on Instagram: University of Wisconsin-Madison, #2

USE STUDENT PHOTOS. Engage with students by giving them the opportunity to be featured. The hashtag #UWMadison takes students’ pictures from around the world throwing up the “W” with their hands and posts them to their account.

GIVE A GLIMPSE OF CAMPUS LIFE. University of Wisconsin-Madison uses school spirit and sports to show campus culture and what life is like as a Wisconsin Badger. Links to external pages also help with engagement and present the users with a clear call to action.

Most Influential Colleges on LinkedIn: University of California Berkeley, #2

DON’T BE BORING. LinkedIn is thought to be the professional social media platform, but should still feature all aspects of a university and reflect the brand personality. Berkley uses a collage of pictures at the top of their page, videos as a show and tell, and personal posts directed towards alumni and current students to encourage engagement.

BE PROUD AND INFORMATIVE. Statistics and infographics show what the university values and what it has accomplished. Berkley has tabs, ensuring the consistent presence of important content, for Notables, Recommendations and Students & Alumni with stats on rankings and alumni career placement.

Social media is a tool that every educational institution needs to take advantage of in this digitally-focused age. With the right messaging, consistent look, brand personality and audience engagement, your many audiences will flock to your website and be proud to say they are a part of your institution.

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