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The 2016 Social Media Graduating Class for Higher Education

Published by Engagement Labs April 14, 2016

Every class has its over-achievers. We’ve either been them or were tempted to throw something at them when they raised their hands in class. But here at Engagement Labs we celebrate the overachievers - particularly the social media overachievers.

Recently ranking the top U.S. and Canadian colleges and universities based on their social media performance, we’ve compiled our own list of the best of the best in higher education institutions who graduated with social media honors.

Baylor University - Honors in School Pride

To say college and university students are enthusiastic about their schools is an understatement. Baylor University applied the concept of school spirit to their social media channels.

Employing the hashtag #BaylorEverywhere, the University developed a strong personal brand that celebrated their school and made sure when you were on their channel, it was all about Baylor.

Posting frequently about their football team, while highlighting picturesque views of their campus, Baylor’s content was graded high by its followers based on their first place ranking on Facebook and third place ranking on Twitter.

Students, alumni, faculty and communities are excited to show their support, thus seeing their school celebrate their various achievements can translate that support into online engagement.

University of British Columbia - Honors in Campus Life

Located in one of the most beautiful cities in Canada (some might argue, THE most beautiful), University of British Columbia (UBC) has a lot to brag about - especially with a first place finish for Canadian higher education institutions on Facebook.

The West Coast school highlighted their campus life via social media. Posting stunning photos capturing serene moments on campus, the school caught the eye of prospective students looking for their new campus, as well as students who were proud to call UBC home.

UBC emphasized visual storytelling, while shedding light on the different extra-curricular activities that are available on campus.

Showcasing the school as more than just an academic institution, the school demonstrated a fun and entertaining lifestyle, thereby creating a better overall perspective of their university.

University of Wisconsin-Madison - Honors in Humor

Every class has a class clown and we’d definitely hand that title over to University of Wisconsin-Madison for their witty and amusing social media channels that we’re sure had students procrastinating more than they should.

Followers - particularly college and university students - connect easily with funny and relatable content, a strategy adopted effortlessly by the school to rank first on Twitter.

Making the most of hilarious GIFs, pop-culture references and content related to celebrities, the University connected with the interests of their mainly younger audience to drive interaction on the channel and build long-lasting relationships that result in consistent likes, retweets and favorites.  

Queen’s University - Honors in User-Generated Content

We all know at least one Instagram model and, in the case of our higher education list, that would be Queen’s University. 

Ranking first on Instagram for Canadian colleges and universities, the school received straight A’s for their usage of user-generated content to drive engagement.

Sharing content from students, Queen’s University used its Instagram channel to portray student experiences on and off-campus, tagging each student in their images.

Seeing content from real-life students is much more impactful than the stock imagery used by some campuses. User-generated content adds a level of authenticity to your social channels which can’t be mimicked by school brochures and pamphlets.

Texas A&M University - Honors in Athletics

It’s safe to say college students are big fans of sports. Just ask any Texas A&M University (TAMU) student what they think of their beloved Aggies football team.

With football culture being a huge staple at TAMU, the University excelled on social media by integrating this sports culture with their channels to place second on both Facebook and Twitter.

Frequently posting content celebrating their football team, the school used its social channels to foster a sense of community. This feeling of unity developed a connection with followers, thus encouraging them to interact more often with the platforms.

Also, when your mascot is a mixed-breed dog that has 11,000 Twitter followers, you know you have to tie them into your social channel. Posting content incorporating Reveille IX (the First Lady of TAMU), the school leveraged a talk-worthy figure to drive online fan activity.

Brock University - Honors in Responsiveness

While the other schools in this graduating class focused on their content and engagement to stand out from the pack, the home of the badgers, Brock University, backed up their first place ranking on Twitter for Canadian higher education with excellent response strategies.

Brock University excellent social responses strategies

With social channels being a go-to source for school updates, it’s critical for universities and colleges to use these channels to show their community that they can rely on them for up-to-date information.  

Brock made the grade when it took the time on Twitter to respond to questions from their followers, making sure to give timely and informative updates to their inquiring minds.

The Social Media Commencement

This year’s graduating class was quite the impressive crop, schooling their fellow academic institutions in the world of social media marketing. Their strategies didn’t just engage younger audiences, but the community-at-large that comprises of parents and alumni.

However, one thing all schools must remember is that these channels act as a real-time way for students, parents, prospects and more to communicate with their schools. It's important to respond and provide timely information to your followers.

Congratulations to this year’s graduating class and can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the classroom next year! I hope you took notes...

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The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 - 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of sub metrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 75,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

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