How important is it for Universities to connect with their current students, alumni, faculty, staff and prospective students on social media?
Rachel Vitale recently tweeted out to the class a Mashable article ranking top Social Media Savvy Universities by a study conducted by Sociagility, a social media consulting company, which got me interested in look at how well BC uses Social Media. The study revealed the 25 highest ranked Universities in the US and the UK who use social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube the best. The results were determined by how well each university attracts people to their social media pages through likes, views, followers, user engagement and site visits.
The top 10 are:
- University of Pennsylvania
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
- University of Michigan
- Stanford University
- University of California, Berkeley
- University of Oxford
- University of Sheffield
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- University of Texas at Austin
BC didn’t make it into the top 10 but the majority of the top 10 are large, well-funded universities that attract large networks and a lot of popularity. Harvard has more more than 1.6 million fans on Facebook and 107,000 followers on Twitter. Harvard is really good at posting all different announcements and responses via their social media sites but I think BC has recently been doing a pretty good job too.
Boston College’s Facebook page has over 43,000 likes which is not anywhere close to Harvard’s number of fans but I BC’s page is updated everyday with fun facts about the school or new pictures taken of campus. The page is also connected with BC organizations and clubs so fans can navigate through different pages and learn more about different events going on on-campus.
Boston College Athletics Facebook page posts status’ regularly and has links to photos, videos, team schedules and game tickets on their profile page. The page has over 11,000 likes which is not as many as other schools but I definitely think that the page is updated often by the Sports Marketing Department which makes the site a good source of BC sports news.
So what can BC do in the future to improve their social media use and why is it so important that they do a better job?
I think that BC needs to go beyond status updates or quick facts to more interactive uses that foster more of a communication aspect with fans. Like the 3M model we have been discussing in class it is important to not only use the Megaphone to throw ideas and thoughts out there but also to use the Magnet to bring things in and the Monitor to assess the conversation stirring. I don’t know if BC should offer some more incentives for people to interact with them online or if naturally over time people will be more inclined to post and share with BC on Facebook but I think that’s the next step to be taken to increase the power of social media for BC. I know that the BC bookstore offers contests through their Facebook page a lot and I have seen BC athletics offer up ticket packages for people who post pictures and stuff so I think people are willing to interact they just need to do it.
I also think that student created pages for BC have been hugely successful like the different class pages where anyone can post if they have extra tickets to games or events or the Roommate Finder page for people living on-campus Junior year is also very helpful for students to meet new people and to interact with BC. I am also a huge fan of the Senior Week Facebook page that was created recently to announce all the events and tickets for Senior Week 2012. They have run a Senior Week T-shirt contest which is great and have been adding activities almost daily to the week and really getting everyone really excited!
With all this said I do think that both Boston College and BC student sponsored social media are important for attracting more and more students to the school in the future. Its a great promotional tool to sell the University on students who might have never thought about BC before or to recruit prospective athletes or artists to groups on-campus. Universities using social media is very important and I hope BC is able to rise up in the rankings in the near future!