In 2013, every university is on Twitter. Whether its to update students on campus announcements, cultivate an alumni network, host a virtual forum for its athletics fanbase or promote the school's brand, each university must decide on the function of their Twitter account. The best university Twitter accounts are unique, flexible, invaluable and, ultimately, shape the university's story. But how can we measure social media success?
To start, there are the numbers of followers. However, numbers like these can be skewed depending on a number of factors—how the big the school is, whether its account automatically follows back, etc.—and followers alone do not equal social media success. Created to solve just that particular problem, Klout, the social media analytics firm, measures social media influence through its formula. Using a combination of these metrics and our subjective appraisal, Education Dive ranked the 10 best university accounts on Twitter:
10. UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA
On Twitter: @UofOklahoma
The University of Oklahoma's Twitter account tries to engage its fanbase, whether education- and athletics-specific, with universally friendly, Sooner-themed tweets. @UofOklahoma publicizes events, posts pictures of campus, retweets relevant information and wishes the Sooner nation happy days.
OU Sooners (@UofOklahoma) March 20, 2013
9. PURDUE UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @LifeAtPurdue
Purdue University's official Twitter account prides itself on the Boilermaker experience. @LifeAtPurdue both nurtures school spirit and promotes the university's brand by announcing events, concerts, sports games and enthusiastically retweeting students' descriptions of life at the school.
The good news: today is the first day of spring! The bad news: it's crazy cold outside at Purdue. It's got to get warmer soon, right? #brr— Purdue University (@LifeAtPurdue) March 20, 2013
8. TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @TAMU
As the so-called #12thMan, @TAMU is Texas A&M's virtual cheerleader — but not just for its football team. The university's active and peppy Twitter team play Game of Thrones trivia with followers, announce ticket giveaways, drive social media campaigns and whoop "gig' em, Ags!"
@TAMU) March 19, 2013
7. UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON
On Twitter: @UWMadison
The University of Wisconsin-Madison's Twitter account simultaneously entertains school's rabid fanbase while providing a high degree of functionality for its students. @UWMadison actively cheers on the Badgers' sports teams, congratulates newly-admitted students, prompts follower interactions with its other social media operations on Pinterest and Instagram and facilitates the student experience by promoting campus and social media events:
6. THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @OhioState
The Ohio State University's Twitter account keeps students, faculty and alumni apprised of the school's goings-on. From student tips, daily photos and event promotions to alumni stories, faculty research and sports team notifications, @OhioState serves followers with the information they need and want.
OhioState (@OhioState) March 20, 2013
5. SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @SyracuseU
Perhaps the most active Twitter account on this list, @SyracuseU typically bids followers, or #OrangeNation, both good morning and good night. Syracuse's handle tweets out campus updates, events and news, cheers on the school's athletic teams, dishes out pro-tips for students and interacts with zealous followers. Despite its relatively small followership compared with the other schools on this list, @SyracuseU's efficient and high-quality use of social media sets a standard other university communications teams should take note of.
Perks of getting that science degree: lasers. instagr.am/p/XFyj_2G3Zi/— Syracuse University (@SyracuseU) March 20, 2013
4. PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @Princeton
@Princeton's tweets about its professors' innovative discoveries alone make this account worth following, but the account doesn't stop there. @Princeton dishes out resources that could come in handy to faculty, students and strangers — application materials, parking guides, professor profiles, campus updates and links spotlighting the work of some of the smartest, most interesting people on earth. It's not hard to see why Princeton's prestige is safe in this social media team's hands.
"Admission" the movie comes out this weekend. It's fiction. Here's our dean of admission on reality. youtube.com/watch?v=hWynWY…— Princeton University (@Princeton) March 20, 2013
3. MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
On Twitter: @MITnews
MIT boasts some of the world's best scientists and mathematicians. Knowing its niche brand and audience, MIT's account tweets out the ideas, conclusions and projections of the world's most cutting edge researchers. If that's what you're interested in, @MITnews undoubtedly delivers.
2. STANFORD UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @Stanford
As a brand, Stanford University shines through its tweets, which are essentially little virtual gateways into the school's incredible universe. Game-changing research reports, conversation-starting video clips and forward-looking analysis all embody the quality of both the institution and its Twitter account. Clicking on one of its links rarely disappoints.
Operate your car from your couch? Students present visions for the future of driving: stanford.io/105zwNW— Stanford University (@Stanford) March 18, 2013
1. HARVARD UNIVERSITY
On Twitter: @Harvard
Perennially atop the U.S. News & World Report's annual university rankings, Harvard and its Twitter account, @Harvard, boast the most Twitter followers (almost twice as many as Stanford, the account with the second-most) and the highest Klout score of any school. But big numbers and prestige alone don't make a great Twitter account.
Whether it's by live-tweeting Harvard's March Madness basketball game, sharing photos of its beautiful campus or spreading the word about a professor's groundbreaking research, @Harvard makes its tweets appeal to students, alumni, educators and the whole world at large. Simultaneously able to communicate with and expand its varied audience, @Harvard is the perfect social media hype man for the school's brand. That's why it's Education Dive's best university account on Twitter.
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