Karine Joly No Comments

A couple of weeks ago I asked the 12 higher ed social media professionals speaking at the The 6th Higher Ed Social Media Conference (HESM18) to share 3 higher ed social media accounts they follow with envy.

The resulting list featured the accounts of 31 different higher ed social media teams selected via this process.

Everybody was allowed to include a social media account of their school in their short list. I’m sharing these individual top 3 lists as part of the interviews from the HESM18 conference speakers we’ve started to publish. But, after removing the the self selections, I ended up with this final list of 25 higher ed social media schools followed, sometimes with interest or envy, by their peers.

Out of those 25 schools, 5 were independently listed by more than one person. The top school of this selection was chosen by 3 of the 12 members of this panel composed of digital professionals all working in higher ed social media.

You’ll find below the list of these 25 peer-selected schools (the 5 most popular at the top and the 20 others listed in alphabetical order) along with the rationale from the higher ed social media pro(s) who selected them in the first place.

25 noticeable #highered social media schools selected by Peers

University of Michigan (selected by 3 peers)

University of Michigan - TwitterUniversity of Michigan – Twitter
Hillary Green, Digital Specialist at The University of Texas at Arlington
I’d have to say University of Michigan sort of sets the standard for me on Twitter. You can tell the school has invested time, people and resources to social as a serious way of communicating with their audience.

Tiffany Broadbent Beker, Director of Digital Marketing at William & Mary
Their regular Twitter chats as well as outreach to all their constituents (prospective students, current students, faculty, alumni and more) make this highly active account one that sets a high standard.

University of Michigan – Instagram
Mary Jo Stockton, Director of Web and Social Content at Longwood University
Michigan does an excellent job of representing different aspects of campus life with their Instagram stories. Within the stories, they use great annotations and stickers to add more information, bring focus to something on the screen, or just for some added extra fun.

Colorado State University (selected by 2 peers)

Colorado State University FacebookColorado State University – Facebook
Hillary Green, Digital Specialist at The University of Texas at Arlington
Colorado State University’s Facebook account is another favorite of mine – they make great use of their mascot and create some really fun content for students.

Colorado State – Instagram
Tiffany Broadbent Beker, Director of Digital Marketing at William & Mary
Colorado State’s Instagram is a great mix of campus beauty shots, sports photography and adorable animals (and more). It’s inspiring to see the range of content as well as the great graphic design touches on many of the posts. I want to borrow the idea of “swipe to see winners” that they used for their “State of Summer” photo contest.

Harvard University (selected by 2 peers)

Harvard University TwitterHarvard – Twitter
Jessica Stutt, Integrated Marketing Manager at University of New Brunswick
I mean… it’s Harvard! This institution has no shortage of incredible news and research to share which generates meaningful and unique content for their account. They make great use of images and really fit in well with the kind of content we tend to be looking for in our Twitter feed.

Harvard College – Instagram
Nicole Morell, Associate Director, Digital Marketing Strategy at MIT Alumni Association
This is a student-run account that adds a layer to the story Harvard tells on its many other channels. You can get an inside look at a truly diverse group of students with a range of viewpoints and experiences at the school. I like how this channel can offer a new perspective on a nearly 400 year old institution.

New York University (selected by 2 peers)

New York University InstagramNew York University – Instagram
Tim Brixius, Digital & social media specialist at Franklin & Marshall College
New York University does a masterful job of capitalizing on its location in New York City by including many gorgeous shots of the urban landscape. A sense of place is crucial to share with prospective students.

Erika Forsack, Social Media Strrategist at Virginia Commonwealth University
I’m a big NYU social fan, but their Instagram is my favorite. love how this account shows NYU integrated into city life. They also are wonderful storytellers using the story feature.

West Virginia University (selected by 2 peers)

WestVirginiaU YouTubeWest Virginia University – YouTube
Dominique Benjamin, Digital & Social Media Coordinator for TAMU Enrollment Services
There’s so much great content here! I like that many of the videos have a playful tone that still feels on-brand. This freshman orientation video might be my favorite social media thing ever.

West Virginia Universitiy’s President Gee – Twitter
Mary Jo Stockton, Director of Web and Social Content at Longwood University
The president of West Virginia University’s Twitter account is an excellent example of how to do social media as a college administrator who wants to connect with students.

Schools selected for their social media account by 1 peer

The rest of this list is presented in alphabetical order. Each school was selected by one of the 6th Higher Ed Social Media Conference speakers.

Higher Ed Social Media Conference

Boston College

Boston College – YouTube
Tim Brixius, Digital & social media specialist at Franklin & Marshall College
I really like the mix of videos here, especially the 60-Second and Fresh Takes series.

Boston University

Boston University – Instagram
Christen Gowan, Associate Director of Media Relations and Social Media at Union College
They do an amazing job of presenting content in really different ways that we don’t see too often in higher education. They did a fun little video promoting a campus lobster event that looked just like a @Tasty video.

Duke University

Duke University – Facebook
Tiffany Broadbent Beker, Director of Digital Marketing at William & Mary
Duke’s Facebook page does a great job of highlighting research and faculty members, something that can be difficult to get engagement with.

George Washington University

George Washington University – Facebook
Dr. Kristin Austin, Assistant Professor at Bloomsburg University of PA
I love how the Facebook page of George Washington University is so audience driven and generated! They run ongoing campaigns and contests where they ask followers to submit content- especially photos- to which George Washington then uses throughout their social media platforms. I feel their page does a good job of keeping followers connected with the question of, “What can I upload next!?”

Marquette University

Marquette University – Facebook
Dr. Kristin Austin, Assistant Professor at Bloomsburg University of PA
I love how personal the “voice” behind Marquette’s Facebook posts are! They do an excellent job of posting university-branded and promotional content, while also posting as what feels like a “friend,” such as posts encouraging students to “Call home,” or sympathizing with others about everyday events like the weather. Their page always feels very personal to me.

Michigan State University

Michigan State University – Facebook
Dr. Kristin Austin, Assistant Professor at Bloomsburg University of PA
I love how Michigan State engaged their followers in learning the fight song by inviting uploads of videos of individuals singing the song! I thought this was an excellent way to build community and embrace tradition in the present!

Newcastle University (UK)

Newcastle University – Instagram
Mary Jo Stockton, Director of Web and Social Content at Longwood University
Newcastle is my Ph.D. alma mater, but all bias aside, they seem to have a team that can get out across campus and captures content for Instagram Stories that feels authentic, is informative, and captures student life.

Stanford Alumni

Stanford Alumni – Twitter
Nicole Morell, Associate Director, Digital Marketing Strategy at MIT Alumni Association
They recently did a great series of photos within photos to welcome students back to campus and connect with the alumni that have gone before them. They’ve taken a really creative, campaign approach to their channel and I think it sets them apart.

Texas A&M

Texas A&M – Facebook
Geoff Coyle, Social Media Editor at West Virginia University
Texas A&M has always been a leader in content creation for Higher Ed. Its use of video and augmented reality have done well to show what our industry is capable of with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box.

Tufts University

Tufts University – Instagram
Christen Gowan, Associate Director of Media Relations and Social Media at Union College
Tufts University’s Instagram account is amazing, but one thing they’re doing better than anything else is their use of high-end studio photography to accompany student and faculty profiles. They did an amazing feature back during graduation time, featuring their faculty wearing their regalia and talking about the traditions behind it. The portraits were stunning and the storytelling in their posts is really well done.

University of British Columbia (Canada)

UBC (@Youbcpic) – Instagram
Jessica Stutt, Integrated Marketing Manager at University of New Brunswick
UBC does great work across their social accounts, but their prospective-student facing account is an excellent example of best practices. They’re also leveraging IGTV to showcase some campus offerings.

University of Florida

UF – Giphy
Dominique Benjamin, Digital & Social Media Coordinator for TAMU Enrollment Services
I know. I’m cheating on this one. But, I think this account is worth admiring, just based on volume alone: More than 774 GIF uploads and 848M views.

University of New England

UNE President James Herbert – Instagram
Geoff Coyle, Social Media Editor at West Virginia University
James Herbert, president of the University of New England, has a very well managed Instagram account. The captions make his message, and that of UNE, clear in a passionate and sincere manner. As a University that frequently features our president, Dr. Gordon Gee, on social, we enjoy seeing other institutions take advantage of the voice their president can have through various platforms like Instagram.

University of Cambridge (UK)

University of Cambridge – Instagram
Hillary Green, Digital Specialist at The University of Texas at Arlington
I’m way jealous of the artistic ability found on the University of Cambridge’s Instagram feed. They show off the best of their campus all from a thoughtful perspective.

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida – Instagram
Dominique Benjamin, Digital & Social Media Coordinator for TAMU Enrollment Services
As a University of South Florida alumnus, it pains me to show love to our rivals, the Golden Knights. But, I have to give props where they’re due. Their Story promotes the university’s newsroom articles using a combination of motion graphics and video memes. The content has a high production value and is concise – usually no more than 10 posts long. Most of all, I like the consistency in how the Stories are structured; As a viewer, I know what to expect every time.

University of Vermont

University of Vermont – Instagram
Erika Forsack, Social Media Strrategist at Virginia Commonwealth University
I think I might need to apply to University of Vermont after looking at this account 🙂 The photography is so rich and really draws you in. Great balance of subject matter and it really gives you a sense of place.

University of West Florida

UWF – Twitter
Todd Sanders, Director of Digital Communications and Social Media at UF
UWF is my alma mater, so I like to see what they’re up to.

University of Wisconsin–Madison

UWMadison – Twitter
Todd Sanders, Director of Digital Communications and Social Media at UF
Wisconsin is an account that I’ve followed since the beginning, I find their cold weather content refreshing.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech – Instagram
Erika Forsack, Social Media Strrategist at Virginia Commonwealth University
Our Virginia neighbors do a great job showcasing student life. They also have excellent dog photos.

Wellesley College

Wellesley College’s President Johnson – Instagram
Tim Brixius, Digital & social media specialist at Franklin & Marshall College
I was recently exploring examples of collegiate president accounts to share with our new president as she seeks to establish her own Instagram, and I was struck by the nice mix of images on this account for the president of Wellesley College: close-ups, behind-the-scenes, group shots, archival images, graphics, etc.

A conference focusing 100% on higher ed social media?

The 6th Higher Ed Social Media Conference (HESM18) is a must-attend event for higher ed social media professionals and teams looking for inspiration, ideas and best practices to get ready for 2019.

Read below what your higher ed colleagues who attended the past editions of the Higher Ed Social Media Conference said about their experience.

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