Last week I finally finished my social media benchmarking study – something I was starting to worry I’d never complete – and collated all the data. Some of my preliminary findings are as follows:
Social Media take-up is high in general
- 98% of Universities surveyed had a facebook profile
- 100% of Universities surveyed had a twitter profile
- 98% of Universities surveyed have a company profile on LinkedIn
- 97% of Universities surveyed have a YouTube account
The level of engagement and the audience targeted vary hugely from university to university and I need to do some more analysis on this.
Use of Social Media for business engagement appears to be less common
- Only 3% of HEIs surveyed have a dedicated “business” Facebook page
- The proportion using twitter for business engagement via a dedicated account – 22% – is slightly higher but still not even a quarter of the sample
- Only 51% of the sample actively used their LinkedIn company profile to promote their activities, jobs and services
University Social Media Sites have a large audience
- Average Facebook fans: 27, 600
- Average Twitter followers: 9,500
- Average LinkedIn followers: 3,700
- Average Youtube subscribers: 935 (Average video views were much higher – over 460, 000)
Universities are experimenting with a variety of Social Media
In addition to the main four social media services used – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Youtube – the Universities surveyed used a total of 20 other social media and social content-sharing sites. These ranged from photo-sharing site Flickr to Chinese microblogging service Weibo.
So far I feel that my original perceptions of the use of social media in higher education were right – Universities are in general very well engaged with social media but their activities via these media are focussed primarily on student recruitment and engagement with the potential of social media for business and community engagement being overlooked.
This leads me neatly to the key question we want the next stage of the project – focus groups with business – to answer. Is being able to engage with Universities via social media important to them?