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Recruiting Intelligence

Universities Ranked by # of Facebook Friends

Source: socialbaker.com

How Many Friends Do You Need?
We all know that Facebook was created by Mark Zuckerberg while he attended Harvard University. Facebook launched in February 2004 to Harvard.edu email users. We forget that Facebook was originally a university-based service. It opened up to the general public over two years after the initial launch. An interesting angle to explore is how well universities have made use of Facebook as a marketing tool.

Harvard has just under 1.9 million Facebook friends. (Check out our Factoid below on who has even more friends). They are one of the Top 10 friended universities. Having that two-year head start as the birthplace of Mr. Zuckerberg's venture has a lot to do with how they got there.

Looking at the Top 10 list, we find some striking facts and patterns. Harvard and Stanford represent two global university superbrands. Phoenix, the one for-profit university on the list, has a large student body and focuses on its digital marketing and national brand building. Amity from India, an international university, also benefits from a large student body and institutional attention to digital marketing. For all the remaining U.S. universities, the common denominators appear to be large student bodies combined more importantly with a high profile football team. Louisiana State University and University of Florida have loyal alums dedicated to their schools teams. Publicity around the teams and seasonal visibility draw hundreds of thousands of friends to their brands.

How many friends do you need? If you need many, sports seems to be one way to become prominent on Facebook. If you are not one of the the large Football schools, you can gain greater visibility through a focused digital marketing program, using Facebook as one of your tools.

Perhaps the essential question is whether or not more Facebook friends translates into more value. Marketers and advertisers, large and small, are still evaluating that one. Other forms of social media outreach may prove far more valuable to the academic market - depending on your goals:

  • As a communications tool for incoming classes, individual departments, on campus or alumni groups, Facebook may prove extremely valuable as a free platform to exchange information and stay in touch.
  • As a recruiting tool, any social media initiative must demonstrate a conversion rate -- not simply preaching to the converted.

For more information, check out the socialbaker report http://bit.ly/NbH3rh

Topics: Insights