Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Higher Education, Marketing, Recruitment, Research, Technology, Thoughts, Web | Posted on 03-27-2009
I’ve been pretty deep in the research of 400 college and university Twitter accounts, and I’ve been impressed with both the adoption and the growth of this niche on Twitter in the past month.
We are looking at all types of accounts: Admissions, Athletics, Alumni, Departments and Colleges, PR, News, general institution accounts and more. Just wanted to share a few very brief stats and notes from the in-depth research.
- Of the 400 accounts we are tracking, 26% did not follow anyone new in the past month.
- The 400 accounts averaged a 93.3% growth in # of followers over the past month.
- Harvard, always known for its brand monitoring (no logos on shot glasses, etc.) was late to the @HarvardU boat. Take control of your brand, or deal with updates such as this one.
- Conversation is everything…………… or is it???
- A small handful of schools are in the top 10% of # of followers, # of following, and # of updates.
- Admission offices usually have the lowest # of followers out of all types of accounts.
One trend I’ve noticed is that higher education accounts just go out and follow EVERYONE, typically scanning lists of other institutions to build their following/follower numbers.
For a history lesson, here’s where I think it started. Way back, nearly 18 months ago, a few of us who had become regulars with our personal accounts started branching out into institutional accounts. I consider @andrewcareaga the Nostradamus of Higher Ed Twitter with the tweet below. (Yeah… I was the only one who responded.)
So what does this have to do with the trend of ‘follow everyone!’ Back then, we were lone rangers on uncharted territories. We stuck together. Our follower lists were tributes to other brave souls giving this new tool a try at their college or university. And somewhere along the way, it became standard. But also… back then, we didn’t really know what we were going to use the tool for. # of Followers, # of Following, it didn’t really matter. There was no one else to talk to because you didn’t know who else was around. (Unless you were using Tweetscan, which is sooooo 2007.)
So is it good or bad to follow and everyone? We’ll talk more about that at the webinar.
With Twitter’s phenomenal growth (1392% from Feb ’08 to Feb ’09), it’s time to get serious. Time to make Twitter work for you, and make it accomplish something. Chris Brogan recently said that we are now in the ‘prove it’ stage of social media. And it’s the truth. It’s time for practitioners to step up to the plate and make something happen. And it starts with a strategy and knowing what you want to accomplish. It’s more than following 500 random people and more than waiting for people to come follow you.
And that’s exactly what we’ll be talking about in the Twitter for Higher Ed webinar in 2 weeks. Hope you’ll consider joining the rest of the schools who are ready to get serious about Twitter and who want to work smarter, not harder.