@SUUTBirds Ranks Nationally Among Higher Ed Social Media Channels

Published: December 20, 2018 | Read Time: 3 minutes

SUU students taking a selfie by Kannaraville FallsSocial media analytics company Rival IQ ranked Southern Utah University in the top 10 among more than 300 Division I institutions across the country in terms of social media engagement for the 2017-18 school year. SUU’s Twitter account placed fifth in the nation, a significant feat considering the size of SUU compared to the other ranked schools like Brigham Young University or Troy University.

Lexi Carter, SUU’s digital marketing coordinator, said she was ecstatic to be recognized for SUU’s social media engagement, growth and consistency.

“Higher education is already the best performing industry on social media, so to have SUU considered the ‘best of the best’ is a huge testament to not only our marketing team who help create content for our platforms, but also to our dedicated T-Birds who like, comment, and share what we post,” said Carter. “This ranking showcases the incredible work our entire campus does every day.”

SUU ranked in the top 10 schools overall across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for consistently high performance on each channel. This year, SUU ranked eighth in the category ‘Steadily Engaging’ for remaining in the Top 50 overall since 2016.

The following chart showcases overall, industry and SUU averages in terms of engagement on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. SUU’s average engagement is notably higher on each platform, demonstrating the commitment and loyalty of SUU’s online community.  

Chart showing overall, industry, and SUU engagement numbers on social media channelsDuring the 2017-18 school year alone, SUU’s Twitter account grew by 20%, Instagram grew by 18%, and Facebook by 7%.

Every week, SUU’s Marketing Communication team strategizes about content, distribution methods and tailors each post to reach specific audiences defined by the uniqueness of each platform.  For example, on Facebook content is created and shared specifically for community members, alumni, parents of students, and SUU employees. The demographics for SUU’s Facebook followers trends to an older crowd. On SUU’s Instagram account, though, photos are curated specifically for current and prospective students, keeping certain trends in photography and captions in mind. The SUU Brand is easy to see on Instagram with campus, logos and the official SUU Red showcased in almost every post.

“Each month, we take all of our reach, impression and engagement data from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and log it into a spreadsheet,” said Carter. “We then look at what posts performed well and engaged with a lot of users. Our data dates back to 2015, so we also have yearly comparisons we can draw and use to make informed decisions on future content. We adjust our strategy based on what works, which is why we’ve seen consistent engagement growth.”

Positive rankings aren’t the only thing driving SUU’s social strategy. While ‘vanity metrics’ are useful to prove necessity, the marketing team also sets goals based on controllable factors like content type, color/imagery, posting consistency, and messaging.

SUU as a whole is growing in an upward trajectory. For the past four years, the university has seen consistently steady growth increasing the student population by 34% from 2014. This year SUU welcomed the largest number of incoming students to campus with 2,131 new first-time undergraduate students, a 9.4% increase over last year.

While enrollment numbers continue to grow, so does the academic quality of these students. The incoming class had an average 3.52 GPA, making them the most prepared freshman class in SUU’s history. The university is also retaining students at a very high rate and has the second highest retention rate for public schools in Utah.

Rival IQ’s analytics software sorted through data from 338 Division 1 institutions, analyzing university-level account posts from June 2017- May 2018. “Engagement” is defined as a measurable interaction on social media posts, including likes, comments, retweets, shares, and reactions. Overall rankings are weighted based on audience, activity and engagement.

Get social with SUU by following the Southern Utah University Facebook page, @SUUTBirds on Twitter, and @SUUTBirds on Instagram.

Tags: Rankings

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