Top UK Universities in Social Media

By if-admin | February 13, 2013


I recently read a blog post that ranked universities in the US on how well they were engaging with social media. I thought it might be interesting to look at how our UK establishments were shaping up alongside them. Traditionally speaking, social media is not something associated with red brick universities. Although UK universities might not have spawned social giants like Facebook from their dorm rooms, our universities do seem to be heavily involved in social media activity.

Whilst researching their social activity it became clear that universities were using social platforms for many of the same reasons that any other brand dabbles in social: to engage with existing fans (or students and alumni in this case), increase brand awareness and to entice potential customers.

To determine which University was most engaged in social media I looked at the Twitter follower numbers, Facebook Likes accumulated the UK’s top 20 universities as well as looking at how many other platforms they were active on.  Surprisingly, despite the age that we live in, some of these universities were still making it hard to track down their networks and some had so many it was just plain confusing.

Without further ado here are the top 3 universities by social media engagement:


First off is Oxford. They might constantly be battling it out with Cambridge for the number one spot in the university league tables but they are coming up on top when it comes to their social media. The famous university had very active social profiles. Their Facebook Page in particular is full of fantastic photography and images, branded videos, and competitions to engage fans.

How they did it:

Clear signposting to social media from website, regular updates, engaging visual content, historical references.



Cambridge weighs in at number 2. Cambridge’s approach to social media shares many similarities to Oxford (heavy in the scenic photos of the city etc) but it is Cambridge’s use of other platforms such as YouTube and Flickr that really impresses. Their Facebook has a YouTube app that boasts an impressive range of Cambridge videos and their Flickr allows us to peep into Cambridge life.

How they did it:

Engaging visual content that was highly shared amongst users, excellent use of alternative platforms to Facebook and Twitter and informative, research-based posts.



A bit of a surprise entry, but Glasgow prove they can play with the big boys when you examine their Facebook and Twitter pages. The Scottish University’s social platforms have high fan and follower numbers as well as an impressive range of specialist Twitter pages for different departments and societies. The responses to queries on Twitter are always promptly answered and the university hosts a number of different blogs that let people explore everything from English Literature to how students are getting on when studying abroad.

How they did it:

Having a number of separate Twitter pages to host departments and societies with different interests, quick response times and an impressive range of blogs.


Images courtesy of:

The University of Oxford official facebook pagecover photos

The University of Glasgow’s official facebook pagecover photos

Public Domain Pictures, Old Building Castle Cambridge Student, Pixabay under a creative commons public domain dedication license

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