Penn State lauded for strong social media engagement, influence

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State has been ranked sixth among schools having the most engaged social media communities and the seventh most influential college in social media, in a new study by CollegeAtlas.org aimed at recognizing "the most socially influential U.S. institutions of higher learning."

The study evaluated the social media efforts of nearly 400 major U.S. colleges and universities, focusing on each school's activity, reach and engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram. Penn State also ranked highly in individual categories, included below:

  • No. 3 - Most Influential Colleges on LinkedIn
  • No. 6 - Most Engaged Social Media Communities
  • No. 7 - Most Influential Colleges in Social Media
  • No. 8 - Most Influential Colleges on Facebook
  • No. 11 - Most Influential Colleges on Instagram
  • No. 13 - Most Influential Colleges on Google+

“It's been said that the ROI [return on investment] of social media is that you’ll still be around in five years, and I think that gets to the heart of social media's value,” said Geoff Rushton, manager of the office of social media at Penn State. “This is the way that people of all ages communicate now. This is for everyone. If you’re not trying to build that voice in social media, you’re not going to be heard.”

In addition, colleges were given a grade on each platform, based on what percentile the schools achieved among the included top-tier institutions. Penn State received an "A" for Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Instagram, and a "B" for Twitter.

The organization developed a data set which included such factors as the number of Facebook likes and tweeting frequency, and developed proprietary algorithms to generate its lists. The complete rankings and research report are available on the CollegeAtlas.org website.

“We were pleased to see an unusually broad set of colleges emerge as top performers in our social media rankings,” said Branden Neish, general manager of CollegeAtlas.org, in a press release. “These schools offer immersive collegiate experiences and fervent alumni groups that positively impact students throughout their lives. Social media helps us measure these difficult-to-quantify, yet important, aspects of higher education.”

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Last Updated June 18, 2014