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The UK Higher Education Institutions Twitter Followers League Table 2020

Now we've got your attention, let's talk about your university's social media metrics. Don't worry, you'll still get to see where your institution placed in our league table.

At some point in their career, your institution's social media manager will have been asked to produce a report comparing you against your competitors. Quite often there is an obsession with measuring metrics with little or no value to making marketing and wider business decisions. Social media followers falls into this category in our opinion.


Here are just some of the reasons why we encourage you not to ask your social media manager (or team) for reports comparing social media followers (and other vanity metrics for that matter).

  • Follower count is a vanity metric with no clear link to your institutions strategic goals.

  • A high follower count means nothing if you lack strong engagement with your content.

  • The statistics fluctuate so often you're only ever looking at a snapshot

  • Are your target audience even on the channel(s) you are tracking follower data on? Spend your time wisely.

  • Average Twitter engagement rate in higher ed is 0.091% (Rival IQ). Of the total followers in the table below (7.77m), on average only 707k are engaged in the channels based off of the Rival IQ metrics.

  • No matter where you are on the list you can be successful if you're achieving meaningful goals, for example conversation metrics such as open day registrations.

So what we're saying is stop focusing on what others are doing, and allow your social teams to excel with goals fit for your institution.

The table

A snapshot in time, in fact 9:24am on Monday 21 September 2020, and most likely data never to be repeated again. We took a similar snapshot across the weekend, and there were a few changes here and there but nothing major. It drives home the message that some competitor benchmarking just isn't worth the time and effort. If it doesn't mean something to your organisation, your audience, your goals, stop measuring it.

If you're wondering why we picked Twitter, well they have easier access to data which meant our coding and data pull through worked well. Give us a few more energy drinks and we may just do the same for Facebook and Instagram next. Just don't get us started on LinkedIn data!

Now it's time to have some fun to see where your institution ranked at 9:24am on Monday 21 September 2020.

For more information on how we can help your university to develop a suitable set of social media KPIs, visit our Social Media Strategy page on the website.

Post cover image by Morning Brew on Unsplash

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