Colleges and universities are producing some of the most exciting, cutting-edge content on social media. They’re working with beautiful settings, compelling characters and a constant stream of new storylines. Not to mention, they’ve got a built-in audience. Social media is a powerful tool for schools to reach prospective students, current students, alumni and families.
As we get ready for our November 29 webinar featuring 10 ways to work faster with photos and videos in higher ed, we wanted to dig in to the best colleges and universities on social media.
Here are the schools to follow, along with why they stand out.
Who did we miss? Tweet your favorite colleges and universities to follow on social media @getlibris.
West Virginia University
The team at West Virginia University is embracing one of their best assets: their charismatic University President, Gordon Gee. In their video series, “Gee Mail,” Gee gives you an insider’s look at everything from the clubs on campus to graduation. One video on the Mountaineer Marching Band’s trip to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade got more than 5,000 shares. Don’t miss his attempt at playing the oboe at the :30 second mark.
When you scroll through the videos on the Boston University Twitter feed, you feel more like you’re looking at the feed of a media company than a university. They know how to share the right videos on social to get your attention.
For example, check out this video that has a simple, shareable subject, a square format, and text on screen.
Residents of one BU dorm report seeing the ghost of a famous playwright there. 👻 Watch the building's history of haunted happenings. 🎃 pic.twitter.com/zPMkSgYZk0
— Boston University (@BU_Tweets) October 31, 2017
And, check out this quick clip that catches your attention and encourages you to take a deep dive into the story. The link sends you to a dynamic landing page that includes a 5 minute documentary on the project.
— Boston University (@BU_Tweets) November 6, 2017
University of Florida
The team at the University of Florida uses gorgeous photography and videography to shine a spotlight on the school’s programs. These images give alumni, parents, prospective students and community members a look at parts of the university only students and faculty would typically be able to see.
The Instagram slideshow below caught follower’s attention on social media and drove them to a in-depth story packed with photography.
Swipe ⬅️ to explore sunken fighter jets and other artificial #reefs along Florida's Gulf Coast. For more than three decades, @floridaseagrant, based at UF, has led the development of the state’s artificial reef program, boosting the economy and environment. To view the full story by UF News, see link in bio.
Honorable mention: UF also just launched its own GIF channel on GIPHY, and who doesn’t love GIFs?
Franklin & Marshall College
The team at Franklin & Marshall College produces incredible video content, ranging from alumni profiles to move-in day stories. But one of the ways this team really excels is with live video. They start with a casual pre-show to raise awareness about the event. Then, they switch to a more polished live stream using professional video and sound equipment.
See how it works:
Michigan State University
Michigan State University produced an epic video series to celebrate the launch of Stranger Things season 2, breaking down concepts related to the hit series like telekinesis and nostalgia. Maybe I’m biased because our team did a Stranger Things spin for our webinar, How to Prepare for the Visual Content Apocalypse, but these videos drew me in with their eye-catching openings, smart editing and thoughtful content.
— MSU (@michiganstateu) October 26, 2017
— MSU (@michiganstateu) October 27, 2017
Editor’s note: In the video above, Professor Gary Hoppenstand says, “I always look at popular culture as teaching tools.” This video hooks you in with popular culture, and actually teaches you something about nostalgia. I see what you did there, Michigan State.
Belmont University has a social media street team called, The Boulevard Team – a team of students who produce music, stories and videos for the university’s social media channels. It’s a great way to highlight the talent of Belmont students and give audiences an authentic picture of university life.
Check out how Belmont is using Instagram takeovers to show a day in the life of a student:
Follow Belmont University on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
UNC-Chapel Hill has one of the most recognizable brands in higher ed, from the Old Well to the Tar Heel mascot to the school’s iconic baby blue. As you scroll through UNC’s Instagram, its impossible to forget where you are. The university’s symbols are represented in almost every photo and video, creating a cohesive, branded feel.
University of Northern Colorado
Research shows tweets with images get significantly higher retweets than those without, and the team at the University of Northern Colorado is keeping this in mind. They consistently add images to their tweets, and their colorful feed is sure to catch your attention.
— U. Northern Colorado (@UNC_Colorado) October 9, 2017
— U. Northern Colorado (@UNC_Colorado) October 13, 2017
The team at Cornell is learning from the media giants when it comes to producing videos for social media. They use gorgeous B roll and simple text on the screen to tell a snackable, eye-catching story. While the videos are easy to watch on silent, the music is well chosen and the sound is well edited, so anyone who turns the sound on is in for a treat!
— Cornell University (@Cornell) October 17, 2017
University of Oregon
The University of Oregon social media team does a great job of working with the school’s library system (which has its own awesome Instagram account) to share throwback content that catches your eye and delights fans.
Check out the throwback content the team made for homecoming:
The team at Harvard is producing stunning video content for social media. The editing is phenomenal and the videos are filled with unexpected surprises that hold your attention.
See for yourself:
Texas A&M University
The team at Texas A&M University takes advantage of Instagram’s video autoplay feature with motion graphics and time lapse videos that catch your attention right away. I have a soft sport for both time lapse video and marching bands, so this team gets an A+ in my book.
University of Kentucky
The University of Kentucky social media team does a great job of creating a visual brand. Their hashtag is #seeblue, and that hashtag comes to life on their social media feeds. The feeds are packed with Kentucky’s signature blue, whether it’s coming through in a graphic or in the school’s photography.
The team at Bates College is full of masterful storytellers. Not only do they share beautiful photography on social media, but they share the context. They help you get to know the people in the photos and understand the full story, which gives this small liberal arts school’s social media channels a true feeling of community.
Noah Lobozzo '19, an economics and Spanish double major from New Gloucester, Maine, gives his nephew Jack Burnham, 4, a skateboard ride on the Library Quad. The foliage is hanging on just as Jack is. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) #batescollege #fall #skateboarding #uncle #nephew #foliage #family #fall #lewiston #maine
Stanford University’s Instagram is packed with fascinating stories. Scrolling through their feed is like flipping through the pages of an interesting magazine. It covers everything from medical history to modern art. The mix of current images and throwback photos holds your attention and entices you to follow along.
The artist is in. Visitors to @cantorarts watched Hope Gangloff painting in the museum’s 1894 Atrium this week (she’ll return later this month). Gangloff considers the act of portrait painting to be a personal exchange between subject and artist, so she insists on painting people she knows. Above, she’s painting her friend Tammy Fortin, who is also a Cantor staff member. This glimpse inside the New York-based artist’s studio process is part of the first iteration of Cantor’s Diekman Contemporary Commissions Program, an exhibition series that invites artists to use the museum as a laboratory for experimentation and as a platform for creating new work. Gangloff has also curated a portraiture exhibition at Cantor placing historical works from the museum’s collection alongside her own contemporary work. She has created several new portraits that will hang from the atrium balcony. @stanfordarts Photo by Angela Drury
Register Now: 10 Ways to Work Faster with Photos and Videos on Campus
Join us for a webinar on November 29 to get ideas to steal from innovative university communications teams, tips for working faster and creating better content, and a chance to discuss storytelling and workflow challenges with higher ed visual storytelling experts.
Cover photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen, Bates College.