Swedish Universities and Social Media: Facebook

I’ve compared the main facebook pages of a selection of Swedish Universities – this is not supposed to be a complete list, but there are enough examples here to enable some benchmarking.  I did this as part of the research for a series of workshops on social media I’m running for staff at Malmö University (my employer).

Using November 2010 as my starting point, I counted number of posts (posts by both the page and the page friends), number of fans and also noted any special features of interest. I also checked out the level of activity on the discussion page, and the number of photographs.

The success of a Facebook page is a tricky thing to figure out but a few general conclusions can be reached from these data.

– Number of likes has no relationship with the amount of activity, on the page. Certainly in the time period looked at here, some of the pages with the most likes had the least amount of wall posts

– Attitudes to posting vary, with some pages not allowing wall posts by people who like the page

– Given that there is a national recruitment round underway , it’s a bit strange that only a few pages seem to reflect this (via bespoke tabs or related posts)

Here’s some of the data, which was collected last week.

Number of Likes

So, let’s get the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ part out of the way. Here are the top 14 university facebook pages ranked by number of likes (as of last week).

Linköping Universitet 6508
KTH (Group) 6422
Lund University 5762*
Linne Universitet 4599**
Umeå Universitet 3919
Stockholm University 3806
Umeå  University 3737
Uppsala Universitet 2812
Högskolan i Borås 2786
Chalmers University of Technology 2706
Jonköping University 2620
SLU 2501
Stockholm School of Economics 1996
Högskolan Väst 1552***
Stockholms Universitet 1107**

*I’ve added this since I originally posted, Lund University successfully were able to re-appropriate a page, and all its fans, which had been set up by someone outside the organisation – good job!
** I’ll add Linne and Stockholm Universitet’s information to the lists below soon
*** I missed this page in the original post – I will publish the entire list here also.

I did not look into who has the oldest pages or who is growing the fastest (that will be a post in a month or so!)

Who has posted the most?

Who is going wild with posting, and who is more restrained? Here are the top 11 universities ranked by number of posts made, by the page owners, from November 2011.

Uppsala Universitet 252
Högskolan I Borås 180
Stockholm University 157
Umeå Universitet 149
Royal Institute of Art 144
BTH 142
Karlstads Universitet 112
Högskolan i Halmstad 108
Malmö Högskola 87
Umeå University 85
Malmö University 85

Whose friends have posted most on their wall?

Here are the top 10 universities, ranked by the number of posts left on their wall by the people who like the page, in the last 4 months. This is not comments on posts or likes, but just new posts.

Malmö University 153
Umeå Universitet 89
Linköping Universitet 59
Högskolan i Borås 52
Lund University 43 (given that Lund managed to re-appropriate their page, this number will not be accurate now)
Lunds Universitet 41
Malmö Högskola 39
Uppsala Universitet 36
Jonköping University 30
SLU 30

What stands out here is that large numbers of likes do not correlate with increasing numbers of posts from friends. Discussions were, in almost all cases, not particularly active.  6 of the universities I looked at did not allow posts, only comments.

Who has the most pictures?

These are the top 5 universities, whose facebook pages had the most photographs.

Royal Institute of Art 296
Högskolan I Borås 256
Jonköping University 219
Högskola Dalarna 98
Lund University 94

Use of features beyond the default

Who has developed their pages past the basic set up? Umeå’s Swedish page stands out – they have  developed several additional tabs and apps. For example they have an app enabling students to take tests to help them choose their education; they also provide the opportunity for prospective students to pose questions to students studying at Umeå. Umeå are also using the page owners function, clearly showing who are the administrators of the page.

Several of the pages I looked at have installed apps enabling extra features (e.g. twitter, YouTube, contact); but many more only had the standard set of tabs. A minority have enabled Facebook places. A few universities have developed separate landing pages, for example Umeå University.

Can you action any of this? I would suggest a few things:

– Ask yourself why you have a Facebook page? Is it linked in with other campaigns you are running? Are there posts you can make, or changes to the page, which will help you reach your marketing goals? How does the content you post help people?

– Take a look at your insights data, how many people have hidden you from their wall? Maybe that’s a sign that the content you are posting is not of interest, or posted too frequently

– Taking a look at how your page is being promoted  e.g. on page SEO, use of widgets and social plugins etc

Was this useful for you? What other data would be of more interest? Whose pages have I missed? Let me know, thanks.


13 thoughts on “Swedish Universities and Social Media: Facebook

    • Hej Patric – Thanks for that; I’m creating a google spreadsheet which will have a list of all the facebook pages and I’ll include KTH on that. I’ll publish a complete list in a new blog post. I also got a comment on facebook regarding the amount of activity on a university’s ‘main’ page versus the activity on department or programme specific pages – I’ll take a look into that in the future.

  1. What a great post about Universities on Facebook! As one of the admins of the page of Linköpings universitet I can share some thoughts:

    – If you want to keep your likes increasing, be a bit strict with the frequency you post things. If you spam, they´ll either press “hide” or unlike the page
    – Pictures, video clips and student-related news are always a great way to create traffic and interaction, keep it simple is my motto.
    – The content is mostly in sync with ongoing campaigns and we try to link to our main web (the traffic from Facebook to our own web has increased a lot since we started to use Facebook)
    – The page is held open, you don´t have to have a Facebook account to see what we post.
    – We use social plugin to promote Facebook on our own web

    I have written a lot more on the topic in our social media-blog.

    • Hej Anna – Thanks for your comment. Great points there – I agree that adding plugins on your website (particularly on contact pages, for example) is a sure-fire way of increasing engagement with your facebook page. I notice that often people tend to only place them on the homepage but using them on other pages is also a good idea. Given that a % of visitors never visit your homepage so placing plugins on your other, top, landing pages is a good idea. I’ve also observed that periodically tweeting out about the existence of your facebook page is a good way to attract new likes, particularly if your twitter account is growing rapidly.

  2. Hi John. Thanks for an interesting overview of Swedish university Facebook pages. I can’t comment on the data you have for the other universities, but as the editor for Stockholm University’s English Facebook page, I can comment on the data you have for our Facebook page. We used to have posting on the wall, but we found that at least half was spam/advertising, whilst much of the rest was students asking questions of other students, without getting a reply. What we found was that the comments function for the University’s posts allows for plenty of discussion, so for the time being we use that. We get 300-400 comments/new likes each month, depending on activity levels from our side. This may of course change in the future, but any change would require an investment of additional resources.

    We also have a Swedish page, at http://www.facebook.com/stockholmsuniversitet, which is growing in size quite quickly, since we got back on the case. Probably Stockholm University/Stockholms universitet has about 5000 followers in total.

    • Hi Paul – Thanks for that, great to get some insight into your editorial strategy with your page. You’ve hit the nail on the head with regard to resources being the issue – for a page to work well it requires time to be invested. On our page, we’ve got 15 administrators and within that number a hard core of experts on admissions, housing etc, this makes it a bit easier to answer questions quickly but it still requires someone to have an overview of the page.

  3. Umeå loves you ;–)

    Seriously, we have been putting a bit more effort into the page for some six months or so, and it really pays off. But we have also been buying ads to drive traffic to our page, not to get more “likes”, but to show the useful things on our page, such as students and staff answering questions and the tests. We also use it as a landing page for our on going campaign right now.

    The english page did grow faster and had more activity before we started to put more effort into our Swedish page, and I think there is a more natural dialogue on the english page, it seems to be more useful for the guesting students to create a sense of being in a group. But I think we get more and more of this on the Swedish page as well. Over all we are still very satisisfied with our decision to have two different pages.

    / jakob in Umeå

    • Hi Jan, Thanks for the feedback (and I’m glad you said that was an unfair comparison ;-)) That was a great link to the Wikipedia on Campus information – I’d not seen this before. Previously, I’ve seen a few examples of universities using wiki tools, but it never really seems to take off – this seems like a much more interesting, and relevant, way of using wikipedia, and the expertise of the students and staff.

  4. Unfortunately now due to implementation of tuition fees, number of likes might be effected but I hope it would come to same rate of increase in few years.

    Good Luck Swedn

  5. Pingback: Monthly Review: Swedish Universities and Social Media – Facebook « University Usability

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