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The University Social League Table


The University Social League Table

Uni Shoots are a team of recent university graduates who set out to investigate how universities market themselves on their social media platforms. The aim? To discover if there is any link between a university’s academic performance and social media following. Their report, The University Social League Table, makes for some very interesting findings.

Analysis found a loose correlation between the top universities on the Guardian League table and the size of their social media following. The University of Oxford very much dominates in both cases. That being said, it is also evident that the competition is fierce and those universities lower down on the league table put up a good fight when it comes to social media engagement.

Uni Shoots also took into account universities’ activity on YouTube and found unmistakable correlation between academic ranking and highly active YouTube channels; leading the way with the highest amount of subscribers is The University of Cambridge. However, many of the lower ranking universities outrank the Russell Group ‘top dogs’, South Wales University being a prime example. The University of Essex also has an impressive following being in the top 20. Indeed, with a growing number of students using YouTube to investigate universities prior to application, (be it halls, the campus, or sample lectures) video is an increasingly vital means by which universities must work to attract applicants; communication managers constantly need to be innovative, not only up to date but at the forefront of promoting their university online. No matter how good academic performance is, a uni can’t afford to slack when it comes to their YouTube Channel. 

Uni Shoots maintain that the key to dominating the social media world is activity- not necessarily constantly producing new content, but picking up on the current trends amongst students, deciphering what’s relevant and sharing routinely to maintain an active online presence.

I spoke exclusively with Ross Lindgren from Uni Shoots. Ross graduated from King’s College five years ago and has been involved in the Film industry ever since. He has produced videos for the likes of Apple, Samsung and Rag and Bone Man. He explained how himself and a team of colleagues noticed a gap in the market; universities misunderstanding social media. And so along came the formation Uni Shoots, with the unique target of investigating universities’ relationship with social media. Ross explained: ‘‘We started to research universities and their social media presence according to The Guardian League Table. It was a long process but one that threw up many surprises.’’

‘‘We fully expected a university’s social media ranking to correspond to its academic performance, but in more than one instance this was not the case. We had a handful of surprises, particularly amongst the slightly lower ranking universities whose success on social media far outranked their Russell Group competition. The University of Essex, for instance, popped up a number of times.’’

Clearly, when it comes to a university engaging with students, brand strength in itself cannot be relied upon. Yes, this may be the case for Oxbridge, but not necessarily when it comes to the Russell Group universities. Uni Shoots have received amazing feedback from The University Social League Table and look forward to going on and working further in the Educational Sector. Uni Shoots are currently doing further research with The University of Oxford and investigating how YouTube and Instagram stories can be further utilised. On behalf of Uni Shoots, Ross extended an invitation to converse with anyone who may be interested in working with the company and all contact details can be found at

What’s your university’s social media presence like? Do you think your uni does enough to engage students both perspective, current and alumnus? Let us know your thoughts by getting in touch with us in the comments!

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