Institutions such as the Ohio State University and the University of Texas—schools with large enrollments and prominent athletic programs—were among the top 10 most notable universities on Facebook. Schools that can use "sports and events that people are excited about" can nurture growth in a Facebook community, says Jaindl of Buddy Media.
"People on Facebook want to share content that makes their friends perceive them in a certain way." Hence, many Facebook users share content about their favorite college sports teams. It gives users a reason to connect with other fans and also provides them with a sense of community—the ultimate goal of not just universities, but all brands, on Facebook.
[Learn whether your Facebook posts could lead to college rejections.]
While having large fan bases and engaged communities on Facebook can increase a university's exposure, does this influence prospective students during their college search? The jury may still be out, according to Katherine Cohen, CEO and founder of admissions consulting company IvyWise. "The [Facebook] pages provide a way for schools to reach a student where they are," says Cohen. "And they also allow students to feel connected to the schools, which can increase applications and the number of enrolled students."
Although no concrete statistics have been unearthed about a student's decision being influenced by a college's social media strategy, some believe it to be true. "I guarantee a university that rocked it out [on social media] today would get kids to go to that school," says Vaynerchuk. "The colleges that understand how to create an environment where they're engaging with high school juniors and seniors are going to win. I firmly believe that."
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