‘U.S. News & World Report’ Backs Best Colleges Rankings with Facebook’s Interest Targeting

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USNewsAndWorldReportBannerU.S. News & World Report used Facebook’s interest targeting tool for publishers to help promote its annual Best Colleges rankings to the appropriate Facebook users.

Facebook strategic partner manager, news Meghan Peters said in a Facebook Media blog post that U.S. News & World Report social media editor Lauren Boyer used interest targeting to focus on Facebook users who had expressed interest in the top five schools on each ranking list.

According to Peters, the U.S. News post about the 10 best public universities tallied nearly 80 times the engagement of an average post on the page.

The U.S. News lists were originally published last Sept. 9, prior to the availability of interest targeting for publishers, and while the posts set the publication’s referral records, most traffic was coming from universities’ pages sharing the results, and not from the U.S. News page itself.

Peters wrote that when Boyer published the rankings again on Facebook during the week of Jan. 5 through 11, all traffic came from the U.S. News page, resulting in a 412 percent week-over-week traffic increase to the site’s education vertical and a doubling of Facebook likes.

U.S. News will apply a similar strategy to its upcoming rankings, including best graduate schools and best hospitals.

U.S. News vice president of data and information strategy Stephanie Salmon said in the blog post:

For all publishers, you want to get in front of the audience where your content really resonates. Interest targeting has been a really good tool for that. The concept that you target something to a few hundred or a few thousand people, and then it gets shared with magnitudes more than that, really speaks to the value of audience development.

Boyer added:

This is the most engaging content we have — it should be interesting to people beyond the week it publishes.

People in the comments were saying they didn’t know their school was best for fraternities.

I can’t emphasize enough what a great audience development tool Facebook has created with interest-based and other targeting. It has opened up all kinds of opportunities for us to reach the right audience with the right content — content that would otherwise meet deaf ears when posted to a general audience.

Post by U.S. News and World Report.

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Colleges That Take Social to the Next Level

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Social media is becoming more and more pervasive in our modern culture.

Almost everyone is now able to connect and share with others in the digital realm and universities are picking up on this trend and using it to help students and alumni alike connect and grow.

Here are some examples of the universities that are making the most of social media in order to achieve their goals and grow their communities.

1. Harvard

Harvard Twitter

Harvard is one of the most well-known and iconic universities in the United States and is using social media to maintain its position in the minds of people around the world.

With more than 1.6 million fans on Facebook and 107,000 followers on Twitter (@Harvard) they have one of the broadest virtual reaches of all American universities. They are using the network to help connect students as well as reach out to prospective students.

With their reputation for being one of the most selective universities in the world they are able to draw in the best and brightest new recruits who get most of their information through the internet, including the use of social media.

2. Notre Dame

Notre Dame is going above and beyond to help their current and former students with the use of social media.

Their focus is on the trying time post-graduation where many students are struggling to find jobs and make the transition into adult life. The university has decided to use social media to help students in this area.

They have created a private LinkedIn group for alumni in order to help students connect with those that are already employed and well settled in the world of business. This enables students to make connections which can help them find a position that will be the right fit for them in the long run.

3. College of St. Rose

College of St. Rose Instagram


The College of St. Rose is focusing their social media efforts on reaching out to prospective students and helping them feel comfortable with the transition into college life.

They are using Instagram in order to share an idea of what the campus culture is like. They update with pictures of major campus events so that prospective students can feel as though they know what they are getting into when they are accepted to the school in the fall.

This enables new students to start out with the comfort that will allow them to fully focus on their studies right out of the gates.

4. University of New Hampshire

The University of New Hampshire is using social media to help increase the connections between current students.

More and more students rely on social media for their social interaction and so the university is working to share student’s experiences. This is aimed at helping students connect in a deeper and more genuine way and understand that there are many other students attending the university who share their interests and experiences.

By working to connect students through social media the University of New Hampshire is creating a tighter knit community on and off campus.

5. UMASS Amherst

UMass Amherst Alumni Association

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst focuses their social media campaigns on staying connected with alumni once they have left the walls of the university. Some have said that the days of the class reunion are over and that social media is the main way to stay connected with the people that were met in the college years.

UMASS Amherst is looking to help alumni reconnect using social media by sharing life and career achievements of former students. This can help alumni connect with those that are working in the same field or living in the same city.

By creating a more connected alumni community they are able to better serve their current students who will one day go on to join that community.

There are many advantages available to universities who are looking to create a social media campaign similar to those just described.

By reaching out and connecting with prospective, current, and past students alike, a closer community can be created where ideas and shared experiences can be helpful for those involved.

There are many other forms of social media that can be used by universities with a bit of imagination and ingenuity.

About The Author

Thomas Verdone is an author who covers a wide range of topics, including Finance, Fitness, Personal Development, and getting an online business degree.

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