The Digital Campus

The Digital Campus

What Have Swiss Universities Been up to in the Last Quarter?

Official FB Page BFHFor the second time this year, we have taken an extensive look at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, and iTunes U, and evaluated the presence of Swiss universities on those channels.* Each university can download its detailed report on their private landing page.

As highlighted in the previous blog post, every Swiss university and most of the universities of applied sciences have at least one Twitter account by now. Most are present on Facebook as well, as you can see in this list of official Facebook pages.

We are excited to give you some additional insight into what’s been happening on Facebook and Twitter in this past quarter below. For the first time we have taken a closer look at Facebook posts and evaluated which posts were the most successful in terms of likes, comments, and shares.

Facebook community: Full Speed Ahead for Some

A quick glance at the number of Facebook likes of official pages reveals some impressive developments in the last quarter. Two universities made a huge leap and expanded their fan base significantly.

Likes for official Facebook pages of Swiss universities during the last 4 quarters

HSG multiplied its Facebook likes by eight, and is now totaling 7,600 likes. UNILI, Liechtenstein’s university that is also participating in our program, doubled its follower base to 2,500. These increases were not accidental. Both institutions have taken measures to increase that number in the last quarter. HSG’s social media officer, Katja Wenk, pointed out that while she is definitely very active on the university’s Facebook page and posting regularly, a lot of growth came from targeted Facebook campaigns.

UNILI’s head of communications, Herwig Dämon, also ran Facebook campaigns with paid ads that appeared on pages of selected Facebook users. The ad only showed up on the page of a user who met  a certain demographic criteria and already had a friend who liked the university’s official page. In addition, UNILI ran ads for specific programs that would take users directly to the program’s website.

UNILI also applied other methods to increase the Facebook community:

  • Internal information sessions: Explaining social media activities to the internal audience increases awareness of the channels. Employees can then spread the word beyond the campus. UNILI takes advantage of the employee and student newsletters, banners, and the university’s website to promote its social media channels. This is also a big part of the work day for HSG’s Katja Wenk, who spends a large amount of her time educating university employees, mostly upon their individual requests.
  • Introduction of channels to (new) students: UNILI directs new students to the school’s social media channels with the help of the admissions office and the international relations office. With the new semester starting any day now, it’s an ideal time to promote your school’s social media presence. Check last week’s blog post to learn about 10 ways to engage students during back to school season.
  • Integrated approach: Social media is part of an institution’s overall communications strategy. Using multiple channels when communicating an event, spreading news, or engaging with the audience is key. UNILI has started to do this more often in the last quarter, for example by tweeting about an event, writing a news story about it on the website and featuring posts on Facebook with pictures and soundbites from the happening.

We expect a lot going on for the next quarter, with many new students flooding the universities’ campuses and looking for information and ways to engage with their schools.

Facebook Posts: We Like Visuals

We evaluated every program participant’s Facebook activity in July to find out which posts created the most interest in their community. Generally, posts with a picture got the most attention. Flip through the slideshow below to see the most liked, commented, and shared posts. Can you detect a pattern?


The kind of posts that received the most feedback are very different. In some cases a picture of the campus motivated people to like it, as seen in the case of ZHAW, PHZH, and UNIFR, in other cases interviews with university employees or presidents were liked most, as seen on the pages of UNIGE, UZH, WSL, and FFHS.

Twitter: One Tweet a Day

On average, universities sent 70 tweets in the second quarter of 2012, compared to 56 tweets in the first quarter. This makes an average of 5 tweets per week, about one per working day.

Tweets in Q2 2012

UZH and ZHAW have shown the highest Follower growth on Twitter since the first quarter of 2012. UZH joined Twitter with an English and German account at the end of last year.

Followers of Official Twitter Accounts in Q2 2012

.ETH and EPFL had the biggest reach on Twitter in Q2 2012. Twitter reach is calculated by counting the amount of Twitter users who have potentially seen a tweet that was talking about that university, therefore looking at how far the tweet traveled. We have only taken into account the tweets that include the official Twitter handles.

Quick tip: There are numerous tools out there to show you the potential reach of your tweet. Check tweetreach, Klout, or Traackr to find out how many Twitter users you have reached with your tweet.

Here is an overview of the universities’ official accounts and their Twitter reach for Q2 2012:

Twitter reach of Swiss universities – Q2 2012 (Source: Radian6)


* This also includes numbers for universities of applied sciences. Our research is limited to the institutions participating in the program however. Depending on the structure and nature of the institutions, they either participate as a whole (like BFH or HSLU) or as sub schools (e.g. most of the sub schools of the university of applied sciences in Zurich participate, such as the HWZ or ZHAW).

List of institutions and abbreviations

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