They are the cream of the academic crop - but the social media skills of Britain’s top universities are trailing behind their less prestigious rivals, a new league table has revealed.
The unipod guide, which ranks universities according to their presence on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, shows how those with lower scores in traditional league tables are outperforming red brick universities across Britain.
Though Oxford and Cambridge topped the rankings in first and second place, the University of Salford and former polytechnic Oxford Brookes ranked fourth and fifth, beating the likes of Warwick, Durham and St Andrews.
Oxford University was a clear winner with more than one million “Likes” on its Facebook page, 85,000 followers on Twitter and 15,000 subscribers to its Youtube channel. Cambridge’s half a million Facebook fans left it in second place, while LSE came third with 90,000.
The University of Salford, which ranked 85th in the Guardian’s 2014 league table, boasts over 110,000 Facebook likes and nearly 20,000 Twitter followers while Oxford Brookes, ranked 35th in the Guardian, has more than 70,000 Facebook likes and a Twitter following of 13,000.
Chris Larkin, University of Salford’s Director of Communications, said: “Engaging students across those platforms which today form an integral part of their daily lives is an essential part of any marketing, recruitment and brand strategy.”
But Durham University and the University of Warwick weighed in with only 7,523 likes and 1,165 YouTube subscribers respectively while St Andrews - 4th in the Guardian’s league table - ranked 83rd with fewer than 4,300 likes.
The least social media-savvy of them all was University College Birmingham in 128th place with 2,902 likes, 815 followers on Twitter and zero subscribers to its Youtube channel.
The study also took student population into account. In spite of its 40,000-strong campus Manchester University ranked 117th while the University of Buckingham, which contains fewer than 2,000 students, ranked 33rd.
It is not the first time a university league table has produced unusual results. In 2012 a Student Beans study revealed the worst universities for stealing library books, with Bucks New University making the top spot after over 30,000 books “went missing.”
And earlier this year a “Sex League” survey unveiled Roehampton as Britain’s most promiscuous university, with students having on average six sexual partners, while the University of Salford came last with 1.35 sexual partners per student.
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