With 955 million active users as of June 2012, Facebook is by far the most used social networking service worldwide. Originally founded by college for students in 2004, it’s only natural for colleges everywhere to widely adopt this tool to actively engage their students, faculty, alumni, and fans. Some Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been slower to adopt than others. The HBCUs that were ahead of the curve have the social proof of thousands of shares, comments, and likes to show for it.
In 2012 some schools still don’t have an official fan page to represent their university. This is a missed opportunity, because when institutions don’t manage their online presence – others will create it for them. This was the case for quite a few schools. Various alumni, fans and others decided to create their own pages for their schools and are ranking high on search engine results. The greatest opportunities for HBCUs on Facebook are in two critical areas. Those areas are 1) attracting prospective students; and 2) fundraising for the universities leveraging Facebook’s fan pages. Here are the top 5 HBCUs with the most engaged users on Facebook (as September 16, 2012).
1. Florida A&M University
Florida A&M currently has the most likes of HBCUs. Other stats include 18,993 visitors, 24,512 photos and 2,043 talking about the page. FAMU joined Facebook on May 7th, 2008. The university didn’t waste any time sharing their latest accomplishments. Posts included monumental ground breaking ceremonies and Famuan Gabrielle McMahan’s semifinalist appearance on the game show, Jeopardy! College Championship.
2. Howard University
Howard has the second most likes of HBCUs. Their stats include 42,652 visitors, 77,017 photos, and 1,499 talking about the page. Howard joined Facebook on July 21st, 2009. The Bisons got off to a good start on Facebook. In their second month, the Howard fan page received 122 likes and 35 comments. This was for a post that mentioned that Howard was ranked as one of the top 100 universities in the country.
3. Alabama State University
Alabama State has the third most likes of HBCUs. Their stats include 6,945 visitors, 19,447 photos, and 2,831talking about the page. ASU joined Facebook on May 9th, 2011. The fact that their fan page is less than two years old – with so many likes, is a testament to the Hornet Nation. One of the many highlights on the timeline is the historical milestones and photos dating back to 1867. This was the year when the university was founded.
4. Jackson State University
Jackson State has the fourth most likes of HBCUs. Their stats include 13,712 visitors, 16,073 photos, and 863 talking about the page. JSU joined Facebook on July 14th, 2008. The Tigers used their Facebook debut to promote campus activities on their website. The highlight included education workshops, fan appreciate day and photos of students participating in the tiger trails treasure hunt.
5. Norfolk State University
Norfolk State rounds out the list of top 5 most HBCUs on Facebook. Their stats include 17,131 visitors, 20,935 photos, and 187 talking about the page. NSU joined Facebook on June 4th, 2009. The Spartans timeline debut announced the groundbreaking ceremony for their state-of-the art library. The next day was followed-up with photos of administrators, local officials, and alumni holding their NSU branded shovels.