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How Stanford and Wharton Rule Business School on Twitter

Stanford Business School and Wharton Business School each bring their own strengths to Twitter, standing out among some of their top competitors, Harvard Business School and Kellogg Business School.

twitter business school

An initial glance at how Stanford Business School and Wharton set themselves apart on Twitter — Stanford by engagement, followers, and potential impressions, and Wharton by tweet volume, number of responses to follower queries, and clicks — whetted my curiosity.

Which specific tactics are these business schools using to stay on top in such a competitive environment?

Content That Appeals to More than Alumni

This is the first rule of being a thought leader in your space, social or otherwise: don’t just appeal to your “customer.” In Stanford Business’s case, the “customer” is the school’s alumni core.

How Stanford and Wharton Rule Business School on Twitter

While no brand should ignore or alienate its biggest fans, those who have already invested in their product, it is vital for business schools to create social content which will rope in future MBA candidates and increase brand awareness.

How does Stanford do this? By publishing engaging, cutting-edge content on its website, and linking to that content frequently.

During the analyzed time period (9/9/15-9/29/15), 100% of the most engaging tweets between Harvard, Kellogg, Wharton, and Stanford were all from Stanford.

stanford top ten

All of them came from posts which either quoted an article they linked to on Stanford’s site or simply included the title.

By spreading word of their website content with universally compelling quotes like, “You only have one life to live, and you should take ownership. You should always keep your own compass” and titles like “How to present a new idea to a tough crowd.”

Responding Often

Wharton uses Twitter cards to tout the online courses it offers and let followers know about deadlines.

This in itself is not unusual. A lot of schools do this. What’s really notable is volume of Wharton’s tweets, and the number of replies they sent in relationship to their competitors.

twitter comparison brand tweets

Wharton sent almost double the number of tweets that Stanford and Kellogg did, many of those responses to questions that their brand tweets inspired.

By keeping this dialogue going , Wharton increased engagement and was able to answer questions to encourage greater enrollment in their online courses.

Twitter Card and the Power of Clicking Through

Wharton is making frequent use of Twitter cards with “Enroll Now” buttons.

This type of tweet stands out on people’s timelines. The “Enroll Now” button takes Twitter users directly through to the course sign-up page, which encourages sign-ups by limiting the amount of steps people have to take between clicking through and signing up.

Another piece of click-through encouragement has come in the form of Wharton’s masterful use of links.

Tracking Twitter movement from the social network to the desired site target is incredibly easy with links, and this data shows us how successful Wharton’s significant number of brand tweets have been at directing Twitter users towards their site.

clicks on sent tweets

While Wharton’s total engagements (mentions, replies, retweets, and favorites) is lower than its competitors, its web conversions are incredibly robust.

Key Takeaways

1. Look at your social next to your competitors’ Avoid confusion and understand the full picture by studying your competitors’ activities and your own social activities side-by-side. You’ll gain invaluable insight that you miss when you just peep at each set of data individually.

2. Sometimes it pays to be plain. Especially if you’re targeting businesses or businesspeople, you don’t always need to include a lot of bells and whistles in your social content. Experiment by linking to content with straightforward text in tweets, like the title of the content or a quote from within the content.

3. Target future customersPut the time and effort into positioning yourself as a thought leader with people who might not have you on their radar yet.

4. Respond oftenDon’t expect your content to do all the work for you — social users will be more inclined to engage again (and click-through) if your brand responds. No one wants to feel like they’re screaming into the void.

5. Know your goals. You might not win engagement compared to your competitors, but are your web conversions through the roof? Make sure you’re prioritizing what’s most important to your brand.

How will you implement Stanford and Wharton’s  lessons in your own strategy? Let us know in the comments below, and download our Twitter manual to learn more about best practices on the network.

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Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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