10 Higher Ed Social Media Accounts to Follow

These 10 schools are creating high-quality, engaging, and authentic content for a wide variety of audiences on social media.

By: Ryan Schwartz

The higher ed social media landscape changes constantly, with new cultural trends and new platform capabilities emerging all the time. Some colleges and universities always seem ahead of the curve, plying these shifts to their advantage to reach their many varied audiences.

We found 10 schools that do this especially well and are great to follow on social media for inspiration. Why are these schools deserving of mention, what makes these accounts different, and why should you follow them? Read on to find out.

All-Around Content

When looking at colleges on social media, it’s easy to put all of your eggs into one basket and put all of your focus on one or two primary social media platforms. Arizona State University and Stanford University stand out because they engage phenomenally well with all social media platforms.

1. Arizona State University – All-Around

Arizona State University does things a little differently with up-to-date and razor-sharp posts on a variety of platforms. Digging deeper, ASU balances the trendiness of Tik Tok and the platform’s wheelhouse of viral and eye-catching videos for a younger audience of students and prospective students while showcasing academic success and notable school achievements (such as being US News’ No.1 college in the US for innovation) on places such as Linkedin. 

All of their social media platforms, from Twitter and Linkedin to Instagram and Tik Tok, are in lockstep and regularly updated. ASU’s social media is good for marketing to prospective students and parents, but it is  utilized by current students and alumni alike. ASU’s social media accounts are easily accessible on the college’s “Education Outreach and Student Services” page.

ASU’s Instagram account is noteworthy, boasting an engagement rate of nearly 3% (not too shabby for an account with more than 164,000 followers). It’s difficult to find college social media accounts that genuinely give you a feel for student life and culture like Arizona State does. The college successfully communicates a  brand and vibe through Instagram posts, such as honoring Arizona Statehood Day and showcasing the 40 ASU special management program students who volunteered to work at Super Bowl 57

Read also: 10 Great Higher Ed Marketing Campaigns

Amidst the mixture of social media posts regarding academic resources for students, school recognitions and digestible videos regarding campus culture and student life is the catchall hashtag of all of ASU’s social media accounts: #GoDevils. There’s certainly no lack of school spirit coming from the Sun Devils.

2. Stanford University – All-Around

Stanford University has a few things that give them the ability to have such an impressive rap sheet on social media: a long list of interesting alumni, a campus located in the beautiful Northern California hills and an endless catalog of interesting faculty and student research to write about. 

Along with interesting posts regarding campus life and student interviews, Stanford University is making a heavy push for the Doerr School of Sustainability.  The university loads its primary accounts on Instagram and Twitter with interesting articles and podcasts regarding up-to-date research (be sure to check out the article on “Zombie Forests”) and school-led initiatives. Not only does Stanford produce online content for its more than one million followers on Instagram, but the school also has a social media lab where you can check out interesting articles and research topics on the effects of social media. 

Beyond being a news source for faculty research and student interviews, Stanford finds creative ways to sneak helpful student information into their feeds, such as a recent post regarding tips on how to flourish at Stanford University. The college also makes no bones about the availability of resources for students to reach out to if they feel overwhelmed or stuck when settling into college life. 

It’s the interesting and thoughtful posts through a variety of platforms, the marketing of its vast availability of on-campus resources for students and the high level of outreach and interactivity that gives Stanford University the merit of being one of the best schools to follow on any platform. 


With the versatility and popularity of Instagram, it is not surprising that higher ed institutions have followed their audiences to the social media platform. Colorado State University and the University of Iowa have elevated their content to appeal to prospective and current students. Unsurprisingly, these two institutions have embraced student creators on their platforms to ensure consistent brand marketing and relevant and trendy content. 

3. Colorado State University – Instagram

Colorado State is active on a plethora of platforms including Tik Tok, Twitter and Youtube. However, CSU’s magnum opus for social media is certainly its Instagram account, boasting an engagement rate of 3.65% and more than 111,000 followers.

Read also: 5 Things Every Social Media Manager Has to Stay On Top Of

Colorado State is based in the beautiful town of Fort Collins. The institution uses its location to the best advantage and loads the feed with picturesque mountaintops and stunning landscapes right from its backyard. If your campus has abundant access to nature and cool views close to campus, take a page out of Colorado State’s book and use that to your advantage. This can be a massive attractor for prospective students and can increase overall activity on your college’s pages. 

Another tip we can get from CSU is to show your school spirit! Cam the Ram, CSU’s mascot, is all over the college’s Instagram account. Don’t be afraid to trickle in some lighthearted rah-rah amidst some of your more informative posts or campus shots to get current students and alumni excited to be part of your college’s network. 


4. University of Iowa – Instagram

Sure, we’re highlighting Iowa’s Instagram account, but to give credit where credit is due, the University of Iowa has one of the best online social media presences in higher education—another institution that uses student content creators. According to the 2022 Higher Education Social Media Engagement Report, Iowa ranks first on Facebook, third on Instagram and eighth on Twitter. 

Digging deeper into Iowa’s Instagram account, the profile boasts a 10% engagement rate among its 114,000 followers. Iowa’s Instagram profile has all the trademarks of a trendy college Instagram account: scenic shots of the areas surrounding the college, beautiful campus photos and on-campus events such as the recent UI Dance Marathon, which raised more than $1.17 million for pediatric cancer patients. 

However, UI has something that separates it from any other college on social media: the Hawkeye Wave. Starting in 2017, the Hawkeye Wave is a tradition where, at the end of the first quarter, every person in the crowd of the Hawkeye’s home football games turns to the UI Children’s Hospitals, which overlooks the stadium, to wave to patients. One of the most heartwarming traditions in college football, The Wave is also a knockout for Instagram presence with nearly a 20% engagement rate. School spirit with a good cause, it’s a win-win. 


Next up is the fastest-growing and currently most-controversial platform: TikTok. With widespread popularity among Gen Z, it is unsurprising that the platform has become a go-to tool for higher-ed social media managers. Although a recent push to ban the platform from state-owned devices has spread across the United States, Tik Tok continues to be a source of creative content.

Read also: How Clemson University Uses TikTok

5. Louisiana State University – TikTok

We can learn a lot from LSU’s Tik Tok feed. Louisiana State is constantly posting and keeping its stream relevant and refreshed for its fan base of nearly 576,000 followers. Boasting a by-view engagement rate of 20.9%, LSU offers a variety of themes for each video. Interviews with professors, relevant campus life trends and picturesque campus tours can be found across LSU’s feed. 

However, the one factor that sets LSU’s feed apart from others is the sports posts. If you randomly choose five out of the seemingly hundreds of posts throughout the years, you’re almost guaranteed to have videos capturing LSU’s jam-packed football stadium, rowdy student section during basketball games or commending the institution’s long list of sports alumni from Shaquille O’Neal to Pete Maravich.

 If you want to increase your school’s social media presence, these extracurriculars are a sure thing, especially for colleges with large sports programs. 

@lsu Three LSU greats were selected for the @NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time! #NBA #lsu #college #nba75 #basketball ♬ sonido original – xlexis

6. Boston University – TikTok

Many colleges utilize social media accounts, especially on TikTok, for the mascot to do trendy dances and show off their campuses with library tours. There’s nothing against this content, but Boston University’s TikTok has become a recruiting opportunity for incoming classes. 

BU may not have the highest follower count among the other colleges on this list, hovering at a respectable 9,000 followers, but it is a goldmine for students beginning to dip their feet into the college world. Many of the university’s videos feature “Day in the Life” content for a variety of different majors offered by the university, such as the video “What to bring to BU and what to leave at home” outlining a fun and creative way to inform incoming freshman of what should be on their dorm checklists for move-in day. 

However, the best of Boston University’s content isn’t even on the main TikTok account. Boston University also has an official TikTok for undergraduate admissions (@applytobostonu) that is loaded with informative and interesting videos for prospective students, such as information regarding admission decision dates, application due dates and financial aid information. To wrap it all up, located right in the bio of the account is a link to Boston University’s official pages for student life, application FAQs and merit scholarship information. 

Boston University is a shining example of a school that does the absolute most with social media outreach. 

@bostonu A day in the life of @buquestrom student and @budanceteam member @_laurabroad! #bostonu #bostonuniversity #dayinmylife #bostonuniv #terriercreator ♬ original sound – Boston University


Regardless of Twitter’s recent hoopla, plenty of higher ed institutions continue to use the platform for promotion and visibility. Texas A&M University and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville are just two of many that showcase their faculty, research and more through Twitter.

7. Texas A&M University – Twitter

One of my favorite aspects of Twitter is that it gives followers the easiest way to have their finger on the pulse for academic updates, campus life and the occasional funny post that can only be found on this social media platform. 

Texas A&M knows what the university’s more than 310,000 followers are looking for and follows this concept to a tee. By having the ability to cover all sorts of bases on Twitter, A&M provides a true taste and feel for the college’s proud and peppy culture through exciting sports updates and by marketing various volunteer initiatives. 

A&M also uses Twitter as a pipeline to other college resources and pages. One post that champions this concept, in particular, is a recent tweet regarding A&M alumnus Kevin Phillip Rogers, the first black drum major in the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band. Without A&M’s Twitter account, I never would have discovered this article on the Texas A&M Foundation website and its moving tribute to such an important individual in the university’s history. 

Despite not being an alumnus of this college, I felt immense happiness and admiration as I read this article. If you’re looking to spice up your own college’s Twitter presence, Texas A&M University is a leading example for inspiration.

8. University of Tennessee, Knoxville – Twitter

Just like Texas A&M, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville utilizes the same strategy of piping in other school resources from posts on its main Twitter channel. Don’t get me wrong, UTK’s feed is loaded with interesting tidbits about sports, school history and interesting research that occurs on campus, but the real gold that earns Tennessee a spot on this list is how it presents this to the audience. 

Tennessee’s follower base is one of Twitter’s largest for a university. Consisting of more than 157,000 followers, Tennessee’s Twitter staff uses the massive audience base to present information from other UTK sources and niche Twitter accounts. Posts from accounts such as UTK Student Life, Tennessee Athletics and UT Knoxville Alumni are usually just as ubiquitous as tweets from Tennessee’s main account

This strategy offers a great pipeline for individuals, whether they be alumni or prospective students, to access the resources they may find useful more efficiently. Through effective marketing of all the Twitter accounts, Tennessee can find greater success in alumni outreach, school spirit and general social involvement. 

This strategy is certainly one for the books and can be a great tool if you’re interested in shining a bigger light onto the more niche academic departments or engagement offices of your institution.


What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “YouTube”? Most of you probably thought of cat videos, trendy dances or Harry Styles’ recently released song. However, YouTube can be the most powerful social media platform on which colleges can flex their academic achievements and campus cultures.

9. Massachusetts Institute of Technology – YouTube

MIT has perfected the use of YouTube and utilizes it by flooding its videos with educational lectures and the latest research done by students and faculty. More importantly, MIT uploads a variety of interesting lectures taken right from the classrooms, making these accessible to anybody with a laptop and internet connection. 

Of course, MIT doesn’t only use its YouTube channel, which boasts an impressive 800,000 subscribers, for talking about academics. Some of the most viewed videos on the university’s channel touch on topics such as student life and campus tours, while showing off a variety of recreational clubs the college has available for students.

One of my favorite videos on the channel is a recorded activity during which MIT’s Architecture Program celebrated the winter holidays by taking traditional gingerbread houses and reconstructing them into newer, more modern designs. 

There’s certainly no lack of creativity on this college’s YouTube page; take notes, people.

10. New York University – YouTube

If MIT’s channel is the YouTube equivalent of The New Yorker, then NYU’s channel is Esquire Magazine. With interesting and informative long-form lectures and podcasts featuring professors and interesting guests, NYU’s got you covered. However, just like the deli-style black and white cookies for which NYC is famous, the school has just as many grabby, digestible and binge-worthy posts to match the more informative ones. 

The channel’s unique “Violet Spotlight ” videos could easily inspire other colleges. In these, students from a variety of backgrounds and majors answer deep questions such as “what are you most proud of at NYU,” as well as light-hearted questions such as their go-to bagel orders. These sorts of fun and interesting interviews give viewers and potential students a taste of what they may expect from an NYU education and provide a feel for the campus culture and how ingrained it is with New York City as a whole. 

Just like with NYU, this approach to your college’s YouTube channel is especially good if your campus is large and decentralized. You can still demonstrate that there is a unifying campus culture and how it connects with the surrounding environment or location. 

As you can see from the examples above, there are more than a few ways to find creativity and stay active on the ever-growing number of social media platforms. Hopefully, one of these lights a spark in you to explore the ways you can implement similar initiatives and motives for your institution. Now get out there, and don’t forget your phone!

Ryan Schwartz

Ryan Schwartz


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