Do anything enough times and you’ll form a habit. That’s fantastic for working out or keeping your house clean. When it comes to marketing, though, habitual posting can bring disaster. 

The first step in any successful marketing message is getting the attention of your audience. If your content is bland and repetitive, readers switch off fast. Bringing new ideas to the table is key to keeping your audience engaged and helps drive your message home.

It’s important to remember that, in today’s connected world, your social media reach is no longer limited by the number of followers on your university twitter account. Every member of your university community is a node in your network, from your head of department all the way down to your newest freshers. Social media has given everyone an equal voice; each of them forms a part of your university brand. 

That’s why your social media strategy is no longer simply about what YOU post. It’s about giving your community the tools they need to leverage an audience and create great brand conversations. That means your team needs more creative ideas and more ways to engage.

But have no fear. The Brand Education is here to help. This post features examples of real social media ideas that are helping to build university brands. 

Join the conversation

The world is facing global challenges that are reshaping our era. In times like these, we need the wisdom and guidance of learned peers. Teach your teams how to engage responsibly with hot-button topics and share their insights to the benefit of everyone. James Donaldson over at Cardiff and Vale Colleges does remarkably well by leading the conversation about additional learning needs.

Host a quiz

People love a good puzzle! In fact, it’s one of the most engaging content types you could create. Competitions and quizzes are especially effective for the higher education audience who love to flex their mental muscles. Show your team how they can create engaging content pieces that entertain as well as broaden your brand. Our favourite example of this is the University of Leicester’s Vikas Shah who created fantastic quizzes around his radiology department.


All around us, there are conversations happening about every conceivable topic. Podcasts, vlogs, Twitter chats and more are being hosted every day by interested people. They’re all opportunities for your academic staff to broaden their reach and show the great work they’ve been doing. Create a strategy for collaboration across your university that will help to raise your profile project-by-project. Anshi Singh at Reading College is a prolific collaborator that’s building the research reputation of her brand.

Bring it into the classroom

Building a link between the classroom and social media is a great way to maximise your reach and generate more exposure. In-class pop quizzes, suggestions, questions and ideas can all be tweeted directly to your account by students who choose to participate. This gives your account more visibility and provides the foundation for some interesting conversations. Build a framework for classroom interaction that your academic teams can run with. Glenn Hurst does a great job of this over at The University of York. 

Create a mascot

This is a fun one and not necessarily right for every brand. However, the power of creating an iconic character to symbolise your brand is enormous. Just look at Japan’s Kumamon – the unassuming bear that became a global phenomenon and generated over £897,000,000 in revenue for the region. You can do this on a much smaller scale – even departments or teams can have their own mascot. Not convinced it will work for higher ed? Meet Pablo the Penguin from the University of Portsmouth’s Library Service. I think it’s safe to say he’s the cutest star on this list.

These fantastic examples are all winners of the JISC Social Media superstars competition. For more inspiration, check out their great posts here.