What is the Most Supported University of 2012?
We’ll find out on 31st March. That is once thousands of students have made their votes, voiced their support and actively promoted their universities using the power of social media. At a time when our university system is being revolutionised, the aim is to rekindle positive sentiment towards British universities by encouraging community spirit.
After a successful first round in early 2011, the viral Facebook competition University Face Off is already off to a flying start for 2012. Backed by organisations including The Complete University Guide and Vodafone and with a chance for students to win a yet-to-be released Apple iPad 3, word is spreading fast this year. Within the first few days, thousands of students had already taken part, with many student unions and universities also seizing the opportunity to foster support from their current students.
The concept is simple:
Take 150 universities. Add a few million students active on Facebook. Create an exciting and engaging social media competition for students across UKto interact and support their universities. Host it within an online environment that is both familiar and addictive to the players. Incentivise participation with big prizes. Call it University Face Off.
To boost their university up the Leaderboard, players gain points by liking, commenting and tagging themselves on their university’s logo within the Facebook Page. Bonus points are also awarded for players supporting their university beyond Facebook. After 10 weeks, prizes will be presented to three students from the top three universities.
Recent statistics show that 90% of 16-24 year-olds in the UK regularly use Facebook. Combined with a prize-winning competition and the opportunity to earn bragging rights over rival universities, University Face Off is a winning platform.
The competition is the brainchild of Grip Media, a team of Manchester graduates who also run the UK’s largest student money website SaveTheStudent.org. Lead developer Owen Burek said:
“Status and size no longer matter; this project is all about the community. Students often say that university is as much about the social aspect as academic achievements. So let’s provide a new way of ranking universities in a completely social way.”
The team continue to improve the platform by listening to player feedback. Now in its second year and with a fast growing following, the next 10 weeks are set to be exciting for everyone involved.
Social media is quickly becoming a key component of university efforts to appeal to their audiences. Thanks to the ‘UFO’ platform, all universities have the opportunity to raise their profile in a new and engaging way.
Whilst many universities are dabbling in the likes of Facebook and Twitter, there is still a huge untapped potential. A strong presence on social media platforms can be extremely powerful when combined with a wider marketing campaign to prospective students. Competing in the University Face Off has already proven effective in providing free and wide-reaching recognition for many British universities.
Still, there is still an obvious lag in university led efforts. This may prove to be significant as the education system becomes increasingly market-led.
Visit the live Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/universityfaceoff