Social media is arguably a channel used for branding. With every tweet or post there is a perfect little squared logo right beside it. If you see a logo enough times it may just prompt you to read further or, stop following. Boston College has two distinct logos; the official seal logo and the athletic logo. The official seal calls back to Boston College’s historical academic tradition. This logo is intended to resonate with the University’s overarching mission. The athletic logo is italicized and conveys a certain energy that is synonymous with athletics. If you compare the social media accounts of Boston College and Boston College Athletics you’ll find that the ratio of tweets per followers is higher with the athletics account versus the BC main account. The BC main account boasts more followers which makes perfect sense. What is interesting is that the number of tweets between the two accounts isn’t all that different; 17.5K (athletics) vs 19.4K (academic). The athletic logo, though appearing to a smaller audience has almost been presented just as many times as the official seal.
BC’s (www.bc.edu) Alexa rank (US) is 3643 and http://www.bceagles.com is (US) 30,161. Clearly, there is more traffic on BC’s main site, but what is interesting is that you rarely see the official seal of the college on the site’s pages. Instead, you’ll notice the ‘Boston College’ scala font on the header. In contrast, the BC Eagles website shows their logo front and center. Though the numbers play in favor of the University as a whole generating more exposure in comparison to its athletic department, both entities use the logo in very different ways. If we conduct a Google image search on simply ‘Boston College logo’ you’ll notice that the athletic logo greatly outnumbers the official seal.
What does this tell us about the two entities? I’m not entirely sure if there is a strategy in place to be reserved with the official seal in regards to branding, I would say that it would be interesting to find out which logo students feel is more recognized in comparison to what outsiders feel the official BC logo is. I can attest to thinking that the athletic logo was the official brand/logo of Boston College, it was only till I started working at Boston College when I realized that the seal was in fact the official logo. I wondered how other schools presented their logos. I did a Google search for Harvard logos and noticed that the Harvard seal did in fact come up more frequently in search results.
I also noticed that the Harvard athletic logo didn’t nearly have the same energy as the Boston College logo, it didn’t look nearly as athletic, in fact, it looked almost like the same “H” that was used on Harvard’s seal. Also interesting to note is the Harvard Athletics Twitter account tweets twice as much as BC, but does not have as many followers, 14.5K compared to 17.4K. Harvard’s main Twitter account has whopping a 538K followers. What does all this mean? I can only make assumptions and my assumptions might be obvious to most. I gather that different institutions play to their strengths in regards to their strategy in leveraging social media. It goes without saying that the Boston College athletic program is among the best programs in the east coast, and the football program is nationally recognized as a top contender in the Division 1 NCAA ACC. Harvard’s world wide appeal as one of the best universities clearly explains the 538K followers. While their athletic program is strong, it doesn’t draw the same crowds for a football game as Boston College does. In conclusion, I think it is fair to assume that there is a strategy involved in communicating visual information and a strategy in disseminating that visual information. The two strategies that are behind creation and dissemination should arguably go hand in hand. As a result, analysis of social media accounts can certainly give you insight to the strengths of an institution or business.