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#RU online? Ryerson definitely is

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By Michelle-Andrea Girouard

Ryerson is making a big mark – online at least. Through hashtags and Facebook likes, the university has one of the largest social media presences amongst Canadian universities.

In a recent study by MediaMiser, a media analytics and monitoring company, Ryerson was ranked third amongst Canadian universities for social media influence. The university’s official Facebook account has over 26,000 likes. Ryerson ranked second for having the most retweets (1,000) of the tweets from the university’s official account. Western University’s official Twitter account has the highest amount of followers at over 30,000, while Ryerson’s has just over 23,000.

The university’s official Twitter account, @RyersonU, has been active since 2009. It’s run by the communications, government and community engagement department at Ryerson. Bruce Piercey, the director for this department, says that the account is run by staff and students and focuses on the Ryerson community’s achievements.

“Our strategy is to engage our followers… about Ryerson’s success of its students, faculty and staff and any new developments at Ryerson,” Piercey said.

MediaMiser tracked the university’s official Facebook and Twitter mentions between Oct. 10, 2013 and Jan. 15, 2014 and compared them to other universities across Canada. York University has roughly 26,000 followers on Twitter, the same as Ryerson, even though it has a larger student population.

So what does Ryerson do better to get such results? Julia Hanigsberg, vice-president of administration and finance, says she tweets to interact with and reach out to the Ryerson community.

She’s been active on Twitter since 2010 and has over 12,000 tweets.

“I tweet a lot of Ryerson news, about diversity and city-building,” Hanigsberg said. “I often make first contact with students through my feed and get great response from students.”

Hanigsberg also likes to tweet at incoming students who tweet news of their Ryerson acceptance letters.

Betty Wondimu, the digital strategist with Ryerson student life, says that she tweets to inform and engage students with events and news on campus.

“Social media is a powerful tool for promotion and reach and allows people to interact with the news before it happens,” Wondimu said.

Ryerson has over 50 affiliated accounts on Twitter and Facebook where staff post content and engage with students and users regarding course content and campus news.

This has created an online community where different Ryerson accounts retweet and share information for other Ryerson related accounts.

“We [@RyersonU] do get regular requests from our colleagues to share information,” Piercey said.

This amplifies the university’s reach to the general public online.

According to the study, @RyersonU’s retweets reach over 900,000 users.

Ryerson’s focus on its online presence has been successful so far and has now set a benchmark in the Twitterverse for Canadian universities to follow.

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