The University of Auburn Athletics Department released an interesting survey yesterday in identifying which school’s had the greatest number of followers on social media sites Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Not surprisingly, each list could easily be confused for a top 25 football media poll (well, except for KU and Penn State – KU because the Jayhawks do not belong on any top 25 football list, and Penn State because the Nittany Lions shouldn’t be eligible to be ranked). While K-State does not rank among the top 25 in fans on Facebook or Youtube subcribers, it is number 20 in Twitter followers.
With 32,236 followers of @kstatesports on Twitter, there are a large number of fans out there getting their K-State news 144 characters at a time. And with 2,704 subscribers on Youtube, the school trails #25 Vanderbilt by 100 people. However, the school has a vastly inferior tally of Facebook fans. K-State has accumulated 34,867 likes, while #25 Miami has six times as many with over 205,000 and #1 Ohio State has 1.3 million.
K-State is ranked 177 nationally among all schools in enrollment with 23,863 students annually. However, this number includes several schools lacking the athletic programs of Kansas State (immediately above KSU are Stony Brook University and Macomb Community College). However, it’s still notable that almost every school ahead of K-State has a larger student body and is situated in a larger state. In fact, the only university not situated in a more populous state on the list of Twitter followers is Nebraska – but the Cornhuskers are the only sports program in the State, while K-State and KU must coexist in a state only slightly larger.
It’s interesting that Twitter captures proportionally more followers from the Great Plains than other platforms. If you look at Facebook v. Twitter v. Youtube, here are the rankings for various Great Plains institutions: Nebraska (14, 1, NR); Kansas (NR, 5, NR); Kansas State (NR, 20, NR); Oklahoma (13, 7, 12); and Oklahoma State (NR, NR, 17). Except for Oklahoma State, each ranks higher on Twitter than anywhere else.
Like it or not (and Bill Snyder definitely doesn’t like it), college athletics is big business these days. A healthy following on Facebook is important, because it allows schools to promote their product to more people. Ditto for Twitter – every message that gets retweeted is another free ad. Youtube is also valuable, although video posts are infrequent and don’t garner nearly as many followers (most schools only have a few hundred followers here, while Facebook fans are counted by the tens of thousands). Of course, a truer measure of one’s fan base is whether it shows up on game day. And from helping lead the Big 12 in attendance to being recognized as one of the best traveling fan bases in the nation during bowl season, few (if any) schools can claim a better fan base than K-State when you take away the electronics and step into reality.
To see Auburn’s top 25 rankings for each media platform, click here.