2020 social media review

John Chapman
Thursday 4 March 2021

I do not need to summarise what kind of year 2020 was, we are all too familiar with the events of the past 12 months.

We are now three months into 2021, so it might seem a bit late to be reviewing social media from 2020, but in a year where the University had to use social media more than ever before to inform, entertain and keep our audience connected, I wanted to spotlight some of our highlights from the past year.


Our Facebook audience increased by 6.8% in 2020, growing from 55,000 to 59,000 followers.

However, in the absence of in-person University events such as the Pier Walk, Raisin Monday and Graduation, our total number of posts fell 27.5% from 389 in 2019 to 282 in 2020. This, therefore, resulted in our engagement metrics also decreasing, including our post reactions, shares and comments. Despite this, in 2020 we still received over 114,000 reactions, 5,000 shares and 2,400 comments.

One metric which did increase in 2020 was the number of link clicks we received. With all of our important coronavirus updates being shared on Facebook, we saw a massive 61.8% increase from 33,000 in 2019 to 53,000 in 2020.

Our top three Facebook posts in 2020 for reactions (like, love, care, haha, wow, sad, angry) are shared below.

Last year, virtual conferral ceremonies replaced our graduation ceremonies. To celebrate the occasion we challenged the Class of 2020 to ‘Pass the cap’, and the highlight video received over 3,400 reactions.

A message from the University Principal in reaction to the UK leaving the European Union in January 2020 received over 1,300 reactions.

A memorial post to Sir Sean Connery who passed away in October 2020 was our third most-reacted-to post, receiving over 1,000 reactions.


Our Twitter audience increased by 9.6% in 2020, growing from 46,000 to 50,000 followers.

Similar to Facebook, the number of Tweets we shared in 2020 decreased by 24.4% from 591 in 2019 to 447 in 2020. While this saw a reduction in the number of likes (12,000) and retweets (3,200) we received, our comments increased by 28.7% from 460 to 592, and our mentions increased by 38.9% from 12,000 to 17,000.

The number of link clicks on Twitter increased by 133% from 13,000 to 31,000.

Our top three Tweets for likes are shared below.

A Tweet congratulating the new University Rector, Dr Leyla Hussein OBE, was our most-liked post with over 2,700 likes.

The University was named the top University in Scotland according to the Guardian University Guide 2021, and a Tweet announcing this received over 330 likes.

Our third most-liked Tweet was a similar Brexit post that was also shared on Facebook, and this received over 300 likes.


Instagram is our smallest social media channel. However, it saw the biggest audience increase in 2020: our followers grew by 28.9% in 2020 from 26,000 to 34,000.

Instagram was also our only channel that saw all engagement metrics grow. Comments on posts increased by 15.5% from 2,100 to 2,400 and likes increased by 35.5% from 361,000 to 490,000.

Our top three Instagram posts for likes are shared below.

Our most-liked Instagram post with over 3,400 likes was of Univerity Hall, which was student-generated content.

A post congratulating students on exam results also received over 3,200 likes.

Our third most-liked photo, which was also student-generated content, received over 3,000 likes.


2020 saw our audience size grow by more than 15,700 profiles. However, our engagement levels dropped on Facebook and Twitter. This could be attributed to fewer posts being shared across our platforms but also down to digital fatigue. In a year when everyone had to move their lives online, it is not surprising to now see more people taking digital detoxes and trying to spend less time online. With this in mind, we need to ensure that our social media content in 2021 is refined and is meaningful to our audience so that any important information we want to communicate is not lost on timelines.

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