Until Tuesday night, Texas A&M University had the top university-sponsored Facebook page in the world with more than 83,000 fans. In one day, LSU surged from 81,000 to 96,000 fans – putting the Aggies in second place.
BlueFuego, a higher education marketing group, announced that it would donate a penny for every fan for the school that is the first to reach 100,000 fans. The firm did so after reviewing more than 1,000 Facebook fan pages in higher education in mid-summer.
Aggies took note and responded with a surge that put Texas A&M in the lead by the end of July, reports Diane C. McDonald, Texas A&M’s associate director of marketing and communications.
This rivalry between Big 12 and SEC schools is the first of its kind on Facebook, McDonald says. “We are in the 100,000 Fans-100,000 Pennies Race – and the first school to reach 100,000 fans earns a scholarship of 100,000 pennies from the competition sponsor.”
Officials at the winning school will have the opportunity to choose a scholarship or fund to receive the cash donation.
McDonald says the question now is: "Should Texas A&M concede the Race to 100K Fans to LSU? Everyone certainly anticipates that LSU will win the race by this weekend. With this long shot, many expect the Aggies to give up. After all, adding 17,000 fans to the Texas A&M Facebook page in 24-48 hours is a tremendous challenge,” she notes. "But then again, Aggies never give up. A second comeback now would be a testimony to the Aggie spirit and the power of the Aggie Network."
McDonald notes that the competition for the top Facebook page is another example of Texas A&M taking the lead with social media. “We also were one of the first schools with an iTunes U site, as well as the first public university with a suite of mobile apps,” she adds.
"Win or lose," she says, "Texas A&M is accomplishing the goal set when the page was launched: to provide a non-authoritative 'community of spirit' that rallies around an exchange of Aggie values. She attributes the recent surge in the number of fans to the power and spirit of “the Aggie network.”
She encourages Aggies to rally for a comeback and invite all their friends, former students, family members and others to become Texas A&M fans. Current fans of the Texas A&M Facebook page can invite their Facebook friends to become fans by clicking “Suggest to Friends” in the upper left-hand corner of the Texas A&M Facebook page.
To become a fan of the official Texas A&M Facebook page, visit http://www.facebook.com/tamu and click on the "Become a Fan" button at the top of the page or text "fan tamu" to FBOOK (32665) from your mobile phone to be added as a fan instantly.
Alternatively, Aggies may invite friends to become a fan by visiting BlueFuego’s Race to 100K Fans website at http://bluefuego.com/index.php/race-to-100k/.