CSU ranks 6th best for Facebook engagement

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Out of 708 schools across the nation, Colorado State University is the 6th best Facebooker.

A recent survey done by Varsity Outreach, a blog created to help schools build community for their students, ranked CSU as number six in the nation for social media engagement for its students.


“(This ranking) means (CSU is) doing a good job of putting out content that their audience appreciates, that their audience finds interesting in some way, whether it is a fun story about CSU that they want to share with their friends or an accomplishment that the school shares and they may like it,” said President of Varsity Outreach, Mark Rothbaum.

The blog analyzes over 700 schools across the nation and looks at how engaging college and university Facebook pages are based on the amounts of likes, comments and shares that posts get on the page.

According to Rothbaum, each school gets an engagement score, with comments and shares having twice the weight of likes. Those scores are added up and averaged.

“We feel like if you comment on something or share it with your friends, we consider it a higher level of engagement, because if you like it, all you have to do is click a button,” Rothbaum said. “If you are sharing it with your friends you are increasing the distribution of that, for a comment, you thought enough of this post to write something.”

The scores are also calibrated based on the size of the audience on the page. According to Rothbaum, getting five likes on a page with 1,000 fans is better than getting five likes on a page with 100,000 fans.

“So we calibrate it to the size of the pages, and then we average all the scores and come up with an engagement score for 2013 for the schools,” Rothbaum said. “So the rankings are based off those scores. And, we analyze all those posts from those pages in 2013 and how many likes, shares, how much are each of those posts getting. At the end I think we analyze more than 300,000 posts from our 708 plus pages.”

For Kimberly Stern, director of social media at CSU, this ranking is positive for her and her team.

“To me, this ranking means we’re doing something right,” Stern wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Social media plays a big role in how CSU connects with our audiences and how our audiences connect with CSU. Our Facebook is just one piece of our social media pie here at CSU.”

Depending on the day, and what is happening in the community, Stern says that she tries to put up about one to two posts a day.

“The content strategy stems from consulting the University Events Calendar and working with other campus communicators to understand what news is happening across colleges and divisions,” Stern said. “Each week I have a tentative idea of what type of stories I will be posting but being nimble and able to shift direction is huge in social media management. If something cool comes along, my team is flexible and we certainly swap content to capitalize on timely opportunities.”


CSU students agree that the school puts out posts that are interesting for their audience.

“I enjoy reading CSU’s posts. The content is informative, yet entertaining to read,” said sophomore psychology major Adam Davis. “They do a terrific job of sharing photos from around campus, and headlines of special events that occur at the university throughout the week. The information that they share is indeed relevant and relevant to the CSU community. I hope CSU will continue to strive to reach out to the communities outside of the university.”

Stern said that CSU will continue to try and post stories that are interesting for students.

“We share content that reflects who we are a CSU – and a lot of times that content hits a chord with our various audiences,” Stern said. “Continue to identify what content generates the most interactions with our fans and provide more of it!”

Collegian Reporter Taylor Pettaway can be reached at news@collegian.com