Tournament Time… who wins?

March 29, 2013 No comments yet

Posted by Brad, CEO

The buzz and hype around a team advancing in the tournament can be a huge boost to a school’s Facebook engagement.

Now of course likes don’t equal buckets, and fans aren’t playing defense… but what if the games were determined by this interaction? Joe took a fun look at the Sweet 16 bracket, determining the winner of each game based on the BlueFuego Formula for posts in March.

La Salle and FGCU benefitted enough from the hype to take them all the way to the championship game with FGCU pulling out a 4.47% to 3.68% win. Wichita State should have followed suit… but going against all logic they have posted 141 times in March. Missed opportunity to post meaningful, interesting content. Largest flagship schools are hardly making a sound with their fan base, likely due to so many fans existing for content other than basketball on the page. Michigan St. and Ohio St. rank at the bottom.
[2013 BlueFuego Bracket - Click to Enlarge]

Engagement on Instagram vs. Facebook

March 21, 2013 No comments yet

[Posted by Brad,CEO]

We admittedly went silent with our Facebook research after 2011, keeping the best nuggets for clients regarding engagement and content strategy.  As a result, BlueFuego clients using our suggested tactics were #1, 2, 3, 7 and 10 in the nation for 2012 engagement (and 7 of the Top 15!).  What was interesting to note that in 2011 the most engaging school in the nation (our client Merrimack College) had a .9708% engagement. In 2012, that same level of interaction wouldn’t have placed you in the Top 20.

This means that Facebook engagement is going up for schools who don’t saturate and overwhelm their audience (more on that soon). With all the whining and complaining about decreased post reach starting in September 2012, you would have thought that it was the end of the world for Pages. But the opposite is happening.   In 2013, we’re seeing 100-300% increases in engagement for clients when comparing to the same month last year.  Simply put, Facebook knows their stuff.  They are getting content in front of who it matters to, when it matters, and as a result the audience is responding more.

[Click to see the 2012 Top 15 Pages in Higher Ed, measured by the BlueFuego Formula]

It’s not about how much you’re spending on sponsored stories or promoted posts, it simply comes down to the same question we’ve been asking for 5 years now.  Are you posting relevant, quality content?

So as we wrapped up our 4th year of Facebook research and manually collecting data on over 1,500,000 posts from 1,400 universities and colleges, Joe got to wondering… would we see similar trends on Instagram? And with that, Joe dug in.  He took the 1,000 largest Facebook Pages in higher ed on March 1st, and scoured Instagram for official, top level accounts. He came back with 429 of them.  From there, he broke the groups down by account size; 200-499 followers, and 500+ followers.  He also threw on a qualifier of 3 or more photos posted for the month.

While this research is in the early phases, we’re already seeing trends that parallel our extensive Facebook data.  Which is both interesting… and expected.  We will see more universities get official accounts, and a growth spike will soon occur for followers at these institutions, but the current data reveals this:

  • Engagement % is significantly higher than Facebook, but we are measuring interactions / # of fans so we expect this to decrease over time.  Even still, Facebook data in 2009 never saw this level of activity. Even the 10 worst pages that we track have higher engagement than 99% of Facebook pages using our BlueFuego Formula.
  • There is a correlation between the amount of content posted and the engagement. We feel like a broken record on this one, but we can’t stress it enough.   Schools who listen to us (like, say, the 7 schools in the Top 15 of the Facebook data!) see success when they decrease the amount of content and focus the content towards what’s most likely to resonate or matter to the audience.
  • Posting fewer than 10 photos in February yielded 12-18% engagement on average. Posting 30+ times yielded 2.5-3% engagement. It’s not rocket science!
  • One benefit of Instagram is that it’s visual.  Facebook’s downfall is that administrators use it as a dumping ground for everything that doesn’t matter to anyone… events, press releases, and more.  That type of unappealing content doesn’t appear on Instagram.

Seriously… just compare the last 2 slides and tell me that posting more than 15 times a month on Facebook and 10 times a month on Instagram.  Work smarter, share better content, and win.  Go get it.

    Take a look at the slides, and post your thoughts as a comment below.

    4th Annual Fuego Four

    March 12, 2012 No comments yet

    Posted by Brad, CEO

    It’s time for the 4th annual Fuego Four! Who’s going to win it all this year?
    Fuego Four


    1st place: $250 Professional Development Money, and a BlueFuego HOODIE (Black or Blue!)

    2nd place: $125 Professional Development Money, and a BlueFuego HOODIE.

    3rd and 4th place: $75 Professional Development Money, BlueFuego shirt and sticker.

    5th-10th place: BlueFuego t-shirt  (regular or baseball style) and BlueFuego sticker.

    We have some other prizes up our sleeves for the contest, but you’ll have to be a part of it to find out.

    To learn more and register, visit

    May the best bracket win!

    2011 State of Higher Ed Facebook Pages

    January 31, 2012 6 comments

    Posted by Brad and Joe, Co-Founders of BlueFuego

    As mentioned in our last post about how Higher Ed Facebook Pages are posting too much, Joe looked at 335,955 Facebook Posts in 2011 for our research and the following slides share some nuggets from the data.

    This data is the most comprehensive and accurate research available for Facebook Pages in Higher Ed.

    As we approach our 36th month of data, and as the Excel Spreadsheet extends further than we thought possible, we see new trends each and every month to share with clients. It’s encouraging to see so many clients taking the data and the research to heart and radically changing the way they approach their Facebook presence so that they can meet their goals.

    We hope you enjoy browsing this data and learning how to be more effective in what you do. And please feel free to share! The more the merrier. If you’re ready to Ignite the Fuego, contact us today.

    (Fullscreen for best viewing experience)

    5 Data Points To Know

    1. The 10 most engaging Pages in the nation have averaged 14.8 updates for the last 2 years.
    2. Growth is not success. Many Pages are gathering fans and doing nothing with them, averaging minimal engagement each month.
    3. Every single segment averaged more content per month vs. 2010. The larger the school, the more content.
    4. 60.7% of Pages that increased engagement in 2011 decreased their average # of posts.
    5. 81.2% of Pages that decreased engagement in 2011 increased their average # of posts.

    5 Tips to Making Your Page Better

    1. Start saying NO. Across the over 100 higher ed Facebook Pages I’m an administrator for, an average of 63% of fans live more than 50 miles from campus. Posting about the ice cream social tonight makes you instantly irrelevant to that audience.
    2. Quality over Quantity. Similar to above. Everyone knows it, no one wants to do it. Sorry, but your page content isn’t THAT interesting. Cut back. Do better.
    3. Post 1 photo, not 150. Pick one good photo and write your update along with it. These always do better than posting an entire photo album.
    4. Let the update be the news. Look at your personal news feed, now look at your Page content. Bulky and link-infested, huh? Talk like your audience talks, short sweet and to the point with no external links. Let the update be the news.
    5. Live and Die by the Likebait. The increasing trend of “Give us a Like”, “Like this to…”, ” How about a Like for…” does not work long term, our research shows. Treat it like your fine china, and only break it out on certain occasions.

    Did you make the cut in 2011? What are you going to do better in 2012? Numbers don’t lie!

    Congrats to Merrimack College and President Hopey on their #1 rank for 2011! We presented them with the Fuego’s Finest Trophy last week. Best of luck to everyone in 2012!

    How much is too much on Facebook?

    January 13, 2012 13 comments

    Another year is over, which is always an exciting time at BlueFuego. It means another year of Facebook research gets wrapped up, and we get to pull out all the best nuggets to share with our clients.  It’s always encouraging to see schools that we’ve worked with in the past year take our recommendations, apply them to their content, and succeed.  One client went from 10th worst in the nation in 2010 to 3rd best in 2011 by simply by listening to what the data and their audience was telling them.  Another client moved their engagement from the 66th percentile in the nation to 11th. The #1 school in the nation this year wasn’t even in the Top 200 last year. And nearly every other client moved among the top 10% in the nation.

    What’s the biggest barrier to engaging your audience, time and time again?  You post too much.  We’ve been saying it for nearly 3 years now, at conferences, in meetings, on phone calls.  Some schools listen, others opt to continue on the path they are on.

    I just had to share this data point publicly when Joe sent it over to me. It’s fascinating.

    In 2010, Joe manually looked at 244,738 posts across higher ed Facebook pages and calculated the engagement on each of them. When we took engagement (using the BlueFuego Formula) and compared it to the # of posts each school was putting out per month, we saw a very strong correlation.  Simply, the more you post, the lower your average engagement will be.

    Here’s what we saw after pulling out any page with more than 300 fans and at least 5 posts per month in 2010:

    (Click to Enlarge)

    The 10 most engaging pages in the nation averaged 14.8 updates per month to their audience.  The 10 least engaging pages in the nation averaged 57.8 updates per month. Schools in the middle 50th percentile averaged 28.3 updates per month.

    Fast forward to 2011. Using the same data set of schools, Joe looked at 335,955 wall posts in 2011. So the amount of content shared via Facebook Pages increased by 37.3% in 2011.Of the 10 Most Engaging Pages in 2010, only one remained in the Top 10 for 2011.  Siena College moved from #10 to #6, and the other 9 schools are newcomers to the top rankings.

    Joe took a look again, this year using a qualifier of 3,000 fans and 5 posts per month in 2011:

    (Click to Enlarge)

    14.8. Again.

    90% of the schools in the top 10 are gone, but the number remains.  And if you look across the graph, although the N has increased by 40%, it remains very consistent.  And has for nearly 3 years now. But there is one change that stands out to me.

    On average, the Top 100 Pages in the nation decreased their posts to 18.9 updates per month in 2011, compared to 20.2 in 2010.

    On average, the Pages sitting in the middle 25-75th percentile increased their posts in 2011 compared to 2010.

    Mediocre Pages produce mediocre content, which delivers mediocre results. Don’t waste your opportunity to build long-term relationships with your audience because you want to promote that violinist on campus tonight. Stop sharing links to press releases no one cares about.  Learn what content your audience wants and deliver. Recent Facebook changes have made it harder than ever to break through the clutter, and without good content, without using EdgeRank to your advantage, you’re going to continue on the same path of mediocrity.   Stand up, be bold, and make some changes in 2012!

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