The Social Side of College Admissions

Finding the Sweet Spot: A Closer Look at Post Frequency

February 12, 2014

This is the third post in our 4-part series A Look Back at 2013.

Each year we've done our post analysis, we've investigated the relationship between frequency and engagement. And each year, we notice the same thing: an inverse relationship between how frequently a Facebook Page posts and the average engagement score of that Facebook Page's posts. This doesn't override any other considerations... there are colleges that post frequently that have high engagement scores and ones that rarely post that have low engagement scores, but the general relationship cannot be ignored.

Here is a summary of the 708 Facebook Pages for which we analyzed all the posts in 2013. They are grouped in tranches of 50 based on how many times they posted in 2013. So, in the chart, the 50 colleges and universities that posted more than any else in our analysis averaged 1,237 posts (or 103 posts per month) and a 2.79 engagement score. The next 50 most prolific Facebook Pages averaged 806 posts for 2013 and 3.37 engagement score... and so on.

Post Frequency Ranking Engagement Score Avg. Number of Posts Avg. Number of Fans
1-502.7851,23783,713
51-1003.36780641,249
101-1504.28664543,891
151-2004.589546102,552
201-2505.25046426,269
251-3005.24241342,761
301-3506.25537167,223
351-4005.79432759,578
401-4505.75829836,823
451-5005.90826569,652
501-5505.71823329,213
551-6008.05919626,895
601-6508.19715114,545
651-7089.862767,036

If you happen to be in the same boat as Wichita State or Quinnipiac and a team of yours has a magical season, by all means, take full advantage of that social media gift and post away. Same goes if a President or First Lady visits your campus. If something like that is not happening 3 times a day, we do wonder whether your Facebook fans want to receive 103 posts a month from your institution. Ask yourself if you'd even want to see 3 posts a day from your best friend.

To better understand post frequency, we grouped the 708 Facebook Pages in our analysis by the size of their fan bases to look at the average number of posts in 2013 for each of these groupings. We've included the averages from 2011 and 2012 for comparison.

Size Category 2013 2012 2011 Change (2012-13)
XX Large (75,000+ Facebook fans)5295274941%
X Large (20,000-74,999 Facebook fans)4964594318%
Large (10,000-19,999 Facebook fans)4163883847%
Medium (5,000-9,999 Facebook fans)39335232112%
Small (<5,000 Facebook fans)224282246-20%

We then compared the post frequency of every college in that grouping with the top 10 most engaging pages in that grouping (which we'll be sharing in our next post). Notice a trend? On average, in every size grouping, the top 10 most engaging pages averaged one-third fewer posts than their peers.

Size Category All Top 10 % Fewer Posts by Top 10
XX Large (75,000+ Facebook fans)529449-15%
X Large (20,000-74,999 Facebook fans)496247-50%
Large (10,000-19,999 Facebook fans)416263-37%
Medium (5,000-9,999 Facebook fans)393191-51%
Small (<5,000 Facebook fans)224159-29%

Unfortunately, after all the facts and figures we've just thrown at you, we don't have a magic number to share for the ideal post frequency. As you'll notice in our next post, there is definitely a wide variance in the post frequency of the most engaging college and university Facebook Pages. Hopefully, we've provided some food for thought, though.

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