Duke Athletics + Facebook Engagement

According to the Social Media Top 25 rankings, Duke sits at No. 11 for largest following on Facebook (FBS schools) with 407,000+ fans; Ohio State comes in at No 1. with 1.3 million.

In Comparison
I took a look at the last seven Facebook posts from Ohio State and Duke and found that- on average- Duke’s engagement trumps Ohio State’s engagement (despite the much smaller audience). Obviously, looking at a longer date rate could change this, but here’s the breakdown:

  • Last seven posts from Ohio State averaged 720 ‘Likes’, 50 comments & 92 shares.
  • Last seven posts from Duke averaged 2,139 ‘Likes, 98 comments & 170 shares.

Yep, Duke is rockin’ their engagement level with their fans this month.

Executing Well
So now the question is… why? Below are the three things I think Duke is doing right on Facebook to increase their engagement (please note, I’m only looking at the month of January):

Photos
Duke is living by the golden rule to not post to Facebook without a photo. Photos generate more engagement than standalone text or a link. As the photo below proves, content does not have to be fancy; it just needs to draw fans in from the noise:

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 3.36.36 PM

Fan-Generated Content
I love fan-generated content for several reasons. First (for the obvious reason), it gives you access to easy and unique content. Second, it requires your fans to take action. And finally, user-generated content fosters a sense of community with fans and rewards those who engage (when you actually use their photos).

Duke is asking its audience to email fan photos each week. From there, they pick three photos to upload to an album. Once the album is uploaded, fans can vote for their favorite picture by ‘Liking’ it (which is a win because it increases engagement). The picture with the most ‘Likes’ is then featured on the Facebook page, as shown below:

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 4.00.40 PM
My only advice to Duke on their fan-generated content: Create the Duke Fan of the Week graphic within the timeline size constraints. This will make for a better visual when people visit your page.

Action Words
You know the saying, “If you ask, you shall receive”? Well, the saying is true for Facebook. The following words are key if you want to increase engagement, trust me:

Like, Comment, Share, Why, What

If you’re a community manager, you always want your posts to come across as genuine. But, there are ways to “ask” for engagement without being too pushy… you just have to get a little creative with your copy. Duke does a good job of sneaking in action words with their post. Example:

Screen Shot 2013-01-29 at 4.24.35 PM
In Summary
If you want to increase your engagement statistics on Facebook, take a few notes from Duke. Remember that photos are golden, user-generated content fosters community and action words are key.

So, what is key to engagement on the pages you manage?

3 thoughts on “Duke Athletics + Facebook Engagement

  1. Nice write up. Action words are key. The social media people at Duke have a fun challenge to do – engage some of the most passionate fans in college sports

    • No doubt! I think people are hesitant to use action words, but it works and is a must (especially with EdgeRank these days). You just have to get creative with your copy. And I agree, it’s a fun challenge for Duke indeed.

      Thanks for reading!

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