5 Ways to Optimize Your Alumni Association’s Facebook Presence

John Schmidt by on Dec 09, 2015


Facebook, the digital home to more than 1.5 billion active monthly users, is by far the most used social networking site, with 71% of internet savvy adults and 58% of Americans overall using the site, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. What’s more, the average Facebook user spends 40 minutes on the social network each day.

Whether you operate a Facebook page through an alumni association, an alumni affairs department or another graduate-centered organization, is your alumni outreach making the most of its 40 minutes of Mark-Zuckerberg-sponsored daily alum face time? Check out our five tips for capitalizing on your school’s Facebook presence – and if you haven’t already, look over Corporate Insight’s slide deck on Facebook best practices.

1. Daily Post Frequency

In the world of Facebook, less is sometimes more. According to Buddymedia, Facebook user engagement decreases as post frequency increases. Your posts are 32% more likely to be liked and 73% more likely to be commented on if you post one to two times a day when compared with organizations that post more than three times a day.

2. Weekly Post Frequency

Be strategic about how about your post frequency. Remember that users value quality over quantity. Buddymedia’s research found organizations that posted one to four times a week saw 71% higher user engagement than organizations that posted in excess of five times a week. Your goal with Facebook posts is to remind users your alumni outreach exists, not lose them in a deluge of alma-mater-related material. Similarly, don’t leave them in a drought of infrequent updates. As with most things in life, balance is key.

3. Daily Post Timing

It is, as the saying goes, all in the timing. The overwhelming majority of organization posts (89%) are pushed out during the typical user’s workday – between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. These times, Buddymedia found, not coincidentally, are also when users are statistically less likely to like, comment or share them. If an alumni association posts in a forest when all of its alumni are at work, does it make a sound – or at least a social media impression? Posts made from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. received 20% more user engagement. It might not be that alums don’t want to like or comment on your Facebook content – it just may be they don’t see it because they’re at the jobs your school helped them get.

Case Study: Brown Alumni Association

Brown Alumni Association Facebook Page

Brown University’s Brown Alumni Association Facebook page routinely schedules posts to occur around the workday, with the majority of November postings happening before 9:30 a.m. or around noon. In November, the Brown Alumni Association updated its feed 21 times with events, posts, album uploads or cover photos. All but one of these 21 updates occurred during pre-work hours or around a lunch break – the time, research has shown, that users are more likely to engage with social media, whether by sharing Facebook content or clicking through links on Twitter. The Brown Alumni Association’s one post outside of the early morning or lunchtime hours fell at 10:39 a.m. and received only one like, compared to the 89 likes pre- or mid-workday posts averaged.

4. Weekly Post Timing

Every day is not created equal. As with your daily post timing, when you post during the week is crucial for obtaining optimal user engagement. A recent social media report by Adobe discovered Facebook brand posts made on Fridays received more engagement than any other day of the week. A slight upward engagement trend generally begins on Wednesday, climaxing on Friday before tapering off. It’s important to keep in mind that 17% of comments, 16% of likes and shares, and almost 25% of all Facebook video plays took place on Friday. All things held the same, we would only expect a little over 14% of Facebook engagement to occur on Friday. It seems the less your alums want to be at work the more they want to be on Facebook.

Case Study: Emory Alumni Association

Emory Alumni Association Facebook Page

During the month of October, Emory University’s Emory Alumni Association Facebook page posted five links on its feed. All posts occurred on Monday (20%), Thursday (40%) or Friday (40%). Almost 95% of likes (100 likes) and 100% of the shares (13 shares), however, were found on links posted on Friday. No comments were present on any of the links. It’s worth noting that the Emory Alumni Association promoted the same link – an article in the Emory News Center on writer Alice Walker’s visit to her university archives – on a Monday and a Friday. Friday’s post received nearly 18 times as many likes as the same posting on Monday.

5. Post Content

With what you’ve read so far, you may think it’s less what you post and more when you post, but post content should remain a pivotal part of your alumni outreach campaign’s social media strategy. Adobe’s study linked posts with images with the highest user engagement rate. At the time of the study, images made up just over 60% of all Facebook posts, and with a relatively recent algorithm update, users’ newsfeeds will display fewer text-only statuses released by organizations’ pages, meaning you have even more incentive to include photos, videos or links in your updates. In this case, a Facebook photo may really be worth a thousand words.

For more information on improving your alumni relations over Facebook, check out Face-Off: Alumni Outreach and Development Best Practices on Facebook.

For more information on Alumni Monitor and our research on alumni outreach and engagement, please contact Dana Peterson at dpeterson@corporateinsight.com or visit us at alumnimonitor.corporateinsight.com.

About The Author

John Schmidt

John is an Associate Editor at Corporate Insight. Read more