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You “Herd” It Here: The World Loves CAM the Ram…AND Buffs.

Okay, so the Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd isn’t technically made up of buffaloes. They’re bison. But I needed a fun headline.

What is 100% accurate is a video of this herd reaching over 1 million people on Facebook.

Here’s how.

Just kidding. If I knew how to reach 1 million people in one Facebook post, I would not be driving my grandma’s old Buick. But, here are a few things they did right.

Bison Background

If you haven’t heard about the bison herd, you can learn all about it here.

Otherwise, here’s the SparkNotes version:

Bison haven’t roamed northern Colorado land since the Civil War. Part of this was due to the history of excessive bison hunting (or killing), and another factor at play was an infectious disease called brucellosis that caused abortion and premature births in bison.

As you can imagine, brucellosis was really easy to spread among herds and made it really hard for bison to repopulate.

Enter: CSU scientists.

CSU’s Dr. Jennifer Barfield developed special baths for the sperm cells and embryos carrying brucellosis to “wash off” the infectious disease. No, I’m not kidding. And yes, I want to be her best friend, too.

Jennifer then used in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination and embryo transfer, to achieve bison pregnancies and offspring with complete Yellowstone bloodlines. The herd was also brucellosis-free.

The herd was released onto a 1,000 acre, fenced-in public land north of Fort Collins on National Bison Day this last November. Bison once again roam northern Colorado land.

It was an incredibly emotional, spiritual, scientifi-cal moment.

They recognized a niche

People love bison. Plain and simple.

And the bison herd group knew they needed to tap into this niche, especially because it could really help with their fundraising efforts.

They knew when to start a Facebook page

bison.feature2When CSU and the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences initially posted about the bison release across social media, it’s safe to say it was incredibly popular.

Jennifer and some of the project’s partners decided to launch a Facebook page so people who came to love the herd in the news could still see how the herd is doing since the release.

Smart idea.

This also had the potential to help us out with future bison updates for CSU’s social media channels. (Yaaaaas.)

They posted engaging content. Consistently

Part of finding success in Facebook is posting consistently and posting great content.

Although the individuals posting to the Facebook page probably don’t define themselves as social media experts, they posted engaging content their audience wanted to see, and they posted consistently. Within a month they gained 4,000 fans (which is a pretty big deal).

Then this happened

On Thanksgiving, one of the page’s administrators took a video of the bison thundering along the prairie.

And people freaked out.

This page that had 4,000 likes reached 1.7 million people and had 492,643 video views. (See more analytics by clicking the screenshots below.)

bison.analytics1 copy                bison.analytics.video

Why did this particular video get such large reach and engagement? I have no idea.

Maybe a Facebook page or user with a large following shared the video to his/her page. Maybe it was good ol’ fashioned likes, comments and shares.

I don’t have a solid answer. But it worked.

While consistently posting to a Facebook page isn’t going to ensure this kind of success, it goes to show that content is king, finding your niche is a must, and bison are evidently popular (even in Ram Country).


Have your own theory about this? I’m always up for social talk! Feel free to email me at ashley.manweiler@colostate.edu.

Ashley Manweiler

About Ashley Manweiler

Colorado State alum. Graduated in 2013 with a B.A. in journalism and technical communications, concentration in public relations. I’m not a science genius, but I write about it a lot. My favorite social media platform? Buzzfeed.