CSU’s Top 5 Instagram Posts

This fall semester, we’ve noticed something interesting.

Our Instagram community is straight 🔥🔥🔥

Instagram continues to be the platform that is growing at a consistent rate and is the place where our content performs the best. In that past two months (August and September of 2017), we’ve noticed a sharp increase in engagement on our Instagram posts.

By the Numbers

At the start of the summer our Instagram community had about 50,000 followers. As of the end of September 2017, we welcomed an additional 3,500 followers. The notable spike in followers corresponds with Ram Welcome (our freshmen welcome program the weekend before classes begin) and the start of the fall semester.

The increase in our Instagram community reinforces the fact that it is the place we need to be in order to meaningfully connect with our students.

Not only has our following grown, the content we are publishing is resonating with our audience. Our average likes per post metric has steadily increased over the course of the year.

April 2017: 2,062

May 2017: 2,443

August 2017: 2,859

September 2017: 3,515 😮

Let’s take a closer look specifically at the time frame of Aug. 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2017:

➡️ 23,400 average reach per post

➡️ 286,300 likes on our content


➡️ 4.8M impressions

➡️ 1.2M reached

➡️ 6.07% average engagement rate by post

This period of time marked the start of classes, CSU opened a brand-new football stadium, our Rams football team played in the annual rivalry game, among many other things. Needless to say, we had a lot going on at CSU and plenty of Instagram-worthy content to share along the way.

Our top five most liked Instagram photos of ALL TIME were posted within the first six weeks of classes the fall 2017 semester. Like I said, Instagram is straight 🔥 🔥 🔥

Top 5 Instagram Posts

1. #StatePride: The state of Colorado flag is popular. You see it all the time on t-shirts, stickers, hats, jackets, mugs, you name it… if there is a Colorado flag on it, people love it. So it was no surprise that when our Athletics department revealed a new #StatePride football uniform on Sept. 22, 2017, our fans went nuts propelling this post to our No. 1 All-Time Most-Liked Instagram post. We’ve never had more than 7,000 likes per Instagram post before. This post crushed it with more 8,205 likes and 179 comments. Bonus: SportsCenter tagged us in a post featuring the new uniforms 🏈

2. Puppy 🐾: Who could resist a golden pupper on campus? NO ONE. This post on Sept. 26, 2017 jumped up to our No. 2 All-Time Most-Liked Instagram post with 6,644 likes and 50 comments. Kudos to Jen Smith for the clever caption (which can make all the difference!). Shout out to our colleague Kris Browning-Blas for photographing this cutie.

3. Class of 2021: Each year our incoming class of freshmen squeezes into a CSU formation and a photo is taken by CSU photographer John Eisele. Each year that photo is wildly popular and this year is no different. “Meet the Class of 2021”, taken on Aug. 19, 2017, comes in as our No. 3 All-Time Most-Liked Instagram photo.

4. Moonrise: We’ve learned that our audience enjoys photos of celestial bodies – sunrises and sunsets always seem to perform well. This post from Sept. 9, 2017 showed the day’s sunset and moonrise. The photo was taken by our oh-so-talented intern, Michael Quinn. Our fans pushed this photo to the No. 4 spot.

5. New Stadium: Our fifth all-time most-liked photo is courtesy of our intern Michael and is from opening day at our new on-campus stadium on Aug. 26, 2017. This photo captured the pageantry of the game – a sold-out crowd and we striped the stadium which was visually very cool.

We’ve known for several years that Instagram is a valuable platform for us to engage with current and prospective students. In an effort to raise our Instagram game this year, we strategically hired a talented student photographer as our intern to help provide rich content for our Instagram community. I’d say it’s working as Michael now has taken two photos that are among our top Instagram posts of all time. WTG, Michael!

*Note: All data is from Iconosquare