How To Monitor Your School's Social Media Marketing
Within education marketing, it's almost impossible to look beyond social media as a crucial channel and opportunity. From unpaid organic efforts to paid ads, colleges and universities around the world are increasingly using Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts to reach their core audience. In that space, they compete with more than 60 million brands who actively use Facebook.
Given these numbers, it's tempting to just jump right in. Chances are you've already got a social media presence. The question is, are you being strategic?
Simply creating a Snapchat account or Facebook page is not enough. For example, less than half of Facebook marketers actually report finding their social media strategies effective. We're willing to bet that for schools, that number is much less. To successfully leverage any social media platform in your marketing strategy, you need to track your efforts. More specifically, here are 7 social media metrics that all institutions should track.
Table Of Contents
- Reach and Impressions
- Engagement by Type
- Website Clicks
- Follower Count and Growth
- Relevance Score
- Page or Profile Views
- Conversion and ROI
1. Reach and Impressions
One of the most basic social media metrics also remains among the most important. Reach and impressions, depending on the network, measure how many people have seen your content (reach) and how many times your content was shown (impressions). Both are different, but closely related--and are connected to a number of objectives:
- Individual post reach/impressions: how far did this specific message travel? Did it reach not just a wide, but also a relevant audience?
- Page or account reach/impressions: How many potential students or other relevant audiences have seen at least one piece of content from you over a specific period?
- Viral reach: how successful have you been in spreading your message and content beyond your existing audience, users who already follow your page or account?
Measure your reach, and you get an idea of related metrics such as your ability to find your target audience and your share of voice. It's not an outcome in itself but can play a crucial role in achieving your recruitment objectives.
2. Engagement by Type
As its name suggests, social media is inherently engagement-driven. That means publishing authentic and engaging content as outlined in these 5 Trends In Higher Education Marketing. Only using the platform to push out brand messages is not enough. Instead, a successful marketing campaign has to include opportunities to engage and interact with your audience.
Several engagement-related metrics can help you achieve that goal. Indicators can differ based on the social media network; comments may be important on Facebook, but replies matter more on Twitter accounts. Likes are a basic engagement metric, but may not be as successful in pushing your message to a larger audience than shares or retweets.
A majority of marketers today see engagement among their top priorities. Finding a way to measure it both for individual posts and your social media marketing as a whole can become an important key performance indicator (KPI) in evaluating the success of your strategy and execution.
3. Website Clicks
This one is simple: website clicks measure the number of visitors your school website gets as a result of your social media efforts. It's a type of engagement, but one that deserves specific consideration based on its importance in the context of inbound marketing.
In inbound marketing for education, conversions and inquiries tend to be your ultimate goal. In most cases, you get these conversions from your website, which turns into your central marketing and content hub. Measuring web clicks in your social media efforts helps you determine the platform's role in achieving your conversion and inbound objectives.
4. Follower Count and Growth
Naturally, followers matter. If no one follows your LinkedIn page or Instagram account, you might as well be shouting into the void. Measuring your total amount of followers and the rate of growth helps you understand the school's community and the success of your efforts from a more holistic perspective.
How fast your followers grow depends on the scope of your existing presence. For instance, the average brand follower growth for Twitter was between 1.5% and 1.8% month over month. However, a new page with relevant content may grow much more quickly in the beginning. Measuring your growth allows you to understand the ongoing scaling of your social media efforts.
5. Relevance Score
First, a note of caution: your relevance score only matters for paid advertisements on social media, particularly Facebook. But when you post paid ads on the world's most popular social network, it becomes a crucial metric to track.
Simply put, it's the core metric Facebook uses to determine whether to show your ad, and how much to charge you for it. Each ad is scored on a range of 1 through 10, with 10 being best. The higher the score, the better your ad will perform. Achieve higher scores by selecting a relevant target audience, and matching your ad content with the text and visuals of the web page you're linking to.
6. Page or Profile Views
On average, most interactions between your social media brand presence and your audience will occur on their news feed. Still, it pays to measure how many of them actually make it to your page. Once they're there, your opportunities to engage them increases drastically.
Facebook, for instance, allows you to show feature videos, include calls to action, and helps visitors see multiple updates at once. The same is true for other networks. As a result, page and profile views allow you to measure the portion of your target audience most engaged with your social presence.
7. Conversions and ROI
This is where social media connects to your broader marketing efforts. All six of the above metrics are relatively contained to this medium itself. But ideally, and especially in an inbound marketing context, social media does not exist in isolation. Instead, you need to measure the overall marketing impact your efforts can make.
The easiest way to accomplish that feat is through conversions. Tagging your web links with UTM tags, for instance, helps you set up Google Analytics in a way that allows you to track visitors as they navigate around your page.
Another option is to integrate your social media management tool with your marketing and recruitment funnel reporting. As a result, you can directly connect your social media efforts with your conversion and customer goals.
Set it correctly, and you can even measure your tangible return on investment based on online inquiry, application, and student conversions.
How Are You Measuring Your Social Media Efforts?
The popularity of social media should not persuade you to jump blindly into the fray. Instead, it pays to set up a comprehensive strategy, and that strategy has to contain clear measures of success. The above 7 metrics can play that role for your school, allowing you to clearly gauge success and make adjustments where necessary.
If you would like to learn more about the current trends in leveraging social media at your school we would love to chat. We can help you launch a customized social media marketing strategy that will resonate with prospects and set your institution apart from your competitors. We aren't just education marketers. We are education growth partners!