Every day more universities are getting social in their marketing, but not everyone is getting the best ROI out of their social media strategy. But you can stand out from the crowd by using social media analytics to become more efficient and thereby optimize your social media efforts.
Sharpen your social media edge by determining your key metrics upfront, scheduling regular metric analysis, using social media management tools, and posting on sites where your audience already congregates.
Determine your key metrics.
Joe Pulizzi in his book Epic Content Marketing states there are three levels of indicators you need to watch in order to analyze your content marketing effectiveness: 1.) Primary Indicators, 2.) Secondary Indicators, and 3.) Key Performance Indicators.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Let’s dive in.
These numbers measure the activity of your audience. Page views, Facebook likes, and Twitter followers are all examples of primary indicators. These are the easiest metric to track because every social media platform can produce reports for you.
These numbers track the activity of your marketing team. Examples of activities secondary indicators track are…
- How many posts were written over a period of time,
- When were they published, and
- In what channels were they published.
Key Performance Indicators (a.k.a. “results”)
This the most important indicator you should be monitoring. It also takes the most diligence to track. KPI’s are the metrics directly connected with your organizational goals.
Example of a KPI would be…
- Goal: Increase enrollment
- KPI: 100 high schoolers signed up for our campus days visit because of our campaign, 20 filled out an application, and 5 were eventually enrolled.
Spend time learning how to capture and analyze data for each level of metrics you’re tracking. It will be well worth the time and frustration when you can show your KPI’s to the president or VP of Enrollment or Advancement.
It’ll probably bring more money to your budget, too.
Schedule time to analyze your results.
As you can imagine, it will take a reasonable investment of your time to produce the metrics listed above.
But if you want to get efficient with your social media, stand out from your competitors, and prove your efforts are working, you must schedule the time to analyze the data.
Technology makes it easy to make reports off of primary indicators. You can track secondary indicators and KPI’s using spreadsheets. Unfortunately, technology cannot interpret the data for you and give suggestions on what to do next.
Understanding the data takes time. The best way I know to make time for critical thinking is to put it on the calendar and treat it like an appointment.
Use social media management tools to save you time in collecting your social media analytics.
These tools are designed to save you loads of time and give you more reporting capabilities than social media sites offer you. I personally recommend Buffer for social media management.
Buffer makes your social media posts more efficient by scheduling them to publish on each social media platform at the optimal publishing times for each social media platform. Buffer will distribute your content at times when social media users are more likely to see and share your content.
Post in places your audience is hanging out.
Watch where you’re getting the most hits, shares, and comments. Focus more of your time and effort on platforms and communities with higher rates of activity. If the key to social media success is to fish where the fish are, then social media analytics are your fishfinder.
Best social media platforms for educational institutions
- Audience: Traditional Undergrad— Twitter— Instagram— YouTube — LinkedIn
- Audience: Adult Students— Facebook— Twitter— LinkedIn — Pinterest
- Audience: Influencers— Facebook— LinkedIn — Pinterest
- Audience: Alumni & Development— Facebook— Twitter— LinkedIn — Pinterest
Is social media marketing working for education marketers? Yes. Is it worth the investment? Absolutely.
But only if you’re willing to implement an efficient social media strategy. If you need some help putting your strategy together, send us a note. We’d be happy to help.