The school year is ending, but before you roll into summer planning, take time to evaluate how effective this year’s digital marketing efforts were with an audit. It’s the critical step to reaching your marketing and enrollment goals and essential for planning what to do and where to focus your efforts next year.
The word “audit” sounds intimidating, but a good digital marketing review boils down to these steps:
1. Make sure your branding is consistent.
Is your school’s brand consistent across all of your social sites? It’s imperative that the look, feel and messaging comply with your website so that you are recognized wherever you are seen. Follow this checklist:
- Name and logo: Are they high resolution and congruent with your school’s guidelines across all channels?
- Brand URL: Do you offer a portal for viewers to connect with your website and reach out to you for more information?
- Look and feel: Are they in harmony with your website?
- Messaging and voice: How well does your profile adhere to your school’s image, guidelines and story?
- School Description: Is it up-to-date and does it include keywords relevant to who your school is?
2. Collect and organize your data.
Create a spreadsheet ( Excel or Google) to document the performance of your social media accounts. The exercise is important to helping determine if the content you provide is relevant and valuable to your viewers. Document the following metrics to assess your overall results:
- Number of followers
- Video views
- Post reach
Much of this information is easily accessible via the various social sites’ Insights tool or through third-party tools such as Hootsuite, Socialbakers or SproutSocial.
3. Analyze and evaluate performance.
Assess the nitty gritty of the data to compare and contrast results. The value here is to learn what sites perform best and where you should focus your time and energy. Remember, you want to go where your audience is, not where you think they are. For example, there’s no sense in cranking out daily tweets if you only have several hundred followers and none of them are retweeting or interacting with your content.
- Do you get more engagement when you use hashtags or tag influencers on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram?
- Do your videos receive higher engagement than still images? Are viewers watching 100% of your videos? If not, what is the average length of time that viewers watch your videos?
- What posts are performing the best? Identifying your best performing posts informs the type of content most desirable to your audience.
Comparing and contrasting the data you’ve collected gets to the meat of your marketing effectiveness. Clear patterns of success and areas for growth will emerge.
Find out what social platforms send the most traffic to your website. Referral rates can be very valuable as they’ll help you determine which of your sites are more valuable to helping you achieve your goals.
You’ll also want to collect and analyze data that is sometimes overlooked. This would include:
- Posting frequency: How often do you post on your sites? Based on the results, is it too little or too much?
- Sentiment: How are people speaking about your school, positive vs. negative?
- Response rate: How long does it take for people to interact with your content?
- Campaign Conversions and ROI: Are you achieving the goals set forth by your paid and organic campaigns, and what is the return on your investment (this can include time as well as spend)? You’ll want to create a separate spreadsheet just for these metrics in order to compare and contrast the various campaigns, ad sets and ads to launch.
4. Identify your target audience.
If you don’t know the audience you want to reach before you create your digital ad, chances are, your content won’t resonate with your desired audience, much less influence engagement or increase conversions.
Gather all the data on your target audience that you can. Facebook allows you to define your audience through its Insights tool. Use Audience Insights in Facebook Ad Manager to get valuable information (age, gender, location, interests, psychographics and much more) to better target the viewers that you want your ads to reach. Social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest also provide tools to help you understand who your audience is, what they like and what interests them most.
When data supports your gut recommendations, you have a focus for your efforts for summer and fall marketing. Need help understanding the details of analysis? Check out these recommendations from Optimize Smart – while these tips are specific to social media, the formulas and steps apply to digital ads.
3. Report on findings and recommendations
Make use of a Notes column on your spreadsheet and clearly explain trends, areas for growth, areas of success, etc. Your final report can be in whatever format you find most helpful. Perhaps you provide data, findings and recommendations along with a screenshot of each ad. Or maybe a bulleted list of takeaways for the overall campaign is what you need to strategize for the coming year. Whatever the format, spell it out. The time spent gathering, analyzing and reporting on your digital ads’ performance will give you:
- A set of clear goals for your next digital ad campaign
- A very clear picture of your target audience, and
- The data-driven knowledge of what ads work best with that audience (most conversions) and why.
In short, your digital marketing audit will make all the difference to future communications and marketing efforts.
We can help you be more strategic with your social media. Contact us.
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