Your school is posting on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. But is it paying off? That is, are you gleaning the results you want from your digital efforts – e.g. driving new viewers to your website, converting viewers to register for your Open House or make an annual donation to your school, selling tickets to BIG Game? If not, then it’s time for you to conduct a social media audit.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit doesn’t have to be as intimidating as a tax audit. But you should complete one for your educational institution if you want to learn if your social media efforts are working to help you reach your marketing goals and objectives.
According SimplyMeasured, a social media audit requires three basic steps:
- Collect and organize data
- Analyze data
- Report on findings and recommendations
To get a complete picture of your social media marketing efforts, it’s important to audit aspects of your school’s social presence, which includes:
- Brand consistency across all your social sites
- Profile information – Does your information properly represent your school?
- Engagement and clicks – Do viewers leave comments, likes, direct messages?
- 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?
- Referral rate – Traffic driven to and from your website?
- Posting frequency – How often do you post on your sites, and is it to little or to much?
- Content – Do you provide content that is of “value” to your viewers, and have you positioned yourself as a “thought leader?”
- Campaign Conversions and Cost – 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)?
The analytical data from an audit will enable you to determine the output of your social media efforts, so that you can improve your social media strategy with hard facts that support your recommendations. Optimize Smart offers good advice to help strategize your work.
Getting started – Branding
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. Here’s a checklist to follow that will help you get through the first part of your audit:
- Name and logo – Is it 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 – Is it 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 you are?
Social Media Activity and Analysis
It’s best to first compare and contrast the performance of each social media site that your school uses. To do that, create a spreadsheet that lists all of your sites and captures the following activity over a given period of time.
The value here is to learn what sites are performing best and where you should spend your time and energies. First rule of thumb on social media: go where your audience is – not where you think they should be. There’s no sense in cranking out daily tweets if you only have several hundred followers and none of them are retweeting your content or interacting with you. For that matter, even if you have 1,000 followers, you may be wasting your time pushing out content where there’s little to no engagement, let alone conversions.
Not all social media channels are alike. In addition to evaluating a social channel’s following and engagement, each platform has its own succinct set of data that may differ from another. It’s important to capture and analyze those results in addition to metrics that are in common with other sites.
Whereas Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest all allow you to measure followers, likes, and comments, here are some metrics (subtle and not-so-subtle) that separates them from each other:
- Facebook: Shares, direct messaging, video views
- Twitter: Tweets, retweets
- Instagram: Hashtag analytics and content analytics
- Pinterest: Impressions, clicks and repins
It’s important to capture these actions as well as others in order to understand how your sites are performing. Facebook and Twitter offer easy-to-access insights on how your posts are performing. ShivarWeb gives great advice on analyzing Pinterest analytics. And SproutSocial maps out a method to pull and examine data on Instagram.
Have you put thought into the type of organic and paid content you post? How much original content do you post vs. curated content? How often do you post? Do you just push out content that promotes success and events, or do you also publish content that drives people to your website and frames your school as a thought leader in the educational arena? Finally, do you post content that truly resonates with your viewers? You need to monitor and consider all of the above so that you can refine the content you create ongoing.
Did you know that the length of your social media updates can make a difference in whether or not viewers will interact with them? Check out this infographic from Bufferapp that illustrates the optimal length for every social media update.
Images and video are a crucial part of your shared content. Images should be high resolution and sized correctly for social channels and the various ad types that you launch. Consider also placing your school’s logo on your images to brand them to help people relate all of your images to your school.
People are more responsive to videos that are no more than :30 to 1:30 in length. You may even want to test results of videos that are :10 in length vs. videos that are :30 in length to so you know what works best for your audience. Learn more about the optimal length for your school’s next video here.
Do you know who is following you on each of your sites? The information will help you to better craft messaging that targets the people you want to reach, resonates with your audience, influences engagement and boosts conversions.
Facebook allows you to define your audience through its Insights tool. And, if you want to learn more about the audience you want to target with Facebook ads, Audience Insights in Facebook Ad Manager offers valuable information such as age, gender, location, interests, psychographics and much more to help you better target the viewers that you want your ads to reach. Social media platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest also provide tools to help you understand who your audience is, what they like and what interests them most
Finally…Check out The Competition
Perform a competitive analysis so that you can compare your efforts with the competition. Compare and contrast:
- What social media sites they use
- How often they post
- How well their posts perform
- When do they post
- Who they attract and do they have any influential followers who you might also want to attract.
The information you get from a competitive analysis will inform you on how you stack up against other schools. It also informs you on ways that you can improve your own social media strategy.
Unlike a tax audit that can result in penalties that may break the bank, a social media audit can only help to enhance and boost your school’s marketing efforts. As you use your summer hours to plan your school’s upcoming strategy and calendar, bake in time to also audit your social efforts. The results will be of valuable support to your communications and marketing efforts.
We can help you be more strategic with your social media. Contact us.
This summer, Kalix has launched a Summer Marketing Series to help you use your summer to create a better marketing plan. Check out the tips and techniques from previous posts:
- Summer Marketing Series #1: What is your Word-of-Mouth Campaign Saying?
- Summer Marketing Series #2: 7 Easy Ways to Take the “Blah” out of Blogging for your School
- Summer Marketing Series #3: Best Ways to Work with Graphic Designers
Gerri Baum is Digital/Social Media Director for Kalix Marketing.