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Higher Ed Experts Faculty Voice by Jessica Stutt

What have you measured on social media lately?

You should measure the performance of your social media efforts. You know it. We all know it. And, yet…

You work hard to develop content, write posts, take great images, curate the voice of your social media accounts, build community and more. So, you want to know what’s most effective at meeting your goals, right?

Yet, you struggle – we all struggle – with incorporating measurement and reporting in your social media efforts.

But, by skimming or even skipping social media measurement, I think we’re selling ourselves short, because many of us in higher education still face some degree of skepticism about the importance and power of social media.

Why invest time in social media measurement for higher ed?

You probably have the gut feeling that what you’re doing is strategically important and delivering results. Maybe, this hunch is even supported by decent qualitative data – a great interaction with a prospective student or a heartwarming Twitter exchange with an alumni donor.

But, what about the quantitative measurement that can really demonstrate the power of what you’re doing?
What about the metrics that showcase how specific social media tactics deliver on overall institutional strategy and are, in turn, delivering quality return on investment?

More challenging, right?

I know. I get it. Most of us work on incredibly small teams – often even teams of 1 – and there is never enough time.

Fortunately, there are ways to integrate social media measurement into your processes no matter how small your team is. Here are the 5 strategies I’ve developed through experience to try and address these challenges.

#1 Make it a top priority


It seems obvious, but if you think you can’t afford to devote time to measure, you can’t afford not to.

  • Re-evaluate everything that goes into your daily efforts
  • Figure out how to add measurement.
  • Book and dedicate time to it.
  • Pick a recurring day and time to execute the following strategies.

If you’re not measuring and evaluating your efforts, you’re not learning from what works and what doesn’t.
When you don’t learn this, you can’t be efficient!

#2 Determine 5 key metrics that speak to your social media objectives

Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to measure everything, especially if measurement is new to you.

Trust me. I understand it can be very overwhelming to look at the huge array of available social media metrics.

So, focus on 5 metrics that speak to what you’re trying to achieve with your social media program. For example, if you are using social media to build awareness of a specific program at your institution, you should focus on the number of visitors to that program’s landing page driven by social media. And, if social media objectives and key metrics look a bit intimidating to you, we do a deep dive on this topic in the Social Media Measurement for Higher Ed course Holly Sherburne and I teach at Higher Ed Experts 🙂

#3 With your key metrics firmly in hand, get comfortable with data collection

Now that you’ve narrowed the sea of social media data down to the metrics that specifically tell your story, it’s time to build familiarity and practice with collecting that data.

At first, it will be time-consuming as you figure out how to navigate the platform you’re using. But by having a regular weekly date with that reporting platform, be it Google Analytics, Facebook Insights or a 3rd party, you’ll be amazed at how comfortable you can become with it.

Document the process for data collection and share it with your team members. This way, it will be easy to replicate.

And, please don’t panic when the platform updates or changes – this happens quite often! There are always great online tutorials to take you through new changes. We even try to publish some on this blog when we think it can be useful to the higher ed community.

#4 Build a reporting template

You don’t want to spend all this time collecting data and then not have a way to easily showcase it.

Figure out an easy way to present the data that will consistently be re-used. Maybe this is something in Google Data Studio or another design software you already use.

But if you aren’t familiar with any of these options, just start with PowerPoint or another similar easy-to-use platform. Why not laso see if you can have access to a graphic designer or a student who could help put something together as a template?

Keep it simple and make it easy to use. Again, this is all about being efficient within the time constraints of your busy schedule, so don’t work with a tool you find difficult to use.

#5 Present the data and the key takeaways

You will discover all kinds of insights and takeaways in the data you identified in step #2. But, your work on social media measurement isn’t just about understanding your data. It’s also about showcasing your work, your efforts and your success stories to higher ups.

Jessica Stutt presenting the results of the UNB Campaign

That’s why you need to present this data in a meaningful way.

Remember to use concise titles, short bullet points of takeaways and data visualizations (graphs!) to show the results. Explain the ‘so what’ of each metric and how it relates to your institutional objectives. Share it quarterly and get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t. As you do more of these social media analytics reports, include insights about where you adjusted your strategy to respond to what was found and the results this adjustment generated.

If you measure, amazing things will happen…

So that’s it!

Once you start measuring and reporting you’ll be amazed by at least 2 things:

  • it will be incredibly well-received and
  • it really will inform your future efforts.

Even if everything is going exactly how you think it is, your ability to quantitatively demonstrate success will be a valuable skill set throughout your career in social media — and in higher education.

Meet the Faculty: Jessica Stutt

Higher Ed Experts is a professional online school for digital professionals working in universities and colleges.

When you take a professional certificate course with us, you get a chance to upgrade your skills by working on your projects, interacting with classmates just like you and getting detailed personalized feedback from your instructor.

Jessica StuttJessica Stutt is the Integrated Marketing Manager at UNB. She is an experienced marketing professional with a background in marketing analytics and measurement. She has significant experience in collecting and analyzing data from a variety of marketing sources and converting raw data into meaningful, comprehensive reports.

Before joining the Marketing Office at the University of New Brunswick, Jessica worked in marketing at Salesforce Radian6, the social media management platform.

Jessica holds an MBA from the University of New Brunswick as well as a Master of Urban Studies from Simon Fraser University. She is also a graduate of Higher Ed Experts’ Social Media Measurement and Advanced Web Analytics professional certificate programs.

Jessica teaches Higher Ed Expert’s 4-week online course on Social Media Measurement for Higher Education.

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