Today, Chris Tyburski is speaking at the Colorado Council. He'll cover social media and higher education enrollment management. Just in case you weren't able to shoot over to Colorado this week, we'd thought we'd share it with you. You can watch and download it here.
Social Snapshots serve as a baseline to help you establish a standing among peer institutions and measure any goals your institution has already agreed to. What?! Don't have one? Click here to order your own.
Keep in mind that this snapshot only provides information about one piece of the puzzle - Facebook. When you run an audit of your social media presence, you’ll want to take other tactics into account - Twitter or Pinterest, for example. You'll also want to take a look at your internal processes and procedures.
We've created a 7-Step Action Plan to grow and improve your social strategy through measuring performance.
- Analyze what you have
- Develop realistic goals
- Develop strategy based on audience
- Build audience
- Test/refine content
- Survey matriculants
In today's post we are going to focus on step one, analyze what you have. Looking at your Social Snapshot (order one here, they're free so no excuses) we will introduce you to the key metrics as well as the story they are telling. Additionally we will reference ways to fix or improve what you have based on our industry-wide study on Facebook. Download the full report in this previous post.
While each metric will tell you more about the performance of your page, the first three you want to hone in on are Fans, Engagement per Fan, and Active Fan %, boxed in red above. The chart below is a guide based on enrollment size.
Ultimately this is a measure of Reach, how many people have the potential to interact with your Facebook communications. If you find you are falling short in this area make sure you are integrating Facebook communications with your entire campaign, on- and off-line. Changing your content and frequency of posting can also enhance your Reach, but you must look at other metrics to determine how this change should take place.
Engagement per Fan
One of the most discussed metrics in our industry, but the calculation varies somewhat depending on the source. Here we are looking at the number of comments, likes, comment likes, and wall posts divided by the Fan count of the page. Simply put this is the average number of times a Fan interacts with your page in a year. In order to improve this you must produce content your audience will react to. Look at what posts are getting the most responses and adjust your content strategy around them. Also asking questions or specifically asking for a response can increase a post's engagement.
Active Fan %
Personally I find this to be one of the most telling social metrics in our industry, however it is widely underused. This tells us how many of your Fans have interacted with your page over the past year. It varies slightly depending on your school's size, but most institutions should be getting about a third of their audience to interact with them. In order to make the best strategic changes, you must also look at the demographic makeup of your Facebook page as well as the overall character and personality of your school.
I often see institutions with a very high Engagement per Fan and a low Active Fan %. This means the page has a relatively small number of people interacting a lot. Usually this happens when the strategist finds a topic that gets a high response and stays inside that topic without expanding to topics other audience members would respond to. While it is important to maintain a high engagement, a social strategy must account for the entire audience they are reaching. Just as a diverse campus builds a strong institution a diverse Fan page creates a healthy and well-rounded experience.
Look for my next post to learn more! Also, please sign-up for our newsfeed in order to receive more information on Social Media and Higher Education Marketing.
How do you build and improve a university wide social media tactical plan?
We’ll be exploring this question and others at the Colorado Council 2012 on High School College Relations conference.
Join Cilia Kohn, Regis University, and Chris Tyburski, TWG Plus, Friday, 12/7/12 at 9:45 a.m. at the Colorado Council 2012 on High School College Relations conference in an open discussion on effective social measurement, tactics and university-wide impact.
Chris Tyburski will explore insights from our Facebook study of over 500 four-year public and private institutions, and Cilia Kohn will share her experience working across campus to improve their social presence on Facebook, Twitter and even new ventures such as Pinterest.
Beforehand come by our booth and experience our new digital viewbook.
Recently we analyzed over 500 non-profit, four year, public and private institutions to answer three simple questions from our clients: What’s considered good in Facebook engagement? How am I doing against my peers? How do I improve?
To answer their questions, we produced our latest study “How Does Your School Rank on Facebook.” Download the full report.
We initially turned to tools like www.edgeranktracker.com but found that the industry summary reports did not provide the level of granularity needed to answer our clients questions. We’ve found that schools of different enrollment sizes often have very different needs.
So, we decided to run our own study with a particular focus on helping our clients improve their engagement. Out of our work, we were able to create a ranking system to guide individual school progress as well as develop some lessons from the data.
Below, you’ll find some of the high level findings and lessons learned that are contained in the full report.
Through a quantitative analysis of over 500 higher education institutions we are able to determine a clear social media ranking system that allows us to quickly identify how any school is doing relative to similarly sized institutions. In this process, we pulled out the ten leaders and ten low performers for each segment. We then used these groups to establish a qualitative and quantitative analysis of their post frequency, content and messaging. This process allows us to establish actionable practices for institutions of any size.
In this study, we discovered an ideal posting frequency of one to three posts per day and that too many posts can work against an institution. We also identified that there are distinct differences between school size and the type of content they should produce. Most larger and some medium sized schools can utilize their sports teams, but smaller institutions benefit most from posts that focus on Student Life and highlight successful alumni, students and faculty.
We also found that the tone, voice and approach of messaging play a strong role in fan engagement. After reviewing our initial findings we pinpointed posts with identical content, which had drastically different engagement. While we concede here that every school is different, it is apparent that having an engaging tone and messaging can drastically change the response a post receives.
- Larger schools benefit from promoting sports and student life
- Medium and small schools benefit from posts about student life
- Very small schools benefit from promoting personal highlights
- The way content is communicated affects response. Simply delivering an article isn’t enough. Schools must add flavor to posts.
- Schools must pay attention to what creates a response to hone their messaging.
How Does Your School Stack Up?
Large schools (>10,000)
- Average fans: 30,871
- Average engagement per fan: .63
- Active fan %: 20.75%
Medium schools (3,000 -9,999)
- Average fans: 5482
- Average engagement: .77
- Active fan %: 25.68%
Small (1,000 – 2,999)
- Average fans: 3283
- Average engagement: .70
- Active fan %: 23.22%
Very Small ( < 999)
- Average fans: 1458
- Average engagement: .66
- Active fan %: 22.53%
Want the Full Report?
Download the complete report for more information about the study.
The discussion lately on what the next big thing is in technology is ever evolving . Having just come from SXSWi (that’s South by Southwest Interactive), I have been with some very early adopters, but I still believe when you want to know what is coming next, look at what high school students are doing. OK, along with these SXSWi attendees, high school students are the early adopters.
According to Mashable.com’s research, majority of teens have been using social media way before 2007. Teenagers quickly adopted social media; the rest of the population is quickly adopting it.
So, what is next? Take a look at most high schoolers today. You’ll see their heads down looking at smartphones, tablets, and laptops. What are they doing? Consuming media. But it is not television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. Now, it’s YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, and the myriad of other social networks. All day long, these high schoolers consume media in all different forms. On their way to school, they are reading their friends’ Facebook status updates. During lunch, they check out Twitter for any interesting articles. When they get home, they jump on YouTube to see the latest videos. And at night, they scroll through Instagram to see what pictures their friends have taken.
So what does this mean for marketers? Let’s look back at a couple decades ago. If you wanted to inform high school students about your university, you’d pay for an advertisement on television, radio, or print. That was enough. But fewer high school students are consuming this traditional media. Therefore, fewer prospective students are seeing these marketing messages. As the old saying goes, you need to be where your customers are. Media consumption has changed, and so too should your marketing. It’s no longer enough to only use traditional media.
Not only is the media changing, but so is the way consumers interact with their media. Traditional media were one way, broadcast messages. Producers produced, and consumers consumed. Now, the line has blurred. Consumers are not only consuming media, but are producing it as well. Looking at today’s popular media, you’ll see every day students are creating videos for YouTube, status updates on Facebook, and tweets on Twitter. It’s no longer a broadcast, but a conversation.
Now, if you want your brand to be relevant, you can’t rely on broadcasting marketing messages. Instead, you need to join the conversation. So how can a university join the conversation? It’s best to illustrate this with an example. Let’s assume we are the marketers for a fictitious university, the TWG Plus University. We could run television, radio, and print ads. But as we said, that’s not enough. Looking online, we see people “sharing” us on the Internet: alumni and current students tweeting about the positive and negative of our educational experience; check-ins on Facebook and Foursquare; pictures on Instagram and Pintrest; blog articles. And then there are the potential students who come across these media, who saw their friend check-in at a TWG Plus University event; who saw their friend’s campus visit pictures on Facebook.
This conversation is going on, and as higher education professionals we need to join in. We can create a Facebook page inviting people to share pictures and stories of the university. We can thank people on Twitter who are saying how great we are, and find out how we can improve by asking those who were unhappy with their education. We can post images on Instagram, Pintrest and Flickr to show what our campus looks like. While we are not broadcasting a message anymore, we are amplifying the conversation that is there. And when we amplify the conversation, more people join in. And when more people join in, our university receives more applications, which will lead to enrollment and graduates!
Let us show you how you can integrate social media into your university marketing plan.