Is Your College Measuring What Matters in Social Media?
It’s not easy managing the growing number of online social outlets today. With limited time and shrinking budgets it’s important now more than ever for universities to be smart with their social media strategy. Prioritizing social media efforts begins with measuring activity and deciding what outlets have the best return on investment.
In the fall of 2011, Joshua Kim wrote a great post titled 8 Qualities of a Social Media Expert. The #6 reason was “an expert is focused on team and department metrics and objectives.”
A social media expert understands the larger objectives of the unit / team / department – and is able to translate social media practices into meeting these larger goals. Does the work to aggregate, synthesize, and communicate the social media contributions of team members to leadership and across the institution / company.
Although this may seem basic to some, one person responded in the comments in utter disagreement.
re # 6 (Focused on Team and Department Metrics and Objectives): If this is what it’s about, count me out. A key part of the excitement of social media is its potential for creating a NEW world, a world different enough from the current one to allow us to envision NEW objectives.
Yes, social media does present a new opportunity to improve student engagement, but success metrics themselves have not changed. The admissions funnel isn’t going to be flipped on its head (yet), and I think it’s safe to say we need to be measuring things that truly matter.
What’s the ROI of a handshake?
In 2008, social media was considered an intangible, unquantifiable exercise in brand building. If someone asked what your social media ROI was, you could get away with responding, “What’s the ROI of a handshake?” However, as universities continue to experiment and improve their strategies, best practices in measurement and engagement should take precedent over the social media hype and excitement that come sometimes lead to administrators chasing every shiny new object.
What’s relevant for higher ed?
As someone who has worked with big brands on social media, I can confidently say what works for Coke doesn’t necessarily makes sense for Colgate. Although there are metrics that are easy to track like Facebook likes and Twitter followers, these metrics may not be the most important measurement of your success.
Remember as Seth Meranda said at High Ed Web 2011,“ just because you can measure it doesn’t mean it matters.”
In light of these questions and prominence of social media in higher ed, we developed our latest whitepaper:
We’ll review important questions like:
- Does Klout and Facebook Likes really matter?
- How can I prove social media is improving important website metrics?
- What kind of social media metrics improve enrollment outcomes?
Although social media touches many parts of an institution, we decided to focus primarily on the admissions department (it is yield season this time of year) and use Facebook as an example as it’s the most widely used social platform.
We’d love to hear your feedback if you (or someone you know) is leading the way in social measurement please let us know below.