Your fall planning this year looks much different from what you expected. Your campus is determining how to serve your faculty and students safely, and in a way that provides the full campus experience. As you plan for the future, consider auditing your social media accounts and some key metrics you should be paying attention to.
Maintaining Social Accounts
If you’ve found yourself doing more with less, a social media audit is an easy way to make the most of your institution’s existing social accounts. Auditing gives you the full picture of your campus’s official (and unofficial) social media presence, allowing you to consolidate or eliminate accounts as it makes sense.
The typically quieter summer months are a great time to proactively focus on your social account strategy as you prepare for the fall. And while the summer of 2020 may not be as quiet as summers past, the need for account cleanup is still real.
More than ever, your audience’s first impression of your campus is your digital presence. A social media audit is your first step toward managing online conversation and ensuring that first impression is your owned, or self-published, content.
>> This post walks you through doing an audit yourself—and it’s a process. If you need an extra set of hands to audit your university’s account quickly, Campus Sonar can help.
Here are five key benefits of using this summer to audit your social accounts.
- Better understand how your campus is represented on social media. Prospective students and their parents, current students, alumni, the media, competitors, and donors see conversation posted publicly online about your school. If you’re not sure about the scope of your social media presence—both official and unofficial—you’re opening your campus up to unnecessary reputational risk.
- Reduce your risk of reputational harm. Knowing what other accounts say about your campus gives you the power to reduce your risk. Monitor unofficial accounts and collect examples if they’re violating any trademarks.
- Manage your online image. Know the platforms your community is active and talking about you on.
- Improve your brand advocacy. Our brands are our foundations and we base everything we do on them. Make sure what you find in your audit is the reflection of your brand you want.
- Discover brand evangelists and content creators. Identify key internal content creators and adapt your social strategy to include them. Reach out and offer to help amplify their message through your core accounts with a larger audience. Your campus is filled with people and departments who want to tell their part of your story.
Let’s Get Started: Audit Basics and Best Practices
To perform your own social media audit, follow these three steps.1. Create a list of your school’s formal and informal names or nicknames and hashtags.
Do you know every variation your staff, students, and communities use to refer to you? Do you have them documented anywhere? Find them and write them down. Consider:
- Nicknames you created and others gave you
- Abbreviations (all of them)
- Previous names if your campus has ever rebranded
- Hashtags you use for campaigns and comms and that your staff, students, and community use
You should already have a good idea of your campus official accounts, student accounts, unofficial accounts, and affiliated accounts, but there may be others you’re unaware of.
- When you assess each account you find, save important information (name, platform, activity, verification status) in a spreadsheet or document.
- Keep in mind you also need to know where you’re not. Just because you’re not posting somewhere doesn’t mean there isn’t conversation about you. If there are social media platforms you’re not active on but you know your target audiences are, you should be listening on them (e.g., Reddit: your campus may not have a subreddit, but your students and prospective students may very well be talking about you there).
Prioritize your more visible accounts and determine what to do with inactive accounts. If you have unverified accounts, verify them so users know the content is authentic. Make a plan for merging or eliminating duplicate accounts. Keep track of rogue accounts and check in on them regularly.
So, You’re Freshly Audited … Now What Should You Measure?
With your freshly audited social media accounts, there are a few key metrics you should know to have a solid baseline of your social presence. You can find these metrics through social listening.
5 Key Metrics You’re Probably Missing
- Conversation Volume. This gives you a month-by-month count of online mentions about your campus so you can spot trends, anomalies, or curiosities to dig into further.
- Owned vs. Earned Conversation. Owned content is created by you; earned content is created by others about you. Knowing the percentage of conversation you own vs. that posted by others helps you balance your content output and overall content strategy.
- Conversation by Page Type. You should know the breakdown of the social platforms your audiences use to talk about you.
- Conversation Segmentation. You have audiences who are key to your campus; know the conversation breakdown of how much they’re talking about your campus.
- Influential Voices. You have influential voices on your campus; know who they are so you can collaborate and bring them into your content strategy.
We’re More Digital than Ever; Be Ready
Many campuses are playing it safe and sticking to proven enrollment strategies for success given the uncertainties ahead. But now is the time to be innovative in ramping up your brand presence to enroll and retain the students you need for 2021 and beyond. Starting with the basics of a social media audit and tracking key metrics gives you a solid foundation for controlling and managing your brand presence. Once you have a solid foundation in place, you can begin to get creative with your campaigns and communications, giving your campus the edge it needs for the next recruitment cycle.
And, if you need help, Campus Sonar can do the work for you. Our social media audit service and social listening snapshot are low-cost introductory projects. If you’re interested in learning more, set up a quick 30 minute brainstorming session with social listening expert Nicole Baldassarre.
This post originally appeared on Campus Sonar's Brain Waves blog.