Top 5 Social Media Metrics That Matter to School Marketers

Top 5 Social Media Metrics That Matter to School Marketers

January 29, 2024
(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

Social media isn't just a nice-to-have these days - it's a must-have that can make or break your enrollment goals. But simply creating accounts isn't enough. Tracking performance through data-driven metrics is crucial to demonstrate tangible returns on investment (ROI) and unlock social media's true potential for your k-12 private school.

Think about this, the average engagement in the education field hovers between 0.5-4% depending on the social media platform. This means that savvy private school admissions directors, marketers, and principals can use analytics to unlock far greater gains. Whether your current private school social media strategy lacks direction or needs a fresh injection of data intelligence, this post reveals how to transform digital efforts into enrollment momentum.

5 Key Social Media Metrics Private Schools Need to Track

1. Engagement Rate

This vital metric gauges the percentage of your parent personas that actively interact with your content out of the total number who could view it. Engagement includes metrics like likes, comments, shares, clicks, or other reactions.

According to Hootsuite, the average school Instagram engagement rate is 3.54% as of November 2023.

(Data Souce: Hootsuite)

However, most key KPI benchmarks need to be tailored to your individual content, audiences, and growth strategies.

It's worth noting that private schools' average social media follower count can vary based on factors such as the school's size, reputation, and social media strategy. It's common for private schools to have follower counts ranging from a few hundred to several thousand across different social media platforms.

That being said, our fictional Greenfield Academy's Instagram account has 1,000 followers, and an engagement rate of around 1.29% may serve as a reasonable starting benchmark to improve on over time as the community expands. Exceeding that signals a strong connection with current parents and prospects.

Monitoring how engagement rate differs by content type, audience segment, and platform enables private schools like Greenfield Academy and your school to spot patterns and prioritize high-performing areas for further amplification. For example, video highlights of student projects may see 3X higher engagement amongst parents compared to faculty profiles. This signals an opportunity to invest more resources into student-focused video content as a catalyst to accelerate the overall engagement rate.

For example, if a Greenfield Academy post reaches 500 potential viewers and receives 20 total reactions and comments, the engagement rate would be calculated:

This 4% rate would be stronger than most industries. Anything consistently above 3% signals Greenfield’s community actively responds to content in their feeds. If engagement dropped below 2%, it could indicate declining interest from parents and prospective families.

Tracking engagement rates over time and by content type allows schools to double down on what resonates while reevaluating poorer-performing posts. Comparing yourself to similar size schools also provides context around reasonable benchmarks to aim for.

Types of Engaging Posts:

Private schools can consistently secure high engagement rates through specific post types that  are known to attract likes and shares, boosting the overall engagement rate on platforms like Instagram and Facebook such as:

  • Accomplishments
  • Achievements
  • Group Photos

2. Reach and Impressions

Reach and Impressions: These fundamental metrics indicate content exposure from different angles:

  • Reach: Total number of unique users served the content in their feed and signals potential audience scale.
  • Impressions: Instances of the displayed content could involve repeat views by some users and measures overall exposures.

While the terms may seem interchangeable, the distinction is valuable for social media analysts. Identifying high reach but low multiple impressions per user could indicate failing to sufficiently engage each person. Alternately, quality content with loyal fans could drive stronger impression density despite lower aggregate reach.

Evaluating both metrics in tandem – and how they trend over campaigns – empowers smarter distribution and creative decisions. Maximizing reach expands the candidate pool; impressions reflect opportunities to connect.

Consider Greenfield Academy, if they post an admissions video on Facebook, reaching 500 unique users (Reach) and accumulating 1,000 views (Impressions), it signifies that each user, on average, has viewed the content twice. Greenfield Academy can use these metrics to refine content strategies, ensuring a diverse audience while maximizing overall visibility.

3. Follower Growth Rate

This key metric shows how rapidly your social media community is expanding over time. Tracking your growth rate month-over-month and year-over-year gives insight into whether your brand's content and awareness in accelerating at a healthy clip.

For example, if Greenfield Academy currently has 2,500 followers across all their social media properties, it may set a target of 15% follower growth per year. That would equal a gain of 375 additional followers annually. Breaking it down into milestones, Greenfield could aim to expand its community by approximately 93 followers per platform each quarter. Say in Q1, Facebook is up 130 and Instagram 60 - this means Greenfield is still on a trajectory to meet its broader yearly goals.

Monitoring changes in your follower growth rate helps you benchmark momentum versus other comparable schools. If growth plateaus, it may signal content isn’t resonating or cutting through the clutter to reach prospective students’ parents. Analyzing growth trends shapes messaging, engagement campaigns, and platform mix decisions to fuel further gains.

How to Calculate Follower Growth Rate:

For example, if a Greenfield Academy starts the year with 1,000 followers on Instagram and after six months has 1,250 followers, the Follower Growth Rate would be calculated:

Understanding and improving Follower Growth Rate is vital for private schools to enhance their online presence, engage with a wider audience, and showcase the institution's appeal to prospective students and parents.

4. Click-Through Rate

Measuring the percentage of users who click on your content provides insights into its relevance and appeal. A higher click-through rate (CTR) indicates effective content that resonates with your audience.

For example, Greenfield Academy drove traffic to request forms from their social posts. The campaign reached 1,000 people and generated 50 clicks, giving them a CTR of 5%.

Analyzing click-through rates helps private schools identify strengths to build on. For instance, if a showcase of student science fair projects sees an 8% CTR versus 2% for faculty interviews, schools like Greenfield and yours can justify devoting more social content to highlighting student work.

Tracking which specific types of content and messaging stimulate clicks allows continual optimization of social initiatives to drive website actions supporting admissions goals. Comparing CTR performance to past campaigns also measures improvement.

5. Conversion Rate

Ultimately, the conversion rate measures the success of your social media efforts by tracking actions like inquiries, applications, or event registrations. A high conversion rate signifies a strong connection between your online presence and real-world engagement.

According to industry data, the average private school website conversion rate is less than 2%.

Imagine if Greenfield Academy revamps its admission page, simplifying the application process and adding persuasive video testimonials. If 50 out of 1,000 website visitors initially applied for admission, resulting in a 5% conversion rate, subsequent improvements could elevate this rate, showcasing the positive impact of optimization efforts.

Understanding and improving conversion rates are pivotal for institutions to enhance online engagement, attract prospective parents and students, and achieve enrollment goals.

How to Measure These Metrics (including tools)

School marketers can leverage platform native analytics, third-party apps, and SEO tools for tracking metrics:

  • Facebook/ Instagram/ X (formerly Twitter) Insights: Built-in analytics provide follower counts plus engagement and reach data.
  • Google Analytics: Connect social campaigns to site traffic and on-page actions to capture conversion metrics. UTMs attach data to links.
  • Bitly: URL shorteners like Bitly allow tracking of click-through rates to gauge appeal.
  • Hootsuite/ SproutSocial: These specialized tools consolidate analytics across social accounts for unified reporting.
  • Moz/ Buzzsumo: SEO platforms help estimate potential audience size and visibility of content across networks.

Final Thoughts

Tracking these five vital social media metrics provides the analytical scaffolding for data-driven decisions that heighten engagement, accelerate growth, and demonstrate measurable returns across your digital platforms.

As today's savvy principals and admission directors can attest, optimizing metrics and content unlocks benefits ranging from stronger parent connections to expanded influencer reach and data-backed budget justification.

Yet pulling this all together amidst the day-to-day demands of running a top school can prove challenging. That's where we come in.

Our team has worked hands-on optimizing social media analytics and strategy for leading private schools nationwide. We've helped refine posting approaches, uncover platform synergies, and institute measurement dashboards, translating insights into higher application numbers.

If you want to take your social media game to the next level, contact me to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. The value of social data is too immense to leave untapped. Reach out today to unlock social media's full potential, fueling your school's growth!