Today’s school marketers rely on multi-channel strategies to execute marketing campaigns. While there are many advantages to a multi-channel marketing strategy, including being able to customize the enrollment journey every step along the way, it also presents a challenge in terms of analyzing the overall impact of a singular campaign, especially figuring out your return on investment (ROI).
We all would like to know exactly how a parent went from first discovering your school to becoming a school evangelist. But it’s not that easy. As a school marketer, you already know that trying to track social media ROI can be really difficult.
Almost all school marketers I’ve spoken with are trying to figure this out.
School marketers recognize their school’s marketing goals need to be in alignment with their social media goals. There are a number of metrics you can measure to determine your ROI but having a system in place for how you’re mapping social actions to your marketing goals will make it much easier.
Most school marketers are measured by how their programs and campaigns perform in generating inquiries and enrollment. While positive brand sentiment and a high level of customer service are important, your Head of School wants to know that the time you’re spending on social media is actually translating into inquiries and new students.
Essentially, enrollment is the ultimate indicator of social media marketing success. But depending on your admissions cycle, it can be months before you’ve enrolled new students from a social media campaign.
Because of this delay, it’s important to use leading indicators of enrollment success, such as the following:
1. Sign-ups for email, webinars and events
Some schools even have prospective parents sign up for reminders about upcoming tours and appointments.
How many students actually enroll as a result of an action in social media?
3. Downloads of ebooks or other marketing materials
4. Visit-to-inquiry conversion rate
Of the social media traffic you’re generating, what percentage of your website visitors submit inquiry forms?
5. Sentiment analysis
How the internet feels about your school can be an indicator of satisfaction, excitement and loyalty.
6. Competitor benchmarking
Understanding how you stack up against your competition can help you pivot and make better business decisions.
7. Website traffic
8. Reach and engagement
This includes likes, shares and comments
9. Audience size
10. Campaign results
It’s important to keep in mind when measuring social ROI to use the same metric as you use for other channels. You’ve got goals, content and targeting for your school.
Let’s say your goal is your return on ad spend (ROAS). Or maybe your goal is the number of inquiries versus a cost-per-inquiry. Maybe it’s a particular marketing launch you’re trying to get in front of an audience at a certain recall rate (recall rate means the percentage of people who remember your school following a marketing campaign). The same metrics you use for any other channel should be the same metrics for social. The challenge becomes how to measure your results.
Here are some social media key performance indicators (KPIs) you may want to consider for your school:
11. Lifetime value
How much revenue does your school bring in, on average, from a student enrollment?
12. Lifetime value multiplied by conversion rate
How much is each potential visit worth to you based on the percentage of visitors who submit inquiries?
13. Pay-per-click ad valuation
This metric considers how much you would have to pay if you were to use ads to achieve the same social media results?
14. Resource savings
Were you able to have a parent take an action on social media that will save the school elsewhere? For example, watching a video or receiving a social media response rather than a lengthy call into the school.
You’ll also want to be tracking your social media expenses so you can calculate ROI against your marketing campaigns.
Here are some things to track:
- Work hours
- Agency or contractor hours
- Social media software and services
- Content development expenses
- Advertising costs
Once you understand what your social media efforts costs, map those expenses to your social media campaigns to determine your ROI.
The ROI of a social media action is calculated by dividing the net income by the cost of this action and multiplying it by 100.
For example, let’s say you invest $2,000 on a social media campaign to promote an inquiry landing page in Facebook and Instagram. Let’s say this resulted in $20,000 in new enrollments. So if you divide $20,000 by $2,000 and multiply by 100, the result would be 1000 % ROI. How awesome is a number like that?
While we might not be able to always see this type of success, you won’t know unless you’re tracking your efforts.
It’s also possible you might experience a negative ROI on some campaigns. This is valuable information so you can adjust your campaign or make changes to future campaigns based on your insights.
When it comes to your school tracking social media ROI, the benefits are endless. Schools can find new followers, families and inquiries, adjust campaigns to be more effective and shift spend toward programs that will be more beneficial to your school.
How does your school track social media ROI? What should be included in this list that isn’t? Please share with the rest of the school marketing community by commenting below…