Measuring & Reporting

If you can’t prove what you’re doing is at least working or doing better than before, when will you know you’ve succeeded? Sounds stressful to me! It’s no secret that proving social media ROI can be challenging, especially in higher education where conversions are a bit more subjective than they can be in other industries. For me, I’ve had the most luck organizing and measuring my social media posts within a series of frameworks that directly support elements of my strategy. I’ve included some templates and resources below to help you get started!

Spreadsheet Template

I organize and analyze all of our data (mostly) by hand. Building out reporting templates to help speed up my process has saved me so. much. time. and heartache when it comes to analytics time.

I’ve laid out a basic but foundational Google spreadsheet that implements my framework measurement method. Feel free to copy and modify as needed! It implements a few basic equations that are also available in Excel if that’s your preferred spreadsheet tool.

Tagging your Content

We currently use Sprout Social as our social media management tool and have implemented their tagging feature to do this part right when we post. At the end of the month I just download the sent messages and  Otherwise, you’ll want to tag your posts as one of the first steps of your analytics process. If you can, keep a simple spreadsheet or running list of what each post’s tags as you publish!

UTM Tracking

If you aren’t already, start tagging the links (if they point to web properties you/your office own) you’re sharing on social media..Yes, Google Analytics tells us how much traffic to our sites came from social, but that data doesn’t discern what traffic came from the posts and work you’ve created vs the traffic that came from other people/pages sharing your website’s content. By tagging the content you’re promoting from your channels, you can identify more clearly what traffic you owned.

Being able to clearly claim that traffic as a direct result of your work on social media is extremely useful (and confidence boosting)! Luckily, adding Urchin Tracking Modules or UTM parameters to your links is extremely easy. You don’t need access to your site’s analytics or any coding knowledge.

Google has put together a handy dandy guide and best practices that will give you all the information you need to get started. They even have a little URL builder to help you get the hang of things.

I recommend building out a spreadsheet that will help you generate these new URLs quickly and keep them organized for you. It also means you can share the sheet with campus partners and get them tagging their links back to your sites so you get an even clearer breakdown of the traffic from your brand’s social media traffic.

And you guessed it! I put together a template you can copy and modify to get you started!

IF Formulas

Figuring out formulas (and how to most effectively search for formulas) took me a minute to get used to. I never really cared about math until I realized math could also tell a story. Once I figured that out, formulas made a lot more sense to me and building a template that helped me figure out the story my data was trying to tell me came easier and easier each analytics report I pulled. The template I’ve shared with you implements several IF formulas. I’ve put together a few quick videos to help you see how the formula works to help you get more acquainted with them.

Count IF Formula | Sum IF Formula


Another way I analyze and report our social media data is to use benchmarks. I compare our to benchmarks established from our data and benchmarks from the higher ed industry. I’m currently using Rival IQ’s 2018 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report.

UPDATE: Rival IQ and Up & Up Agency just published their 2018 Higher Ed Social Media Engagement Report. It’s their third year collaborating on this report and this year they “gathered data from 338 Division 1 institutions and analyzed their university-level account posts from June 2017 to May 2018.” Pretty nifty!