Donovan Group Insights

How Social Media Metrics Can Guide School Communication Plans

You have a social media plan in place. You’re always posting new photos, videos, updates and announcements in an effort to keep your audience informed and engaged. In addition to posting content, you also have to monitor how well that content is performing. How many people saw your post? Did they like it? Can you improve the content somehow?

Social media metrics can answer these questions and more. Below are some of the most crucial metrics to track, along with how they can bolster your communication efforts.


Reach is the number of people who see your content. On social media, reach can show you how visible your school’s content is compared to the myriad of other photos, videos and posts appearing on people’s news feeds. Reach doesn’t say how long people spend viewing your content, or whether they read through the entire post. It simply indicates how many people came face-to-face with the content.

Reach plays an important role in guiding your school communication plans. Look at posts with low reach, and identify the characteristics making them less visible. On the flip side, you can also look at posts with high reach, identify what’s making them more visible, then apply those characteristics to future social media content. Tracking reach can help your content rank higher in social media algorithms, which means more parents, students, staff and community members are seeing your messages.


Reach and impressions are very similar. While reach tells you how many people saw the post, impressions tell you how many times people saw the post. When a post gains impressions, this could mean one of two things: either the post keeps popping up in a viewer’s feed, or that viewer keeps searching for the post. Or, it could be a combination of both. Impressions are a positive sign because it means your school’s content has high visibility and, more importantly, viewers see the value in it.

Impressions can also determine which channel your audience uses the most. For instance, your school’s Instagram posts might have a higher impression rate than your school’s Facebook posts. In other words, viewers prefer to get their information via Instagram. This doesn’t mean you should stop posting on Facebook altogether. Rather, it means a large portion of your school community expects to see important updates on Instagram.

Social sentiment

Have you ever wondered what people are saying about your school? Social sentiment can reveal those answers to you. Social sentiment tracks the thoughts, feelings and attitudes behind people’s words. This metric uses tagging and keywords to find content that mentions your school. Then, it measures the ratio of positive to negative language in user-generated content. It’s nearly impossible to know when and where every online conversation is happening. But with social sentiment, you get a sneak peek at how people really feel about your school.

Social sentiment is extremely useful for planning communications because you can identify hot-button topics among your community, as well as people’s opinions regarding those topics. For instance, social sentiment might reveal that a large number of people are concerned about the frequency of bullying at your school. Now you know that bullying is something that needs to be addressed, both with the students and their families.

Engagement rate

Engagement rate measures the volume of likes, shares, comments and reactions for each social media post. While reach and impressions only track views, engagement rate shows you how many people are interacting with the content. It’s important for content to have a high engagement rate because that means viewers are more likely to remember your message. Always aim to have an active audience rather than a passive audience!

Engagement rate can help you plan future communications by determining which types of content your audience enjoys the most (and finds the most valuable). If staff spotlights get positive comments, make them a regular part of your communication plans. If event reminders get a lot of shares, make it a habit to post them early and often. Find what people like, and do more of that.

Click-through rate

Click-through rate measures how often people swipe up on stories, as well as how often they follow the links in bios, description boxes and social media captions. You’ll want to know the click-through rate for content that promotes enrollment, questionnaires, sign-up sheets and other links that direct viewers onto a different site. Other metrics simply measure how many people see a post or find it insightful. Click-through rate goes a step further by measuring how many people take action when they come across a specific post.

This metric can help you determine the effectiveness of your communications and uncover strategies that inspire more audience members to take action. Of course, not everyone who clicks on an enrollment link will end up enrolling their child at your school. Nonetheless, optimizing your message can encourage people to click the link, which is a great first step towards increased involvement.

Audience growth rate

Audience growth rate tracks how many followers you gain within a certain time frame. You can easily check the number of followers on each of your school’s social media accounts. However, audience growth rate provides more detailed information about your number of followers. This metric shows when there was a surge in new followers and, conversely, when there might have been a slight drop off.

Your account’s audience growth rate can give valuable insight into how audience members react to your school communications. You might notice a spike in new followers shortly after running a strong school registration campaign. On the other hand, a school incident or negative news story might lead to a dip in followers. Monitor your audience growth rate regularly, and when there’s a significant rise or drop in followers, look at what’s happening in your community to determine whether additional communication is necessary.

Video views and completion rate

As the name suggests, video views calculate the number of people who looked at a video on your school’s social media account. This metric is important for monitoring the visibility of each video. In addition to video views, you’ll also want to track the video completion rate, which measures how often people watch a video all the way to the end. Views reveal how well a video ranks on social media, while completion rate reveals a video’s ability to engage the audience.

Both of these metrics can help you optimize the video-making process. To increase the number of views, your communication efforts should focus on creating videos that will perform well in various social media algorithms. This often involves creating videos that achieve the optimal video length. To increase the completion rate, explore ways to make your videos more engaging, such as adding background music, splicing together short video clips, making the message concise and so on.

Let these metrics guide your communications

At first glance, social media metrics look like a bunch of numbers, graphs and pie charts. However, these metrics tell an important story. They speak volumes about your audience’s engagement level, the content they find most valuable, and how they react to certain communications. By monitoring these metrics regularly, you can make more informed decisions about how, when and where you communicate.

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