Likes don’t pay the bills - and what to focus on instead

August 3, 2022

Leslie Thandiwe Sithole

Social media is one of the most impactful and cost-effective marketing platforms available to ed(tech) companies today.  We've personally seen institutions completely transformed by compelling social media and a strong content marketing strategy. Brand awareness, leads, and sales are all possibilities.

Despite this, many businesses are still struggling to make it work for them.

It all boils down to this.

Likes don’t pay the bills

Some social metrics are less important than others. In this article, we will discuss how to obtain ROI on components that have a direct impact on your business.

Let's be honest... Almost all businesses exist to make a profit; it is how they typically stay in business. "Thank you, Captain Obvious." Strangely enough, and as simple as that statement is, in the digital world, a lot of companies boast about the most bizarre metrics. "Oh, our Facebook page is fantastic." Have you noticed that we have x number of followers and x number of likes?" Of course, this is excellent, but in reality, followers, likes, and shares have little to no value if they do not translate into sales. When marketing managers ask for higher digital marketing budgets, I'm sure they've been told "likes don't pay the bills"...or something along those lines.

Many educational institutions are pouring money into digital marketing in the hopes of seeing a good return on investment. It is no longer enough to have a social presence; it must also work hard for the business.

Over the last two years, digital has emerged as the preferred marketing channel. By 2020, there were already over three billion smartphone users worldwide, with millennials spending 5.7 hours per day on their phones and baby boomers spending five hours. Do you know of any other advertising channel or medium that people use almost constantly, my fellow marketers? Digital marketing efforts can reach your target market at any time and from any location thanks to smartphones. They don't have to be driving on a specific road or listening to a particular radio station at a precise time to hear your 30-second radio ad.

Numbers don't lie in digital data, the truth is transparent, it's there for you to see in black and white. Also, after a few days, you can quickly see if your content is meeting its business objectives, and if not, you can optimize it right away, rather than waiting 3 or 4 months. Digital marketing saves money by eliminating the need to hire research firms to conduct audience research and the like; the data will tell you if your audience, content messaging, and so on are correct.

Okay, fellow marketers, in order to determine whether your content is meeting its business objectives, you must have a digital strategy in place. In general, the majority of the digital strategy work we've done has revolved around one of two business objectives. 1) raising online awareness about an educational institute, and 2) generating leads.

Now of course - there is a place for everything, including likes.

This is where a like could be considered a valuable asset

  • For one thing, they can work wonders for social proof. Potential students typically conduct a ‘digital interview’ with an institution before even considering signing up.
  • For education companies, having a large following can serve as "proof" that you're reliable and that others have enjoyed working with you. Positive reviews establish trust and confidence in product-based businesses.
  • Followers who aren't potential (or existing) students themselves (bots, people trying to follow for follow backs, competitor businesses, etc.) aren't helpful.

The who

Data is king at Pink Orange. So, before you tackle the business objectives/goals, make sure you've done the necessary research. Without research and data, your digital strategy will be haphazard. Your target audience should already be aware of who you are, but do they know who you are? Do you know which digital channels your audiences prefer, what content on your social platforms they enjoy, and what performs well? Once you've determined who you're talking to, you can move on to the what.

The what

So, now that you've established a solid foundation for your digital strategy, what do you want to communicate to them? Are you looking to raise awareness, generate leads/applications, or both? Always take into account that the new customers you're attempting to reach aren't always looking for you. The question now is, what are they looking for? You must determine what their interests are and how you can easily become a part of their digital journey and add value (or perhaps entertainment) to their lives. Be interested in what your target market is interested in, join in on their conversations, and figure out how your product/service can fit in with them and make their lives easier. A handy tip to remember - more about them - less about you.

Digital marketing ensures that your content is relevant for the digital channel on which it lives, thereby providing your target audience with the information they seek. Consider how much content these customers are exposed to on a daily basis. Is your message clear and entertaining? Does it prevent your audience from swiping and demand their attention? If you want to close a sale or generate leads, make the process as simple, smooth, and easy as possible. Don't use a 10-step process to move them from platform to website to microsite to platform. If the process is too complicated, today's tech-savvy consumers will lose patience and simply abandon your site.

When it comes to digital strategy, there are many variables to consider, but the most important thing is that you have clearly defined digital business goals and KPIs for your company, giving you something to aim for. To accomplish this, conduct informative and insightful research that will feed into your digital strategy.

Book a free consulting session with our team if you want to capitalize on a digital or social strategy that will help you achieve your business goals in measurable ways!

Are you a marketer curious to learn about the aspects that affect our industry?

Or do you want to tap into our expertise to sharpen your tactics? Look no further than our free downloadable resources. We work hard to research our content - and offer it to you - free of charge.

Education marketing is unique and specific metrics can diminish our efforts or propel our success.

Use our free Education marketing metrics checklist and pay attention to the right KPIs to increase conversions.