Teach Social Media Analytics with Keyhole Hashtag Analytics Software: Activity Included

This post contains affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, if you click a link and make a purchase, I will make a commission. Please read my disclosure for details.

Teaching Social Media Analytics Skills with Keyhole Hashtag Analytics Software

This is the second post in a two-part series about using Keyhole hashtag analytics software to teach social media analytics to university students. In this post, we will explore social media metrics on Twitter and Instagram, social media account optimization, and social listening. I include a metrics tracking spreadsheet that my students use and instructions for completing the tasks assigned in the spreadsheet.

If you have not read the first post in this series about the social media analytics class activity and the social media audit assignment, I suggest doing so before proceeding.

Teaching Social Media Analytics Skills: Monitoring Metrics, Posting Schedule Optimization, and Social media Listening

In the second half of the semester, students in my COMM 322 Social Media class [all posts related to my social media class] learn to track metrics relevant to their class client, our department’s social media.  This is part of a semester-long project where my class takes on a class client; a topic discussed in greater detail in my book Teach Social Media and, to a lesser extent, in this blog post.

This year, we are focusing on Twitter, Instagram and IGTV (through the Instagram app).

There are 3 areas of focus that students are learning:

  • Social media account metrics
  • Social media account optimization
  • Social media listening

Let’s discuss each in turn.  Note that this blog post is an update and expansion to previous posts which have discussed the use of Meltwater social intelligence software and Microsoft Social Engagement software for similar knowledge and skills.

In this post, we will be using an updated spreadsheet designed for tracking social media account metrics, social media optimization, and social listening. It is designed to work with software. You will also see links to a video and a lab guide in the spreadsheet, which will be discussed below. I encourage you to load the spreadsheet for reference. Note: The spreadsheet is a modified version of a metrics tracking spreadsheet originally developed by Jeremy Floyd.

Teach Social Media Analytics Part 1: Social Media Account Metrics

To start, students set up their benchmarks and KPIs in the metrics goals tab for the account they are assigned to track.  Each team in class is assigned a different social media account that they are in charge of.  Each group devises their own KPIs. Benchmarks can be taken from the current data by looking at the previous week’s content, or by averaging the weekly metrics from a previous set of time, such as the previous 4 weeks.

Once set up, they begin tracking in the reporting tab of the metrics spreadsheet. There, you will see several preset metrics – the same metrics that were in the metrics goals tab. For Twitter and Instagram, these are based on the data available at the top the main dashboard page for social media account analytics in the Keyhole software (see the side-by-side images below for Twitter and Instagram). As you can see, we are having way more success with Instagram engagement than Twitter for our audience.

These metrics are tracked weekly starting with week 9 of the semester. You can add additional metrics to the spreadsheet, of course, diving further into the rich data that Keyhole provides about your account (see this PDF I generated of some of the additional data Keyhole provides).

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Teach Social Media Analytics Part 2: Social Media Account Optimization

Perhaps the coolest thing about Keyhole, in my opinion, is the data it provides that can be used to help optimize your social media posts to increase the likelihood of their success in terms of reach and engagement.

In Keyhole, under social media account analytics, users can click on the optimization tab. There, a user will see the best time to post, the optimal post length, the top hashtags by engagement, the optimal number of hashtags and the average engagements by day.

Because everything is online this semester due to COVID-19: To prepare students for this task, I created a Loom video overview teaching students how to conduct optimization tracking using the metrics spreadsheet.

Having students sort through this data can help them make choices on when they want to publish future content and how they can optimize it for length and hashtags.  See the example of our department Instagram page below.

Click to enlarge

Students track this data every week in the appropriate optimization tracking tab in the metrics spreadsheet.

Teach Social Media Analytics Part 3: Social Media Listening

Lastly, students use Keyhole to conduct social media listening. I have my students monitor the conversation around our communication department. We set up a social listening & campaign tracking search to do this, entering keywords (e.g., search terms or hashtags) relevant to our brand. Of course, I could also expand the listening to the wider Shepherd University community in a separate social listening & campaign tracking search.  I could also have them track competitors, which they do in the social media audit assignment discussed in the first post in this series.

For our current purposes, the students are just focused on the conversation around our department.

Because everything is online this semester due to COVID-19: I created this lab guide to show students how to gather and analyze the social listening data for the metrics spreadsheet. The data is entered into the social listening tab in the spreadsheet. The final question asks in the tab asks them to analyze the key takeaways from the social listening for each week.

When you look at the lab guide, you will note instructions towards the top of the lab guide under “getting started” about how to set up a new social listening & campaign tracker. My original intention was to have each team set up their own tracker, but I decided instead to create one tracker in class with input from students to save time. Thus, as I noted above, I already created the tracker we use in this assignment and thus this my students skip this step.

To help you see some of the data that can be tracked with a social listening & campaign tracking search in Keyhole, I am providing a public social listening tracker that I created of some of the data that Keyhole provides for a search our class set up.  (Note: This link may not work in the future if the tracker is deleted. But I am sharing it for temporary use).


Taken together, this social media metrics spreadsheet assignment gives students hands-on experience learning to read and interpret social media analytics data using industry software.

In this post and the previous post in this series, I have shared how I have incorporated the Keyhole hashtag tracking software in my social media class across 3 different tasks: 1) The social media analytics class activity – which introduces students to social media metrics, 2) the social media audit – where students incorporate what they are learning to evaluate our client and a competitor using the Keyhole software, and 3) the social media metrics spreadsheet assignment – where students track social media metrics, learn about post optimization by analyzing account metrics, and engage in social media listening.

I have taught these skills using different software over the last few years. Every social media analytics software package comes with different features. Although this blog post discusses topics that have covered on this blog in the past, I hope that this update provides a fresh look at how these skills can be taught with a different social media analytics product. One major update to the the social media metrics spreadsheet assignment is the improved opportunity to teach optimization versus what I was able to do with other software in the past. I am hopeful that it will translate to better learning outcomes for students.

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you have used Keyhole before and have tips, activities, or assignments, please share them in the comments below.

Be well!

  • Matt

Want to learn more?

Social media listening and tracking are discussed in chapter 7 of my book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love.

Notes and Disclosure: This blog post discusses how I am using this software in my classroom to provide descriptive information for educators about my experience. This post is not an endorsement nor a criticism of Keyhole or any other software. I have not received any encouragement, incentives, compensation or discounts whatsoever for my discussion of in this blog post. The university I work for did not receive any encouragement, incentives, compensation or discount whatsoever for my discussion of

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.