Category Archives: Classes

Teach Your Students to Create A Podcast on Instagram Using Lab Guide Included

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Podcasts on Instagram? Yes! Here’s How to Post Audio on Instagram Using

As fellow podcast lovers know, we live in a golden age of audio. But what if you want to post audio on a visual platform like Instagram or Twitter? You’ll need visuals, of course.  That’s what does – it makes ‘audiograms’ so they can be published on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, and more. In the below, I explain how to use the to create a podcast to post on social media sites like Instagram TV (IGTV). I provide a lab guide with step-by-step instructions for creating an audiogram that can be shared with your students. I also provide links to the audiograms my students made in my social media class [download social media class syllabus | All posts about this class].

Why Post Audio to Instagram?

In my case, it was a problem and a solution born from the pandemic.

In fall 2019, I challenged the students in my social media class to experiment with Instagram TV (IGTV). I wanted my students doing more with video. So the students started a show called ShepShow. It was a mix of humorous person-on-the-street interviews, more serious interviews with alum, and testimonials about student life. In fall 2020 amid COVID, the idea of students walking campus with a microphone just wasn’t going to work. So, I decided to turn season 2 of ShepShow into an audio-only program; a mini podcast that would be recorded over Zoom while students were safely apart.

This presented a problem: How to get an audio-only show on a visual platform like Instagram?

What is and Why Should I Use it to Get a Podcast on IGTV?

At first, I thought that we would create the audio and then turn it into a video using Adobe Rush or some other editing tool. Then, I did what any educator would do: I got on Google, searched around, and found Headliner. I signed up for a free account and  was able to create my first audiogram on Headliner in just a few minutes.

An audiogram is essentially audio wrapped in a still image, with the image aspect ratio optimized for posting on social media. A waveform – a real-time visual representation of the audio – can be placed over the image. As you can imagine, is particularly great for taking a podcast and posting it on YouTube, as many podcasters do to leverage YouTube’s massive audience and monetization features. But Headliner’s s array of features, including audio transcription, make it a versatile tool for posting audio on any social network (See a list of features).

Teaching Students to Create an IGTV Podcast using Headliner’s Audiograms

I wrote a detailed look at the IGTV assignment in my social media class from Fall 2019. That post provides more context regarding why my students are creating content for our department’s Instagram page (@ShepComm) and other social media platforms. The IGTV assignment is part of a larger semester-long assignment my students complete in my social media class whereby they take on the social media for our department (I discuss the semester-long project in detail here, or you can learn about it in my 2019 book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love).

IGTV in the College Classroom

During this past semester (Fall 2020), I put one student group in charge of ShepShow, our IGTV show. While IGTV is also its own app, it is also part of Instagram. Thus, our ShepShow episodes are uploaded and accessible through the department’s @ShepComm Instagram page.

Here are the steps my students used to create audiograms and post them to Instagram. The same could be done for other social networks.

    1. Record over Zoom – Get everyone who will be participating in the audio together on a Zoom call. See Zoom’s audio recording guide for how to record the call. If you prefer, you can even choose a setting to record separate audio files for each person who speaks for editing purposes. When everyone’s ready, record the call.
    2. Edit the Audio – Once the audio file is recorded on Zoom (or multiple audio files if you recorded one for each person who speaks), it is downloaded to the computer of the person who set up the recording. The file can then be edited in audio editing software such as Audacity or Adobe Audition. Once complete, the audio can be exported (e.g., as an MP3) so it can be uploaded into Headliner.
    3. IGTV Thumbnail – The visual aspect of the audiogram is a still image, or thumbnail. It is what people will see when they load the IGTV episode to listen to it. This visual will need to be created before creating the audiogram.
    4. Create a Headliner Account – Head over to Headliner. A free account is all you will need for this project.
    5. Create the Audiogram using Headliner – Discussed in detail below.
    6. Write the Episode Title and Description – Every episode on IGTV needs a title and description. Use those social media writing skills, keeping in mind best practices such as search, tagging accounts and hashtags.
    7. Publish on IGTV – Instagram provides easy-to-follow instructions for uploading video to IGTV directly from a computer.

How to Create a Headliner Audiogram


Using is pretty straightforward as the app offers step-by-step instructions for creating audiograms. However, there are a number of different options available. We want to make sure that the correct options are chosen so that our audiogram works with IGTV. Most importantly, the IGTV video dimension requirements must be followed (see IGTV video requirements). Not to worry, in the below-linked lab guide, I have provided instructions showing which video dimension to pick for IGTV.  Click the link below for the step-by-step instructions I share with my students.  These isntructions teach students how to create an IGTV-ready audiogram in Headliner.

That’s it! Now you have audio that can be uploaded to Instagram TV (or, elsewhere) for your IGTV podcast or other audio project.

To see season 2 of ShepShow and some of my students’ audiograms, check out our Instagram TV channel, and the 7 episodes from Season 2.


Making season 2 of ShepShow a mini-podcast rather than a video season brought down the stress levels for the students and I during a very stressful semester. Most importantly, it was the right move from a health and standpoint. The students completed this project socially distanced from the safety of home. Here are a few final thoughts before you jump in:

  • Audio might not be quite as engaging as video. We live in a visual world and Instagram is a very visual platform. So metrics numbers may be down. Captivating thumbnails and optimized titles and descriptions can help.
  • Audiograms can be easily created for other social platforms, so the audio can be shared on YouTube and other platforms, too.
  • Already have a podcast? Audiograms are a great way to get snippets of your show onto platfroms for your audience to snack on.
  • Keep in mind the audio length requirements for IGTV. The video must be shorter than 10 minutes for regular Instagram users.
  • IGTV thumbnails continued to be a bit of an issue this season. Some came out great in the channel preview, while others didn’t, despite the team using the same Canva template for each. I need to find a solution to this.
  • When recording on Zoom, I suggest, whenever possible, using better quality microphones and ensuring that all members are using fast Internet connections to avoid any audio issues in recording. This was not always available to our students, given the pandemic, and a few minor issues came up in our finished episodes.
  • Once the audiogram is created, be sure to listen to the complete episode all the way through before publishing it. If step 3 in the lab guide is not followed correctly, then the full audio might be cut off.

I hope you found this post an interesting twist on a social media assignment. If you try this project, please share your social media audiograms in the comments below!

  • Be Well!




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

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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

Social Media Analytics Class Activity with Keyhole Hashtag Analytics Software

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The Social Media Analytics Class Activity: Why?

Having a social media analytics class activity is vital to teaching our students social media analytics, including account analytics and social listening. But, as educators, getting our hands on social media analytics software in the classroom is an increasing challenge.

This post and the one that will follow it will discuss the new social media software I am using, It discusses how to use hashtag analytics software to teach analytics and social listening skills (note: The name is a bit misleading. Keyhole does much more than hashtag analytics). In the first post in this series, I offer a beginner’s social media activity for using Keyhole along with step-by-step instructions for doing so.I also offer a social media audit assignment that is designed to be used with the Keyhole software.

In the second post, I offer a spreadsheet that students can use to track metrics from related to social media account metrics on Twitter and Instagram, identify social media account optimization opportunities, and engage in social listening. I also provide instruction for how to complete these tasks.

Choosing Social Media Analytics Software: What to Consider

Over the last few years, several social media analytics companies generously offered university classrooms free access to their software. However, with the closure of the Meltwater university program and the discontinuation of Microsoft Social Engagement, those options have become limited. Professors have had to search for affordable solutions during a time of economic uncertainty in academia.

So I posed a question to the always-awesome Social Media Professors Community Facebook Group this past summer seeking suggestions of paid social media analytics software.   A few tools were suggested (thank you so much for the input!) all with distinct advantages and limitations. I set up interviews and software demos with several companies to learn about their features and costs.

Taking into consideration many factors including the needs of my classes, the features of the software, and pricing, we decided to go with However, I encourage you to do your research, set up software demos or try free trials, and find what works best for you and your students.

While each company in the social media analytics space prices differently, some common variables that impact pricing are:

Continue reading Social Media Analytics Class Activity with Keyhole Hashtag Analytics Software

Brand Crisis Response Activity for Social Media and PR Online Classes

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Brand Crisis Response Compare and Contrast Activity: Brands Doing Good in a Time of Crisis

I’ve created a brief online discussion/presentation activity for students in my Public Relations Principles class. The assignment asks students to compare and contrast 2 brands in the same category in terms of how they are communicating with publics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s my ask for students: Find 2 organizations that are doing good during these trying times and share them with us.

Continue reading Brand Crisis Response Activity for Social Media and PR Online Classes

Google Analytics Assignment in the Communication Research Class. Lab Guide Included!

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A Google Analytics Assignment in the Communication Research Class? Yes!

The question of teaching Google Analytics is part of the larger conversation of what we can manage to get in amid the many skills we want our students to learn.  Beyond that, we’ve been talking a lot lately in the social media community about what certifications we should require our students to complete. The Google Analytics Individual Qualifying (IQ) Exam, which evaluates knowledge about Google Analytics, is commonly brought up.

But how do we tie the certification into the classroom? How do we teach our students to navigate Google Analytics in a hands-on manner?

Continue reading Google Analytics Assignment in the Communication Research Class. Lab Guide Included!

The IGTV Video Class Assignment: Review and Tips

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The IGTV Video Class Assignment

How can we get our students learning and doing more with video? IGTV videos – or Instagram TV videos – is one such way.  That’s why I had my social media class create an IGTV video show this past fall. In the below post, I share how I set the IGTV class assignment up, link to examples of student work, and discuss key takeaways and considerations.

Continue reading The IGTV Video Class Assignment: Review and Tips

Use this Worksheet in Your Class to Design a Message Map and Key Messages for a Communication Campaign (Part 2 of 2)

This post may contain 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 Students to Develop Message Maps

In the first post in this series I provided an activity to teach students what key messages are and how they can begin learning to identify and extract key messages. If you haven’t read it, please do so before proceeding.

Below, students take the brainstorm activity and go out and get some feedback for their key messages. Then, they develop a message map.

Continue reading Use this Worksheet in Your Class to Design a Message Map and Key Messages for a Communication Campaign (Part 2 of 2)