Category Archives: Classroom Activities and Exercises

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Looking for social media class assignments, activities, and exercises?

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See all of my blog posts that contain social media class assignments, activities, and exercises. Just scroll down to access them. These are great public relations class assignments and work well as marketing class assignments, too. Enjoy!

Like comprehensive plans that are super-organized? Check out my book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love, that contains a semester’s worth of social media class exercises, assignments and activities.

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 Keyhole.co 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).

keyhole-social-media-account-analytics-dashboard
Click to enlarge
keyhole-instagram-dashboard-social-media-analytics
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.

keyhole-social-media-optimization
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).

Conclusion

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 Keyhole.co in this blog post. The university I work for did not receive any encouragement, incentives, compensation or discount whatsoever for my discussion of Keyhole.co.

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, Keyhole.co. It discusses how to use Keyhole.co 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 Keyhole.co 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 Keyhole.co. 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

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)

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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)

How to Teach Key Messages to PR and Marketing Students: Activity Included (Part 1 of 2)

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Teaching Students to Develop Key Messages is a Great Public Relations Class Activity

As a kid, I paid more attention to the lyrics than the rhythm or the beat. I also probably spent more time thinking about how authors expressed the ideas in a story than the story itself.

Maybe that’s why messaging is one aspect of brand building and campaign planning that has always fascinated me. While people often find the process of building key messages tedious, I see it as the fun kind of tedious.

This is part 1 of a two-part series on how I teach students to develop key messages and build a message map in my Strategic Campaign class.

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My New Book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love, is Now Available on Amazon!

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Teach Social Media Book

I am beyond thrilled to announce that my new book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love, is now available on Amazon in paperback and eBook formats.

It has been a long and exciting journey. I am so glad to finally be able to share this project with you. It is one of my most ambitious undertakings. I can best describe it as an organized “brain dump” of my knowledge about teaching a social media class for students interested in careers as professional communicators (e.g., public relations, marketing).

Continue reading My New Book, Teach Social Media: A Plan for Creating a Course Your Students Will Love, is Now Available on Amazon!

Practice writing news headlines and news leads: Re-write the headline and lead of a news story by focusing on the most interesting part [in-class activity]

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News Headline Writing and Lead Writing Practice Exercise

News headlines – or the titles of news stories – and news leads are vital parts of a compelling news story or news release.

But, what makes for an interesting story? That’s an important question and if we are going to prepare our students to be professional communicators, we should be having this conversation with our students in many of our classes.

Continue reading Practice writing news headlines and news leads: Re-write the headline and lead of a news story by focusing on the most interesting part [in-class activity]