social media monitoring assignment

I’m always looking for ways to integrate more social media assignments into the core classes, so when I heard this idea at the National Communication Association PR division’s “teaching social media panel” with friends Barbara Nixon, Kelli Matthews, Tiffany Derville Gallicano, Alisa Agozzino & Bill Handy — I knew I had to try it.

And so this semester I have my students monitoring real clients and producing 3 social media monitoring reports on the client throughout the semester. The purpose is not only to show them how to measure social media, but to allow them to do it over time for tracking purposes and come to a deeper understanding of what metrics really matter.

Each student will follow an assigned client all semester. The student will create a monthly report, determining the baseline in the first report then trending data for the 2nd and 3rd reports.

Here is the information I gave to my students in the handout, and the video (.mov) I made to explain the basic assignment.


This on-going assignment will have you tracking your client throughout the semester and creating a total of three reports detailing trends in online conversation.

The following social media monitoring resources may help identify conversations about your client.

Be sure to also consider searching Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler and any other social site you can find!


  • Make the layout of the report consistent from month-to-month
  • Use graphics and minimize text
  • Specify what you think the goal for the client should, include target audience: focus data around that
  • Avoid heavy text that will be complex to process
  • Track: topics, tone, message salience, word-of-mouth, engagement, etc.
  • Set up system to collect data throughout month & code as you go (content analysis)

Read blog posts seek out current resources on best practices for metrics and monitoring.


  • Each report is only limited to one page (and no, not 2-sided), margins unimportant
  • Provide basic information on how each metric was measured (parameters, search terms, method, etc.)
  • If reporting a statistic garnered from an online tool, cite the tool as the source
  • If publishing a graphic created by an online tool, cite the tool as the source

Turning it in

  • Print a copy (in color if desired), place the print out on the table at front of class
  • E-mail a PDF of what you turned in to professor no later than 11:59 p.m. on the day the report was due, subject line will be client / report # (example: @NavyNews / report 1)
  • Late work never accepted and the assignment is not fully turned in until professor has both the print out and the PDF

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