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Marketing Research & Social Media Plan Report

Palomar College AMBCS Division:

Research Report and Social Media Plan      

Prepared for


Palomar College AMBCS Division

N. Rand Green

Department Chair, Computer Science and Information Technology Department Palomar College



Prepared by


Alex Dietz

Mike Letourneau

Curtis Pieramico

David Rajlevsky

Andrea Thill

Executive Summary

The AMBCS Division at Palomar College has had declining enrollment, and believes that this decline has to do with their lack of an online presence. A survey was conducted to try and determine what students thought about the college, and to see if an implementation of a social media marketing plan would be effective for the college. It was determined that 45% of the students, overall, would utilize social media to find updates and other new information about the college. The students favored Facebook, by 82%, as the social media site they would like to use for updates on the college.  It was also determined that only 0.7% of students had heard about Palomar through social media. This shows how inactive Palomar is on social media.

A social media marketing guide has been created for the AMBCS division with descriptions and information about the recommended social media platforms including: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also included are samples and templates of the platforms listed above, as well as a step- by- step guideline to implement the platforms into the business.  Further explained are additional social media platforms to look into, and consider, after implementing the guides that have been provided in this report.

It is important to analyze the success of the social media plan.  So it is suggested that a self-social media audit be conducted to rate the success of the social media plan. To do so, the audience (followers) of each platform should be observed and analyzed about two times a week, as well as the engagement of the students on each platform. Then compare week to week to see if the audience and engagement is increasing or decreasing. From that, it can be determined if the plan is being successful or not. It is also recommended to do a competitor audit, to see how successful competitors are on their social media platforms.  Another way to determine the success of the social media plan is to survey the current students, high school students, and students from competitor schools.


The Arts, Media, Business, and Computer Science division at Palomar College has experienced a decrease in enrollment over the past few years. During the same time period other community colleges in the San Diego region have experienced an increase in enrollment.  Identifying the client’s weaknesses in attracting students was the broad based goal of the project.  Through student satisfaction surveys, data was gathered and analyzed to asses this problem.  The data collected also helped to determine the best social media plan to promote the Arts, Media, Business, and Computer Science division and reach potential applicants who would otherwise not apply to Palomar. Recommendations were made based on the research findings on ways to improve social media marketing.

Mission Statement

It is our mission as the AMBCS division to provide all students with the finest education offered in the community college category. We constantly seek out and utilize the most excellent resources including, but not limited to, professors, infrastructure, and technology to give the students the highest quality education. Our most essential objective is that the education provided through the AMBCS division will assist the students in achieving their career and educational goals.


In order to properly asses the client’s problem it was necessary to gather the correct information. It was crucial for the project to identify what current students thought about Palomar College and the Arts, Media, Business, and Computer Science division. It was also necessary to determine how easy it was for the students’ to gather information about their division of interest, and the students’ preferred method of receiving that information. A series of questions were created to properly gather the required information in order to create a survey. The Survey was given to the AMBCS division faculty in both paper and electronic formats. The faculty administered the survey to their current enrolled students and over 500 surveys were collected to analyze. The gathered data were carefully examined and analyzed in order to make the most educated recommendations to the client.

Research Proposal 

Brief Company Background


            Palomar College offers more than 250 different degrees and certificates, helps students reach many different academic goals, and helps students take the necessary classes to prepare students for four year colleges and universities. They also offer many other programs that allow students to receive an associate degree, a certificate in a certain field, or just further skills, and abilities to take individuals to the next level in their careers or in their personal lives.


Statement of Objective


Palomar believes other colleges are more successful when it comes to social media and online presence. They think that their lack of social media and online presence is one of the leading causes of the steady decline in their admissions for the last 5 years. Palomar wants to determine how students see the Palomar website, as well as how they see the different division websites. Palomar wants to determine whether or not students would use social media to find out about school updates, and which social media platforms would be used the most.


Research Questions


  1. How do current students rate the various aspects of their experience at Palomar College?

  2. Why do students choose Palomar over other college options?

  3. Is Palomar’s online presence effective and easily used by students?

  4. Is social media an effective way to reach students? If so, which platforms are preferred?




Target Population

The target population is individuals that are currently attending a Palomar community college, particularly those that are taking courses in the Arts, Media, Business, and Computer Science divisions.



Research Design

The research to be conducted will be descriptive research. Descriptive research will help us make specific predictions, and will also help to determine relationships between variables.


Survey Methods

A survey will be created based on the research questions and the research objective. The client wants additional data for their own personal observation, which they will be using for other purposes outside of this marketing research study.

Sampling Plan

We will survey current Palomar student, with the help of the faculty. The surveys will be administered in several different class subjects in the Arts, Media, Business, and Computer Science division. The surveys will be distributed in classes held on different days of the week, and in classes that are held at different times.




At the end of the research period, a report will be given to the Palomar sponsor. The research report will be comprised of analyzed survey data, and possible suggestions based on the results. The full report deliverable will have several different sections which will include additional information requested by the sponsor: Social media promotion plan, guide to successful social media promotions, suggest use of social media, templates to continue the promotional plan, and survey to administer the success of their implementation of the plan.  The report will also have an appendix, which will include a copy of the survey, and the survey results in a numerical format.


Sponsor’s role


The sponsor will examine the survey before it is administered. The sponsor will then have the Palomar faculty administer the surveys to their students.  The sponsor will be available to us if we have any questions about what they need, or clarifications about the company.

Research Results

Research Question #1: Why do students choose Palomar over other college options?


Respondents were asked why they are attending a community college and given the options listed below in Figure 1. More than half (55%) of students indicated that the main reason for attending a community college is to transfer to a four- year institution in order to pursue further education. A significant amount of students (22%) are attending community college to obtain an Associate’s degree from the AMBCS department. “Extended learning” for life (13%) and “earn a professional certificate” were the reasons held least by the sample population


Figure 1. Why students are attending community college

Research Question #1: Why do students choose Palomar rather than other college options?


Survey respondents were asked what made them decide to go to community college before transferring to a four- year college; they were able to choose all options that applied. The percentage beside the bars represents the proportion of students that selected each option listed below in Figure 2. As expected, many students (63%) attend community college in order to obtain education at a lower cost for the first two years of their undergraduate career. Figure 2 also suggests that a significant amount of students (34%) are attending community college to explore different study topics before committing to a major for an undergraduate degree. The data also suggests that students also attended a community college in order to meet the specific requirements held by the different departments in four year institutions (27%).

Figure 2. Percentage breakdown of reasons students attend community college before transferring to a four-year institution.

Research Question #1: Why do students choose Palomar rather than other college options?


Figure 3 represents the percentage breakdown of responses to the survey question regarding what made current students choose Palomar College over other colleges; respondents were asked to check all reasons that apply. Figure 3 suggests that students decided to attend Palomar over other college options for various reasons; the two most frequently held were the location of the school (78%) as well as lower education costs (58%). Students also attend Palomar College due to the wide range of course offerings (38%). “Ease of enrollment” was also a significant factor (37%) for students when deciding on Palomar over other colleges. Only 25% of respondents chose Palomar for the quality of their programs, 24% for their certificate programs, and 18% for transfer partnerships. College reputation (23%) and school environment (22%) were not the main deciding factors for their choice of Palomar.


Figure 3: What made you choose to attend Palomar over other colleges?

Research Question #2: How do current students rate the various aspects of their experience at Palomar College?

Respondents were asked to rate the various experiences listed below in Figure 4 from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). The numbers beside each bar represents the average rating given by students for the respective aspect of their experience. The data suggests that the highest rated aspects were the quality of classes (4.10), classroom technology (4.03), the size of classes (3.99), and professors (3.97). Class availability (3.70), the career center (3.56), and counseling services (3.55) were the aspects of experience rated lowest by students in the AMBCS division at Palomar. 

Figure 4. Average rating of various aspects of student experience

Research Question #2: How do current students rate the various aspects of their experience at Palomar College?

Figure 5 represents the likeliness of AMBCS division students to recommend Palomar College to others. This graph indicates that the majority of survey respondents said they were likely (31%) or very likely (47%) to recommend Palomar College to others. Furthermore, the graph indicates that only 5% of students would not recommend Palomar to potential students. It is important to note that 17% of students might recommend the school to the others, which can be interpreted in different ways.


Figure 5. Likeliness to recommend Palomar College to others

Research Question #3: Is Palomar’s online presence effective and easily used by students?


Survey respondents were asked how they find out new information about Palomar College and given the option to check all that apply. In Figure 6, the value beside each bar represents the percentage of respondents that selected the corresponding option. Figure 3 indicates the majority of AMBCS students find new information about Palomar College through the Palomar Website (82%) or from College Emails (45%). The data suggests that Social Media (14%) and Newsletters (7%) are the least used mediums for finding information about Palomar.


Figure 6. How students find new information about Palomar College

Research Question #3: Is Palomar’s online presence effective and easily used by students?

Figure 7 represents the various ways students first learned about the AMBCS division at Palomar College. The value beside each bar represents the percentage of respondents that selected the corresponding option. Figure 7 indicates the majority of AMBCS survey respondents learn about Palomar College through friends/relatives/coworkers (43%) and High School (42%). Internet searches (9%) and Social Media (0.70%) were the least frequent ways current students first heard about Palomar.


Figure 7. Percentage breakdown for how AMBCS sample population learned about Palomar College

Research Question #3: Is Palomar’s online presence effective and easily used by students?

Figure 8 represents the average rating for the various websites of Palomar College in regards to their functionality and usefulness. The options were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being very poor and 5 being very good. The number to the right of each bar represents the average rating by AMBCS students for the respective website. Figure 5 indicates that the Arts Department Website (3.75) was rated highest while the Business Department Website (3.51) was rated the lowest. The Palomar website was in between Arts and Business with an average rating of 3.66.


Figure 8. Palomar Website Ratings

Research Question #4: Is social media an effective way to reach students? If so, which platforms are preferred?

Figure 9 represents the percentage breakdown of AMBCS student survey respondents that selected whether they would or wouldn’t use social media as a source of new information about Palomar College. The sample population suggests that 45% of students would use Social Media as a source for information about Palomar while 55% would not. Organizing the responses by age shows that younger students are more likely to utilize Social Media over their older peers. 51% of students between the ages 18-23 and 52% of students between the ages of 24-29 indicated they would use Social Media as a source of new information, which is important because these age groups account for the largest portion of students in the AMBCS division.

Figure 9. Percentage breakdown of whether social media would be used or not

Research Question #4: Is social media an effective way to reach students? If so, which platforms are preferred?

Figure 10 represents popularity of various Social Media platforms that students would use to find new information about Palomar College. The percentage beside each bar represents the percentage of total responses for the corresponding platform. Figure 10 indicates that 82% of the students that would use social media to find new information would utilize Facebook as a platform. The popularity of the second most utilized platform, Instagram, garnered only 39% of respondents. While Facebook remains the most popular platform for all age groups, younger students would utilize Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat more than their older peers.

Figure 10. Preferred platforms for finding new information among respondents who would use social media.

Research Findings & Suggestions 

          The goals of the research were to understand if current students in the AMBCS division at Palomar would utilize social media as a source for information, and if so, identify the most popular platforms, as well as gain an understanding of the current sentiment held by students. Our research suggests that 45% of students would utilize social media to interact online with the school. That figure jumps to 53% when only looking at students in the age range of 17-29, which is important because this age group accounts for the greater proportion (78%) of students currently enrolled in the AMBCS division. The survey also asked students how they currently seek new information about the school and only 14% stated they use social media. While roughly half of the students indicated they would use Social Media to interact with the school, only 14% currently do use it; this leaves a huge opportunity to grab the attention of many students who want to know more about the school. The research also suggests that only 9% of students first learned about the college through the Internet and not even 1% through social media. While local students may first learn about Palomar College through their high schools and friends, it is important to note that many transplants will not have had this prior introduction, which makes Palomar’s online presence paramount to attract potential enrollees that have otherwise not heard of the college before. When students were asked to rate the AMBCS and Palomar websites, the results were subpar. The ratings varied between 3.51-3.75 on a scale of 5, which is in line with a “C” level grade. This low grade of the current websites is an area of concern due to the fact that about 82% of students use this medium to gain and access information about the school. In order to improve first impressions and increase the attractiveness of Palomar College, management may want to evaluate the appearance and functionality of their current websites.  Social Media has grown to be a necessity for any business and an integral part of everyday life, so a strong online presence positioned by Palomar could very well attract new students. A goal should be set to increase the amount of students first learning about Palomar through Social Media; and at the current level of less than 1%, we believe this goal can easily be attained by creating a thoughtful and consistent social media presence. Our research shows that Facebook is overwhelmingly the most popular and widely used platform by students of all ages. While Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are not as popular as Facebook, data suggests they are still relevant and useful, especially with younger students. We suggest that Palomar utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to help inform current and potential students.

          As stated earlier, another goal of this research was to understand why students decided to go to Palomar and how they rate the various aspects of the school’s environment. Palomar is a community college, therefore an important question to ask students was “why are you attending a community college?” The results showed that the majority of students were attending community college in order to transfer to a four- year institution; the main reasons being to save money, explore different majors, and to meet specific requirements held by four- year institutions. Students were also asked in general why they chose to attend Palomar instead of other colleges; indicating that the location and lower costs were associated with their choice of Palomar. A smaller, but still significant amount of students stated that class availability and the ease of enrollment were part of their reasoning when deciding to attend Palomar. School environment, college reputation, and transfer partnerships were the least frequent deciding factors when deciding to enroll in the school. Students were asked how likely they were to recommend Palomar to other potential students, and the results were reassuring; 78% of students stated they were either “very likely” or “likely” to recommend Palomar, while only 5% stated they would not. When asked to rate the various aspects of the school, students responded in positive way. The highest rated aspects of Palomar were “quality of classes,” “classroom technology,” “size of classes,” and “professors.” While “class availability,” “career center,” and “counseling services” were among the lowest rated aspects.

          We noticed that current students rate the aspects of their school environment (quality of classes, classroom technology, professors, etc.) at a high level, yet when they decided to attend the school originally, the main reasons involved location, low costs, and to transfer to a four- year institution; not necessarily the school environment or program reputation. The implication of these findings suggest that Palomar is popular and rated highly by current students, however, these advantages are not portrayed enough in the community. This is where an online and social media presence can help advertise all the advantages when attending a community college as well as the highly rated aspects of Palomar’s environment. The next section of this report includes a social media manual, which provides guidelines that any user can implement to ensure a consistent and effective online presence.

Social Media Marketing Plan Guidelines

Social Platforms

Instagram (IG)


Instagram is known as the social media for photo sharing, and it has expanded to GIF and video sharing.  On Instagram, media cannot be posted from computers. They can only be posted from mobile devices that are able to support the Instagram app. It is possible to view, like, and comment on a desktop or laptop computer, but uploading content is currently not available on laptops or desktop computers. It is important to keep the description of media short and to the point, as users don’t typically want to do a lot of reading on this social media platform. Even though there really is no word or character limit, a suggestion would be to keep it under 300 characters.  



Private vs. Public

 Profiles set to private will only be viewable by individuals following the private account. All followers must request to follow the account, and the account holder must accept the request for that person to be able to see the posts. Profiles set to public will be viewable by anyone with access to Instagram. It is recommended that public accounts, such as businesses, should be set to public.


URLs and Links

Instagram doesn’t allow links in the media description, so this platform is best for sharing media only, and not necessarily sharing written content such as articles and resources. If there is a scenario where a link or URL is very necessary, a link or URL can be included on to the accounts main page bio. In this case, “link in bio” should be entered into the media’s description upon making the post relating to the article.


Tags and Hashtags

Another user can be tagged in the media description by placing the “@” symbol in front of their username in the post (example @username). A hashtag is a word or phrase following this symbol: #. These hashtags are ways to communicate the important message of the content being posted, it is also a way to be funny or creative. People pay attention to creative hashtags. Hashtags are also used as search tools. When entering a hashtags into a description, a number will appear with how many people have used the same word or phrase. By searching or clicking on hashtags Instagram will show what other people are posting when using that particular hashtag. Unique specific hashtags can be created by individuals for special events/occasions.



You can turn on your location, or do a location search to identify where a photo or video was taken.


Comments and Likes

Comments can only made by followers on a private account. Likes can also only be given out by follower on a private account. On public accounts, anyone with an Instagram account can like media, and post comments on the media.


Suggestions on Implementation

The Instagram account for Palomar should be set to Public. Post frequency should be about one post per day at most and two posts per week at minimum. Post recommendations /examples: visual examples of student work, examples of exciting class projects, quick photo reminders of events, photos taken at school events, etc. It is important to include hashtags when posting content on Instagram, but it is also important not to overuse hashtags. A rule of thumb would be to use just enough to get the point across, and try to keep it to no more than seven hashtags per post. Get creative with hashtags; create unique hashtags specific to Palomar College and the AMBCS division. Hashtags can also be created to identify specific events or occasions, as well as courses or coursework. Keep in mind that engagement with students (customers) is very important! If questions are asked on a post, try to get back to them as soon as possible. Don’t leave them hanging for days on end. If comments are left on a post (with no question), it is not mandatory to reply unless it seems fit to do so.


  • Brand Awareness

  • Engagement with visual assets

  • Showcase products

  • Showcase company culture

  • Showcase marketing events

  • Link back to website, blog, and other content assets


Key Metrics

  • Referral traffic

  • Shares and comments

  • View of photos

  • Page rankings on key terms from photo sharing sites

  • Product purchasing and lead generation

Action Items

  • Determine ownership of photos

  • Decide on general branding guidelines for photos

  • Encourage employees to participate and share their own photo


Facebook (FB)


Facebook is known as the social media site to keep in contact with friends from all dimensions of life. Facebook is also a way to express oneself and to share content of all kinds. Any individual can have a Facebook account and profile, but Facebook also gives the opportunity for people to create pages. Celebrities, businesses, schools, and more, have these Facebook pages to keep their “fans” updated with news, information, and other content. Facebook has events, groups, and apps. Facebook enables users to keep all their photos neatly stored in albums. Facebook also allows users and pages to have what they call “cover photos” which is important to show the identity of the individual or business. On Facebook, the posting possibilities are almost endless! There is a 55,000 character limit on Facebook posts, so it is not common to run out when writing a post. Videos, photos, articles, website, and more can be shared easily on Facebook. Facebook business pages can have likes, but they cannot have friends, like on a normal personal Facebook page.



 A Facebook page is a public page and allows any Facebook user to “like” the page. Once they “like” the page, they will then have the potential to see the page's’ content on their home newsfeed.  


Comments and Likes

 Any Facebook user can make comments and like the Facebook page’s content. And anyone that views the page can see who liked the content, and see the comments that were made on the content. There are Facebook options that enable all comments made to the page to go through a pre-screening to make sure that inappropriate or offensive comments are immediately hidden. Facebook also gives the option to un-hide comments. A user can also post directly onto one of these Facebook pages. These can be viewed by anyone going to that page. These posts can be seen under “Visitor Posts” to the left of the Facebook page.



 Facebook Users can directly message a Facebook page, but the Facebook page operator(s) can only message Facebook users that have already messaged the page, or has commented on content on the page.



 Hashtags are still used on Facebook, but not very frequently. They most commonly occur when a user shares their Instagram post on Facebook. If a hashtag is searched, or clicked on, Facebook will first show friends that have used that same hashtag, then it will show all users that have used that hashtag in their post.


Promotion, Boosting, and Page Reach

 Facebook pages allow page operators to “boost” posts. “Boosting” a Facebook post will increase the number of times the post will appear on the newsfeeds of users that have already “liked” the page.  Facebook also allows posts to be “boosted” to a specific target market that is selected by the page operators. Facebook also gives information about post reach, post engagement and other success rates. Page’s also have the option to be promoted. Boosting posts and promoting the Facebook page does cost a fee. The cost is dependent on the number of users the page operator(s) want to reach.


Suggestions on Implementation

Post frequency will really dependent on your consumers’ response in the first couple weeks. Facebooks allows for the most flexibility in terms of posting content, so feel free to post a variety of content. Links, resources, videos, photos, articles, stories, information about events, flyers, and more. Just avoid turning the Facebook page into a blog. A blog is a separate entity that is used for different purposes than Facebook. Continue to keep in mind the importance of engaging with students (customers). Comments made to posts should be “liked” by the Palomar Facebook page, and replied to if appropriate. It is important to get back to any questions that are asked on page posts and content posts. Students can also message the page, so those need to be checked and responded to in addition to the comments. The quicker the response the better! We live in the era of instant gratification, people don’t like to be left waiting. Hashtags are not as necessary on Facebook as they are on the other two social media sites, because they are not as commonly used, but they are always welcome. If including hashtags on Facebook posts, depending on post length, there should be no more than 2 hashtags. (The longer the post, the more hashtags can be used). If it’s in the budget, promoting the page can be very beneficial. With the abilities that Facebook offers to target certain consumer demographics, it can be much easier to reach high school students through this promotional avenue. Even if they don’t click on the page, it is guaranteed that this tactic will still get them thinking more about Palomar more than they had been; it’s about the exposure.



  • Brand Awareness and engagement

    • Lead generation of customer acquisition

    • Share a mix of relevant links, and engaging content

    • Promote upcoming events

    • Engage with influencers


Key Metrics

  • X number of posts per day

    • Page followers

    • Likes

    • Engagement and comments

    • Shares

    • Lead generation/ new customers


Action Items

  • Setup sponsored posts and acts





Twitter is considered a microblog, as users can only post 140 characters at a time.  Content that is frequently shared on twitter include text, photos, GIFs, videos and links. Twitter is becoming more common amongst business people and educators by sharing information to followers. Twitter is a quick way to share information and timely life updates. A twitter business page can have followers, and can also follow other people, businesses, etc. People and businesses tend to post more content on twitter than any of the other social media platforms. It is common to tweet 2 or more times a day, every day; as for Instagram and Facebook, posts tend to be more calculated, and are spread out more over time. Therefore, posting on Facebook and Instagram more than once per day is as common. It is important to note that tweets CANNOT be edited, but they can be deleted.


Links and URLs

 Links in posts typically don’t count towards the character count, unless the URL is shortened with a URL shortener. Although the shortened URL counts towards the characters count, it is recommended that URLS are shortened so that tweets do not appear overwhelming.


Photos and Videos

Photos and videos can be tweeted on twitter. People like to see visuals, so typically the more visuals the better. Visual media can also be accompanied by text, this way a visual message can be coupled with a written message.


Likes and Retweets

 Tweets can be liked or retweeted by twitter users. A retweet will appear on the user's own twitter page, and will be displayed to all their followers. A tweet can be simply retweeted, or it can be retweeted with a message attached. All tweets that a user likes can be found on their profile under “likes”.


Tags and Hashtags

 Like Instagram, a user can include another user in a tweet by placing the “@” symbol in front of their username in a tweet (example @username). The user will get notified that they have been mentioned in a tweet. Hashtags are also widely used in Twitter, but are used far more sparingly as the character maximum is 140, usually only one hashtag is included. Much like the other platforms, if a hashtag is searched or clicked on, twitter will show the most recent posts with that hashtag.


Twitter allows users to create lists of other individual’s accounts. The list must be named, and the user can then start adding users to that list. The lists can be on private, so that no one can see the lists, and individuals on the list will not know they are on the list. Or the lists can be public, so that users know they are on the list(s), and other users can see who is on the lists. The purpose of lists is to keep accounts organized, and allows viewing certain users or topics to be easier. Lists can be created for many purposes. For example, a list can be made of all the users that are friends, and another list can be made for all the celebrity accounts, and a third list for people that post interesting content.


Suggestions on Implementation

Post frequency should be more often than the other two social media platforms. It is recommended to tweet a minimum of one tweet per day, two to four tweets per day is highly suggested for a more impactful presence on this platform. Although there is no real maximum number of tweets per day, it is important not to be too overwhelming or overpowering, or to come off as annoying. As a possible guideline, try to keep twitter posts to a maximum of 12 tweets per day. Twitter should be used to share media (videos, photos and GIFs), updates and reminders, as well as sources and articles that are related to the division(s) being represented by the account. For competition purposes, a private list can be made to include all the competing schools in the area. This way it is easy to view their activities by simply going to the pre-created list of competitors. Another list can be created to keep users that post great resources or articles. This way they can be easily accessed when the time is right.


  • Brand Awareness and engagement

    • Lead generation of customer acquisition

    • Share a mix of relevant links, and engaging content

    • Segment influencers and create lists

    • Communicate issues from social media to support item and ensure follow-up

    • Listen and respond to relevant conversations


Key Metrics

  • X number of posts

    • Followers

    • Mentions

    • Retweets

    • Number of lists

    • Hashtag usage

    • Influence of twitter followers

    • Lead generation or customer acquisition

    • Referring traffic

    • Favorited tweets


Action Items

  • Utilize promoted tweets and pinned tweets

    • Set up twitter lead generation card

Content Calendar

What is it?

A content calendar is like a planner for your social media platforms. It will let you organize your social media activities far in advance, making it much easier for you to coordinate posts, grow your reach, and scale your marketing.

A social media content calendar can be used on a weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly template depending on the content that you are providing, the platforms that you are using, and the ease of use for the business. These calendars are not usually used in longer periods of time than one month as it is not feasible to plan social media content that far in advance. Depending on the template, or program you are using for your content calendar it can either be implemented as a planner to keep you organized, or it can actually post for you.


There are different template spreadsheets that people or companies have created so you can easily transition you into using a content calendar. Generally, these templates or found on programs such as Excel, or Google Docs, but there are also more in depth content calendars in programs that will not only help you keep your content organized, but also help you post it. Some of the more known programs include Hootsuite, AgoraPulse, Sprout Social, Buffer, Sendible, and many more. Whereas you can find some of the template spreadsheets for free, all of the programs other programs have a monthly charge ranging anywhere from $10 - $100 a month. These programs will not only help you keep your social media content organized, they will also allow you to look at other analytics that the platform might not have, let you view all of your platforms at once, and many more features that sometimes makes it worth the investment. The program that we have used is Hootsuite, which does everything stated before as well as much more.

As previously stated, Content Calendars can be broken up in many different ways, weekly, bi-weekly, and even monthly, but these are not the only ways. Depending on the amount of content, and types of platforms you might also want to break the calendars up even further. We have created a sample Content calendar using some of the upcoming events in the AMBCS division as examples on the monthly template, and have also created weekly template examples for the platforms we have discussed.


Monthly Content Calendar


This calendar is used mainly as a guideline to what you need to be posting about at different times of the month, and is then further broken down in weekly templates for each platform we are using as you read on. As explained before, we tried using actual AMBCS events to make the calendar a little easier to grasp, but in order to do this we condensed the events listed for the year into one month. So the names should look familiar, but they dates will be different than the actual event dates listed on the Palomar website.

There are a couple main points to look at in this calendar, the ledger at the top, the color coordination, and the event names. On some listings such as “STEM Tutor Reminder” it is pretty self-explanatory what it is, but others like “Q.O.D. Campaign” could take a little more of a description. A social media campaign generally goes on for a certain period of time, and is used to grasp the follower’s attention, and/or to gain more followers. This does not necessarily need to be a school event, or even about the school, but should be relevant in some way to the followers. In our example, the “Q.O.D. Campaign,” which stands for Quote of the Day, we would post one quote a day that we feel the followers would react well to. When looking at the color of the post you can see that this is a twitter campaign. So you will see the example in a little more detail when you at the twitter weekly template below. This will give your platforms more substance for your followers to get attracted to than just posting about when school work is due, or events are going on.

There is one other topic in this calendar that is slightly more difficult to grasp, and that is the experiment section. If you look at the pink in the ledger it is used for anything that doesn’t fall in the above categories, such as posts you would like to try for a couple days. We have a Facebook experiment listed for a few days in the third week.  The experiment we had here was a little three day contest, where whoever took the best “in class” picture was featured on all three of the platforms. These experiments are a great way to interact with your followers that other posts might not let you, and keep your platforms interesting.

This content calendar does not necessarily have to have all of your posts, but is used more as a guideline. As explained before, there are several programs that have content calendars that go much more in depth, and can even post for you at dates and times you select. We have used the program Hootsuite in the past, and highly recommend looking into this for their content calendar uses, as well as the analytics of your platforms they have that you would not be able to easily produce.

Twitter Template

As we explained when describing Twitter, it is the quickest pace of all the social media platforms being discussed. Meaning that there can be a good amount more posts per day than on Instagram and Facebook, but that the feed is not seen in the same way to your consumer because of this pace. So you have to be aware of the timing, and what you are posting to make sure important information is not being missed.

Most of these two days are reminders for events that we have listed on our calendar, but if you look at the 9:00 a.m. time slot for each day you will see a quote. This plays along with the twitter campaign that we created. This campaign shows a quote a day, and is mainly used to keep the audience interested, and to grab attention of new followers by having current followers retweet the posts they enjoy.  We also listed “positive notes” seen at the end of Monday and beginning of Tuesday for much of the same reason as the quotes. These positive notes are not seen on the content calendar, because we wanted to show you that some platforms, such as twitter, can be very in the moment, so if feel it will benefit your followers, tweet it.

The last thing we wanted to show you from this template was the FBI campaign, because this is a tweet that shows a message, link, and if needed even a picture. Twitter is a great way to bring across different events, and link the information to the event within the tweet. When using a template you can actual copy a link directly into the slot as shown above, and the same can be done with a photo. So for the making of a post like this you would do the following:

  1. Find proper post time

  2. Create message in template

  3. Copy Link to template

  4. Add photo to template/ add URL to photo in template

  5. Tweet at proper time


If you are using a program such as Hootsuite, you can do these following steps, and have the post pre-set to a time where Hootsuite will do the rest for you.

Facebook Weekly Template

If you look at the Facebook template above there are several different types of post. Facebook was the lead platform when doing our survey, and this is for good measure as it can be utilized in many different ways. From listing cool articles that the business department might have seen (Monday @ 9:00) to showing of other platforms posts (end of both days listed), as well as setting reminders for students of upcoming events. By following the steps below:

  1. Find content to post, if not already listed on content calendar

  2. Determine best time to post (Make sure that the times match up with other platforms if you are showcasing a post on another platform)

  3. Create unique message

  4. Copy and paste link if applicable

  5. Insert image if applicable (many links have images attached, so watch that you do not list duplicate images)

  6. Post at proper time (or set time to automatically post if using a program that allows)

Instagram Weekly Template

The last platform that we implemented into the sample content calendar, and the social media plan all together is Instagram. Posts on Instagram are generally at a much lower frequency than Facebook and Twitter. These posts can be very influential though, because of how they are seen by the consumer. Instagram is known more for its photos then its messages, and even less for the links as they are only seen on your home page, and you can only have one at a time. As you can see we used reminders on both days, as we did on all of the platforms. As long as you have an image that can be used for the reminder or event, Instagram can be a great outlet.

We also used a “featured art campaign” showcasing a new piece of art from the art department on a daily basis as seen in the sample content calendar. These are great ways to build followers, as you can showcase photos, as well as people, and also create messages that tell your followers to show other friends. An example would be: “Tag a friend who would like this picture.” Simple messages like this can go a long way when trying to gain followers.

The steps used for Instagram are similar to the other platforms we used, but have a couple alterations in which we have listed below:

  1. Find image needed for post

  2. Edit image

  3. Search proper time to post

  4. Create message for post

  5. If link is needed, save link to upload in profile at time of post

  6. Post at proper time

Note: most programs are not as compatible with Instagram as they are with other platforms, so it is much harder to automatically set posts for this platform.

Self & Competitor Analysis

Self-Social Media Audit


A self-brand audit should be conducted before implementation of a social media plan, unless social media sites have not been set up yet. Starting by doing a self-audit is one great opportunity to compare the success of the new social media plan after it is implemented.

For a pre self-audit, create a spreadsheet or table. Take a count of how many followers per social media account. The next step is to go through a few weeks or a few months’ worth of posts (depending on the frequency of posts), and see the engagement level on the posts. Record the number of likes, comments and shares on all posts. Post engagement is one success determinant.


For post self-audit(s), they should be ongoing. Recording the ebb and flow of followers. Follower counts should be checked and recorded regularly two times a week. Also assessing the engagement on the posts should be recorded as well. The success of posts can be determined in terms of engagement, as well as the loss or gain of followers. Post reach on Facebook should be recorded, and impressions should be recorded on twitter.

Competitor Social Media Audit


It is also very important to see what competitors are doing to assess and compare success. If the college is struggling, and another college is not, it should be identified what they may be doing differently.

Conducting a competitor social media audit is very similar to the self-audit. There are a few things that only the competitors can see on their own site, such as Facebook post reach, twitter impressions and direct messages, but everything else is visible by the public. So the followers, comments, shares, and likes can all be seen. So to conduct the social media audit for competitors, a similar spreadsheet or document table should be created. The competitors should be examined on the same schedule as the ongoing self-audit (two times weekly). Recordings of follower increases and decreases should made, as well as the success rate of all posts they have made. Record the number of likes, comments, and shares. The next step is comparing the results of the self-audit and the competitor audit.

Suggested Future Platforms:

When creating a social media marketing plan it is a good idea to focus on platforms that you believe will reach your customers the best. In this case, the three platforms that we focused on, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram were chosen based on the survey handed out to students currently enrolled in one or more of the programs in the AMBCS Program. This does not mean you are restricted to using just these platforms.

We recommend to first; implement these three platforms, build a good following on them, and then look into branching out to other platforms. We have a couple other platforms that we would recommend looking into for future marketing plans listed below.


Word Press

Word Press is web software you can use to create a website, blog, or app. We have used this software in the past for blog pages, and definitely recommend it.

Example: This could be a great way to have students in the business program publish top papers, to reference back to, and to reference in the platforms already being used (in which you could publish a post on Facebook including a link to your blog site).



 Pinterest is used to visually share, and discover new interests by “pinning” images and videos to one’s board, or discover “pins” on other boards to include on your own.

Example: Pinterest could be used as on online gallery for various classes in the arts department. You can also share these pins on your other social media platforms to gain more notoriety.



 YouTube is a video-sharing website used by all ages to view video and music, upload original content, and share with others.

Example: We believe this platform to be a great outlet for the media department to showcase some of the best work from their various classes.



 LinkedIn is a networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners.

Example: An AMBCS LinkedIn can be created to allow alumni, and current students to easily connect with previous teachers, and to help guide them in their job searches.


Social Media Marketing Plan Maintenance:

We’ve included examples and recommendations for publishing frequency in this social media plan, but after incorporating this plan into the AMBCS Division you may find that publishing more or less is required for the different platforms used at different times of the day.  Finding the right number of posts, at the right times throughout the day is a trial and error process that is perfected over time.

As stated earlier in the plan, once you’ve started publishing your content you still need to monitor each platform for engagement, and make sure to reply to your subscribers/customers on a regular basis. Your job isn’t over when the plan is implemented; a social media marketing plan is always an ongoing process.

Remember, social media is still a very new marketing style, and when looked at from above is always changing. So make sure that you are not only aware of how your platforms are performing in your plan, but also what new platforms your customers are starting to use. It seems like just yesterday that Myspace was on the top of the social media food chain, and now it is only a part of our past. The platforms you use should always be on the top of the food chain.

Survey to Test Social Media Plan

These surveys were created specifically to determine the success of the newly implemented social media plan. To determine success rates it is best to also see how well competitors are doing. Another way of testing success is surveying the potential target market (high school students). There are two surveys below to determine the success of the social media plan based on three separate populations.

The first are high school students, because this age group is using social media frequently, and they are one of the prominent target consumers for Palomar. This will show whether or not the campaigns are successful in terms of reaching potential customers.

The second survey was created for students attending school competing with Palomar. This survey will give an idea of how well that college is doing on their social media platforms. This will give an outside look on the social media platforms, as it is unlikely they are looking or paying attention to Palomar’s social media, this will be important and interesting to see whether or not they have seen Palomar on social media, and weather their current school is doing well or not. Then the survey data from the current Palomar students can be compared to the data from students of competing colleges. This will show which college is being seen as more successful on social media, in the eyes of students.


After conducting survey research with the students of the AMBCS division, we noticed that current students rate the aspects of their school environment (quality of classes, classroom technology, professors, etc.) at a high level, yet when they decided to attend the school originally, the main reasons involved location, low costs, and to transfer to a four- year institution; not necessarily the school environment or program reputation. The implication of these findings suggest that Palomar is popular and rated highly by current students, however, these advantages are not portrayed enough in the community. For this reason, we recommend that the social media promotional plan that we’ve provided be implemented by a marketing team. With a consistent online presence, the senior experience team is confident that this plan will ultimately contribute to the increase in enrollment at Palomar College.

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