As private and Christian school marketing consultants, we get many of the same questions about how to increase enrollment, how to improve word-of-mouth marketing, and a lot of questions about using social media for schools.

Probably one of the most common questions we get is:

“What kind of things should we post on our school’s Facebook page?”

The answer I give them can also apply to other social platforms, especially your school’s blog, Twitter and Pinterest.

One of the sins of the online marketing world, particularly grievous on social sites like Facebook and Twitter, is to constantly flood your follower’s content streams with incessant self-promotional chatter about your school. But whenever we talk to private / Christian school about using these prominent (and ever-expanding) online platforms for marketing, their eyes light up and inevitably someone will assert that because of the low-cost (or most often FREE) aspect of these tools, they assume their ROI to be sky-high. “You mean we can market our school, telling all of our prospective families about our schools several times a day – all for free?” We all wish it were that easy! Social networking sites were not intended for such purposes and to hijack them for your selfish gain goes against the rules of the game.

So, in opposition to the continuous self-promotion often evident from businesses and schools on Facebook, consider yourself a resource, a true helping hand to those who follow your activity. Consider they don’t necessarily follow you just to be inundated with your school’s self-promotion, so change the way you post. Instead, be a H-E-L-P-E-R :

Follow this acronym:

H – drive them to high value content at your Hub (your school’s website)
E – provide Educational value (this information adds value to their day and decisions; you can create unique posts or share articles you mind other places)
L – write thought-Leadership ideas; make them Laugh (people are inspired by leadership, but humor gives them reason to smile when they think of your school)
P – occasionally Promote your marketing/promotional events (in balance, it’s OK to do this, but just keep it as only part of the variety of postings)
E – make it a point to Engage (make and react to comments, encourage interactions by asking questions/polls)
R – intentionally look for ways to Reach out to key influencers (social media tools often permit you access never imagined before)

Promotion is not evil but it’s annoying and a turn-off when it’s all your followers hear from you. Helping your followers with high-value content, they will not only continue following, but they will also encourage others to do the same.

For more ideas about marketing private / Christian schools, join our School Marketing Facebook page!