Social media has emerged in the past 5-10 years as an integral part of every school’s marketing efforts. Unfortunately, those who succeed in it are rare. Here are some general statements that reflect how some of my conversations with school marketing folks have gone:
- “I always thought that since social media was free advertising, we would see a great return and I could ditch my advertising budget on print.”
- “Things change so often, especially on Facebook, that I don’t always keep up. Sometimes I just give up.”
- “I try and make life easier by posting the same thing to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But people say the content should be unique to each platform’s audience. But who has the time to customize it?”
- “I hear that people are getting on Instagram instead of Facebook. But is Facebook dead?”
- “I never thought of using Pinterest. Why? Isn’t it just for recipes and home decor?”
If you are frustrated and unsure of your social media strategy, let me encourage you to sign up for the “Pumpkin Spice Webinar Series” going on right now. Every Tuesday for 5 consecutive weeks, we will release a presentation all about school marketing. The first webinar is LIVE and the title is, “Social Media Strategy: Growing Your Pool of Potential Students”. This webinar gives you a solid foundation in understanding your social media strategy.
But do you know the best social media tools to use for your school?
Let me run through a quick overview of several key tools that I think have a strong place in your school’s marketing strategy:
- BLOG: whether it is called a “blog” or “news” or “success stories”, hopefully your content management system has a tool that you can easily (without an extra charge) add quick content. This is such a versatile tool on your website that you must have it. To learn more about using a blog in your marketing, listen to this podcast episode about blogging for your school.
- REVIEWS: whether it is your Google page, your listing on GreatSchools.org, or the reviews on your school’s Facebook page, you need to accumulate 2-3 reviews each month on these three critical sites. Reviews verify to prospective parents that your school is worth the investment and the best choice in a competitive landscape. To learn more about the importance on online reviews, click here.
- EMAIL MARKETING: do not let those emails sit in a drawer somewhere handwritten on inquiry cards. Put those email addresses into a system like MailChimp or Constant Contact and create a consistent communication link with everyone who has visited your campus, inquired over the phone (ask for their email!), and who have downloaded content from your website (in exchange for their email address, you deliver valuable content). Not every family is ready to click on your “APPLY NOW” button. Nurture that relationship with email marketing. Read: “Using email marketing to engage prospective families (and doing it the right way!)”
- FACEBOOK: while some of your younger prospective moms may be totally consumed with Instagram, statistics show that Facebook remains a vital tool for every school. The data shows that moms and dads over 30 still consume Facebook the most so keep the great content flowing for them to know, like and trust you as the best educational choice for their child. Listen to “What to Post on Facebook?”
I think there’s a strong case as well for YouTube and/or Vimeo for video. You can also upload native video directly to your Facebook page and add a “Call to Action” at the end of the video which is a nice touch. Twitter is valuable on so many levels for dissemniating information, connecting with alumni and local media and to communicate your distinct claims. But I would do more than simply linking my Facebook posts to Twitter because the Twitter culture invites (even “demands”) more content than typical Facebook users want to see. Instagram and Pinterest are strong visual content tools and, while both involve a lot of visual content, they deliver different results.
To get further comments about the best social media tools, sign up for the free “Pumpkin Spice Webinar Series” where each Tuesday for 5 consecutive weeks (starting Oct 20, 2015), we will release a new 20-30 minute presentation about school marketing. The second webinar in the series is on this topic, “The Best Social Media Tools for Your School”.
Click the image below to register . . .Buffer