While Twitter and especially Instagram occupy the mobile devices of most of your young students and young families, most Christian school marketers still need to reach their audience through the most common network: Facebook.
Of course if you are at all familiar with Facebook, you know their algorithm changes often and lately, your posts are definitely not reaching 100% of the people who have liked your page. If you’re an admin of your Facebook Page, you probably see your actual reach significantly lower than the number of likes on your page. Discouraging, but reality. (On a side note, consider increasing high quality, shareable, remarkable content that your audience will like, comment and share. If you are not getting this “triple play” on your posts, then consider changing up your content. In addition, boosting your posts will help also help extend the reach of your posts. You can set a budget and this can work well – not for every post, but on some important ones.)
One trick I suggest is to form a secret Facebook group (that’s Facebook’s language, not mine…click here to learn about the different types of groups you can set up). When you set your group as “secret”:
- Anyone can be added but they have to be added or invited by a member
- Only current members can see who is in the group
- Only current members can see what is posted in the group
- Current members can get notifications when something is posted in group
Using a secret Facebook group for marketing your school
- As the admissions/marketing/communication director, you (and you alone) should invite specific staff members or parent ambassadors to join this secret Facebook group. Invite a small group at first, so you can see how it works. Start small with trusted parents and staff who can be trusted.
- Now, whenever your school’s Facebook page posts something, you should go to the group and make a posting about the new content. Encourage the group members to like, comment and share the new post that your school’s page just posted (if necessary, include the link to the post). Since the Facebook algorithm limits your reach, this ensures that your best ambassadors see the content.
- Group members receive notifications for every group post (and these notifications serve as reminders, even a day or two later, to take action).
- Not just on Facebook, but when there is a new review on GreatSchools.org, something new on Twitter or Instagram, you can alert your members to share the content. You can also send urgent notifications when there is a negative review on your Google page, hopefully spurring members to write a review themselves or call out to their cavalry of friends to post positive reviews (on GreatSchools.org, they are currently listing the latest 10 reviews, so you want to be diligent to get that negative review pushed to page 2 as quickly as possible; or at least pushed way down the page where it gets “lost” among so many positive reviews).
- You can also use your Facebook group to alert members of other marketing-related activities….for example, signups for video testimony day (which I suggest you do).
- As well, members of the group can post content or ask questions of the group (and while the discussion shows up in your news feed, it is not visible on anyone else’s feed). Perhaps an ambassador parent hears another mom at Starbucks talking about a great success story, then the members can alert the professional staff to contact that family to share their story on a video or in a new blog post. Or a parent sees a good article elsewhere on the web that would help your school marketing. If members wanted to collectively brainstorm about a new marketing campaign, this secret group would provide an easy forum for sharing without having to assemble the group in person (who’s got time for another meeting?)
Setting up a secret Facebook group of your school’s marketing professionals and parent ambassadors can give you a marketing army who can help you market your school even better!
BONUS: Here’s a more lengthy article on how to set up the secret group (with step-by-step instructions and screenshots…although they may be outdated since FB changes so often): http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-use-secret-facebook-groups-to-enhance-your-business/Buffer