When driving traffic to your website or increasing engagement on your social media platforms, one of the best strategies is to curate or collect stories of things going on at your school that corresponds to local, school-wide, national or global holidays or special calendar events.
The month of October is filled with many different events, such as:
- Are You Aware?
- National Bullying Prevention Month
- Domestic Violence Awareness Month
- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
- Custodial Staff Appreciation (2) – these individuals do the tireless, often behind-the-scenes work of keeping your campus safe, clean and helping you create a welcoming presence to campus visitors. A nice shout-out to them on social media reminds everyone to take a moment to say THANKS to these special members of your staff.
- World Smile Day (7) – have some fun with this on Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook. You can simply feature throughout the day students and staff smiling. Or you could post a contest of a super closeup of a smile and everyone has to guess who’s face it belongs to.
- National Dessert Day (14) – take a poll among your students and staff as the favorite dessert on campus; certainly invite boosters or parent fellowship organization to bring desserts up for the day; you could use the event to invite key community leaders to your campus for a lunch to raise money for local charities or even to draw attention to one of the “awareness” days mentioned in #1 (this is called “earned press coverage” – create an event that ties your school to a broader recognition or celebration and invite media and community leaders to attend to extend the PR coverage)
- Teachers’ Day (15) – certainly an ideal time to feature your faculty so that current families can brag on them to their friends!
- Bosses Day (17) – use this day to bring attention to the key leaders at your school. Create some short videos from other staff praising their bosses (such as Head of School, principals, athletic director, etc.)
- Mole Day (23) Celebrated annually on October 23 from 6:02 a.m. to 6:02 p.m., Mole Day commemorates Avogadro’s Number (6.02 x 1023), which is a basic measuring unit in chemistry. Mole Day was created as a way to foster interest in chemistry. Schools throughout the United States and around the world celebrate Mole Day with various activities related to chemistry and/or moles.
- National Chocolate Day (28) – I don’t think I have to give you any ideas on this on!
- National Cat Day (29) – if your mascot is of the feline family, this is a fun time to draw attention to that fact; also, invite faculty to snap a picture of their favorite feline pet
- Halloween (31)
- Snapchat – in the spirit of Halloween, you could draw attention to your school’s efforts in Snapchat by telling the story of Snapchat’s logo, named Ghostface Chillah (based on Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan). Ghostface Chillah a ghost to represent the “There, then gone” nature of Snapchat’s photo sending service.
- Knock-Knock Joke Day (31) – have a contest with administrators and students on who can tell the funniest knock-knock jokes – these make great short videos for Vine, Instagram, Facebook, etc.
- World Series – the Hunt for October features the Major League Baseball playoffs. Depending on the outcome of the actual World Series games, the 2016 World Series champion could be crowned in the month of October. Feature your school’s baseball team (and/or softball). Or you could invite student-athletes to do short videos about their favorite MLB player. Anytime you can talk about your unique sports program (offerings, values, achievements) and do so while really talking about something/someone else, the better! Weave your successes into the frenzy around the World Series and you will hit a homerun! 🙂
Get your Content Calendar to help you plan your school’s online marketing content!
Professional development is essential for Admissions and MarCom professionals at a school. However, they can often be costly. Time away from the office, not to mention the cost of travel and conference fees, etc….in today’s world, there’s got to be a better way!
One of the ways I want to tell you about is the SchneiderB VirCon 3 – a virtual conference, hosted by Brendan Schneider, bringing together 7 amazing speakers all in 1 day! Here is a lineup for this virtual conference on September 17th, 2016:
- 9:00am ET – Andrew Sculthorpe, Business Director, image seven – Using Analytics to Help with School Marketing
- 10:00 am ET – Emily Cretella, Owner, Strategist & Copywriter Cursive Content Marketing – Storytelling Online: Transforming Your School Website into a Marketing & Admissions Resource
- 11:00 am ET – Rob DiMartino, Founding Member and Director of Business Finalsite – Leveraging Linkedin for Education Professionals
- Noon ET – Jeff Walrich, CAA Athletic Director for Boys St. Stephen’s & St. Agnes School – Telling A Story Through Graphics
- 1:30 pm ET – Sarah Mead, Director of Marketing & Communications Whitby School – Don’t Fear the Data: Embrace Data-Driven Marketing
- 2:30 pm ET – Mike Hatfield, Director of Admission Powhatan School – How to Create, Produce and Use Online Video in your School Marketing with Just an iPhone
- 3:30 pm ET – Rick Newberry, President Enrollment Catalyst – 25 Facebook Posting Strategies for your School’s Marketing Strategy
Wow! What a great group of presenters – all about topics essential to every school marketer!
If you cannot attend the sessions live, no problem! You gee full access to the recordings for a full year – and yes, you can even share them with your staff!
I admit that my possibly offensive title probably sounds like I think volunteers are a nuisance. Actually, the point of this article is to help you find practical ways to involve school volunteers who are always asking, “how can I help?”
First of all, while volunteers are a blessing, they come with conditions. It cannot be denied that volunteers on your marketing team operate differently than paid staff or outsourced consultants. Administrative officials and hired contractors work for results which are often tied to how much money they make or how long they keep their job. It’s one reason to consider NOT assigning critical, timely marketing tasks to volunteers. While they may indicate a willingness and eagerness to help, they MAY not operate with the same sense of urgency you have. Nor may they offer the same level of excellence you would demand of an employee or contractor. You want to have the freedom to dislike their work without feeling like you are going to offend them and run them off from volunteering ever again (or worse, writing a bad review about your school . . . uh, see #7 below). You want to be able to “fire” them if they do not perform. But how do you fire a non-paid volunteer?
So what jobs can you create for your eager beavers? Here are 7 ideas your school volunteers can do from any computer or mobile device: (more…)
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!
If you want to discuss this idea further with me, please sign up for a free 30-minute phone consultation and let’s talk about how this can help you!
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/
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If you are using any of these tools in a creative way to market your school, send me the link to any blog/article you have written about it and I will update my list of resources above.
EMAIL RANDY HERE
To get marketing strategy coaching or social media coaching help for your school, contact Randy for a free 30-minute phone consultation.
Connect with Randy on Twitter: @schoolmktg
Facebook is continuously changing its algorithm that determines what kinds of posts their users want to see in their news feeds. In short, Facebook is using clues from you about what you want to see. Plus, they want to ensure the content from publishing pages like brands, businesses and schools do not smother the posts you see from your family and friends.
Unfortunately, this means that your page may likely see a decrease in engagement and notably web traffic because, in a sense, fewer of your fans are actually seeing the content you post to your school’s Facebook page. To help you beat Facebook’s algorithm, I am offering 7 tips to help ensure your content is seen and not forgotten:
- PAY-TO-PLAY – investing $5, $15, $50 or more into some posts will need to be a regular part of your Facebook strategy. Sure, promotional event posts like Open House dates would be a good play here, but as well, if you have a compelling parent or student testimonial, it would be a good idea to get more people to see this post as well. You may also want to create some targeted Facebook ads for people of a certain city name or age group.
- ENGAGE – as has been the case for a while, Facebook’s algorithm puts a premium on the content from pages where fans react, comment and share. So communicate to your parents and constituents that passive Facebook scrolling doesn’t cut it any more. If they want to help spread the word about your school, you desperately need them to react to the post (they can click on Like, Love, Haha, Wow, Sad or Angry). Encourage them to react with words, too, leaving comments about the posts. And of course, the “granddaddy of them all” is the share feature. This powerfully spreads your post into the news feeds of their friends, creating a powerful word-of-marketing tool in the hands of even the most introverted of users. As if I needed to say it, but engagement is not only on the part of the fan. If a parent, alum or student writes a review or comments on or shares one of the school’s posts, engage with them. Acknowledge their effort and maybe ask a followup question. Engagement is a two-way street!
- SEE FIRST – with one click, parents can opt in to seeing the posts of your school’s posts. Regardless of the algorithm Facebook uses, this puts your school’s posts at the top of their news feeds on desktop and mobile devices. This keeps your best posts from the morning from getting buried before the parent sees it in the evening. [*SEE VIDEO BELOW ON HOW TO DO THIS*]
- GET NOTIFIED – while not every Facebook user religiously checks his/her red circle notifications, many do. You can invite your Facebook page fans to return to your Facebook (on a desktop or laptop, not on a mobile device), hover of the “LIKE” button and you will see the options to “Get Notifications”. This offers yet another way that fans do not miss a single post. [*SEE VIDEO BELOW ON HOW TO DO THIS*]
- USE YOUR GROUPIES – I always advocate selecting your best ambassador parents/alumni to join a secret Facebook group for the purpose of marketing/promotion. You can communicate with this group about events coming up at school but also, whenever you post to the Facebook page, you can write a quick note to this group alerting them of the new page post. No more needing to text everyone or emailing the group. And members of this secret group also receive the red notifications so they will also see you posted something there as well. Because of the secret/private nature of the group, you may even want to specifically direct ways to react to the post such as, “would you please make a comment detailing how this post impacts your son or daughter” or “please leave a comment that includes some details about your favorite teacher or tradition at the school”. Previously, I have written an article about this group, calling it your secret marketing weapon!
- POST OFTEN – the numbers are not in your favor if you limit your page posts to just a few times per week. If Facebook is going to restrict or limit the visibility of certain posts, then having only a few will hurt your chances of being seen at all. If at all possible, look for ways to post daily or even multiple times in a day. You may want to subscribe to features like Buffer or Quuu to help you fill your content calendar. Speaking of content calendar, have your downloaded our FREE SOCIAL CONTENT CALENDAR yet? Click here to get it!
- BE VALUABLE – above all else, make sure your Facebook posts are of value to the end user. Provide helpful content for prospective parents as they look into the various choices for educating their children. As well, because you want to post things that are of value to them personally, consider ways your Facebook page posts can equip them to be better parents, wives, husbands, citizens or ways that encourage their faith through inspirational posts. When you are awesome, your fans will share your awesome content, too!
Click for a free consult to learn about a better way of marketing your school!
** WATCH VIDEO ABOUT INCREASING FACEBOOK ENGAGEMENT**
[ if embedded video does not play, click here to be directed to the Facebook post ]