Who determines your school’s online reputation? Do you control this? What about those things said about your school online?
Managing your school’s online reputation requires diligence, not just a casual glance from time to time. You spend thousands of hours and dollars to project your school’s perfectly crafted brand messaging, attempting to communicate your school’s value with the needs of prospective families. But do you have control over all that is said? In one fell swoop
Here are 3 common areas where negative comments can affect your online reputation:
- Online Review Sites – whether it is GreatSchools.org, your Google listing, or perhaps some other site like Yelp, people have a forum to say pretty much whatever they want (more…)
In a previous post about winning over prospective families for your school, we looked at 4 popular marketing tools that private schools use in showcasing themselves, including your school’s website, the printed marketing collateral, your high-priced overview video and recruiting events.
But let’s be honest: while these are likely necessary elements in your overall marketing mix, there are many prospective families who are not yet ready to commit. One of their most obvious questions is: “does everyone really look that nice?” While some families are easily convinced, others shout out for proof: “Sure, you’re a great school, but show me the evidence!”
Here are 3 ways to showcase this evidence: (more…)
If you are like most schools, you spend alot of time (and money, too) seeking to impress families, showcase your very best, and eventually convert students into full-pay families for not just one year, but until they graduate!
Typically, I see 4 main areas where schools spend alot of resources: (more…)
No one believes your billboard, brochure, postcard or even your website.
This may be over-dramatizing a reality but it’s not far from the truth. Why? We live in an age where consumers are skeptical of marketing spin and speak. We are sophisticated consumers armed with a plethora of tools of research and connected with social networks like we’ve never seen before. Having lived through several generations of manipulation by marketers, consumers are savvy to your ways.
Families are suspicious if your school seems too perfect.
Your prospective families may doubt the authenticity of your representation online. It is almost as if, in effort to put your school’s most polished brand forward, you may have subsequently put a distance between you and the families you’re trying to reach. That’s not the way communication is supposed to work.
Families may assume they will fit in at your school (especially true if coming from the public school where kids get to wear normal clothes instead of uniforms). They may assume that the proverbial elitism of private schools will keep them on the outside (they may have witnessed this at church where all the Christian school kids hang out together after worship). Some of your picture-perfect presentation may reinforce the feeling that your prospective families may not be a good match with your school.
This is why the parent review or testimonial is so crucial. The impact that authentic voices of experience will far outperform the slick presentation of your marketing materials. In my guest article on social media.com I outline the 3 best venues where you need to be getting reviews so that prospective families can begin believing in you again.
Click here to read the full article
You get an angry parent who not only lashes out to your Headmaster in person, but he takes it online. Ouch. It’s one thing for an exchange to happen behind closed doors on campus, but it’s a bigger deal when prospective families get to read about it online!
That’s why your school needs reviews today – right now – don’t delay!
I would encourage you to ASK your satisfied families to review you on 2 different places online:
- Your School’s Google
Place Local Page – because Google is Google, if a prospective family is searching online using the most popular search engine, they will likely see a map listing alongside Place Local Pages for various area school’s matching the search person’s search terms. The sheer prominence of Google reviews makes it a strong reason to have reviews there.
- GreatSchools.org is the other review site where you must have reviews. Formerly integrated into the entirety of reviews on your Google
Place Local Page (but now separated under an obscure link to “more reviews around the web”), families who know about GreatSchools may come here first to check out various things about the schools in the area. Even the Today Show recommends this website for families to review schools. As well, GreatSchools got some national recognition in a recent article on Education Week.
Keeping a consistent flow of positive reviews is the very best solution for deflating the sting of an occasional negative review. But they are not as easy to get as you might think – asking 10 families might generated 1-2 reviews. Families are busy and they forget to do it – keep following up and asking.