Co-Founder, Movinhand / Enrollhand
Prior to co-founding Movinhand, Recruithand and Enrollhand, Andreas was successfully leading a multi-million European business group through building high-value customer relationships. He helps school leaders benefit from the changing business environment through mentoring them on growth strategies, digital marketing, story telling and branding.
Co-Founder, Movinhand / Enrollhand
Let’s Get Social: Increase School Enrollment Through Social Media9 min read
It’s hard to imagine life without social media. We use it for everything. Work, play, friendship, and family. Many of us can’t do without it.
Businesses are realizing how much they need it too.
In terms of marketing, social media use is growing leaps and bounds. Facebook, for example, is only 13 years old and yet more than 60 million businesses have pages.
Clearly, social media marketing is more than just a passing trend. Businesses both large and small benefit significantly from having a strategic social media presence.
A school is a business too, and boosting enrollment is essential.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use social media to effectively market your school.
Let’s start with why.
Why Social Media Campaigns Work For Schools
Almost all of your prospective students are definitely using social media. Your primary target market – the parents – aren’t too far behind either. 56% of online adults are on at least two social media platforms.
Your audience is there. All you need is the right strategy. You might already have social media accounts for your school, but are you using them effectively?
A very powerful social media feature is the ability to target content to reach the right audience. Facebook, for example, allows target audience customization based on things like location, age, interests, income, gender, and much more.
Content can even be re-targeted to remarket to people who have already shown interest in your brand. This puts you on top of the mind of prospective families.
Social media sites offer valuable insight into the behavior of your market. Who are they? Where are they? What are they clicking? How do they feel about your school?
Schools can also use social media to build relationships with prospective families. As you build your online community you also help define your school’s brand. The process is fluid and ongoing.
Best of all, this doesn’t need to be an expensive exercise. Social media marketing, unlike traditional marketing, is flexible and can be easily tailored to your school budget.
Let’s go over some practical tips on how to make social media work for your school.
5 Tips On Using Social Media Effectively
- Social Media Marketing Funnels
Posting your favorite pictures and responding to comments is great. The real challenge, however, is converting your social media audience into paying clients.
Basically, a marketing funnel is an inverted pyramid made up of different stages in a prospective client’s journey. From unfamiliar, to interested, and ultimately invested.
The top stage of the funnel involves spreading awareness about your school, while the bottom stage of the funnel is about keeping customers happy, satisfied and loyal.
Understanding the marketing funnel stages that an audience goes through – and providing the right content for each stage – is essential for social media marketing.
- Engaging Content
Unique and engaging content is what really gets attention. Think about it as telling your school’s story.
You can promote sports events, art exhibitions, school concerts, and even individual student stories. The Frederic School District made a very touching YouTube video for one of their students suffering from cancer.
Unique, emotional, and heartfelt, it sent a clear message that the Frederic School District has strong community ties. The video was also cross-posted on the school’s Facebook page where it got more likes and shares.
- Team Spirit: Get Everyone Involved!
You can highlight your strong school community spirit by including your faculty in stories. Whether it’s individual teacher profiles or opinion pieces, this both motivates staff and is very popular with student and parent audiences.
This is a post from the Colfax School District. They shared a photo of a teacher who has been with them for an amazing forty-two years! It proved to be very popular with quite a number of comments and shares.
- Maintain Your Brand Image
Ideally, your school should be visible in more than just one social media platform. Keep in mind that posting strategy for each site is different though. For example, you can be casual and witty on Twitter, but more professional on LinkedIn.
These differences aside, it is important to create and maintain a solid brand identity across all platforms to make your social media campaigns successful.
Start by creating a specific brand look. Choose a color or image that will be visible in the main photo of all your accounts. If you have a school website, you can use it as the basis for the look and feel of your social media accounts.
Importantly, keep the accounts active and updated. You don’t need to have an account with every single social media site. Choose two or three that you can really monitor and build to avoid overstretching yourself and neglecting some accounts.
Loomis Chaffee School is doing a good job of keeping their brand image similar across their Facebook and Twitter pages.
- Tailoring Content For Your Market
You need to know who your audience is and what they want. This applies both to your specific school target market as well as the wider social media market.
This year, online video is expected to account for 74% of all online traffic. Clearly, it has a very wide appeal, and if you aren’t using it, you’re probably missing out.
In terms of your specific school market, you need to find out what potential students are interested in. Sports? Music? Feel good stories? Lives of teachers? Find a way to include these subjects into your content.
Catering for the parents is the most important aspect. At the end of the day, they’ll be looking for schools and will have the final say in the choice of school. Make sure that your best features are clear and easy to find.
Avon Old Farms is a boys school with a strong focus on sports. This, of course, appeals to both prospective parents and students. As you can see it is a central theme in their Facebook posts.
Set Your Goals And Get Started
Social media marketing is no different than any other marketing campaign. You need to have a plan, and you need to set goals.
Ask yourself the following questions to start with:
What goals do you want to achieve?
When do you need to achieve them by?
What actions will you take to achieve your goals?
As an educator, we know you’re very busy. To lighten the load, involve your faculty. Besides their contribution of ideas, you can assign tasks to everyone to make it both collaborative and efficient.
A social media campaign can do wonders for your school, and hopefully, you’ve learned some handy tips on how to go about it.
Gather your team and create your social media marketing plan today!