School Marketing 101: Using Social Media Effectively
Social media is a great tool to help you expand your school’s reach. When you take a step back and appreciate the sheer volume of people currently using social media and the influence it can bring, you’ll see why it is more than a must for your school.
This post will look at why social media is essential for schools and how you can make the most of these platforms.
Why Social Media is Important for Schools
Schools should be using social media to engage existing parents and attract prospective parents. Social media channels are free, and with 77.9% of the UK population actively engaging in social media, chances are that the parents you want to reach are using it, too.
Social media is immediate. You send a Tweet, and parents can interact with it straight away – liking, commenting, sharing. These platforms help you build a relationship with parents in the easiest way possible.
How to Make the Most of Your School’s Social Media Channels
You might think, “I haven’t got the time” when it comes to managing your social media channels. But it doesn’t have to be that time-consuming. There are free tools out there to help you schedule posts and identify content.
And when social media is managed correctly, it can mean staying at the forefront of prospective parents’ minds — helping you build a trustworthy relationship with current parents.
So, how can you make the most of your social media channels?
Find out what platforms parents are using
Your time is precious, so honing in on the most useful social media platforms is important – imagine wasting hours of your day on a platform that parents aren’t using.
But, how do you do this?
It might sound obvious — but just ask them. Whether it’s through email, SMS, letter or phone, drop them a message to ask them which channels they use and for what purpose.
If you’re looking for a more efficient way to gather this data, you can use our School Forms Manager module.
What should I post and how often should I post?
How often you should post will depend on how active your audience is and which platform you use. But a good rule of thumb is to keep your posting consistent each week. If you decide to post three times a week on Facebook, for example, you should try and meet this target each week. Consistency is key when building a loyal following.
But don’t worry, you don’t have to sit there and press a button every time you send out a post — technology can do that for you. With free software like Hootsuite or Buffer, you can schedule your posts at the beginning of the week to drip-feed your audience.
Coming up with original ideas for engaging content might seem daunting, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- School updates/reminders (open days, parents’ evening, school trips)
- Images (share pictures of children learning, get permission for non-private profiles)
- Any good news (Ofsted reports, new equipment, exam results)
- Live stream events (school play, school celebrations)
- Job vacancies (make use of your platform to attract the best staff)
- Share educational tips (i.e. tips on how to manage online bullying)
- Re-share and comment on posts you find interesting from other social media accounts
Show parents behind the curtain – don’t be faceless
Social media allows your school to remove the communication barrier between school and parent. Share photos taken throughout the day on your private social accounts, use social media to display your school’s personality, and actively build a stronger connection with parents.
Parents want to see what their child is up to at school, so show them behind the curtain. Share what makes your school different, Ofsted reports, an updated science lab – whatever you’ve got to shout about, use social media to push out these positive messages.
And don’t forget, social media is a two-way communication channel. Check-in every day to make sure you respond to all direct messages and comments on your posts to encourage engagement further.
To sum up
Hopefully, you’re coming away with a few ideas about what to post on social media and why social media plays an essential role in parental communication.
Remember, social media isn’t a strategy that delivers results overnight; it can take a while to build your community of parents. But once you do, you’ll see more of that reciprocal engagement. So keep plugging away.
Did you miss the first two parts of our school marketing 101 series?