As a social media marketer for schools you’re probably managing multiple social platforms to reach your target audiences: students, parents, alumni, and your local community.
Engaging new students, keeping parents up to date, and interacting with your community is certainly a full day’s work but by implementing smart social media strategies it can be more engaging, fun, and beneficial for your school.
We took a look at some of the different ways schools are using social media successfully and came up with a list of actionable recommendations you can start implementing today.
One of the most powerful things about social media is its reach. With so many people actively using social the opportunities to get in front of new, potential students and their parents are endless.
Team Up with Student Influencers
If there’s one thing millennials are good at, its social media marketing. They know how to use it and trust it. Social media doesn’t just fuel their social lives but their shopping habits as well. In fact, 70% of teens trust social media influencer marketers over traditional corporate ads or celebrity endorsed products.
A great way to expand your school’s visibility is to team up with a social media influencer. Start with your current student body and alumni. Who has a big enough social following you could get in front of? Search on Instagram and Twitter to see who’s hashtagging and tweeting about your school. Who’s following? Images of your school, fun activities, sports, and branding are all great, natural content for a social media influencer to use.
Connect with them and start building a relationship.
The University of Central Florida has a Social Media Ambassador Program where student social media ambassadors create, collaborate, and market content on their social channels on behalf of the university.
After searching through social media looking for their school keywords and related content, they came across a student who had 10,000 Youtube subscribers and was already promoting UCF on her channel. It’s a complete win-win for the student and the school. The student gets experience working with the Communications and Marketing departments and the school expands its social reach.
Whether you’re managing social media for a University or High School, your social efforts should be aimed towards keeping your students, parents, staff, and community engaged. One of the best ways to do this is through Facebook Groups.
Justin Gaudet, Sales and Marketing Manager at CanScribe Career College shared that his best social media move was creating a Facebook Group for his students.
“I realized that it is very hard for students to interact with each other through our Facebook Page, so I created a closed Facebook Group that I recommend students and graduates join. With our first 150 members, there were (and continue to be) hourly posts with the most amazing support. Students are constantly supporting each other, graduates are posting about their new jobs, and the social media engagement has been tenfold what it was only days before.”
Facebook Groups inspire people to engage with each other because it has more of a community feel than simply following a Facebook business page. Facebook page marketing has become more limited, and your followers don’t see nearly as many updates and posts unless they’re sponsored ads.
Facebook Group followers will receive a new notification each time something is posted in the group (unless they decide to turn off the notifications). You can interact with your group members, send out polls, and share content. You can also make your Group public or private.
How to Set Up a Facebook Group
The only audience as important as your students is the parents.
Parents want to be informed of what’s happening at school from events and awards to important updates like holidays and school closings. Printed newsletters can get misplaced or accidentally thrown out, an email from the principal might get lost in the spam folder but giving parents a consistently updated, easily accessible source to get important information about what’s going on at school makes life easier for you and for them.
A school blog is another great way to keeps parents’ attention. Having a blog that talks about teaching and learning, with the aim of sharing knowledge with parents, is a great way for you to help parents deal with issues that affect their children.
Systems and processes have most likely changed for many parents since they were in school. Some may struggle with how to help their children with homework. Any resources you can provide for parents will help them better understand how to support their children's’ education.
Sharing your blog articles and resources on social media helps to spread the word amongst parents and the community.
As we mentioned above, Facebook groups for parents to refer to for news and updates and communicate with each other can be very beneficial. Keeping a close moderation on these types of Groups is recommended. Social media can be a temperamental communication channel but if you closely moderate the groups’ comments and participation you can reach out to followers directly before they escalate.
Whether it’s a sports game or live concert, live events generate excitement from your students. They get together with their friends, take photos, and share videos on social media - why not take advantage of all that organic social media activity?
At the event you can display a live social media feed on a screen that curates your students’ hashtagged photos, videos, and posts for all to see. Not only is it a cool feature that incentivizes students to get their photos up but anyone else who may be checking out your social (new students) will see natural, user-generated content.
Free marketing at its best!
With the right social media tool such as Juicer, you can also display your social media feed on your website. Similarly to how the social wall works, your students’ content will be displayed on your website’s social feed as well.
Princeton University does a great job using their social media feed on their homepage to keep visitors updated of what’s going on around campus. They use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts to curate their social content into a single section on their website.
Whether schools choose to include social media into their learning curriculum or not, students are being exposed to social starting at an early age. Schools have an opportunity to educate students on the proper use, benefits, and risks involved with social media.
Social media has cemented itself as a legitimate business resource for marketing, networking, and ongoing education. Using social media experiments for business projects can also provide real-world experience.
Here are some creative ways educators have used social media for students in the classroom:
Make international connections with classrooms throughout the globe with digital penpals
Encourage students to network and share ideas, learnings, and opinions on a social site like Twitter. Use a branded classroom hashtag to keep track of their conversations and successes.
Use Pinterest as a resource for digital posterboards for projects.
Create private Facebook groups for your classes to collaborate on group projects or assignments.
There you have it. We hope you’ve learned some different ways you can use social media to promote your school and make your social efforts easier and more rewarding. How have you used social media for your school? We would love to know! Please share in the comments below.