Updated: Feb 12
Without a social media plan and systematic approach, it is very easy to feel overwhelmed, appear erratic, and lose track of key branding/messaging. To regain your focus, consider the following:
1. Create a Plan
Create a thematic structure to cover all campus departments in a consistent manner.
Develop a daily plan, alongside an annual plan. The annual plan should include a schedule for posts that do not need to get posted weekly, but are more date specific.
To ensure accurate content, assign stakeholders to their respective weekly theme.
Stakeholders should be in charge of sending the marketing team the core content in the form of bullet points, photos, videos, or links to research articles.
Follow your private school's style guide to ensure your brand and messaging is consistent.
Understand the purpose for each platform and how you will approach each one. For example, Facebook for daily thematic posts, Instagram for photos, YouTube for testimonials, events, sports, parades, stellar classroom lessons, etc.
2. Tell the Story Based on Themes
Keep posts focused on storytelling and be consistent with daily themes. For example:
Monday - Academics - Convey academic excellence by asking the Dean to provide weekly updates on classroom lessons. The use of video to showcase small snippets of the lessons can be compelling for both prospective and current families. This should be the core for academics, but it is also important to call out other key information related to academics, such as: parent-teacher conferences, testing, college application process, study tips, testing tips, college matriculation, and more.
Tuesday - Athletics - Tell your sports story by asking the Athletics Director to provide. stories about team-building, athletic scholarships, coach bios, and the benefits of sports on cognition, academic excellence, leadership, and other topics. Leave game and team schedules and scores to a key section on your website, but call out big wins and positive outcomes on social media.
Wednesday - Campus Life - Tell the story of your school by showcasing clubs, activities, off-campus trips, recreation options, mentorship, student government, leadership, special programs, health, safety, nutrition, assemblies, special announcements, and more.
Thursday - Events & Fundraising - To maximize attendance, you need to provide a reason why families should attend events. For most schools, core events include: parent/family, fundraising, alumni, and graduation weekends. Make it easy to find key information both in the post and on your website to detail the date, time, location, and schedule, as well as how to register.
Friday - Weekend Activities - Get students and families geared up for weekends by sharing the list of activities in advance. For special activities like trips, it is important to broadcast information well in advance to collect any fees, permissions, packing lists, and sign-up lists.
Saturday - Referral Request & Review Requests - Don't be hesitant to request reviews and referrals. Alternate review and referral requests weekly. Begin with quotes from actual reviews and a link to the respective review site. For referrals, consider incentives and promotions to encourage families to refer prospective families to your school. See our blogs on each of these topics for ways to Rally for Referrals and 10 Ways to Generate More Reviews.
Sunday - Blogs & Publicity - Families are interested in key information and research-based articles, so blogs should be informative, educational, timely, and insightful. Families also really want to see you in the news, so it is very important to share news stories soon after they are published. It is also a significant way to improve SEO, SEM, referrals, and overall reputation management.
3. Create Content Followers
Begin with a storyline or a quote from a student/parent/alumnus to capture attention.
Tell how you solved a problem or played a part in a success story to draw the reader in.
Write strong headlines to call out what you are talking about and create engagement.
Include Calls to Action to get readers to take an action step quickly and efficiently.
Use links and hashtags and do research to apply the best ones so you show up.
Use photos and videos that tell personal and authentic stories. "Show, don't tell."
4. Social Media Policies and Guidelines
Avoid the use of text imposed on photos or videos as this presents an issue with Facebook if you decide to do an ad or a boost the post. However, for YouTube, a thumbnail photo with text is recommended for SEO purposes. Note: Canva has a simple tool to create thumbnails.
Post your privacy policies on social media. Stay current on the laws.
Respond quickly to both positive and negative comments.
Check how the post looks on various devices. Add bullets after the copy in order to push down links and hashtags below the photo or video as needed.
Keep your focus on relevant and compelling content. What does your audience need?
Research the best days and times to post content for each platform.
Watch your analytics and dashboards to elevate reach and engagement.
5. Social Media Advertising
Be strategic and systematic about advertising to maximize your spend.
Consider testing ads on Facebook, Instagram, Linked in, and YouTube.
Use A/B Testing to see how ads compare and perform differently on each site.
Use the demographic settings strategically, based upon actual enrollments, to pinpoint target locations, income levels, and parents with children/teens in the right age category.
Need Social Media Support? Aperture Advisory Associates can help you create a plan, develop content, post, generate ads, and measure results. We also like to ensure social media ads are working in synch with your Website, SEO and SEM efforts.
Learn and benefit from a former Director of Admissions & Marketing with over 15 years of experience. Affordable fees. Free Consultation.
Check Out Our YouTube Channel/Playlist for Tips About Virtual Experiences, SEO, SEM, Websites, Referrals and Review Promotions, YouTube and Zoom Tips, and much more: Education: Marketing Tips for Private Schools