Looking for a cheap, easy, and effective way to reach families of prospective students? Social media marketing for schools is where it’s at.
Through familiar social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can reach a targeted group of people and increase awareness for your school. Social media provides a cost-effective way for private schools to build name recognition in their local area without buying pricey billboards or even more expensive TV and radio ads. For as little as free and with the right strategy, you can position your school to get discovered by the ideal audience.
But how do you use social media for school recruitment and engagement? In this post, we’ll give you an easy to follow guide on how to use the three major social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram) for promoting your private school.
Social Media Marketing for Schools
How to Use Facebook for Marketing Your Private School
Facebook is the undisputed champ of social media. With over 2.4 billion monthly users and 1.5 billion daily users, you’re almost guaranteed to reach your target audience via Facebook. But you can’t just set up a Facebook business profile and expect for your target audience to find you. There is a definite path for success and it includes following these tips:
The key to engagement is to stay as active as possible on Facebook. Post updates, ask questions, and share images all with the end goal of promoting your school to your community. Ask your currently enrolled families for reviews and recommendations that will be attractive and influential to prospects. Be social.
Create a Group
Lack of communication is a big problem for many schools. Don’t be counted among that number.
To help prospective students and their families learn more about your school, create a Facebook group just for those who are interested in your school but not yet enrolled.
With this group, you can answer pressing and frequently asked questions without asking them to visit your website or call you during school hours. A Facebook group can also benefit by building your community. Veteran and enrolled families can also answer questions and provide additional support.
Another benefit of creating a Facebook group? Your members will get notifications with each new post. This will keep your school at the top of their minds.
Announce Upcoming Events
Have an upcoming open house? Let the good folks of Facebook know about it before it happens. Adding school events to Facebook is a great way to inform everyone in your community about your upcoming activities — even those who aren’t following your page.
Live videos, such as Q&As and workshops, have incredible engagement on Facebook. People tend to watch live videos three times longer than pre-recorded videos. Hit the record button and get in front of your smartphone to record a no-frills, but highly engaging, video with your audience. Discuss topics that will appeal to prospective students, such as how to get financial assistance and the process of acceptance.
Create Facebook Ads
Facebook has become a “pay for play” platform. This means that your organic reach on Facebook is extremely limited. If you want more people to see your posts (even people who actually follow you), you’ll need to pay for ads.
Fortunately, Facebook offers an incredible set of marketing tools. You can define your target audience (no matter how niche or specific) and reach them through Facebook. And Facebook is inexpensive, too.
How to Use YouTube for Marketing Your Private School
At first glance, YouTube doesn’t seem like a social media platform, but it is because YouTube allows comments and interactions. Its users can build profiles, connect with friends, and post content. It’s also a search engine. In fact, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the Internet, behind Google.
Here’s how to attract prospective families to your school through YouTube:
Show a Video of Your Campus
Take students and their parents on a virtual tour on your campus. Through the power of video, you can show an inside look at your classrooms, halls, and other important communal meeting areas. This gives your target audience a chance to preview before they commit to an in-person visit.
Answer Frequently Asked Questions
Use video to answer the most frequently asked questions for your prospective families. Don’t try to tackle all of the questions in one video. This will make the video too long, and possibly overwhelming for a person who has one specific question. Instead, post a series of short videos where you answer one question at a time. Then, link all of those short videos together in a playlist entitled “Frequently Asked Questions.” You can even post these videos on your website.
Videos allow you to forge a more personal connection with your audience. Your audience will feel like they’ve met your staff, even if by video. So don’t overlook this opportunity to connect with prospective families and share valuable information that they can use to make their decision.
Show a Class Session in-Action
Open houses don’t always tell the entire story. Sometimes, open houses happen after hours when parents don’t have the opportunity to see a live classroom. Show your prospective parents and students what it’s really like in class through a YouTube video. Highlight your capable teachers as they conduct an entire class.
Interview Teachers, Parents, and Alumni
Use YouTube videos to share videos of your faculty, your enrolled parents and students, and your alumni. This type of video can serve as a powerful testimonial for your school because prospective families can get a different perspective about your school, outside of your own marketing materials.
How to Use Instagram for Marketing Your Private School
Finally, let’s turn our attention to Instagram.
There are almost one billion Instagram users every month. This makes Instagram huge. By contrast, Twitter only has 68 million users. In fact, by the number of users, Instagram is second only to Facebook.
But, depending on your purposes, Instagram may be more effective for reaching audiences than Facebook. For example, Instagram images have higher engagement rates. This indicates that users on Instagram are more involved.
Here’s how to promote your school through Instagram.
Adopt a Hashtag
On Instagram, your posts won’t get discovered unless you use hashtags. Instagram users search using hashtags, i.e. the hash symbol (#) and the attached keyword or phrase (i.e #keyword).
Needless to say, hashtags are essential on Instagram.
It’s a good practice to create a hashtag for your school and then encourage families and faculty to post using that branded hashtag. Consider using a memorable abbreviation of your school name if you think it’s too long to type behind a hash symbol. Then, encourage prospective families to find you on Instagram with that specific hashtag.
Instagram is a visual medium. While you can theoretically turn text into graphics or use standard stock photos in your Instagram feed, consider only populating your feed with authentic pictures of your school and its students and faculty. This allows you to create a more genuine personality on social media. Share snapshots, videos, and staged images.
You don’t have to do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to creating content for your Instagram feed. Recruit student influencers in your school to develop campaigns or upload images to your Instagram feed. You can also repost the content of others who’ve included your school’s branded hashtag.
Which Social Media Platform is Right for My School?
While we’ve focused on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube in this post, you may be overwhelmed by the prospect of trying to maintain an active profile on all three. You can start simply and use just one platform.
Which platform you choose will depend on your target audience. If you’re hoping to reach parents and grandparents (think 35 and up), focus your efforts on Facebook and YouTube. If your target audience consists of older students and/or younger parents (think under 35), your best bet is a mix of Instagram and YouTube. As you can see, YouTube appeals to a wide variety of ages so it’s a good medium for attempting to reach a diverse group.
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