You’ve completed a Social Media Audience Analysis for your school, and you’re wondering what to do next. You know you should have some type of strategy moving forward with your online marketing, but it’s a bit overwhelming to build one from scratch.
Why should you take the time to develop a social media strategy? It’s important that every action you take on social media be a part of a larger strategy. Every action you take should be part of a plan that is driving toward the goals that have been set for your school. Once you have your overall plan, the rest of your social marketing efforts will follow naturally.
Here are 7 steps for creating the best social media strategy for your school.
Start with the top 3 goals your school has set for 2018.
The first step in any strategic plan is to gain clarity on the goals you are trying to achieve. Keeping your goals in mind will help you react quickly when social media campaigns are not meeting your expectations. Without goals, you really don’t know how well your efforts are paying off for your school.
Align your social media goals to fit with your school’s goals.
How can social media help your school accomplish their goals? The idea here is to take the goals that your executive director, founders or board care about the most about accomplishing, and then show them how social media can help achieve those goals in a meaningful way.
What to do if your school hasn’t set high-level goals that you can directly impact with social media.
Sometimes a school hasn’t set top-level goals, or it’s difficult to connect social media activities to the goals your school is working on right now. When that happens, you may have to determine the best social media goals and metrics to use in your marketing efforts.
Here is a list of potential social media goals and corresponding metrics that you can consider adopting for your strategic marketing plan.
|SOCIAL MEDIA GOALS||METRICS TO CONSIDER|
|Increase awareness of your school||Follower count for your social profiles, reach of social media posts, mentions, shares, and retweets|
|Drive traffic to your website/blog||Referral traffic from social media sources, share of traffic, bounce rate, clicks on social media posts|
|Generate new inquiries||New inquiries generated from social media, downloads of gated content (i.e., a lead magnet), clicks on your lead-gen social media posts and conversion rate of inquiries from social media|
|Increase enrollment||Number of new enrollments generated through social media, annual revenue generated from new enrollees, revenue generated through social advertising|
|Boost school engagement||Number of likes, shares, comments per post, mentions, and replies|
|Community built related to your school||Number of posts, likes, and comments in Facebook groups. Number of participants and tweets per participant in Twitter chats. Number of daily active users in Slack communities.|
|Increase local media coverage||Potential reach, shares and mentions in media or press-related outlets, influencers talking about your school and number of people reaching out to you to ask about your school|
|Social listening and monitoring||Number of conversations with potential parents on social media, suggestions or feedback collected, content improvements made related to those suggestions.|
Break your goals down into specific activities
Once you’ve determined your social media goals (based on your school’s overarching goals), the next step is to map out the specific actions you need to take to accomplish your goals.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you have decided, based on your Social Media Audience Analysis, that you want to improve your social media marketing strategy by focusing your social media postings on the outcome you are trying to achieve for each post.
You’ve decided you want your related goal to be:
“Adjust the focus of social media marketing to reflect the purpose of the social posting.”
How will you go about achieving this goal?
Here are some suggested activities you might want to engage in to achieve your goal:
- Objective #1: Drive traffic to website/blog
Drive traffic back to the blog by publishing 1 blog post per week and distributing across social accounts using a graphic and copy that links to the weekly blog post.
- Objective #2: Increase social engagement on social platforms
Increase social engagement by posting content and targeted copy that engages social followers 6 X per week.
You can see from this example how social media can directly influence your overall school goals. The specific tactic you’ll be using will depend on your goals, the target market segment, geography, philosophy and other relevant variables.
Set your priorities.
You, and your staff can’t do everything. Most school marketing departments have limited resources, so it’s important to set your priorities and create your plan based on them.
How do you choose what to prioritize?
When you have limited resources, including limited time, it’s important to set your priorities based on how much value your school will receive from your activities in relation to the resources that will be spent as well as the complexity required to complete the activity
Here are 4 questions you can ask to help you set your top priorities.
- How much value do I expect this activity will give the school?
- How much time and other resources do I expect this activity will require?
- How complex will this activity be to implement?
- Look for activities that require a low level of resources and complexity and, at the same time, will give your school the best value.
Assign tasks and set a timeline
As you probably already are aware, tasks are more likely to get done when:
- They are assigned to someone, and
- They have a deadline attached to them.
For each activity, determine WHO will be responsible for completing the task, and by WHEN it needs to be completed.
Evaluate and adjust the plan as you go
Once you’ve set up your framework, you have a basis for evaluation and adaptation.
You will want to set measurable results, make a plan for how (and how often) you will analyze your outcomes, and adapt your plan as you go along.
A social media strategy is essential for getting the results you want from your social media efforts. When you have a well-designed strategy, you have the basis you need to demonstrate the value you bring to your organization and will see tangible results from your efforts.
I’d love to hear how you determine a social media strategy for your school. How do you ensure your social media efforts benefit your school? Please leave your comments below.