8 Top Social Media Strategies for Schools

Social media is one of the best ways to reach families and engage with supporters of your school. Your school’s social media presence can be relevant, informative, and also fun, but only with careful work behind the scenes.

Social media usage continues to grow, with no decline in sight. The latest figures show there are 3.96 billion global social media users; 1.1 billion more than the number of social media users in 2017. This is an incredible increase of 38.5 % in six years. On average, 4.75 billion items are shared by Facebook users daily; 350,000 tweets are posted on Twitter every minute; 95 million photos are uploaded to Instagram every day. Using social platforms in the right way will improve your school profile and help you achieve your marketing goals.

Almost all business entities, celebrities, charities and politicians use social media strategies to engage with their audiences. Schools are no different. People today spend time on social media and expect to receive news and information from their favorite networks, and it is a major part of most school marketing strategies today. Given this framework, it’s crucial your school consider the benefits of social media for student inquiries, staff recruitment as well as how to make it safe for students. Publishing content on your social media channels positions your school as a forward-thinking, modern institution. So, what social media strategies does your school need to follow to ensure you are leveraging social media effectively for your school?

Strategy 1. First Things First, Do Your Research

The first thing to do before launching a social media strategy (or when reassessing your current strategy) is to conduct research. For many schools, uncovering insights among current and future parents can be daunting.

In order to uncover robust insights, schools need to move beyond social metrics. The foundation for good social media research is asking the right questions. Spend time developing questions and brainstorm with others where possible.

  • What platforms does your audience use?
  • In what ways do they use those platforms?
  • What types of content are they seeking?
  • What do you want to do differently based on the outcomes of your research?
  • How will you recognize successful research? What does good information look like?
  • What do your current social media followers like about your social profiles?
  • What do your current social media followers want less of?
  • What type of content elicits engagement from your followers? What type of content is often ignored?

Strategy 2. Select a Social Media Manager

Your school needs a social media manager to manage your school’s social media profiles. Your social media manager needs the following skills:

  • Technical skills to manage the platforms
  • Strong written communication skills to engage with your audience
  • Ability to monitor what’s happening online

With teachers today pressured for time, you can’t expect them to manage your online presence. Your social media manager should be a part of your admin team so they can stay on top of current information and can communicate what is happening online.

Strategy 3. Conduct a Social Media Audit

A social media audit can take the guesswork out of forming social media strategies. It can also help you track the metrics that enable you to measure your ROI. These insights can help you  determine what’s working, what’s not working, and what needs to be adjusted.

Learn more: 5 Easy Steps for Conducting a Social Media Audit for School Marketers

Strategy 4. Determine How Often and When You Should Publish Updates

Each social media platform has a different culture, meaning each has different publishing norms.

  • Facebook should be updated several times a week at a minimum, and you should include 2-3 hashtags
  • Twitter needs daily updates due to the high volume of content published on this platform every day. 1-2 hashtags should be used.
  • Instagram should be updated several times a week. While you can use up to 30 hashtags, 11 to 20 is more the norm.

Tools such as Buffer or Missinglettr will let your social media manager schedule social media updates in advance, and will help determine the best days and times to publish so your audience will see them.

Strategy 5. What Type of Content Will Your School Publish?

Your social media manager should publish a variety of useful information, reminders about school events (like upcoming parent/teacher conferences), school vacations, and school trips. They can share good news about your school and interesting class activities. Social platforms have become increasingly photo and video friendly and can be up dated from anywhere. Many schools invest in a school smartphone or tablet that can be taken out and about. Live-streaming events is commonplace. You can even share school events and celebrations with all parents in real-time.

For more ideas on what to publish on school social media platforms, visit: How to Start Social Media Marketing for Schools

Strategy 6. How Will You Monitor What’s Being Said About Your School Online?

Social media sites need daily monitoring so your school can help with inquiries and identify any complaints or concerns. There are low-cost social monitoring tools, such as GigaAlert, Mention, SocialMention, Buzzsumo and NetVibes.

Your online reputation can impact inquiries, enrollments, and retention. Comments can generally be classified as positive, negative and neutral (such as questions). Make sure your social media manager knows how to respond to each type of comments and reviews and records them for potential use in your school’s marketing messages. Questions should be answered as accurately as possible.

If negative comments are posted, they’ll need to be addressed as quickly as possible. Be sure your school lays out a plan for how negative comments and reviews will be handled. In general, you will want to acknowledge the complainant and take the discussion off social media. A face-to-face or phone call is the best way to address the situation. Ask the complainant to remove their negative comment or  post a subsequent positive comment after the issue is resolved.

Learn more here: Online Reputation Management for Schools in the Age of Social Media

Strategy 7. How Will Your School Safeguard Everyone Involved?

You need to ensure your staff and students are protected at all times. You need to set school policies on identifying students and reminding parents not to tag pictures with real student names or use abusive language. Your staff need to be aware requirements for contacting students on social media, and ensure all posts are reviewed by your social media manager on a regular basis.

Strategy 8. Gather Social Media Content Inspiration

Want to give your social media manager some inspiration or provide relevant content ideas to post? Here are some related posts he or she might be interested in:

What social media strategies work well for your school? What strategy should be added to this list? Please comment below…

About the author 

Brendan Schneider

Hey, I’m Brendan, and this is my blog. After 28 years working in private, independent schools in mostly admissions, enrollment, marketing, communications, and fundraising roles, I decided to make SchneiderB Media my full-time job, where I help schools get more inquiries through my Fractional Digital Marketer program. I also started the MarCom Society, a membership created expressly to help, support, and train marketing and communications professionals at schools.

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