Social Media Strategy for Independent Schools
At many independent schools, social media management is often thrown upon the shoulders of a communications or admissions office that’s already swamped with job responsibilities. As a result, developing a steady stream of content frequently takes a back seat to other higher priority items.
But managing your school’s social media doesn’t have to be daunting. Follow our tips to efficiently and effectively develop a solid presence on social media.
1. Make it strategic.
Social media is a great way to communicate your brand to both current and prospective audiences. But the most important part of your strategy is to ensure your posts promote the core messages of your brand. For instance, a school with a warm and nurturing community should feature images of mixed-age student collaboration, parents on campus and student-teacher relationships.
Use your core brand messages for inspiration on content and captions.
2. Let parents know.
Be sure to inform parents that your school uses photography of students to promote itself on social media. Make a spreadsheet at the beginning of the year, and only photograph the students whose parents have signed the waiver.
Include a photo release waiver in your enrollment forms.
3. Plan ahead to save time. And stress.
Carve out time at the beginning or end of each week to plan your content for the next week. Check the school calendar and center your posts around key events on campus: athletic games, student projects, drama productions, etc. When you make it a habit, planning your posts becomes faster and easier to manage.
Block out an hour on your Outlook or Google calendar for planning each week.
4. Show. Don’t tell.
Video and imagery are more impactful, regardless of the social media channel. Yes, Twitter is great for sharing quick information, and not every tweet deserves an image. But in general, images help your posts stand out. Visually speaking, they’re more engaging; and from a practical standpoint, they allow your brand to fill more screen space.
Create a library of professional photography from which you can pull images whenever you need.
5. Place different content on different channels.
· Instagram users expect high-quality imagery, so your library should contain your best student and campus photography.
Note: Instagram stories should focus on displaying an authentic glimpse into your school; the quality of the photos and videos is not as important.
· Twitter is far more informational, but it’s also a great place for the candids from yesterday’s soccer game.
· Facebook offers a hybrid of the two. Facebook is a good place to share all your classroom and event photography, news and information, as well as your professional images and videos.
As you’re planning, consider the type of content users want to see on each channel.
6. Involve the community.
Ask teachers for classroom initiatives you could feature. Spotlight coaches and sports teams. Instagram takeovers offer exciting ways to share different perspectives on campus. Just change the password to your account before and after the takeover and allow a brand ambassador (faculty, coach, student) to highlight a day in their life at your school.
Send personal reminder emails asking for images and stories to those members of your community who are most engaged in representing your institution’s brand.
7. Text is photo-worthy.
Graphics aren’t limited to photography. If there’s a core message that you own, place the text in a branded graphic and share it. Just think: if a picture’s worth a thousand words, how many words is a picture of words worth?
Jot down a list of strong statements that portray your institution’s values and beliefs.
8. Do the best YOU can do.
If your schedule only permits you managing two channels instead of five, that’s okay. It’s better to maintain a steady stream of content on a couple channels than infrequent posts across several social media sites. Pick the channels you find to be most effective and commit to making them great.
Schedule between 3–5 posts per week per channel.
A cohesive, strategic and branded social media campaign can have powerful effects on your current community, alumni and future families. And it’s not as unattainable as it might seem. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way.
Written by Jack d’Epagnier, Copywriter at Creosote Affects
Creosote conducts research, develops strategy and produces award-winning creative for institutions of all types and sizes.