Social Media For Schools: Choosing The Right Mix
In this article, we explore seven popular social media channels, and show you how to pick and prioritize the right mix for your school.
Choosing the Right Social Media Mix for Your School
Social media can play a key role in supporting marketing and admissions for your school. And yet, many schools have difficulty using social media to achieve their goals, or prove ROI for their efforts..
In our previous blog post, we discussed how schools can build a solid foundation for social media marketing.
In this article, we explore seven popular social media channels—including who’s using them and for what—and show you how to pick and prioritize the right mix for your school.
UNDERSTAND YOUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
When you’re planning social content, it can be tempting to take one message and share it on all of your channels, changing only the length of the message to satisfy character count limits. But that approach ignores your audiences’ needs and why they’re there in the first place.
The most important thing you can do is choose the social media platforms where your target audiences spend their time. For elementary students, this will mean mostly the parents, but for middle-years and high-school recruitment, your audience will include prospective students, too.
Finding the ideal mix of platforms will vary from school to school, and at various stages along the customer journey. Understanding your platform options and how they fit into your customer journey will help you use your time—and budget—more effectively.
Primary purpose: to grab attention with photos, images or links that people will want to read, share or inspire to take action (learn more, sign up, apply now, book a tour, etc.), and to increase reach through affordable paid advertising.
Ideal audience: potential and existing students and parents who are scanning for interesting content on a regular basis.
Best for schools that: want to build their reputation, keep their families informed, and who have a good website to link to for more information or other actions their audience might take.
Before you start: remember that hashtags and emojis should be limited here. Your Facebook style should be slightly more formal than Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, but less formal than LinkedIn.
Primary purpose: to share engaging organic posts and ads comprised of photos, snapshots, videos, reels, staged images or short text messages.
Ideal audience: students and parents (67% of US millennials have an account).
Best for schools that: want to share the culture and human side of their school while building their brand and following through hashtags, including unique ones for the school.
Before you start: consider that younger audiences are more likely to engage with Stories and Reels, while older audiences are more likely to engage with Feed posts. This can help you plan your content accordingly.
Primary purpose: to share thoughtful, professional content about education and private schools
Ideal audience: parents who are professionals, business owners and C-suite executives
Best for schools that: want to recruit through professional channels to reach the right demographic and to speak to professionals at their level about education
Before you start: run a search for all users who list themselves as alumni of your school. This gives you a great pool of brand ambassadors who are invested in sharing your successes and possibly contributing with testimonials of their own.
Primary purpose: to create demand for content because it can only be viewed once
Ideal audience: students (and parents) who don’t want to miss out on seeing something interesting about their school that everyone else might be talking about
Best for schools that: have a story to tell, want to increase their reach through 10-second vertical video ads, or show their creativity with sponsored lenses
Before you start: make sure you have the infrastructure in place to create compelling, authentic content. If your goal is to capture student life, make sure you have student and/or guardian permission, and cameras on-the-ground to capture authentic moments.
Primary purpose: to create engaging, organic hype for your school.
Ideal audience: current and prospective high-school and middle-school students, and anyone interested in building spirit and culture (e.g., through video challenges).
Best for schools that: are trendy and excited to create and share their own short, entertaining video content and who want to build their school’s brand.
Before you start: remember that what’s hot on TikTok yesterday may be old news today. Be prepared to keep an ear to the ground and jump on trends in a youthful and authentic way.
Primary purpose: real-time sharing of news and events, and audio chatroom (Twitter Spaces).
Ideal audience: parents, prospective parents and prospects in Asia (where Twitter is popular).
Best for schools that: want to reach parents and recruit boarding-school students from abroad.
Before you start: remember that, unlike other social media platforms, Twitter functions best as a near-instantaneous response engine. Consider whether you have the time and resources to continuously provide fresh, relevant content and quick customer service-style responses.
Primary purpose: to share live clips of school events, academics, sports & culture.
Ideal audience: current and prospective parents and students.
Best for schools that: have good quality videos of sporting events, musicals, tours or staff and students talking about the school and other online platforms where videos can be shared.
Before you start: consider whether you have the resources and ability to produce high-quality, professional videos that meet viewer expectations and stand out from the competition.
Social media offers private and independent schools enormous marketing opportunities to connect with audiences online while increasing potential reach in ways you never imagined. With a growing variety of social media platforms available, you’ll find you can get very creative while having fun with your communications as you engage many new people in different environments.
The most effective advertising lands where prospects are looking, and private school parents and older students are all online. Parents now expect to find your private or independent school on social media. Take your school’s marketing to the next level by building your own foundation for strong and measurable social media marketing.
Read more about the benefits of working with an education marketing company.