Improving Your School’s Social Media Activities

7 min read
Jan 18, 2022 5:53:43 AM

Here are four things any K-12 school or district can do to improve their social media presence and attract students and families.

Social media is among the most dominant advertising platforms, though it still trails TV watching. In 2021, Pew Research released a survey that revealed YouTube (81%) and Facebook (69%) lead the charge in terms of platform popularity, and other platforms — Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and TikTok — follow but are broken along age demographics.

But one thing is clear: we’re on social media.

SchoolMint staff, you, your staff, your students, their families, and more. Everyone is there. And if you’re a school trying to attract parents and guardians, it’s not a question of should you be on social media — it’s how do you maximize your school’s social media to market your school?

An effective social media plan for schools takes time and effort. The number one reason I hear from my school clients on why they haven’t fully leveraged this channel is time.

As the head of SchoolMint’s K-12 strategic marketing services, I hear from schools and districts across the U.S. and their struggles with social media marketing.

In the article below, I have provided a variety of tips and tricks for any school or district to use to improve their social media presence and activities.

School social media management does take some time, but there are a few easy steps that you can take to automate this function and increase the volume and the number of your posts.

In the end, creating a prominent social media presence will not only inform a wider audience about your school but also deepen engagement with your existing family base.

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What You Should Post on Your School’s Social Media

The first thing to do is to identify the content that you are going to be posting regularly to your social media. Whenever I’m asked how to promote a school on social media, school social media managers should create certain types of social media posts.

I recommend you post:

  • Daily pictures and events around the school
  • Core information about the school
  • Content that is not about the school specifically but is about your brand
  • Content that positions your school as a resource and a thought leader

Most school social media campaigns post only photos and events about the school. But with a little bit of extra effort, everyone can increase their presence and diversify their content by using social media to promote schools through posts from the other three categories.

Automate Your Social Media as Much as Possible

To make school social media management easier, use a tool that can automate it as much as possible. School social media campaigns take some work, but there are tools out there that allow you to automate a lot of it.

And the best thing?

Many of them are free or very low-cost. It’s just a matter of researching the many platforms out there and determining which one fits your school or district best.

Reuse Content Whenever and However You Can

Finally, you want to try to create as much reusable content (also called evergreen content) as possible. Engaging your school community through social media is not always about what just happened in the last day, hour, or minute.

Using social media to promote schools means posting not just for your current followers but also for prospective families who will be checking out your social media feeds when they research your school in the future.

Part of social media best practices for schools is posting content that will engage these prospective families in the future as well as the families viewing your content today.

Having a library of evergreen content is critical because you’ll want to post to social media at least two times a day. A twice-a-day schedule sounds scary, but with a bit of work on the front end (and a healthy dose of automation), you can accomplish this fairly easily.

Before we dive into how to promote a school on social media, let’s first talk about the different types of content you should be sharing.

Social Media Best Practices for Schools #1: Share Daily Pictures and Events Around the School

Posting about the latest football game, the award your robotics team won, or the fun and silly things going on is the lifeblood of all school social media campaigns.

Keep this up! This is the sort of content that makes your existing parents go to your Facebook page on a regular basis.

An effective social media plan for schools calls for content to be posted daily.

Mini-tip: As part of your admissions packet, include a release form to use all student images in marketing and social media. Make people opt out — not opt in.

You will be grateful later when you are not dealing with an administrative nightmare of knowing who is allowed in social media posts and who is not.

Social Media Best Practices for Schools #2: Post Core Information About the School

Using social media to promote schools doesn’t mean only posting timely photos. Sharing information about your staff, sports, and clubs is important, too.

In fact, this is one of the biggest opportunities in messaging that not a lot of schools are using. And to let you in on a little secret, once you have created these posts, you can easily repeat them to your audience.

Keep these two things in mind:

  1. Repetition builds awareness and is important for people to remember information about your school.
  2. Don’t post the same thing every day. But the posts about your academic programs can and should be repeated.

So, what are some core information posts?

One simple series could be about your staff. You should have a post created about every staff member with a picture. Many parents and guardians know only their child’s teacher. Most only know their name.

At the beginning of the year, have each staff member submit an appropriate photo and write a couple of paragraphs about themselves — things like where they went to school, what they love about teaching, etc.

If you have done this right, this will also be on your web page. But if not, you’ve created content you can use for both your social media and your website.

A fun thing I saw a client do was to place side-by-side the picture of the teacher as an adult with a picture taken of them when they were a child.

Once you have your information, cut and paste it into a post and then schedule them throughout the year. Here are some additional suggestions for regular core information posts:

  • Do a staff post every week. By just doing this simple thing, you have informed all your parents and prospective parents about your awesome staff and you have created a bunch of “evergreen” content that you can use next year. Title this #TeacherTuesday. Suddenly, you have at least one piece of content for every Tuesday of the school year. You’ll likely also get engagement from families who adore that teacher and are willing to sing praise about how awesome an educator they are!
  • Do the same thing about each of your sports or clubs. Have the faculty advisor write up a blurb about it, find an awesome picture, and you have more content created.
  • Do the same thing for your academics. Many schools don’t brag or explain the different ways they approach core academics. You need to constantly talk about what makes your school unique and/or better in this context.

Social Media Best Practices for Schools #3: Create Brand-Specific Content

All effective social media campaign ideas for schools center on strengthening the school’s brand. Ideally, your school should have a specific brand or something that differentiates itself from the competition.

This may be your strong athletic program, or it may be about your different approach to teaching, like project-based learning. You want to establish your “brand” — your point of differentiation — in the minds of families.

To create or reinforce a perception about your school, you need to say it constantly. So how does this work in practice?

Recently, I worked with a school that was focused on STEM education. They had their middle school students do profiles on different inventors. They then took this content, added a picture of the inventor from Google Images, and then scheduled the content on that person’s birthday.

They created 50 posts that not only demonstrated the type of education that these kids were receiving but also created fun content that reinforced their core brand.

Another school I consulted with is a military-oriented charter school. They create posts that profile important days in military history. Again, the students are creating the content for you.

All you are doing is loading it up and scheduling it for distribution. It is a creative way to reinforce your brand. Plus, families are going to be watching for this and will be sharing it when it is their kiddo’s piece.

Social Media Best Practices for Schools #4: Position Yourself as a Thought Leader

This is a bit more strategic but is really helpful in setting your school apart. This is also the type of content that will be shared the most. Have your teachers create content that is specific to their area of expertise that can be used in social media.

For example:

  • Your technology teacher can write a quick guide on how to install parental filters on common software
  • Your fourth-grade teacher can write a list of great authors and book series that are age-appropriate
  • Your gym teacher can write their opinion on specialization vs. playing multiple sports for kids
  • Your kindergarten teacher can write about the skills that tell them when a child is ready for kindergarten

Once you start the brainstorming process, more will come to you. But this is a great way to get your staff involved in the process and have them create the content.

It also serves as a nice set of content that can be used in the following year. And it is really good content that prospective parents and guardians would enjoy seeing.

Want Personalized Tips to Improve Your School’s Social Media?

Using social media to promote schools takes some work. But if you leverage all the resources around you to create content and schedule it through the year, a lot of it just goes on autopilot.

If you would like to talk more about how to promote a school on social media, SchoolMint’s K-12 strategic marketing services team is happy to help!

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