Finding new and creative ways to bring in your audience online is step one in making sure they stay engaged. At this point, all admissions marketing is likely blending in their minds, and it’s hard to remember the difference between one school and another. Standing out in the ways you are reaching your prospective students, such as virtual tours, will make their experience with yoThis past year has tested our ability and limits in many facets of our lives. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen budget cuts and had to get creative on how to get our jobs done.
In communication departments at independent schools, it’s likely your website manager, social media strategist, copywriter, and more are all the same person. Holding all these responsibilities on your shoulders can be overwhelming as you allocate your different resources as best as possible.
Fortunately, there are many tools available to you that can make your job and life easier, and no one will ever know about your shortcuts. As they say, work smarter, not harder.
1. Test your graphic design skills.
Navigating Adobe InDesign and illustrator isn’t for everyone. It can take time to learn the programs, and the subscription cost can take a large chunk out of your budget. Luckily, there are plenty of websites that will help your graphics stand out. Cut out the hassle and maximize your time and limited budget.
Canva and Adobe Spark are great tools for producing graphics from social media to presentations to emails. With templates perfectly sized for Instagram stories or email banners, you’ll become a pro in no time. Clipart images on the apps make it easy to combine your own imagery with other tools to help spice up your graphics.
You can use the apps on your laptop, iPad or smartphone and are the perfect resource for the most detailed designs to the simplest creations.
2. Move beyond Zoom with Instagram Live.
Zoom is so 2020. If you’re bored of Zoom, imagine how others are feeling. While it may seem convenient to host a Zoom meeting to get information out to your audiences, consider other platforms that your audience may already be on.
Instagram Live recently introduced the ability to have up to four accounts on a live event. The pandemic has made Live events on Facebook and YouTube more popular than ever, and now you can stream on Instagram Live. Use the platform that your prospective students use — Generation Z is not on Facebook — to host the president and vice president of a club for a quick Q&A or the member of the soccer team who made the winning goal. It’s a great way to show prospective students who your current students are and showcase the great accomplishments by your students.
3. Email like a pro.
Save yourself time and energy by creating or using email templates. This way, you don’t have to recreate standard or custom emails each time you’re looking to send them out.
Mailchimp and Constant Contact allow you to create templates, schedule your emails ahead of time and segment different audiences for all of your emailing needs. Search around the web for other email templates that work best for you and your marketing needs.
Be deliberate about your email content and cut out anything that doesn’t seem essential or pressing. Can two emails be merged into one? Is the information you are sending out time-sensitive or pressing news? Consider what can wait until next week’s email or even what can be deleted all together.
By reducing the frequency of your emails, you’ll likely increase your open rates and click through rates, if you’re not bombarding and spamming inboxes with information all the time.
4. Create a social media plan.
Later and Planoly are great resources for scheduling and posting content on social media. See ahead of time what it will look like on your page before you post it, and schedule it several or more weeks in advance so you don’t have to manage every post manually. If you’re feeling really ambitious and looking for ways to improve your social media strategy, you can dive deeper into the analytics on your Facebook and Instagram business pages.
Reuse and recycle your videos and previous content to make Instagram Reel mashups or TikToks. Ask your students for permission to reshare their photos they have taken on your campus. See if students are interested in hosting “A day in the life” Instagram takeovers on platforms that offer stories like Instagram or Facebook, and now, Twitter “fleets.” Make it easier on yourself by resharing #ThrowbackThursday photos each Thursday that highlights some great pre-pandemic memories from your school.
If your budget allows, you may want to look into purchasing other scheduling tools such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite or Agorapulse. Social media isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. As platforms begin to increase their features, you’ll want to stay ahead by being prepared with your content in advance.
If you think you have too much on your plate, you may want to consider doing a content and performance audit to see what is working well right now and which areas you may want to improve for your future marketing efforts.
Whether your team is growing, or you’re working on your own, taking advantage of communications resources will help you focus on managing your channels and reaching your audience more effectively.
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