There are many print and digital tools available to help you better communicate with external and internal audiences about your school. We asked our experts at Kalix to share their go-to favorites.
Gerri Baum, Digital and Social Media Lead:
Graphic design isn’t just for the professional. Many graphic novices like myself take advantage of Canva for all things creative. Canva is a user-friendly, free digital app that makes creating social media graphics, newsletters, posters, presentations, etc. a piece of cake. It has a wide variety of fonts, photos, imagery resources, templates and more to ensure your work looks top-notch. A paid Pro Edition features animation tools to create high-end audio videos.
Grammarly, the free online grammar-, spelling-, vocabulary- and almost-all-things-checker, helps ensure that all of my written content is first-rate and relatable to my audience.
For managing Kalix’s digital marketing projects, Asana is my go-to app. I can set goals, manage teamwork, establish timelines, track tasks, set priority levels and even customize a dashboard to track projects, team members, lists, timelines and calendars. Other project management tools such as SmartSheet, Infinity, Trello, Airtable, or Basecamp might also fit your needs if you’re looking for a reliable tool to help you track your school’s projects.
While a wide variety of social media scheduling tools are at our disposal, Hootsuite remains my favorite platform. The app frequently adapts to the ever-changing world of social media. I can manage multiple social streams in one location, cross-post on various platforms, connect with other social users, keep up-to-date with the competition, and get real-time information online in one place. It also provides various reports that can supplement your social platforms’ metrics. Other contenders are SocialPilot, Buffer, Sendible (great for lead generation) or SproutSocial.
Finally, to aggregate all of your independent school’s digital analytics into a single platform, use the free Google Data Studio. You can quickly aggregate and view the data that’s most important to you with real-time metrics from Google Analytics, Google Ads, your school’s Facebook page and ads, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social or digital platforms that you may use. Since it’s fully customizable, you can produce reports (including graphs) that are easy to read and share with your school’s Board — an essential task for all school marketers, admissions directors and leaders.
Channing Capacchione, Digital and Communications Associate:
Working with remote team members and keeping track of documents and files on a daily basis with Slack is easy and effective. The platform allows for collaborative channels and chats, video and voice calling and easy file sharing. When working cross-functionally, and even with outside organizations, every team member is easily able to join Slack channels and stay in the communications loop.
I suggest every team use Google Suite for the most seamless communication. Slack will allow you to directly share Google Docs, Sheets and Slides with your team and integrate your Google Calendar so that team members know when you’re busy or available. Sharing on Google Drive is simple and the essential collaboration tool, as multiple individuals can view and edit files simultaneously.
Communications planning is usually the first step every team must align on and discuss before taking action. To do so, Miro is a great way to remotely replicate a whiteboard or planning grid that would usually be executed in person. The Miro board allows you to create a landscape with sticky-notes, images, sketches, designs and ideas galore. Other visual collaboration programs like Stormboard and Mural are super helpful when trying to replicate an in-person environment digitally.
Like Gerri, I schedule social media content daily across several platforms. To plan ahead for Instagram in-feed posts and overall Instagram grid layout, I use Planoly to upload content, put in place holders and plan for up to months in advance for any social feed. Another great tool for TikTok planning and evolving your Instagram content aesthetic is UNUM.
When needing text overlays or any type of digital graphic enhancement, Canva and Adobe Spark are my go-tos. Whether I am using the iOS app or the site from my laptop, it’s the simplest and easiest way to create content that looks professional and clean.
Sometimes I am in more of a time crunch than these tools will allow for, though. This is when I take advantage of tools at your fingertips: existing tools on your smartphone or within social media apps. It’s easy to edit photos, resize and do quick touch ups on the iPhone photo app. For quick, simple Instagram story posts, I suggest reading up on some of the in-app Instagram features that make content as easy as the touch of a button.
Once I’ve planned and I’m ready to to schedule social media posts, I use Sprout Social for social listening for competitors and followers, as well as highly detailed reports on profile and post performance on a weekly basis. Taking advantage of tools such as tagging posts and comments for common threads or sentiment analysis is a great way to manage your social posts and discover what content is right for each specific channel.
All channels for communication should be integrated in some way. This means linking your social channels on your website, backlinking in your blog posts and easily connecting your audience to any content that will enhance their experience with your brand. Linktr.ee is the perfect tool to add to your social media bios and allows you to add as many external links as you want to your profile.
Outside of social media, the first step to communicating your brand to an audience is inevitably your website. When creating pages and managing analytics, Google Analytics is the best way to track the performance of your blog posts and pages.
Content management is key and often difficult when working remotely with cross functional teams. Air is a great tool for organizing photo and video assets. The platform allows you to add content into boards, tags and share easily through email and links.
Finally, whenever I am assisting in public relations efforts, I use Cision and Meltwater. When looking for press hits or keyword mentions in the news, Cision is the ultimate tool. Narrow your searches by the latest news cycle or broaden it to learn more about mentions of your school up to the past year. If you’re looking for freelance writers or publications to pitch to, Meltwater allows you to search for individuals or media outlets to get your story to the world.
Sarah Achenbach, Communications Lead:
Good content is good writing, and good writing means knowing the basics. I have these titles handy at my desk if I have a grammar question. The Elements of Style by Wiliam Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White. It’s the gold standard. And for extra style, I love the 2000 edition by Penguin Books with illustrations by Maira Kalman. For the comma challenged, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynne Truss, is great.
Many independent school marketing and communications people recommend Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Writing Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. This book is a terrific primer on writing engaging online copy.
When working on web news stories, tinyping.com is a handy tool to easily and quickly reduce .jpeg or .png file sizes.