Lights, Camera, Enrollment: The Power of Short Form Video for Independent Schools [INFOGRAPHIC]

School students making a mobile video.

In today’s digital age, short-form videos have become an increasingly popular marketing tool for businesses to promote their products or services. Independent schools can also benefit from using short-form videos to attract prospective families and students–and should use short-form videos as a key part of their digital marketing toolbox. 

Knowing what type of short-form videos to record, who could appear in the videos, the length of the videos, and the various platforms to publish videos on are vital.

Why use short-form videos?

Short-form videos are perfect for social media and can help you stand out in a crowded educational landscape. Short-form videos are:

  • An effective way to capture the attention of prospective families and students. After all, attention spans are short and getting shorter. 
  • Quick and visually engaging way to share information and immediate connection with current and prospective families and your alumni, faculty, and especially students. 
  • An easy way to showcase your school’s campus, facilities and programs in a way that is engaging, informative, and easy to consume.
  • A great way to humanize your school and give that “heartstrings,” emotional experience that potential families want

What are the types of short-form videos?

There are many types of short-form videos that independent schools could record to promote their schools. Here are a few ideas:

  • Campus Tour: A short video showcasing your school’s campus, facilities and amenities.
  • Student Testimonials: A video featuring current students sharing their experiences and thoughts on the school.
  • Teacher Interviews: A video featuring interviews with teachers, discussing their approach to teaching and why they enjoy working at your school.
  • Event Highlights: A video showcasing highlights from recent school events like sports games, performances, a school tradition or fundraisers.
  • Alumni Spotlights: A video featuring alumni who have gone on to achieve success in their careers and how your school helped to prepare them for their future.
  • Core Values/Motto/Mascot Deep-Dive: A video exploring one (or all) of your school’s Core Values, motto or school spirit via your mascot, with different people sharing what it means and what the values, motto or school spirit/mascot means to them.

Who should appear in the videos?

Schools can take a tip from the business world when determining who is the star of a short-form video. (Spoiler alert: it’s not just adult “talking heads” on the videos.)

Geri Mileva of Influencer Marketing Hub says, “User-generated content is more likely to be trusted than other forms of marketing, so it will continue to thrive in 2023. Authenticity is one of the key reasons behind this since people tend to trust other users of the same products more than marketers.” 

When creating short-form videos, it’s important to showcase a diverse group of people to represent the school. This should include students, teachers, administrators and alumni. The goal is to provide prospective families with a well-rounded view of your school’s trusted community and its authentic culture.

Remember that the enrollment decision-maker is getting younger and younger. More often than not, students drive school choice, and they want to see themselves at your school. Seeing other students in short-form videos trumps an adult voice nearly every time.

Keep your branding and colors consistent, too, with any graphics. 

How long should short-form videos be?

Short-form videos are typically between 15-60 seconds in length, making them easy to consume and share on social media platforms. However, some videos may require a longer runtime depending on the content being covered. 

It’s important to keep in mind that attention spans are short. The goal is to capture the viewer’s attention and leave a lasting impression in a short amount of time.

Share your draft with a few people, students included, to see if the length works!

What platforms should you use to publish the videos?

You should publish on various platforms, including your school website, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, as well as video-sharing platforms like YouTube and Vimeo. Sharing videos on social media platforms is particularly effective as it allows for easy sharing and engagement with prospective families and students. Just know the style, function and audience for each platform. Prospective and current students aren’t on Facebook (their parents are), so use TikTok. According to Brandon Sanders, former digital marketer for HubSpot Academy, “TikTok, for instance, is run by dances, sounds, and social challenges. So, to get on the “For You” page on TikTok — which is equal to the “Explore” page on Instagram — brands must often join in on the fun.”

Searching for TikTok Tips? Check out our blog post on TikTok Do’s and Don’ts for Independent School Marketers.

Consider creating a landing page within your admissions site for your “On-Demand Content” with your videos, links to your social media, downloadable PDFs, etc. Aggregate all your great content in one place, so it’s easy for people to find it. Yes, your social media links are in your footer, but this is a smart, strategic way to engage viewers.

Ultimately, short-form videos are a valuable, strategic tool for independent schools to attract prospective families and students. Engaging, informative and well-produced videos that showcase your school community and culture leave a lasting impression on potential and current families. 

Need some advice on creating your school’s short-form videos? Contact us here and we’ll be ready to help before you can say “lights, camera, enrollment.”

President’s Notes
Jonathan Oleisky

Jonathan Oleisky

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