It’s time to get more strategic about your school’s social media. This is the first post in a three-part series on best-practice for social media strategies. Each post offers simple and effective ways to reach your audiences on various platforms. The goal is to create a unified message and voice while threading your school’s distinctive brand throughout your posts.
Our first topic is critical yet often overlooked. Integrating your school’s social media channels into your digital marketing plan allows you to fully harness the power of social media. Instead of unconnected, haphazard posts across different platforms, with some time and planning, your school can have a social media presence that amplifies awareness and engagement for all your audiences.
Integrate Social Media into All Channels
To strategically leverage the power of your school’s social media, you need to showcase your presence widely.
- Promote your social media sites on all print and digital marketing materials.
- For print materials, include calls-to-action (CTA) and write out the URLs so people can follow your school. The CTA can be: “Follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/SCHOOL.” Do the same for Instagram and any other social sites where your school has a presence.
- For digital marketing (website, newsletters) include your social icons with live links that drive viewers to the respective channels. Include an overall CTA just above the icons that encourage viewers to “Follow us on:”
- Include CTAs for LinkedIn if your marketing materials are of a professional nature (HR announcements or thought-leader articles by your school leaders).
- For Facebook, list all your social sites with live links in the “About” section under “Contacts and basic info.”
Use hashtags on all channels
Hashtags can help boost your school’s social media reach and engagement. They’re powerful ways to organize your digital content around a particular event or cause and help viewers find your school. Using hashtags effectively, though, is more than publishing a #ThrowbackThursday post on Facebook.
While you should insert hashtags on Facebook, hashtags are most popular on Twitter and Instagram. They can also be used in relevant professional posts on LinkedIn. Learn more about using hashtags.
It’s important to know the various rules for using hashtags effectively on each site.
- Your social media content should include a mix of popular, relevant and branded hashtags. If your hashtags are too obscure, they’ll be hard to find and not likely used by your viewers.
- Don’t make up a custom hashtag unless you plan to use it throughout a planned campaign. If you create #[myschool]fooddrive integrate it in all of your relevant social posts on all of your social sites, use it in your signature lines, publish it on all relevant printed materials, encourage school leaders, staff, students and parents to incorporate it in their posts and comments.
- Use #NAMEOFSCHOOL on all your posts to promote your school and drive conversation.
- Hashtag challenges are very popular and a great way to make your hashtag and associated event go viral. Learn what a group of Chicago Public School students accomplished with #CharityChangeChallenge in 2020.
- Showcase your school’s students and campus life in Instagram and TikTok videos, especially Instagram Reels, with hashtags such as #[nameofschool]life.
- Monitor social media influencers. Want to learn what hashtags students are using? Check out their public posts and follow suit if your content is relevant.
- Learn which social media hashtags are trending on relevant social sites. What works on Instagram doesn’t necessarily work on Facebook.
Make sure your website promotes your social media.
Make sure your social links are in your footer. Time to get rid of the Facebook or other social activity feeds. They take up too much valuable homepage real estate and detract from your school’s important messages and CTAs that viewers should see.
A dedicated social plugin with share buttons should appear throughout your school’s website and not just on the homepage. This allows visitors to share your content on their own social sites. The point is to create a digital conversation and connection.
Publish your Social Media Sites in Emails, Newsletters and Print
Every staff member, teacher, and administrator needs a branded signature for their school email that includes links to yourwebsite, Facebook page, Twitter page, Instagram profile and any other social sites you use. Brand it with your logo (use your font and colors, too).
Create the signature and send it to your internal community with instructions on how to load it onto their signature. (Better yet, offer to help with a personal office visit.)
Make sure to include hyperlinked social media buttons on all divisional, head of school, athletic, alumni, etc. newsletters.
With your school magazine, always include a page or half page with your social channels and the URLs spelled out. You could screen shot recent posts on Facebook or Instagram as a taste of what those channels hold. No need to include them on fundraising pieces, but they should absolutely be on all admissions materials.
Consider using a QR code on printed materials and digital assets that leads to a webpage with all social media channels.
Make it Easy for Your Community to Follow You
It’s critical that you get people – parents, faculty, alumni, students – excited about your content. The more they share your content on their social media, the better.
Early in the school year include a special section in your newsletters to parents and alumni about following your school on all your channels. Include the links and a taste of what’s happening on those channels. With subsequent newsletters, include a social media dedicated blurb or content piece such as Top Fan Comment, [YOUR SCHOOL] on Instagram, etc.
School Events: Print announcements for any school event (academic, arts, college nights, orientations, sports, school plays, etc.) should only include relevant social sites. No need for you to publish your school’s LinkedIn site on an Open House flier. The goal is to reinforce where you are online so more people will follow your school. Ask them to include one or two specific hashtags (that you define) within their own social media content when they post about your school (and, of course, remind them to tag you @SCHOOL).
If you have TV screens in building lobbies listing daily and weekly events, include your social channels’ icons and URLS or a QR code that links to a website page with all the accounts.
When you have a parent or alumni event and are presenting any type of PowerPoint (in person program or Zoom), include a holding slide with all your social media accounts and a list of hashtags (or QR) for your audience. Have it on display while people are gathering or at the end of the presentation.
Go to the source at sporting events. Consider putting a sign/banner in your home bleachers with something like:
- Share your [NAME OF YOUR MASCOT] Spirit!
- Post your game photos, tag @SCHOOL and use
- [Then list your hashtags for that event]
Need a few more resources to help you with your social media strategy?
Use our infographic to walk you through a Social Media Audit. This should be part of your regular process and is essential to integrating your social media.
Are you up on the latest social media trends and know how they can affect and improve your marketing efforts? Check out our 2022 trend report.
Let us know how we can help you create your best social media marketing strategy yet. Contact us today to start a conversation.