Remember your school’s fall 2019 Facebook and Instagram feeds? Lots of campus shots with smiling students and maybe a video of a pep rally, right? The pandemic has shifted what school looks like now. Your social media posts should look different, too.
This fall, many schools are doing remote or hybrid learning. Current and prospective students are stuck at home. If campuses are open, most admission offices are scaling back on the traditional open houses, and most have pivoted to virtual events.
It’s time to pivot to a new social media strategy as well.
Right now, images of happy students clearly depicting in-school experiences may not resonate with your prospective families. It’s not an authentic look for your school at this moment in time – and your audience won’t react to inauthentic images. If your school is online or hybrid, rather than publishing photos and videos of student activity on campus, the better posting strategy is to stop using campus shots and photos of kids in classrooms.
Instead, shift your messaging to focus on individual students as the heart of your school, rather than a specific place. This emphasizes connection over content and looks at your students’ achievements regardless of where they’re learning. Right now, people need more virtual hugs and encouragement. Remember to share important social messages as well.
Embrace the method of asking questions that get people talking and thinking. The comments and engagement you receive will help you to show up more often in your audiences’ newsfeeds. Try asking:
- What do you love most about your school?
- What are you learning right now that’s exciting? This is a good way to focus on how robust your school’s remote-learning program is.
Nostalgia is also big. Dust off #tbt (Throwback Thursday) and post fun, people-focused archival pics of school events and traditions. Ask if people can identify what is going on in the photo. It’s a great way to get school spirit flowing on social media.
Focus your posts and stories on students and young alumni that combine elements of a testimonial (actual words of the person profiled) and a traditional profile (who they are, what activities/classes they take at your school, etc.).
By using student and young alumni voices, you can highlight the ways your school is behind their success in a real, engaging way.
Ask selected students and young alumni to send you 30-second video testimonials on their mobile devices. Consider these questions:
- What unique experiences are you having through remote learning?
- How is [your school] motivating and inspiring you these days?
- What do you love most about [your school]?
- How has [your school] influenced your ability to ride out the pandemic at home?
- Ask students to give a tour of their learning environment (including the fun stuff).
Be sure that they are wearing school swag. If you’re profiling young alumni, ask them to wear their college sweatshirt and talk about how your school prepared them for success.
Also, remember to ask for a still photo as well to use in other posts.
Request TikTok-like videos that are acceptable to post on your school’s social sites – especially on Instagram, where most of your students probably live. It’s a great way to stay in touch with one another and for prospective parents and students to see that your students are finding ways to enjoy themselves while homebound.
If your school is doing any kind of remote learning, you might ask the current senior class or invite your students who are on Instagram to send you a photo of their favorite school spirit item from their at-home learning space – or the one thing that reminds them of how special your school community is. Post those in a series.
Instagram just launched Reels, a TikTok competitor. Create a school channel on the new platform to share your students’ 15-second videos.
For Facebook and YouTube:
Create a campaign on social media by uploading short videos to your school’s YouTube channel and Facebook Video Gallery. When uploading the videos, use the description fields to say more about your school and link to information about your virtual tours, other admissions events, etc. If you have the ad dollars, boost the video posts to get more reach and engagement.
By pivoting your social media posts to the people, not the places, that truly create the magic that is your school, you can create engaging posts that are just as real as being on campus.
How can we help you better engage your communities? Contact us.
Gerri Baum is Digital and Social Lead for Kalix Marketing.