It’s that time of year again...admissions season! Everyone is looking for ways to fill their open houses and get prospective families to apply. With the right strategy and measurable goals you can organize a social media campaign that will help spread the word about your school and grow inquiries. Here are some techniques that will help your school marketing department develop a successful social media calendar.
Creating your calendar and setting goals
The first step to creating an effective social media content calendar is to outline the goals of your campaign. Your goals should include:
How many fans/followers you aim to have on each social media network
How often you need to post
Make note of any holidays or big events that may impact your goals, or if possible, find a way to incorporate them into your messaging.
Another crucial step is to define who your audience is. What apps are they using? What type of content does your audience enjoy? When are they online? You’ll want to make sure you’re posting the right messages on the right channels to audiences who want to see that style of content.
Creative content for higher engagement
The best type of content is content that tells a story instead of selling an item. That means you’ll have to think of a few creative ways to promote your admissions events without the feeling of “selling them.” The brand authenticity is a huge driving force these days, especially amongst millennial parents, who have a refined filter for knowing when they’re being sold to.
1. Leverage User-Generated Content
This is one of the best ways to showcase the energy of your school. User-generated content is 76% more trustworthy than traditional branded advertising. Schools that have specific hashtags can check to see what people are posting. If you find content you think would be great to repost be sure to ask the person (or their guardian) before you repost. It’s also a good rule of thumb to credit the creator. It helps people understand that this content is genuine and encourages others to post more (creating more content for you).
User-generated content makes for great website content, too. Using a social media aggregation tool like Finalsite Feeds, you can streamline authentic, user-generated content from your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds into a single location on your website using your account handles or hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to streamline content your community might be sharing on their personal accounts, which definitely kicks authenticity up a notch. For admission, Choate Rosemary Hall uses #ChooseChoate to streamline all admissions-related content from various users.
Consider creating a hashtag that everyone in your community can use when they post — something original, quick, and easy-to-remember. A combination of your school name, colors, mascot, or even location make for a great hashtag!
Learn social media strategies in Finalsite's first-ever virtual social media workshop for school marketers!
2. Don’t Forget to Use Stories
Many apps are introducing a “Stories” feature, but they’re particularly popular on Facebook and Instagram. Stories are a great way to show a snippet of your school’s personality. With a variety of augmented reality filters, gifs, and location stickers your team can get really creative while promoting Open Houses.
Also taking into account that these posts “disappear” after 24 hours, your story posts don’t have to be as polished as those on your feed.
You can use stories to highlight behind the scenes or a day-in-the-life style content with ease showing prospective families what your school has to offer before they arrive at your admissions events. The more stories you post, the higher up in the feed your profile appears, keeping your school top of mind.
Anything posted to a story can then be saved as a highlight. To promote your admissions events, we recommend creating a highlight reel called “New Students” or “Upcoming Events” to save all the great content and make it accessible throughout the season.
3. Let Students “Take Over” an Account
This technique can be a clever way to show a more personable aspect of your school. You can invite a student, alumni, or faculty member to “take over” your school’s social media accounts for a day. You can have someone in your admissions department document how you’ve been prepping for the Open House throughout the day. If your school does a shadow day, you can highlight the experiences that prospective families had.
To execute this, you may want to have a student take photos and write captions in advance, and then send them to your team to post so that you remain in control of your feed.
Because of social media’s algorithms, we recommend keeping takeover posts to a once/week event at most to avoid being penalized for posting too often. Additionally, using the “stories” and “highlights” features available on Instagram, you can avoid posting to your main feed altogether.
4. Feature Your Alumni
Almost all millennials (97%) read reviews online before making a purchase, and 89% trust those reviews. Showcasing your alumni can be an emotional draw to get them to attend admissions events — especially when those alumni have noteworthy accomplishments, admirable jobs, or are even famous.
5. Know When to Buy Ads
Strategically purchased ads can boots admissions inquiries significantly. Don’t be afraid to place a few ads on key dates where you know you’ll need support. Finalsite’s Consulting Services team can help you craft some amazing social media ads for your campaign.
Focus on filling your social media calendar with content that inspires your prospective families to attend admissions events. Showcase stories, both literally and figuratively, that help connect emotionally to millennial parents. Having an authentic voice will make users engage with your content even more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Keisha is one of Finalsite's many talented web designers and front-end developers. She currently serves on the board of directors for AIGA, a professional design association. On a personal level, Keisha loves interesting fashion, traveling to new places with great art museums, and killer make-up and nail art.