It’s back to school season, and I can remember my first days of each year clearly — grabbing the latest school supplies that matched my coming-of-age aesthetic, reading assignments that were (let’s be honest) crammed into my last days of summer break, brand-new teachers for each of my classes, the smell of fresh Expo Markers that filled every classroom…
The start of every school year sets a memorable tone on campus. It’s a time when community engagement is at an all-time high, and it’s more important than ever to make the most of it — through social media!
Although it’s usually one of the busiest times of the school year, school communicators can plan to welcome and celebrate their communities and hit the ground running. Let’s review some of the content, posts, and best practices when creating a social media back-to-school campaign.
Back-to-school social media post ideas
Capturing the excitement, welcoming new students, and showcasing all of the “feel-good” moments is what makes a great back-to-school social media strategy. But, how do you do that? Let’s explore how some schools and districts cultivate their community during this time!
Welcome faculty, staff, and new families
In an effort to include new students into their school’s community and celebrate the upcoming new year, Riverside Presbyterian Day School created a branded hashtag (#RamReady) on their Instagram to lead into the back-to-school season. They even sent out branded cards for new families to take photos with — This is an excellent way to make new students feel welcomed while filling your calendar with community-centric content!
And as staff and faculty gear up for the upcoming school year, take the lead from Westminister, who shared a glimpse on their Instagram of how their faculty and staff are gearing up for the first day of school through team-building, course-planning, and professional development!
You don’t always have to come up with something new! Academy of Notre Dame de Namur pulled out a couple of throwback photos in a carousel post from their 2010-2011 school year to spark excitement over their newly renovated campus.
Montclair Kimberly Academy similarly repurposed a throwback video on Facebook of their choir to bring a niche sense of familiarity through the music and laughter that’s normally captured on campus during the back-to-school season.
Post important information
While families want to see exciting content, there’s still a time and place for important announcements as you prepare for a new year. Saddleback Valley Unified School District utilized its Twitter to make announcements for the upcoming school year and remind families about those important tasks that need to be completed before the first day. Twitter is a great newsroom-style outlet for regular communications that you need to get out to your school community.
And if you have anything new being built on campus, take a cue from Pomfret School, which unveiled their new faculty housing for the upcoming school year on Instagram. In the carousel, they give students and faculty alike a look into something new to anticipate when they return to school.
You can also use your social media channels as outlets for important information on your website. The Basilcia School of Saint Mary utilized its LinkedIn bio on Instagram to remind students to register for fall sports.
Involve your students
Don’t forget what the back-to-school season is all about — your students! Baylor School took to Instagram to ask their community, “What is something you are or were most excited about when school started every year?” to capture the engagement and excitement of their primary demographic: the student body.
You can also hype up your fall athletics teams! This is an easy way to drum up excitement for the school year with one of the most important experiences that involve your student population. Hotchkiss School posted a Reel to their school’s Instagram page, and it garnered almost 400 likes from that post alone!
Start a countdown
As the first day approaches, build the excitement with a countdown! Rossman School utilized Finalsite Feeds to pull their latest Instagram posts directly onto their school website’s homepage so their latest content will reach even more audiences, especially those who are on your site accessing your back-to-school resources.
Preparing your back-to-school social media campaign
With some creative ideas to fuel your inspiration, the back-to-school season is a great time to hit pause and evaluate a social strategy before the academic year gets into full swing. That includes important tasks like
- Auditing your current social media presence
- Preparing your back-to-school content
- Applying the latest best practices
Auditing your current social media presence
If you’re looking to improve your strategy for the new year, the best way to understand how your current platforms are contributing to your marketing efforts is through a social media audit. Make sure your presence is up to today’s standards by creating a spreadsheet and begin asking yourself these questions:
How many accounts do you have?
The first thing to research is if there are any school accounts that exist that you weren’t aware of. Perform a quick search on Google of your school name alongside any common social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn). Reach out to any accounts that aren’t affiliated with your school through your marketing and communications team. You can request to have the account deleted or dissociated from your school, and ensure that your branding is in the right place.
Is your branding consistent?
Consistent branding and imagery provide a level of professionalism and familiarity that families can easily recognize and trust. It’s essential to evaluate each one of your school’s profiles to make sure they’re coherent with your current brand style guidelines.
Take a look at Choate Rosemary Hall! With consistent branding, they’ve showcased their school logo in each profile image and included high-quality images that represented their campus and community.
What are your KPIs?
Once you’ve taken inventory of the external aspects of your social media accounts, take some time to benchmark your KPIs (key performance indicators) to note your top-performing content, your channel’s performance, and its audience behavior. On each social media platform, you can use the built-in analytics tools to measure your accounts’ metrics, like their reach, engagement rate, website traffic, watch-time, etc.
Keeping your data-backed goals and KPIs in mind, think about ways to improve your presence during the back-to-school season. You can focus on the higher-performing platforms, add a new platform to your strategy, or produce the content types that are working best during the duration of the school year.
Preparing your back-to-school content
You have some examples for inspiration, and you’ve audited and updated your content strategy— now you’re ready to create your content calendar the for back-to-school season and beyond. Even if it’s just a rough outline, this will save you time and energy moving forward.
Get organized with these quick tips:
- Gather a list of national and international holidays for the year: World Photography Day, International Bacon Day, National Pi Day — you name it! This simple task can cover a lot of great content for your calendar, and may only take 30 minutes of your time. This provides set days to always fall back on and engage with your community.
- Set staple “days’ to follow throughout each week: Setting easy-to-remember days like, “Motivation Mondays, Trivia Tuesdays, Where Are We Wednesdays, Throwback Thursdays, and Feature Fridays can easily fill in your calendars when it feels like there’s nothing to share.
- Establish your posting strategy: Depending on your team’s KPIs, figure out what your school’s posting cadence is supposed to look like. However, it can vary across platforms. For example, you could post once a day on Facebook and Instagram, three times a day on Twitter, and twice a week on LinkedIn. Since every school has its own goals, it’s not going to be a “one-size-fits-all” approach, so play around with it!
If you’re feeling stuck, be sure to download our printable Social Media Calendar for daily post ideas, and grab our Social Media Guide for step-by-step instructions for being an all-star on every channel!
Applying the latest best practices
Don’t let the new school year start without a refresh! You can always read up on the latest best practices, and apply them accordingly. Start with a couple of universal truths to grab inspiration from:
- Tailor your content for each platform: Try to steer clear of regurgitating the same content on all platforms. Instead, match the tone of each channel by tweaking your images and captions.
- There is always something to share: When in doubt, go with nostalgia! (Everyone loves a good throwback post.)
- Video is always a good idea to fall back on: With the higher precedence it holds in most feeds, they’re more likely to perform better with social media algorithms than static images and text.
- Show transparency and cultivate a sense of community: While it’s easy to get caught up in your school’s vanity metrics, it’s essential to always question, encourage and monitor reviews, and respond to comments — good and bad.
Alongside your website and email communications, your social media presence carries equal weight when it comes to setting the tone for a new school year. Even though it’s the busiest time of year for schools and districts alike, as a school communicator, you can consolidate your efforts by creating a social media plan that showcases the life of your school’s community in a compelling way!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
In her position as Content Marketing Specialist, Lanitta assists with demand generation efforts across all social media channels, email, and website communications. With almost 5 years of experience in content creation, digital marketing, and social media management, Lanitta enjoys working with clients to create, produce, and strategize. She holds and maintains a number of certifications from Google, Hubspot, and SEMRush.