- General Best Practices
LinkedIn is commonly referred to as the social network for professionals. While the platform is best known for its role in building relationships among colleagues, sharing professional development tips and business updates, and career networking, schools can use include it as part of their overall social media marketing strategy in staying connected with alumni, faculty, parents, and other members of your school community.
Here are a few examples of how you can use LinkedIn as a component of your social media strategy:
- Growing your school’s connections across different groups (alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students)
- Building brand awareness for your school or district for faculty recruitment
- Providing an open forum for discussion and conversation with your school community
- Sharing business-related news about your school or district to enhance your brand
- Posting related jobs and opportunities for your school or district to recruit more qualified faculty and staff
Before we dive in, let’s review some common LinkedIn terms schools should know:
Company Page: This term will reference the page for your school or district, including your information and updates (posts). Here’s what it looks like on LinkedIn with Brentwood School's page:
Company Details: In this area, you can share information about your school or district, including your website, location, year founded, company type (so for schools and districts, this would be a category related to the education industry), and company size (aka the number of employees). Below is what’s noted for Brentwood School:
Mention: Just like Facebook and Twitter, you can “mention” others in your LinkedIn updates.
Connection: When using LinkedIn as a user and not as a business, this is a term that means you and a person are connected to each other.
Groups: These can be public or private, and can be created by an individual or company. It allows users to come together and talk about a specific subject on one page.
Featured Groups: These are groups that can be spotlighted directly on the homepage of your company page.
Influencers: These are the type of users on LinkedIn that mostly related to your industry and provide relevant content your followers may also be interested in.
LinkedIn Today: A common area on the platform for all of your industry news in one place.
General Best Practices for Schools Using LinkedIn
Schools are often overwhelmed by the variety of best practices that stretch across all social networks, so adding yet another to the list sounds intimidating. But, LinkedIn’s value to schools shouldn’t be neglected. If you’re wondering how to start, here are a few ways to jump in:
Encourage Members of Your School Community to Follow Your Page/Join Your Groups
Consider all the different kinds of audiences that fall under your school community — current students, alumni, faculty, administrators, parents, community members, etc. That’s a lot of people that you can potentially reach on LinkedIn! LinkedIn for faculty recruitment, whereas boarding or international school might also seek engagement from millennials, parents, and students entering college. Like with all social media, you’ll want to consider who your real target audience is. For example, a K-8 school may only benefit from using
- Including featured content from your LinkedIn page as a snippet in an email newsletter — but then provide a “read more” button to bring them to full piece of content on your LinkedIn page.
- Incorporating Finalsite Feeds into your website. When incorporating LinkedIn into your Feeds, you can pull in the content from your school’s LinkedIn page (though this feature is not available for content posted in Groups).
- Adding the LinkedIn icon in your email newsletters or your website footer to make it easy to access your LinkedIn page.
- Assigning school ambassadors as owners or managers of your LinkedIn group(s) so they can invite their connections from the Manage group page within the group and post content on your school’s behalf.
Post Content Frequently on Your Page and in Groups
Similarly to Facebook, you should target between two to five posts a week to ensure you’re posting new content for your followers to see. You’ll generally see the highest level of engagement during business hours. The best performance of posts are typically published between 10-11 am — which is different from most other networks, where posting during off hours works in your benefit!
Compared to other social media networks, you’ll want to post more professional content for the specific audiences who will follow your LinkedIn page. Users on LinkedIn tend to be very supportive with what the companies they follow are up to, and ensuring the content makes sense for those specific audiences will help you find successful engagement on those posts.
Types of Content that Earn Engagement
In general, it is important to consider the overall goal of your LinkedIn strategy — as that will drive the content you post. In general, LinkedIn is a professional network, so it is a place to post accomplishments, news, available jobs, etc. Here are a few ideas for your own LinkedIn strategy:
News/Updates Related to Your School or its Curriculum
Nothing says more professional than sharingbusiness-related news and stories. Think of everything that happens in a single school year at your school. Whether it's an upcoming capital campaign, new scholarship opportunity, new program or volunteer work members of your school participated in, this is a great type of content to share on your page and in your groups.
Misericordia University shares recent updates about two key programs on campus, which exemplify the feel-good stories that are worth posting on LinkedIn.
Throughout the school year, members of your school community may be recognized for accomplishments. Take this as an opportunity as well to highlight these kinds of milestones for members of your school community.
St. Mark's School did this earlier this year as two members of their faculty joined the St. Mark's Board of Trustees.
Focus on Alumni Spotlights/Success Stories
One of the most popular kinds of content for this platform focuses on alumni (like where are they now stories). This is your opportunity to spotlight what alumni are up to. Have they been promoted at their job? Have they accomplished somethig out of the ordinary? This not only is a great chance to feature their successes, but also tie it back to your school and where they started.
Just this month, Detroit Country Day School featured two unique success stories about two of their alumni.
There are many ways to keep alumni engaged based on the content you’re posting. For alumni, you can also share information about upcoming alumni events or gatherings, career networking opportunities, the latest developments at your school, etc.
Share Updates from Your School or District Leaders
Part of the appeal of LinkedIn is getting professional updates from thought leaders related to a specific industry, which could be your school or district. Orange Unified School District recently did this for the new school year and shared a post on the welcome message from the district’s superintendent.
Post Connect Around Faculty Recruitment for your School or District
Many users turn to LinkedIn to search for new career opportunities. Schools and districts, too, can use the platform to promote any new jobs within their organization. Clarkston Community Schools recently did this for their newest part-time positions, as well as promoted it through a post and branded graphics right on their page.
Similarly, Carondelet High School recently posted about their new Finance Director position with a direct link to apply from their LinkedIn post.
Use LinkedIn Groups to Share Specific Content with Your Target Audiences
Groups are the best way to organize and share your LinkedIn content with your followers as they allow schools to keep followers interested and helps them stay updated in one place. They can be featured on the main page of your school’s profile to drive traffic, but they’re also searchable across LinkedIn. Your groups can be based on specific audiences, like alumni, students, faculty, parents, etc. You can even make groups based on contacts within certain locations, as Taft School does here.
Consider Group Privacy Settings
Having your groups be private may be best practice if you plan to share sensitive information to those specific groups. However, there will be a “Request to join” button for outside members to join. If you choose to make your group private, we recommend writing a brief summary about the group, and include the types of content and conversations shared, and any requirements for joining. Taft does this well.
Use LinkedIn to Connect with Your Alumni
When an individual creates his or her LinkedIn profile, they have the option to select their education history, which plays a key role in identifying your school’s alumni network on LinkedIn. School professionals who work specifically with alumni or fundraising efforts can use LinkedIn to connect with these individuals, learn more about what they’re up to, and share the latest happenings at the school itself that alumni may be interested in hearing more about.
For example, Zurich International School features their alumni network throughout their LinkedIn page by pulling in the number of individuals who are considered alumni (over 1,000!).
LinkedIn also provides great career insight into their alumni with data breaking down where individuals are located, where they work, and what they do.
Schools should approach LinkedIn with the importance of keeping the connections and conversations alive with members of their school community. By posting updates on your school’s LinkedIn page, being active in your LinkedIn groups, and sharing relevant professional content can help boost your presence on LinkedIn and make it another important leg in your social media strategy.
Finalsite makes it easy to incorporate your social media content from platforms like LinkedIn right on your website using Finalsite Feeds. If you’re interested in learning more strategies or may be looking for some guidance with how to use social media in part of your overall school marketing strategy, our experts can work with you!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Events Marketing Manager, Stephanie is passionate about sharing what's happening at Finalsite with all school professionals. She is a co-producer for the FinalsiteFM podcast network and brings a fresh perspective for marketing with her background in social media, communications, and radio broadcasting. Stephanie enjoys helping schools stay ahead of their marketing goals by tracking new trends and developments.
- Social Media