- General Best Practices
Did you submit a question during Monday's webinar, Social Media Strategies for Schools with St. Anne's-Belfield School?
There were dozens of awesome questions about social media strategies, management and trends. So, Beth and I took the time to answer every single question in a three part series:
Part 3: Content Management, Online Ads, and General Questions
Today, we answered all your general questions about social media, content management, and how you can manage it all.
General Social Media and Content Management
Is it possible to have too many hashtags — either in a single post or as a "library" to pull from?
Too many hashtags can most certainly be a thing — especially on Facebook.
For Twitter 2 hashtags seem to generate the most engagement, while adding hashtags on Facebook may actually decrease engagement. However, for Instagram let the hashtags roll! It is recommended 11 or more hashtags per post for optimal engagement.
Is it fairly typical to have two sets of social media accounts — one set for the school/enrollment and one set for alumni?
Great question! From conversations with our schools, it appears that the majority of independent schools have separate pages for their school and alumni. Sometimes, they even have another entire page for athletics.
The amount of social media accounts per school would depend on your dedication to each account.
Letting tumbleweeds accumulate on your social media accounts can do more harm than good, so if managing multiple pages isn't something your marketing or admissions team can handle — but something that you want — reach out to other departments.
For example, your advancement team can handle the alumni pages; while coaches or an athletic director can handle athletic team pages. Most commonly, parents enjoy to communicate via a private group, which requires little to no management from your school.
Separate accounts may make it easier to promote events and tailor content to specific audiences needs and interests, so in terms of social media best practices, this is most certainly a "do."
Westtown School in Pennsylvania manages more than a dozen accounts. You can read how they are able to do so in this blog post.
Free Report: The State of Social Media Marketing Among Schools
How important is posting something in a timely manner?
I see social media management as a 24-7 job. I reply to tweets while running on the treadmill at the gym, sharing Facebook posts from my couch, and perusing LinkedIn over breakfast.
Having information that is current and timely on social media gives your school account more creditability, and will likely cause your followers to return to your page.
To save yourself time, use a social media management site. This will allow you to schedule posts ahead of time to make sure posts are current. For content that may be unscheduled or unexpected, do your best to post as soon as you can!
With so many social media outlets (i.e. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) how do you differentiate what kind of content goes where?
It is important that you tailor your content to specific social media platforms and avoid cross-posting. Be aware of why users go to each platform.
Twitter has become a source for information for it's users, while Instagram users visit for more entertainment, and Facebook contains mixture of both.
Think of it this way:
- Can I say what I want in less than 140 characters? If yes, then post on Twitter.
- Is this a longer, visually engaging post? If yes, then post on Facebook.
- Is this a great image or video that doesn't require a long description? Post it to Instagram!
- Are you hiring? Get those available jobs up on LinkedIn.
Once you begin to create a voice for your school on each platform, tailoring content will become much easier.
Recommendations for social media management tools?
There are many free social media posting management tools available for schools. Here are a few that I would recommend:
- Hootsuite: Manages social media accounts and allows you to connect with more than 35 popular social media apps. Buffer, Post Planner, and SproutSocial are similar platforms that I would look into as well.
- TweetDeck: Great for all Twitter-savvy schools. The platform allows you to customize your school's accounts.
- SocialOomph: Organize and analyze your Twitter accounts in one easy place. It allows you to track your keywords, mentions, and retweets across multiple accounts and schedule tweet drafts.
I also put together this blog post that mentions some of my favorite less-known social media management and automation tools.
How do you keep yourself organized so that you can reuse content? Online files by event or date?
Content calendars are key to staying organized. This will allow you to spread important news and events for your school across the month/year, giving you the ability to refer back to the calendar for reoccurring events during your school year.
Having a content calendar also makes it easy to stick to deadlines. Try color-coordinating your type of content for a visually appealing and easy-to-interpret calendar.
I recently wrote this blog post on content mapping (which comes with a free toolkit) that describes the best way to organize your posts to appeal to your target audiences.
What do you mean by "evergreen"?
Evergreen content is content that isn't timely and can be shared whenever — such as a student testimonial, alumni spotlight, video about a signature program, etc.
What was the link for the inbound marketing toolkit?
For security reasons, why would you live broadcast something happening at your school?
Many schools are already using apps like Periscope and Meerkat to livestream events that have already been highly publicized — like a hockey tournament.
Facebook's new Live Broadcast feature — which is being favored by their algorithms right now — allows you to share those same videos instantly with Facebook fans. The video is even sent as a notification, so it is more likely to be seen than a typical live stream.
Online Ads and Social Media Traffic
Any thoughts on social media advertising vs. google AdWords?
The answer to this question requires a blog post of its own! My quick answer: do some testing in both areas and determine which works the best for your school's audiences. This article gives a great summary of pros, cons, and case studies.
How do you get people to your Facebook, Twitter, blog etc. in the first place?
Promote, promote, promote. No one is going to know you're on social media unless you talk about it. Social Media Mash-Up Pages (described in this blog post) are a great way to share what's happening on social media in a visually compelling way to gain followers.
- Social Media