SCHOOL MARKETING DAY | THURSDAY 29 OCTOBER

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  • General Best Practices
100+ Summer Social Media Ideas and Best Practices [Plus The Complete Social Media Calendar for Summer 2020]
Mia Major

With summer just around the corner and alternative graduation plans in place, many school and district communicators are looking at what’s next — and that means summer communications. Communicating during uncertain times can be difficult — but social media can help ease those tensions.

Social media provides school and district communicators an opportunity to create a sense of certainty, familiarity and community with families by sharing personal, candid, uplifting, and inspirational content — all while allowing human connections to take place.

You don't have to be on a brick and mortar campus for your prospective and current families to experience what makes your school special. You can use your digital campus — and that includes social media — to keep families engaged with your school, faculty, and one another.

Download the complete summer social media calendar for Schools and Districts

Best Practices for Summer Social Media Content

While we’ve curated a full social media calendar to fuel your content strategy for June through August, we wanted to share some key best practices to keep in mind as you build a calendar and strategy tailored for your school or district.

1. Come up with a branded hashtag — and encourage your community to use it!

Schools and districts have been very creative with branded hashtags for distance learning, and with summer approaching, it’s important to keep the momentum going. Come up with a new branded hashtag for summer (or use your standard branded hashtag you use all year long).

For example, Clarkston Community Schools in Michigan uses the #WeAreClarkston hashtag during the school year, but during the summer months, they encourage their  community to use #WolvesCMe to share their summer experiences (while donning Clarkston swag). This hashtag also works for any time students aren’t on campus, for example, while students are distance learning.

screenshots of clarkston community school district's social media posts using a branded hashtag

2. Integrate social media into your website.

If you want to increase the chance of your content being seen by your prospective and current families — add it to your website! Adding a social media feed to your homepage is a great way to share content with your community — as Choate Rosemary Hall in CT does. 

It’s also a great way and is also a great way to showcase what’s happening in your community with new families, and to garner engagement and support from alumni and donors.

Use a social media integration tool like Finalsite Feeds to aggregate content from all your social media accounts and/or hashtags into a centralized location.

social media integration example from Jakarta Intercultural School's website

3. Make it easy for families to submit photos.

While you may be concerned about families “checking out” during the summer, you will still have a portion of your community that is actively sharing content. This presents a great opportunity to crowdsource content, but it’s important to make it easy to do so. 

If you haven’t done so already, set up a distribution list — such as photos@yourschool.org — for parents to easily submit photos. Branded hashtags also make it easy for families to share their content, but keep in mind that if their profiles are private, you won’t be able to see it, and their sharing permissions need to be set accordingly in order for you to share content

4. Follow social media posting best practices.

Did you know that you only need to post once per day on Facebook and Instagram to achieve maximum engagement?

During the coronavirus outbreak, many schools and districts ditched the best practices and posted upwards of 5-6 times per day on each platform. You do not need to keep up this frequency, and as a matter of fact, it isn’t recommended.

The recommended maximum posting for each social media channel is as follows:

  • 1-2 times per day on Facebook and LinkedIn
  • 1 time per day on Instagram, and up to 10 Stories per day
  • 5+ times per day on Twitter (think of this platform as your school district's newsroom

So, if you were concerned about “not having enough content,” rest assured that you don’t need a lot to stay active and to adhere to platform best practices! 

5. Create a social media calendar.

You likely have regular events and campaigns you promote in the summer, so create a social media calendar that takes those key dates into consideration. Get input from other teams — such as athletics, development and academics — about content they may want to share as well.

Further reading: 

Download the complete summer social media calendar for Schools and Districts

Summer Social Media Content Ideas for Schools and Districts

While we’ve created an entire week-by-week calendar of social media content ideas, there are some ideas that can help improve your overall social media presence as we look beyond the summer months.

1. Optimize one channel per week

Is your school or district taking advantage of every feature available on each social media platform? Dedicate thirty minutes each week to optimizing your profile. Here are tips for optimizing your profiles:

Facebook

  • Update cover photo to represent summer and include your summer hashtag
  • Be sure the button under the hero image links to your website
  • Make sure the “Our Story” section reflects your value proposition and efforts made for distance learning

Instagram

  • Make sure your profile picture is your school/district logo
  • Create Story highlights
  • Add your branded hashtags to your bio
  • Sign up for a “link in bio” service like Later.com

Twitter

  • Make sure your profile picture is your school/district logo
  • Add a link to your website
  • Add branded hashtags to your bio
  • Refresh the About section

LinkedIn

  • Connect with all faculty members
  • Make sure your profile picture is your school/district logo
  • Be sure you link to your website

Looking for more tips on optimizing your social media channels? Grab a free copy of our ultimate social media marketing guide.

2. Re-share content from other sources

When you’re running out of steam, there’s no need to create something new. Some social media experts suggest that as much as one-third of social media content should be shared from other sources

Instead of feeling the pressure to come up with new content, you can share content from:

  • Other local businesses that may be offering tips and virtual experiences for families during the summer
  • Local newspapers
  • Associations — such as NAIS, TABS, ISACS, NSPRA, TSPRA, etc.
  • Magazines and national newspapers
  • Other websites with helpful content for parents and students, such as Autism Speaks, American Montessori Society, Parenting.Com, and more.

3. Celebrate National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and everything in between 

It seems like there is a holiday for just about everything nowadays — and you can scope out a full list of those national holidays here. This is a great way to get your community involved, grab some photos from the archives, create a fun video to share, or even host a virtual get-together.

4. Do a back-to-school countdown

Every school and district across the globe may have a completely different “returning to school” scenario, and you can use social media to educate your community on what that might look like and provide tips and best practices for making the most of it through a back-to-school summer countdown.

5. Create a Facebook Group

If you haven't already, create a Facebook Group, moderated by a few faculty members, to give your community a place to come together and share ideas, pictures, videos and experiences while they’re apart. Facebook Groups are proven to have more engagement than pages, so it’s a great place to share important information you need your community to see, without bogging down your public-facing pages.

6. Share news and blog content regularly

If you already have a blog, post a relevant blog once a week (even if you’ve shared it before). Keeping your community engaged through evergreen content — such as tips for learning from home, managing stress in students, and planning for back to school — builds trust and thought leadership.

In addition to blogs, as you create news content, share that on social media as well.

7. Don’t be afraid to re-use old content

Proms, graduations, spring events, performances, summer camps, and sporting events were previously the fuel that kept the content on school and district social media accounts feeling fresh and new. With no content from those lively in-person events, you might feel a bit uninspired.

But you don’t actually need new content to build an engaging social media presence. Repurposing content can lead to a 62 percent increase in engagement — meaning content you’ve already created and shared on social media (or on other channels) can actually help increase engagement. 

Consider how you can repurpose:

  • User-generated content from distance learning
  • Faculty and student pictures and profiles
  • Throwbacks “from the archives”
  • Blog content from your school or district’s blog
  • News articles from your school or district’s news archive
  • Photos from previous photoshoots
  • Additional crowdsourced content from your community

Key Takeaway

This summer is going to be different, which means your social media strategy will be too. Don’t let your concerns hold you back — use this time to create a compelling social media presence that focuses on content, storytelling, and connections. I’ll leave you with a quote — one that feels all-too relevant now:

“I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” - Jimmy Dean

Let’s adjust our sails, school marketers!


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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Mia Major

As Finalsite's director of demand generation, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV and news reporter, freelance cinematographer and certified inbound marketer, Mia specializes in helping schools find new ways to share their stories online through web design, social media, copywriting, photography and videography. She is the author of numerous blogs, eBooks, and reports, including Finalsite's Inbound Marketing Benchmark Report.

  • Admissions
  • Digital Campus
  • Marketing/Communications
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