- General Best Practices
Industry-wide data shows that millennials consume more videos than any other generation. Despite this fact, most schools have yet to adapt to their desire to consume. In a survey of more than 100 school professionals that we conducted during our “Writing Content for Compelling Short Attention Spans” webinar, less than one-percent said that video was their primary form of marketing. In that same survey, forty-percent responded that video is their biggest marketing pain point. Talk about a disconnect!
What makes video marketing so difficult for school professionals? In a second survey during our “Marketing to Millennial Parents with Video” webinar, nearly forty-percent say time, twenty-percent say skill, ten-percent say budget, and thirty-percent say everything.
Although video marketing is a notable pain point of small-staffed and small-budgeted school marketing offices, it is absolutely essential for engaging and informing the millennial parent community.
How does video marketing help schools reach millennial parents?
As a school, video marketing targets parents and students better than any other media, and the stats prove it:
- Having a video on your website (or landing page) can increase visitor conversions (form submissions) by eighty-percent. So, if you’re struggling to get inquiries, applicants, or open house registrants, a video can help inform and engage website visitors who are on the fence about filling out a form.
- Ninety-percent of people say that video is helpful in the decision-making process. Consider how a video could be helpful for parents making enrollment decisions for their young children. Because video is so important to this demographic, it’s becoming more of a priority to them in their search process for all major purchases and investments.
- Using video can boost your search performance, sometimes upwards of fifty-percent due to Google’s ownership of YouTube. Like Google, YouTube is a search engine — meaning if you treat your videos like a website page, complete with an SEO-friendly title and two to three paragraphs of optimized text, a video could rank in Google.
What Do Millennials Look for in Video Content?
We already know that millennials have short attention spans, are judgemental, digital natives, and likely can’t afford private school tuition. With a basic understanding of millennials, it is easy to say that short, authentic videos that can be enjoyed on a mobile device are likely a home-run.
Here are tips for maximize on these facts:
Short and Engaging: A simple Google search will yield dozens of research and surveys that provide inconclusive data on that “ideal length” for an engaging video. What we do know, however, is that if you don’t catch their attention in the first 6-10 seconds, they likely won’t watch the entire video.
Authentic: The video content that you produce needs to be believable. Millennials, more than any other generation, can see through ads and a “hard sell.” Don’t script your testimonials.
Mobile-Friendly: Because millennials frequently access content on their mobile device, ensuring your videos are embedded on a responsive website is essential for ensuring they get watched.
Strategies for Video Distribution
Understanding where and how millennials engage with your video content is just as important as the video content itself.
Millennial parents will engage with your school’s video marketing content (or, lack thereof) on your website, major social media platforms, YouTube, and Vimeo. Each of these offers a specific purpose, set of best practices, and use cases.
Millennials will, by nature, seek video content to replace text content. While a lack of videos doesn’t hurt your brand presence, it may negatively impact your ability to communicate key messages with this video-obsessed audience. For example, many Finalsite clients understand the importance of video, and choose to have it incorporated into their design — such as Westminster School and Tulsa Public Schools.
Social Media Platforms
Millennials expect to engage with video content on Facebook, Instagram, and even Twitter. Producing video content in all forms — including live video, ephemeral content, and even uploaded high-quality video in its native format, will help meet the expectations of millennial audiences.
YouTube is Google’s second search engine, and a millennial favorite. With 86% of millennial dads turning to the video search giant for parenting topics, and another 72% of millennial dads use YouTube to stay in-the-know for what’s going on with their child. That being said, YouTube offers your school the opportunity to connect with millennial parents (especially the dads!) at all stages of the admissions funnel, and once they enroll. If you use Finalsite Composer, YouTube videos can easily be added using the “YouTube” drag-and-drop element.
While millennials are searching for content in YouTube, they enjoy engaging with the high-quality, ad-free content that Vimeo offers, especially when using your website. It is a good idea to have a Vimeo account in addition to your YouTube account for embedding videos on your site. We don't recommend embedding YouTube videos on your website, simply due to ads and the lack of control. As with YouTube, if you use Composer, you can easily add any Vimeo video to any page on your site using the “Vimeo” drag-and-drop element.
Finalsite’s Resource’s Module
If you use Finalsite, you will be able to share videos using Finalsite’s Resources Module on any page of your website. The Resources Module is free of charge if you use Finalsite, and offers the same promise of privacy and security as all Finalsite modules. This video hosting platform, in particular, helps to improve site speed by automatically optimizing content based on different devices. Additionally, you can upload captions to ensure videos are accessible, have them seamlessly integrated into your design, display slideshows, and more.
Engaging Millennial Parents with Video on Your Website
As with all content, it is essential how and where it fits into the funnel. Ask yourself the oh-so-important question of: what is the ultimate goal? Who are we trying to reach? A parent of an enrolled student looks for different video content than a parent looking to enroll their child in an independent school for the first time.
In general, there are three main types of video content that can be used during the admissions process:
1. Brand Video: Likely the most helpful (and popular) video to engage millennials during the admissions process is the brand video. These two-to-five-minute videos showcases what makes your school unique by combining voiceover narration, testimonials, and clips of your community and campus. These videos should be used on your school’s homepage, as well as key admissions landing pages, such as “inquire” or “apply," or you "why" page.
The Bear Creek School does an excellent job integrating video into their admissions process, including their "Why Bear Creek" video.
2. Explainer Video: Your brand video won’t have the opportunity to touch on every single aspect of your school, and this is where explainer videos become essential. Explainer videos are shorter, one-to-two-minute videos that explain a particular program at your school that is special or unique. These videos should be used throughout your website on relevant pages to explain particular programs. For example, Charlotte Country Day has created a different video for each of the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools.
3. Testimonial Video: Testimonial videos are key in helping parents make decisions about where to send their child, as it is important for them to hear from other parents, faculty, and students to help them confirm that they’re making the right choice. This “social proof” is validating, reassuring, and builds credibility and trust. These videos should be no longer than 60-seconds each. Like explainer videos, testimonial videos should be used throughout your website. Testimonial videos can include one testimonial, or multiple — like in this example from Hawaii Preparatory Academy:
Below is an infographic that shares how these videos map to the admissions funnel.
As you can see in the above graphic, video content moves from general topics like “why should my child attend a private school,” to “why should my child attend your school,” to “what makes your school special?”
After a parent enrolls their child, social video takes priority.
Engaging Millennial Parents with Video on Social Media
Social video engages parents where they already spend their time. If you fall into twenty-percent of school professionals who say they lack the skill to produce videos for marketing, social media is the platform for you!
Social media provides your schools with a video marketing platform, where you don’t have to be a skilled expert. Unlike your website, where they expect video content to be professional, on social media, millennials are more forgiving of audio and video quality because they expect it to be authentic and real, not staged.
Because millennials are most active on Facebook and Instagram (in addition to YouTube), your strategies won’t have to vary too much.
Tips for Engaging Millennials with Video Content on Social Media:
Repurpose videos you already have: Social media doesn’t always have to have new content. You can splice longer-form video content and upload it natively to each platform, and then link back to your site to drive traffic.
Use captions: Not only are captions important for web accessibility, but they also improve video engagement, as the bulk of social video is watched without sound.
Go Live: Across both Facebook and Instagram, live video is favored by algorithms and on average, receives higher engagement than non-live video.
Use Highlights and Stories: Both Instagram and Facebook offer the “stories” feature to share video content. These tools allow you to share quick, 15-second videos, add stickers, ask questions, and create an interactive video experience your millennials will find engaging. If you’re not sure how to incorporate video, these are typically a good place to start because they are simple, but get lots of engagement.
Plan Ahead: The best video content is a mix of planned and candid moments. Making a list of big events that happen throughout the year, then note which ones you want to make videos for, how you're going to make videos for them, and what social platforms you're going to use.
Bring it Back into Your Website: If you’re using video frequently on social media, using a social media integration tool like Finalsite Feeds ensures all that amazing video gets from social media back to your website.
Millennial parents crave and engage with video, more than any other form of content — and your school needs to make the time and financial investment in order to meet their demands.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia shares innovative and helpful content that helps schools and districts create captivating online experiences that increase brand awareness, student and faculty retention, and school-to-home communications. With more than five years experience in the industry, Mia has written more than 200 articles, eBooks, and reports about best practices for schools on a variety of topics from social media to web design. As a former TV and news reporter, and wedding photographer, Mia specializes in sharing how to use storytelling to power your school's admissions funnel. When she isn't busy creating content or hosting her #LIKEABOSS Podcast for FinalsiteFM, you can find her hiking with her Boston terrier, running an army wives meeting at Fort Campbell, or enjoying a well-deserved savasana on her yoga mat.