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4 Independent Schools That Are Totally Killing it on Social Media
Mia Major

Prepare to be inspired. These four independent schools are so good at being engaging on social media that they make it look easy (well, in reality, it kind of is easy).

Westtown School Social

Here are the five main qualities that make these four (very different) accounts so great:

1. They are visual: Each of these accounts is packed with videos and photos, making them visually engaging — and more likely to be picked up by Facebook and Twitter's photo-and-video-favoring algorithms.

2. They have personality: Social media is, of course, a great place to share your accomplishments and news, but it is more of a place to start a conversation and remain a part of it. Each of these accounts have a clear voice — whether it be light hearted or more serious.

3. They have campaigns: These schools don't just tweet or post for the fun of it. There is a strategy that goes into the timing and the content. This also allows them to see what's working, and what does not, and shift their strategy.

4. They are active: No tumbleweeds here. These schools know how important it is to keep social pages up-to-the minute with athletic scores, announcements, and the random make-you-laugh random post.

5. They have a pretty big, engaged following: Some of these schools' posts get 200+ likes, which is incredibly impressive. It's one thing to have a bunch of followers and fans, it's another thing to have them like, love, and retweet your content. So these schools are all doing something right.

Avon Old Farms School | Avon, CT

Sure, you might think it's easy to totally rock social media when you're one of the top all-boys boarding schools in the country with a reputation for dominating sports.

But their social media goes beyond that — and that's what makes it oh-so-great. Kristen Kerwin, who manages their social media (among a list of other things), always makes me laugh. She has provided AOF with a distinct voice and personality that transcends all their accounts.

Like this post on their Instagram account:

AOF Instagram Post

And this tweet (I really hope her dad kept up his end of the bargain):

AOF Tweet

AOF's accounts are fun, informative, and visual. Most importantly, their posts are engaging — and they have the numbers to prove it.

This video, posted only last Thursday, has been seen (at this point) by more than 200,000 people. It wasn't boosted. It wasn't promoted. It was just liked, loved, wowed, watched, and shared.

AOF Video Stats

And this photo got 135 likes and loves:

AOF Facebook

Want more inspiration from AOF? Take a look at all they're doing on social media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/avonoldfarms

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AvonOldFarms/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/avon.old.farms/


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St. Anne's-Belfield School | Charlottesville, VA

St. Anne's-Belfield School's social media caught my eye when they had a photo for almost every tweet on their feed. Impressed, I reached out to learn a little more about their strategy — which they shared in this blog post.

What is most notable about this school's social media, is their campaigns.

They put in an effort to make social media graphics for important events like this one:

STAB Tweet

They have one for foreign languages, one for sports, one for faculty — and they include just about everyone. Plus, they track every last metric to find out which posts followers like, and those they don't, to ensure future posts rack up more engagement.

For example, their Faculty Friday posts are always a hit:

STAB Faculty Friday

Check out their accounts for more ideas and inspiration:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/StAnnesBelfield

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/St.AnnesBelfieldSchool/

The Loomis Chaffee School | Windsor, CT

Aside from constantly running different social media campaigns that support their athletics and annual fund, Loomis Chaffee gets pretty engaged with their community — which is what makes their accounts so successful.

I love when I see schools engage with their students. While many avoid it — for a list of reasons too long for this blog post — I'm a fan of it, and your followers are, too. They want to feel like you care; it shows a form of connectedness; and it boosts the user's experience with your brand by up to 50%.

Loomis Chaffee knows the importance of this, and constantly engages with students and alumni on their twitter.

Here's a great example of one of their retweets:

Loomis RT

And whoever captured this great Snapchat video (yes, they also have Snapchat) and shared it on Instagram knows exactly how to give their spring breakers a good laugh.

Loomis Snapchat

Check out their accounts for some more inspiration and ideas:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/loomischaffee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loomischaffee/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loomischaffee/

Westtown School | Westtown, PA

Westtown School strategically manages more than a dozen social media accounts. The school has one official Instagram account, one primary Twitter accounts for the school, an athletics Twitter, and then each varsity team has a Twitter account.

On Facebook, the school has a main Westtown page, as well as pages for athletics, performing arts, studio arts, college counseling and alumni pages. They also have a student-run Facebook called "Westtown Green Coalition," since their students are passionate about sustainability.

All of these "sub" pages and accounts are managed by the experts in the field — for example, the performing arts chair runs that page, the school's interns manage athletics, and the coaches tweet for their teams.

Westtown Golf

Lynette Assarsson, Associate Director of Communication at Westtown School, manages all the main accounts.

"We love social media and use it a lot, as you can see, to communicate with various groups," she said. "We have success because I've encouraged faculty and students to send me photos of happenings around campus. It's impossible to be all those places at once."

So you can imagine, with different twitter accounts for sports teams like basketball and softball, and other accounts for clubs like robotics in addition to their main Westtown School account, the amount of activity and engagement on their primary @WesttownSchool handle is remarkable.

What is most incredible is how the overall voice of Westtown School stays prominent, while interjecting these additional voices to share their story.

Wtown Softball

And, they're not afraid to retweet alumni, students, parents, teachers or followers, either.

Westtown Alumni Tweet

Westtown also pulls all of their social media accounts into a social media mashup on their homepage called "Our 'Town," which features a compilation of the most recent posts on their different accounts.

Check out their accounts in full:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WesttownSchool

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/westtownschool/?fref=ts

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/westtownschool/


Social Media Audit for Schools
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mia Major

As Finalsite's Content Marketing Manager, Mia plans and executes a variety of inbound marketing and digital content strategies. As a former TV 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, and Finalsite's popular eBook, The Website Redesign Playbook.

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