There are few things as frustrating as posting AMAZING social media content, only to have it reach absolutely no one.
Bursting out of your own bubble can be exhausting, and despite your school’s social media efforts across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even TikTok, problems like low reach and low engagement can leave even the most professional creators demoralized.
We’re all aware of the cut-throat, pay-to-play world of social media, but if it feels like your aunt is the only one liking your school's posts — you might not be wrong…
One report found organic reach across social media is highly overestimated — a brand Facebook post, on average, reaches about 2.2 percent of its page followers. LinkedIn posts don’t perform much better reaching only 5.3 percent of followers, and although higher, Instagram posts have been found to reach only 9.4 percent of your audience.
Social media algorithms show posts in a user’s feed based on their relevancy to that user, but nailing the latest algorithm strategy can feel like a moving target.
However, there are some best practices for some of the biggest social media platforms that can help your content reach a wider audience and improve engagement. (Your aunt will even like them, too!)
Problem #1: Low reach
For an account on Instagram, let’s say with 1,000 followers, your posts could only be reaching less than a hundred people based on the report mentioned earlier — and that doesn’t even guarantee any likes or shares. If your posts aren’t reaching as many accounts as you’d like, consider this:
- Post content more frequently. Relatable memes, breaking news, or trends are great ways to supplement your content. Posting schedules and quantities can vary by channel but try posting more often to break through to new audiences.
- Experiment with Reels. Instagram Reels are essential because they can be shared in the “Explore” feed, which makes it easier for people to discover your content. If you haven’t dabbled in Reels yet, it might be a good time to start — there has been some evidence that Reels boost your overall Instagram engagement.
- Repost content that’s worked well in the past. Don’t shy away from the content you know worked well, like favorite memories and Throwback Thursdays.
This one single Instagram Reel from St. Anne’s Belfield school has gathered over seven thousand plays! A little dance number with the mascot to the tune of Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September” is a great example of content that takes advantage of a particular trend on social media. It's visual, the song rocks, and the school’s mascot adds a nice touch with the school’s branding.
Keep Reading: Instagram Reel Ideas for Schools Who HATE to be on Camera
Problem #2: Low engagement
Social algorithms aren't just factoring in how you interact with content; they’re also considering how you interact with other accounts.
If you're hoping to boost engagement, try to reverse-engineer your strategy: determine the post's purpose, then create the types of content that will encourage that desired action. While it’s certainly possible to see some sky-high engagement over Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, some signs point to TikTok as having a higher organic engagement rate, somewhere in the range of 4-18 percent.
- Engage with other accounts. Ask users questions, share user-generated content, or feature a student or faculty member. Post a “fill in the blank,” like “The best part of spring on campus is ___”. Host a “this or that,” tell a story, and don't forget to reply to other posts.
- Use high-quality images. Stunning photography and videography catch our eyes and pull us in. Stop people mid-scroll and draw their attention to your content.
- Build a stronger school community. It’s important to consider the people behind the accounts. Think of accounts as individuals, so reciprocate engagement and engage to connect, as opposed to just racking up likes and shares.
Jackson County Schools in North Carolina recognized the hard work of its custodial staff on Custodian Appreciation Day, and its Twitter followers jumped at the opportunity to give their appreciation, too.
Problem #3: Low conversion
If your posts are geared toward getting people to take action and convert, like boosting attendance at sporting events, downloading a content offer, or promoting your school district’s big spring musical — but no one seems to be budging — here are some tips to get people moving.
- Use clear calls to action. Don’t mince words in your captions or content — your CTAs should tell users exactly what you want, so be direct and use language like “Schedule a tour today” or “Get your ticket now.”
- Focus your bio on who you help and how. If folks aren’t familiar with your school yet, write your bio from the point of view of how you’re helping students and the community grow.
- Post motivational content or testimonials that give the “feels.” When we’re inspired and feeling emotional, we’re more likely to take action and join the fun!
McCallie School’s “Hype Video” certainly stirred up some excitement before their football season kicked off, gaining more than four hundred likes and dozens of comments.
What’s noteworthy is the 230+ shares it’s received — with so many shares, that content is going to be seen in more and more feeds, and only pick up more views and get more people supporting its athletics.
Problem #4: Low traffic
Actually getting traffic to your school’s website through social media engagement can be difficult, but it’s a critical part of your larger inbound marketing strategy. After all, you want prospective parents and employees, supporters, and your external community to be following your social accounts and eventually visiting your site to learn more, inquire, apply, or donate.
- Make a guest post. Collaborate with other people and accounts to share the traffic. Don’t forget to tag and repost.
- Post “saveable” content. Lists, checklists, or guides like back-to-school checklists, favorite reading lists, top-ten favorite things about your district — screenshot-worthy content or anything saveable is a great way to show the value your school can offer. Then, link back to your school website for more supporting resources.
- Pique users' interest and use short, feed-friendly links. Find a way to capture users’ attention and encourage them to follow links to your site. Using a .bitly or TinyURL can help shorten character counts and keep posts succinct.
Why is the new principal “afraid”? Scroll through Beaverton School’s Twitter feed and you’ll see how great they are at enticing users to click through and keep reading. They’re asking questions, sharing information with families, and stirring up just enough interest to get you to click through to its site, YouTube channel, or resources to learn more.
If you’re trying the same old social media strategy and expecting different results, you’re probably in for some disappointment. No matter your goal, whether that's a bigger reach, more engagements, or driving conversions, think of applying new tactics to your school’s social content and with a little luck, your posting problems will be a thing of the past.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.