We always encourage our schools to become more active on social media because it's where many of their target families, students, and communities spend most of their time. This infographic breaks down just how influential social media can be on these audiences when it comes to engaging with them. For instance:
- Post engagement rate on Facebook is 75% in the first 5 hours you post content
- Engagement rates tend to be higher on Thursdays and Friday by 18%
- 87% of a Facebook Page's engagement happens on photo posts
- User interactions with brand posts on Instagram see 4.21% engagement
So what does this mean for schools? Well, it's no surprise that having a good social media strategy means more than just posting content wherever and whenever. It is also an opportunity to have a conversation with your followers, engage with them, and really get to know your audience on a personal level to help you improve your strategy overtime.
This is something Lawrence School in Broadview Heights, OH does particularly well. The school has an impressive social presence, bringing its mission to life on its website and through social media with a solid marketing initiatives, Finalsite Feeds and more.
Their Finalsite Feed encourages their followers to be part of the conversation on social and on their website.
Engaging with followers is something that most schools are afraid to do, as it toes the line of what is appropriate. But engagement is so important, and what we love most about Lawrence School's social media is how they make every single follower feel important.
"I would consider Lawrence School to be a healthy and engaging online community on Facebook, especially, with more than 1,200 likes," said Paul Warner, Communications Director at Lawrence School. "We've achieved this by bringing a 'news bureau' approach to the page — meaning that our Facebook page, rather than our school website, is the first place for families to go to discover (and share) all interesting aspects about Lawrence School. We then use the news section of our school website to support our Facebook page with supplementary information."
This is quite an untraditional approach. But for Lawrence School, it works. What makes all of this possible is having the #LionPride feed set up on their website by using Finalsite Feeds. By pulling in content from their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels, Finalsite Feeds allows Lawrence School to display this fresh, evergreen content right on their website.
On-Demand Webinar: See how your school can start using Finalsite Feeds on your website.
They continue to engage with their followers in a timely manner.
What is key to their success is Paul takes the time to interact with every single comment on their posts because he knows how important personal connection is to their community. Your students don't want to feel like a number, and your followers don't want to either. Social media was created so that individuals could socialize, communicate, and have conversations — not just for you to be a news podium.
This is something that Lawrence School puts at the heart of their strategy.
For example, one of the most engaging videos from this past school year is the "Removing Barriers, Unleashing Potential" video from May that had significant response. To date, the video broke over 12,000 views, nearly 200 reactions, including 47 shares and 30 comments:
Their followers loved this video, and shared that with Lawrence School — and Paul was behind the scenes, thanking and acknowledging each and every individual with thoughtful comments.
You can tell he tries to make every follower feel like an individual and part of the community. This type of interaction helps bring value to you and your followers, whether they are prospective, current, or past families.
While personalization is an important quality of social media engagement, so is timeliness. For example, take a look at the time stamps in the comments of the screenshot below — Paul responds to every comment within minutes, or hours at the latest.
"To put our social media numbers in proper context, I think it's important to note that we are a small school (approximately 350 students annually) with a very young alumni base," said Paul. "Our first high school graduating class was in 2015 and included five students. We currently have about 300 alumni and will be adding 39 more to that total with the Class of 2017 later this week."
Though the alumni number isn't significantly high, it is evident Lawrence School has a solid following on their social media channels among the rest of its community.
Social media is not just about posting your own content and expecting your followers to like and comment your posts. If you want to be engaged with, you need to also engage. To be successful, you need to be engaging with your audiences that are choosing to interact with your posts. Take the time to respond to a comment or give a shout out to those who reacted to your post. Also, involve your community - such as your faculty, staff, students, and parents, to help tell your school's story and share a new perspective of what makes your school special.
How do your marketing strategies compare? Want to be on our Featured Friday blogs? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and share your success with social media, the Finalsite platform, admissions, crowdfunding, or content marketing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie brings a fresh new marketing perspective with her background in social media, communications, and radio broadcasting. She is a co-producer for the FinalsiteFM podcast network and is passionate about helping schools stay ahead of their marketing goals by tracking new trends and developments. She is also a practicing singer/songwriter and loves to expand her creativity in DIY projects.