While Nardin Academy may be the oldest independent Catholic school in Buffalo, New York with three campuses, the school is becoming one of the smartest and most strategic private schools on social media. Nardin Academy is fully aware of social media's capacity to influence or alter the decisions and perceptions of current and prospective families, meaning it sits at the center of their marketing strategy.
Like many schools, Nardin Academy does an amazing job highlighting their students, faculty, and staff...however, unlike many schools, they do it with a full-time person. Alexandra Tramposch, Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications and a 2005 graduate of the school, recently shared her perspective on this past year's social media growth:
"Statistically, social media is not only where most families currently receive the majority of their news and updates, but we also know that social media drives website referral traffic," said Alexandra.
Alexandra's hunch is correct. Social media marketing is today's version of "Word of Mouth Marketing," as it plays a major role in your prospective families' decision-making:
- 71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
- Customers tend to convert at a 129% higher rate when they've interacted with a brand's social media
- Consumers are four times as likely to spend significantly more than those without a social component
Because of the influence of social media, Alexandra and her team wanted to offer families authentic stories that provide insight into their vibrant community on a daily basis. "At the end of the day, social media should not simply be a marketing strategy, but an opportunity to build connections and create conversation," said Alexandra.
Free Report: The State of Social Media Marketing Among Schools
Nardin Academy is active on Facebook, Twitter, and most recently Instagram, as that platform is where they have the most engagement and response with their followers. Posting about three times per day on social media since their new website launched in 2016, the school has built an engaging and successful social media strategy.
The school's social media strategy is successful because of a few key traits:
1) They Use Authentic Content
Back in January, a group of students led by a Nardin Academy high school junior created a welcome video for the Class of 2021. Alexandra highlighted the positive video messages from community members, such as the school's president, freshman teachers, and current students to help their newest group of Gators feel welcome leading up to freshman registration night.
"Empowering our current students to share their amazing talents in the creation of the video led to incredible social media engagement, resonating not only with the new freshman, but their families, our community and our alumni," said Alexandra. "We look forward to working closely with our current students on similar projects in the 2017-18 school year."
In addition, Alexandra depends on her community to source social media content on a regular basis. "We rely on teachers and staff to share with us the exciting things going on in their classrooms on a daily basis," said Alexandra. "So much planning goes into any campaign, rather than simply stepping out of our offices and snapping a photo."
2) They Participate in in Social Media Holidays & Trends
Another great aspect about Nardin Academy's use of social media is how they make an effort to participate in social media holidays and trends that resonate with the school, including Teacher Appreciation Week's #ThankATeacher, National Signing Day, International Women's Day, and many others.
Participating in social media holidays and trends is a very easy way for any school to create new, trendy content, that will resonate with prospective and current families.
"Our Graphic Design and Marketing Associate, Laura Caya, who manages the social media posts for our Advancement Office had incredibly engaging posts this year by taking part in trends such as #TBT, recreating past yearbook photos with our current students as part of a campaign leading up to #NardinReunion2017," said Alexandra.
"The 5th Annual Alumni Challenge included a mannequin challenge and carpool karaoke with Nardin's faculty. Each post resonated not only with the intended audience (alumni) but also our current families and students."
3) They Treat Social Media as a Full-Time Job, Without a Full-Time Person
Another interesting perspective Alexandra noted was the school doesn't have a dedicated social media person, but their collaborative team efforts make for great success.
"I think it is important to note that like many private, independent schools we do not have a dedicated Social Media Manager," said Alexandra. "Yet Laura and myself have divided the responsibility in a way that works best within our school's organizational structure. This collaboration allows for room to be creative and bounce ideas off of one another, particularly when planning new campaigns, such as the one we are excited to launch this fall."
3) They Connect Their Social Media to Their Website
After recently redesigning their website in 2016, Alexandra said it has been quite important to connect their social media community to their school's website. By using Finalsite Feeds to share their social media content on their website, they constantly have up-to-date content they've already created.
"Whether it is a website news section, forms, or pages such as "Why an All-Girls High School?," Finalsite Feeds social media integration has been a great way to drive website traffic with target audiences who are already immersed in social media."
4) They Have a Separate Athletics Twitter
While we normally don't recommend that schools divide their social media traffic with two Twitter handles, Nardin Academy may be the exception. Because their Twitter feed for athletics is so active, it makes sense to keep it separate.
"Approximately two year ago, we began a separate twitter account, managed by the Assistant to the Athletic Director, that shares live stats and the successes of our Gators athletics program," said Alexandra. "It has offered a way for both the Nardin community and the Western New York community, including local news stations, to stay connected to the exciting seasons of our 41 athletic teams."
When it comes to any good marketing strategy, it's crucial to have a goal in mind when planning your content across all of your platforms. Follow suit with Nardin Academy to determine one or two important goals you want to achieve when using social media - whether that is driving more traffic back to your school website, increasing engagement with your followers and online community, or sharing your school's story with a new perspective.
It's also important to know that good social media content isn't created overnight. Really having a strategy behind the content you're posting is what will help bring success to your marketing campaigns.
How do your marketing strategies compare? Want to be on our Featured Friday blogs? E-mail us at email@example.com 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.