While many more school professionals are starting to become social media gurus, some are still missing an important key to social media success: social media advertising. Social media advertising is one of the best ways to expand your potential reach on your channels, spread your content, increase engagement, and solidify your brand.
As the statistics show, the popularity of it is expected to grow this year alone:
- By the third quarter of 2016, Facebook brought in $6.8 billion in advertising revenue, up from $4.3 billion the year before.
- In 2017, analysts predicted a 26.3% global increase on spending for social media ads.
And the social media platform your school chooses to do ads on can also make a difference:
- Instagram will bring in $1.53 billion in mobile ad revenue worldwide this year.
- In 2016, total Promoted Tweet engagements were up 91% year-over-year—much higher than traditional banner ads.
- On Facebook, desktop ads have 8.1x higher click-through rates and mobile ads have 9.1x higher click-through rates than normal web ads.
TASIS has been setting the bar high for many international schools because they know Facebook is still the top social network. With nearly 7,000 "likes," they're posting fresh content up to 3 times a day for their followers, and continue to receive hundreds of reactions and awesome engagement. Mark Chevalier, Director of Communications at TASIS, and Kim Nelson, Social Media Coordinator at TASIS, recently shared some of their own best practices behind the success of their Facebook page.
1. They Boost Content
If you're not familiar with the term "boosting," it is social advertising in its simplest form — and as our in-house social media marketing team calls it — "the tip of the iceberg." When you boost a post, you set a budget and target audience, and then based on the credentials you set, anyone who falls into that category will have an increased chance of coming across your post as a sponsored post on their Facebook news feed.
"We often spend just a few dollars to boost Facebook posts that we consider relevant to our friends and their friends," said Mark. "Our sense is that Facebook has increasingly become pay-to-play, and a modest investment helps us reach more people's news feeds."
TASIS also boosts posts to particular markets (outside of our own circles) when it makes sense to do so. For example, the school regularly coordinates Facebook ad campaigns with their Admissions Office in advance of their visits to particular areas.
"They will often return from a trip and tell us that at least a few people mentioned to them that they learned of our School's visit because of a post that popped up on their Facebook news feed," said Mark. "We may then follow up by boosting relevant content (a promotional video, for example) to the areas that have just been visited."
Free Report: The State of Social Media Marketing Among Schools
2. They Focus on The Two Types of Content that Work
Their ad strategy focuses on quick updates on school events and happenings, which often include minimal text, a photo or two, and a link to a photo gallery on SmugMug. We love the variety of photo and video on the page, like this photo album (can you say breathtaking?):
"Kim is very dedicated in her role as school photographer and is at just about every compelling school event, so she usually takes care of these posts and has them up within a day or two of the event," says Mark.
They also repurpose content from their newsletters.
Once newsletters have been sent out over email, they will schedule Facebook content associated with most of the articles from that newsletter — a nice way to stay current and re-iterate messages on a new platform.
Mark says he likes the way it looks when sharing the link from their website in a post, then adds a teaser quote at the top and a summary under the title like these examples:
"We often boost these posts as well, knowing that they highlight a story worth sharing and that they will help direct traffic back to the full article, which is of course hosted on our website."
Chances are when you're browsing through your social media feed, you'll see an advertisement or "promoted post" related to the type of content that best appeals to you. Schools should consider using social ads because even the most minimal ad budget can make an impact, allowing you to reach someone new.
Remember however, it is also important to have a strategy behind your social ads. You simply do not want to just boost every piece of content you have (that's almost like throwing your marketing dollars away). Take this knowledge and test social media advertising for your next social media campaign to measure additional ROI for your school. If social media advertising is on your to-do list, but you don't know where to start, let us know, because we can help with that!
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.