10 Questions About Social Media Marketing for Schools Answered

Social media marketing for schools is a big deal and it is pretty tough. When you go online you will see schools competing for social media recognition. The highly active social media networks - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google are all available for schools to leverage to gain brand recognition.

Most schools are understaffed and do not have a budget for social strategy. As a matter of fact, in our social media survey of 100+ schools, we found that one-third of schools don't have any social media budget, and another one-third don't know how much to spend. Additionally, only 5% of respondents have social media marketing as a full-time job, and 68% dedicate five hours or less per week to social media marketing.

Now you know that you are not alone. Many schools like yours are in the same boat. However, there are many of your competitors who know the benefit of social media marketing to their business and have a strong budget for it.

We know how difficult it is to combine social media management with another role, that is why we have added it to one of our core services to help schools leverage social media to reach a wider target market and increase enrolment.

We have received a ton of great questions about social media strategies for schools and we want to take the time now to answer them. We believe that if one person asks a question, at least two others are thinking it.

Here are a few social media questions and answers:

1.   Should schools have a Snapchat account?

Even though Snapchat is very popular among students, it is not a necessary social media network to have. It requires its own dedicated strategy and school who use it have not seen any proven ROI on enrolment or retention.

It is not necessary for a school to be on the Snap but if you have the time and want to have fun with it then you can.

2.   Our school is just starting out on social media, which two platforms would you suggest?

The top social networks schools should leverage is Facebook and Instagram. They both have the same owner and have a lot in common: the ad accounts are linked; the strategies are similar; the content can be similar sometimes, and most of the population are on either of these networks.

Although both platforms are similar, they have core differences between them. On Instagram, links do not hyperlink on posts, that is, you cannot click on a link in a post. But on Facebook, you can. Hashtags are effective on Instagram, the more hashtags you use the better, but on Facebook, hashtags are frowned at, you should be limited to one or two.

You can solicit for likes/comments/shares but cannot do that on Facebook. A post having a phrase like “please like and comment” will be seen as spammy by Facebook algorithms but Instagram does not care about that.

Facebook and Instagram have different times that are ideal for posting, and your content should not be the same for both platforms.

3.   How can you use a Facebook group for schools?

There are many ways you can use a Facebook Group for your school. They can be used to create a place for accepted students, current students, or alumni to communicate. Facebook groups are currently favoured by Facebook’s new algorithms and it is great to use because they can be public or private.

Facebook groups are great because they can be public or private, and they are currently favoured by Facebook's new algorithm. A good thing about the group id that members automatically receive a notification when their friends post in the group.

The group is a great way to keep current families in the loop and this increases retention.

4.   How do you invite individuals to join the group?

There are two ways you can invite people to the group – directly via Facebook or via email address accompanied by a message as to why they are invited. Because as a school marketer, you will not be friends with prospects (and even most current families), you will need to invite people to the group through both means.

5.   Is there a "good time" to post on social media?

Yes, there is a “good time” to post but no specific good time that works for everybody. Typically, early mornings, lunchtime, and after dinner are times that get high engagement. Do some experimenting with posting the same content 3-4 times during the week at different times, then use insights/analytics to see which performed the best.

6.   Our school only uses Facebook. Is that enough or should we incorporate another?

It is not good to put all your eggs in one basket. Your school may be very active on Facebook and you are getting good results, but if there is a drastic change in their algorithm that does not work in your favour, you will lose everything.

By hanging on to one channel, you miss out on opportunities you may not even know exist yet. It is wise to add Instagram to the mix, for reasons as stated above.

7.   Do students even have Facebook anymore?

The answer is Yes! Your students have Facebook and so do their parents and grandparents. While Instagram or Snapchat may seem to be the most active social networks, most people still maintain their Facebook profiles.

8.   We have multiple Twitter accounts - is this a good or bad idea?

One account is already a full-time job, why give yourself more work to do? It is best to throw all your weight to one account. Keep all traffic directed to one account. There is no need to have separate accounts for creche, primary, clubs, etc. When you run multiple accounts, there is a possibility of off-brand content being shared.

9.   How do we combat negative reviews on our pages?

The best defence is a good offence. Harness your community to dilute the negative reviews with positive reviews. The fight to remove negative reviews is a losing battle. Rather flood your page with positive reviews.

10.                     Is it OK to tag current students in Instagram posts?

You can tag students in your Instagram posts if you have their permission. Be sure to follow the school’s guidelines with regards to this.

We hope we have answered one or more of your burning questions about social media marketing. If you need help making the most of your school's social media marketing strategy, we have an entire team of social media specialists here at DucoBrands who want to help you succeed.