In this article, we’ll discuss how to use social media as a marketing platform for your school, and some of the important considerations and lessons I have learned. If you haven’t yet, I encourage you to read the first six parts of this series: step 1, step 2, step 3, step 4, step 5 and step 6.
Engaging with your audience
Social media – it’s all the rage now, but how to use it to your best advantage? We’ve been helping our clients understand the myriad of options and opportunities since 2007, well before it became so common place.
We’ll discuss how to maximise engagement, what to measure and how to do it in a way that is authentic and open.
What is social media?
We like to think social media as any service on the Internet that allows conversations to take place. Using that analogy, the discussion forums that have been around for quite some time can be considered social media, as well as services such as photo sharing site, Flickr and the like.
Popular social media platforms
At the time of writing, Australians clearly have two favourites, according to measurement and surveys; Facebook and YouTube. These are 5-10 times more popular than the rest of the ‘top ten’ properties, which are:
Interestingly, the third, fourth and fifth places are taken by large blog hosting platforms. These tend to be spread across millions of pages and blogs hosted there, which makes it more difficult for marketers to target users on these blog platforms.
Steps to success
So you know you need to get on social media, yet not sure how. We recommend you the following steps;
Sign up and reserve usernames
Most social services require a short username, and it is important to get this right. Instead of an acronym, or a long username which is hard to type, look for ways to keep your username reflective of your school.
Research what is being said
Before joining the conversation, start reviewing what is being said about your organisation, add that of your competitors or industry. As well as the previously mentioned ‘Google Alerts’, there are other great tools specifically for social media such as Social Mention.
Get your platform in order
Each social service allows you to modify the design to suit your brand. Take the time to set up your profile, completing the text fields, and integrating the brand so it works in that medium.
There is nothing worse than seeing a social media account with default design, no description and no encouragement to engage with them. Don’t expect much respond if you leave your social media accounts to look newly created.
Create a ‘social media policy’ for employees
Many organisations are now adopting a social media policy to help illustrate what is considered acceptable and unacceptable for employees to utilise their own social media accounts. Many schools have similar documents to raise awareness with students.
This video by Department of Justice, Victoria, spells it out well.
Develop a ‘voice document’ for social media
Just like the editorial document we discussed with website content, having a similar one for social media helps set the scene, and ensures a consistent social voice. Establishing your brand’s social media voice is a great article to start the process.
The simplest way to measure social engagement is to simply look at the audience numbers; how many followers on Twitter, fans on Facebook and the like. However, are these really useful metrics? A better metric is available in the Facebook metrics, which is level of engagement, and similar metric can be created for Twitter, showing retweets, shares, replies, etc.
Sites like Klout and PeerIndex were created to help brands measure their metrics; however what you measure is down to you. This article Essential Social Media Metrics explains more on metric creation and tracking.
Social media is worthy of a book just in itself. We’re quickly covered the basic steps in creating a social media presence and discussed various metrics you can utilise to measure the success, and ensure you spend your time on social media wisely.
Miles Burke is an Author, Public Speaker and Managing Director of Perth-based digital agency, Bam Creative. His team has created websites and digital marketing campaigns for dozens of schools, and their work has been featured in the media, won plenty of awards and most of all, helped schools demystify the digital marketing space to attract enrolments and better communicate to their communities.