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3 ways your school should be using social media for enrolment

Jun 03, 2015

Over the past few years, social media has transformed the way schools reach out to new applicants. Parents and teenagers are all online, and they expect to be engaged.

So how can schools best use social media to reach out to, and convert, the most desirable prospective students? Here are 3 top tips:

1. Be Strategic

The most important thing is for schools not to start posting to Facebook and Twitter on an ad hoc basis, and hope for the best. Your social media activity needs to be part of a well-thought-out digital marketing plan (ideally coordinated with your broader marketing activities), including a social media policy with do’s and don’ts for your team, and a schedule governing what you post and when.

This ensures that:

  • Your goals for social media are clear – and the success of your programme is therefore measurable
  • Any material you post furthers those goals
  • You are not wasting time and money on efforts that will never bear any fruit
  • You are far less likely to make errors online that may damage your school’s reputation, because your material is pre-planned and can be vetted in advance.

2. Understand Your Audience

If you are trying to reach out to prospective students and their parents, it is vitally important that you understand your target market. The better you know them, the easier it will be to create online material that actually ‘speaks to’ them, and makes them more interested in your school.

Some of the things you need to know include:

  • Their demographics. You may be targeting several different groups – perhaps families who come from different socio-economic backgrounds, or state/private primary schools, etc. Do you want to target parents online, prospective students, or both? They’ll need different approaches! Think carefully about how your target audience segments, because this will affect the type of material you publish online.
  • What are their main concerns when it comes to education? Use social media to show that you understand their greatest worries, giving them the feeling that you share the same outlook and that they are in safe hands with you.
  • What would make them want to join your school? What do you have to offer that they will find particularly attractive? Think about this carefully, from the prospective families’ point of view. What they might like might not necessarily correspond to what you want to talk about! There’s no point going on about your marvellous Greek and Latin programme if parents in your area are mainly concerned about science and maths standards.

3. Use Social Media To Build Relationships

Once you have a clear understanding of the families you would like to attract, it’s not enough to just talk to them about your school via social media. You want to build a closer connection with them: a relationship.

This means engaging. You need to invite your prospects to comment on your posts and to interact with you. You need to give them ways to experience what it means to be part of your school community even before they’ve joined – so that they already feel an emotional connection to you.

For example, if there are questions during an open evening that you do not have time to answer, how about creating a blog post where you address all the remaining issues? This way, families feel that you are responsive; they are given an incentive to visit your blog/website; and themselves have a hand in creating your social media material.

 

Danny Bermant, Managing Director, Brainstorm Digital Ltd

With over 15 years in digital marketing, Danny is one of the UK’s top lead-generation experts, helping schools generate new enquiries through their social media activity. danny@brainstorm-digital.co.uk

 

 



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