When it comes to social media, personally I don’t do much. You might find me on Instagram a couple of times per week.
For my agency I mainly use Linkedin and I’m never really on Facebook these days unless I’m selling or looking for something on Facebook marketplace.
Okay, anyways these FB groups got me thinking about private schools.
I began to wonder how a school could use this community feature as a place to gather and or gain an audience.
Sure, there is the generic FB group for the parents of your students, but I wondered if there was something more that could be done.
I think there is, hence this post. It’d be pretty funny if I ended it there right?
Create a FB group for your parents. No, I’m going to give you something hopefully new for you to try.
Facebook has been going through the wringer recently, personally, I think they’re not doing a good enough job of innovating and have just been buying up or copying other social networks for far too long, and they lost their way.
But, one thing that is still strong on Facebook is their Groups.
I was recently reminded of the power of Facebook Groups by my wife.
She’s a member of a couple of cloth diapering FB groups that are both quite active.
If you’re not familiar with cloth diapering it’s basically using, well cloth diapers, that are washable and reusable to diaper your baby.
Our baby is just about to be three months old and my wife’s been on this cloth diaper kick since before we found out we were pregnant.
Side note, cloth diapering is a huge money and waste saver so if you’re in that boat I’d encourage you to check it out.
Facebook Groups for Schools
How Can Schools Use Facebook Groups?
That new thing is a public-facing Facebook group. By public-facing, I mean a group that is made up of members that are NOT your current students, families, or parents. Why?
Well, the strategy behind having a Facebook group is to build a community, hopefully, an engaged community of people that are interested in what you have to offer. By doing so you accomplish a few things all at once
- Make their customer experience better
- Add value to your tuition – if your group is valuable enough
- Gain direct access to your audience – can’t be done with followers
- Build “super fans” – people ready and willing to be school ambassadors
- Gain credit for gathering a group of people with similar interests. – if two people become best friends because they met in your group, you indirectly get credit and that’s valuable
All of these are great things. All of these are things that any school can and should be looking to do. But all of these things are lost on prospective families because the only people who get these benefits are currently enrolled families.
How Can Facebook Groups Help Schools Grow?
Enter the public-facing Facebook group. By creating a group that is open to people other than your current families you get to apply all these benefits to people before they actually pay any tuition.
That means you get to use these benefits as marketing levers to shape your member’s consideration list and ideally, push them in favor of your school.
To be clear I’m talking about creating a new FB group NOT opening your family-only FB group to the public.
Let’s look at an example with two potential families. Say your school has a rock-solid soccer team.
Having the opportunity to join that team is one of the draws of attending your school.
Say you were to create a FB group geared towards soccer families, where you talked about all things soccer, shared funny stories, memes, and helpful information, when sign-ups start, and made it a place where members could trade, donate, or sell used equipment, give advice, etc.
Now, family A is in your FB group but family B is not.
Don’t you think Family A would at least be a little more likely to enroll in your school than family B?
Why? Because for months, or years, you’ve been responsible for gathering that group of people together and for supplying valuable and helpful information.
Essentially you’ve been building up credit with them and establishing your school as the authority on soccer for a long time.
But, that’s not the only benefit. By gathering this group you’re actually able to speak and be heard.
You have the attention of people who are highly interested in the thing that is a major draw for student enrollment.
That’s pretty powerful and hard to do on other platforms.
Let’s talk about family B, the family that is not in your FB group.
How would you reach them? How would you get their attention? Why would they care to listen to you?
See, both families are potential prospects but one you can reach and will listen when you speak while the other you can’t and they probably won’t.
There are a bunch of use cases for this Facebook Group strategy.
It will be especially helpful if your school serves students outside of your area with online services because you have the benefit of reaching a larger audience.
But even still, keeping it local you could create a group dedicated to sharing local events that are happening, or a parenting support group, or serve any interest that you notice a majority of your families have in common.
Of course, these online communities don’t have to happen ONLY on FB.
Discord could be a better option for your school.
The important thing here is not necessarily the platform that you use but rather the strategy and the content that you deliver.
I want to know what you think about this idea. Last week I had a listener leave me a comment on LinkedIn about the private schools and streaming services topic and I really love continuing the conversation so send me a message on LI or IG and let me know what you think.
Are you doing something like this? Are you considering doing something like this? I want to know what you think.
Until next time,
I’ve been Nick.