How to Market Your Private School With Social Media
Yes, your school should be on social media JUST as much as the apparel company, lifestyle brand, or influencer that you follow. Why? Because it’s good for business. Clearly, there is no disputing that, right?
What’s even more interesting is the rise of “professionals” becoming influencers on these platforms over the last couple of years. We think this, more than anything, proves that your school has a place on social media. In fact, we think these professionals are setting the standard for what private schools SHOULD be doing on social media.
Social media marketing can be time-consuming. This post provides strategies to make the most of your time and maximize your results. We will look at these strategies in detail and provide you with a social media marketing strategy that actually works.
Social Media Marketing for Private Schools
The Rise of Professionals on Social Media
*We’re going to use “professionals” a lot throughout this section of the post. For the sake of clarity, when we refer to a “professional” we’re referring to experts in a certain field. Mainly, people that have, master’s and doctorate degrees, but not them exclusively. Okay, now that that’s cleared up…*
Allow us to get “heady” for a minute if you will. Increasingly, over the last couple of years, people in traditionally “boring” professions have made the jump from “insert title here” to influencer.
You’ve surely seen the content from a doctor, a lawyer, a professor, or even a pathologist come across your feed. You might even follow a couple of them yourself. This is a far cry from the influencers of yesterday. The term influencer itself is being redefined in the minds of many from makeup or fashion personality to someone who shares useful or entertaining content.
But why? We think it’s because of the huge gap between correct information and misinformation that has existed on social media platforms since they were spawned into existence. In what seemed like the height of misinformation between the 2018-2020 years, professionals started filling in that gap… and they blew up for one simple reason.
In a time of not knowing what to believe they were a trusted source of information. Plain and simple.
Now that the average person is okay with (and even is seeking out) these types of people to follow, private schools NEED to get their skin in the game. I mean, who else better to educate than the very educational institutes themselves? The writing is right there on the wall.
Posting on Social Media for Private Schools
So, it begs the question, what should private schools post on social media? All of the normal stuff that you’re already posting about, seeing other schools posting about, or thinking about posting will work. Post that stuff.
But, if you want to take a page out of these professional’s books (and we think it would benefit you too) you’ll want to work with your teachers, professors, and staff. Yes, you’ll need their involvement.
See, your staff are the experts. They are the doctors, lawyers, (and pathologists) to continue using the earlier example. You’ll need them to share
- Their knowledge
- Unique points of view
- News or recent findings in their respective fields
- Their lectures
- Their opinions on education
- Their tips, tricks, stories, and hacks
- Why they educate and why they work at your school
The point of these posts is to do one thing… EDUCATE. Teach. Be helpful. Be valuable. Okay, that was four things but they all mean education.
By becoming a helpful and truthful source of information for your community you will earn their trust. Trust turns into new enrollments and more student retention nearly every single time.
It also makes closing prospects much easier. You’ll find that your content (which is essentially a whole bunch of trust in you) will lead people to be fully sold on you as the right choice before you even give them any of your sales pitch.
You’re basically preselling your school by putting out this type of information on a consistent basis. So, when it comes to signing on the dotted line a parent’s mind is already made up and they feel GOOD about their decision. The cherry on top is that this strategy will actually allow you to build a social media presence. That means both existing families and prospective families will follow your school because they like what you’re putting out.
How to Create Content for Social Media
It can get overwhelming can’t it? Thinking about what to post. How you’re going to make it, how you’re going to find the time in your schedule, how you’re going to organize other people’s schedules?
I get it. It was overwhelming for me too, that’s why I didn’t post on the agency’s social media channels for over 2 years (LOL)! But, I started practicing what I preached, and wouldn’t you know it actually worked out.
Here’s what we preach. Create a few big pieces of content per month and then break those big ideas up into smaller bits of information. Essentially what that’ll do is give you multiple posts from one idea or one piece of content. This reduces about 70% of the overwhelm (we’ve done super scientific studies and self-reflection to get this stat)
Here’s what it looks like for us using this blog post.
- We write this blog as our longest most in-depth piece of content. We do two of these per month currently.
- We create 5-10 graphics out of valuable snippets we pull from this article to share on our social media feeds and stories
- We record a podcast about this topic
- We create a couple of Instagram reels and TikToks about the information in this article
- We expand on these ideas in the captions of our social media posts
- On some of those posts, we reference the blog article to push traffic to it
You can see how figuring out what to post becomes much more manageable, and even strategic, by following this strategy. This is how you can create an endless amount of content without driving yourself mad! Check out this post for a dedicated look at content marketing for your private school.
No, You Don’t Need to be Everywhere
There is something to be said for being the big fish in the little pond. We believe that something is “IT’S EXACTLY WHAT YOU SHOULD DO”.
In terms of social media, that means you don’t need to be on every single platform. It’s far better to only focus on what you can manage. Whether that is one platform or five is entirely up to you. It certainly gets easier adding in new channels as you go once you’ve got the hang of posting consistently.
The truth is that social media (and the internet largely) are where people are having first interactions with your school. So, ask yourself this question “If this is the first impression with a prospect, is it how we want to be represented”? That’s a telling question that will get a telling answer.
Obviously, you want every place that someone can come into contact with your school online to be up to par. If you have a subpar presence on any online platforms, and you’re not ready to be consistent on them, do this:
- Post on that channel something along the lines of “We’re thrilled you found us here! Currently, the best place to find our content is on ________. We post often there so check us out to learn more about how we help!
This will hold you over until you can add these channels into your posting strategy.
Facebook Groups for Private Schools
These days I’m not on Facebook much personally. But, when I am it’s because I’m using Facebook marketplace or interacting with a couple of Facebook groups that I am a part of.
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 Facebook 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 section of the post.
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 its 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 one 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.
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
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 Facebook group NOT opening your family-only Facebook 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 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 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.
Social Media Advertising
Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter… these are all social media platforms that may be part of your social media advertising mix. We have a great post about social media advertising. I suggest you take a look for a thorough understanding of the subject. Here, we’ll touch on some of the highlights.
Some of the most effective ads that you can run will come from the posts that you’ve already created. Granted, you’re creating the types of posts that we’ve talked about in this guide. Here’s why, that content will be helpful, valuable, and or entertaining. That type of content makes for a great first impression with a prospective parent or student.
You’ll want to set up four campaigns;
- one geared toward a cold audience of prospective parents
- one geared toward a cold audience of prospective students
- one geared toward a warm audience of prospective parents
- one geared toward a warm audience of prospective students
The cold audiences will only get your helpful, valuable, and informational type of content. NO SELLING. I mean it.
Selling too early is for the rookies. The warm audiences will get the same content. However, it will be mixed with more sales-oriented material.
This is designed to help your school stay at the forefront of a family’s consideration list, and remain there throughout the entire decision-making process.
Social media marketing has the power and potential to grow private schools in a major way. By embracing the role of trusted educators and thought leaders, private and independent schools can leverage social media platforms to provide valuable content, build relationships, and establish themselves as reliable sources of information. Becoming that source of information will build trust with their target audience which will lead to more enrollments and higher retention rates.
Through strategic content creation, consistent platform management, and the creation of engaged communities, private schools can elevate their online presence, attract prospective parents and students, and ultimately thrive in a new way.
If this was valuable to you be sure to let us know on our social media channels. We post more content like this on there throughout the week so follow there to get it in your feed.
If you think you could use help with your marketing schedule a conversation with us. We’ll meet and discuss how we may be able to help you reach your goals.