Setting Objectives For Your School's Online Marketing
Updated: Mar 15
Specific goals and objectives – such as increasing enrolments or enhancing the school’s reputation within the local area – must be clearly defined before beginning any marketing endeavours.
Having these objectives at the top of mind will ensure that online actions and decision-making will always be clearly guided. If you do not know what objectives you are trying to achieve with your school’s marketing, it is difficult to determine if your current efforts are working. Be clear about the story you want to tell and the message you want your target audience to take away.
Audit the marketing that you are currently doing and determine what is working and what can be improved or eliminated. Sometimes it can be valuable to hire a social media expert to assist in this process and to provide a fresh look.
Become a student of the social media game by following all the schools within your area and determine what content is working and what is not. Follow some of the well-established educational institutions that have marketing teams with massive budgets and replicate their social media posting strategies.
Do not just copy their strategies directly but determine the type of content that is being posted, the frequency of the posts, which platforms are being used the most, and what language is used to communicate to their audience. Acknowledge the content that is performing best – the posts that are getting the most engagement from parents – then strive to imitate it while adding your school’s personalised touch. Let the digital marketing strategies of other places be valuable data, then customise it to reflect your school’s unique qualities.
A school’s social media strategy must not be spread too thin across all the different platforms. When it comes to time, resources, and budget, it is essential to be realistic and prioritise the platforms that are returning the best results. It is always better to be exceptional on one platform than mediocre across them all, so focus on just one or two and create the best quality work to stand out.
Decide what social media platforms will be best to allocate efforts toward; it could be a combination of many. When you consider the diverse audience that makes up your school, it can pay to create a social media marketing strategy that connects best with as many people as possible.
Ensure to create content that is native to the platform it is going on. Simply copying your content from Facebook over to Instagram, or a pre-made television commercial to YouTube is not an optimal strategy. The content will appear disingenuous and will most likely be ignored. This is because people are in a different mindsets when browsing on different platforms.
A technique called ‘repurposing’ can help save time and ensure that your school is creating a presence across multiple social media channels. When relating to social media, the term repurposing involves taking an existing piece of content and changing either the format or the target audience to create a new piece of content.
Sounds confusing? Let me explain. An example of this could be when writing a blog post titled ’10 Great Things About Our School’ – something that is perfect for distribution on LinkedIn and the school’s website. That piece of content can then easily be changed into a short video of a school representative discussing their personal experiences about everything that makes the place great, which could then be posted to YouTube or TikTok. Or the original blog post could be turned into an infographic that is perfect for Facebook or Instagram. Repurposing enables an original piece of content to reach a wider variety of people and to connect with them in a platform-appropriate way.
It would be advisable to have an idea of the school calendar and key events so that there is enough time to carefully plan any marketing efforts and avoid being overloaded. Facebook allows for posts to be scheduled through their platform, and there are many other social media scheduling tools – like Buffer and Hootsuite – which make it easier to schedule posts across multiple different platforms.
If coming up with ideas for fresh content is too challenging, themes could be devoted to specific days of the week. For example, Monday could be the day a question is asked to the parents on Facebook, Tuesday could be the day a piece of student’s work is shared on Instagram, Wednesday can be the principal’s message, etc.
When utilising paid advertising, consider a marketing budget and closely monitor the readily available ad performance data to calculate return on investment. Return on investment can be a tricky metric to calculate due to the differences between social media marketing and traditional marketing. With social media, people often form deeper, longer-lasting connections, which can be invaluable for a school and lead to more direct enrolment referrals and school loyalty.
A significant component of online marketing is interpreting the analytics, repeatedly testing content and strategies, eliminating the poorer performing campaigns, and progressing with the successful ones. This can often take time and patience, but it will save you marketing dollars in the long run by ensuring that both your message and target audience is on point. It is all about sending the right message to the right people.