What Schools Should Post On Facebook & Instagram
Updated: Mar 15
We are all familiar with Facebook.
It is the largest social network in the world with almost three billion monthly active users. It is where the parents of potential future students spend hours of time each day.
Facebook was launched in 2004 and initially required a Harvard University e-mail to be granted membership to the site. It shortly expanded to allow anyone with internet access the opportunity to share their photos and thoughts with the world.
In 2012, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg made his biggest purchase to date when he acquired Instagram for a billion dollars in stocks and cash. Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social network service which naturally appeals to more visual and creative content. It is also a social media giant with over a billion monthly active users.
Both platforms offer tremendous versatility for how a school could be effectively marketed.
CONTENT MARKETING – WHAT TO POST
Content marketing refers to a posting approach focussed on creating valuable and relevant content to attract a defined audience.
The goal of nearly every social media network is to keep people on their platform for as long as possible by creating the best user experience. This is because these networks earn most of their revenue through advertising dollars, so the longer people stay on the platform, the more they can charge advertisers.
Facebook, for example, wants to ensure that people are enjoying what they are seeing on their news feed, so their algorithm will favour content that is engaging and keeps users reading, watching, and scrolling for more.
School marketers need to determine what strategies they can use to help the platform with its goals. Determine the type of content that will keep people engaged.
Simply put, do not just post promotional rubbish. No one likes a brand that is constantly trying to sell to you and a school is no different. It is good to follow The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, to get the balance right.
When adjusted to social media and a school’s marketing, this means that at least 80% of posts should be informative, educational, and entertaining for the audience. The other 20% of content can be directly asking something from people, such as enrolling into their first class or attending an open day.
Always keep in mind that at the end of the day, social media channels are essentially entertainment platforms. People use these mediums to chat with friends and family, scroll through photos of workmates, and watch funny videos – they do not want to be confronted by constant, promotional spam.
Furthermore, Facebook will ‘punish’ poorly performing content. If engagement on a post is low, it can cause the engagement on all your posts across the whole page go down.
As world-famous digital marketer Gary Vaynerchuk would put it by using boxing terminology, ‘jab, jab, jab, right hook’ – the jab represents offering value to your audience while the right hook is when you create an offer, ask a favour or pitch your services. Just like a set-up in boxing, this is a set up to earn customers through social media. A brand must earn the right to sell to people online by steadily building trust and providing value.
Create content that is based around what parents want to hear about a prospective school for their children. For many, that revolves being a school that facilitates an environment that can assist in a child reaching their full potential.
Show through your online content that your school provides a vast array of opportunities for growth, whether it be in academia, sports or the arts. Demonstrate how your school prioritises developing growth as an individual and show explicit, practical examples of this.
Vaynerchuk once said that ‘every person is now a media company’ and this notion applies for schools in ensuring that they create content that is valuable and entertaining. Schools can join in the discussion of popular events, parody a popular song, post memes and trends that are relevant and popular with students and parents.
During the Covid-19 epidemic, some schools in Australia posted short videos of its students demonstrating healthy hygiene tips and habits, information about social distancing, and other ways we can attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
Many schools post about teachers that participate in the yearly ‘Movember’ event, which involves the growing of a moustache in November to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues.
However, getting the balance right almost becomes an art, as it is important not to appear to be trying too hard to stay relevant and in the conversation. It can come across as contrived and tacky. Maintaining an appropriate level of professionalism is another aspect that must be considered.
Promoting the school’s sporting teams is always a great content idea as people generally relate with sports. You could feature a ‘standout athlete of the week’ or something of that nature which can be a good way to share student achievement.
Being recognised on social media can make a student feel like a rock star for a day and it is a great way of sharing student achievement. Featuring on the school’s social media channels can be used as an incentive for students to strive for and can contribute to the overall learning experience.
Great content reigns supreme and will generally cut through the social media ‘noise’ and be noticed by your audience regardless of when it is posted. Many people new to social media devote too much time and get caught up in aspects like optimal posting times.