‘A Brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is, it is what the consumers tell each other it is’.
This is the power any brand should have. It is possible when your brand has visibility and people are well aware of your brand. This is where social media comes into the picture.
In simple words, social media refers to the forms of electronic communication, like websites, by means of which users create online communities to share information, ideas, messages and other content like images or videos.
Why is being on Social Media important?
Social media helps in building brand awareness, being visual in nature. Visual content is generally more appealing than a written post and creates better engagement among the audience. Social media enables showcasing visual content in a better way, and that is what makes it most preferred today.
You must have guessed by now, that it is very important to have your brand presence on social media. As per data, there are over 270 million Facebook users only from India, i.e. making it the leading country in terms of Facebook users. Similarly, Instagram is slowly gaining momentum in India, now, with around 70 million active users.
For an educational institution, say School, being on social media will build more awareness for the brand and foster a stronger relationship amongst students, parents and, teachers. Active involvement in social media will help create better student engagement strategies, thus making learning more interactive and fun.
So, how do you think Schools leverage from their presence on Social media?
The education market is highly competitive. There are so many schools offering the best of education, high-class facilities, knowledgeable teachers, and a lot more, thereby compelling the institutions to stay one step ahead of the competition and connecting with students in a meaningful way.
So, when a school features on social media platforms, it gets a chance to market itself, increase its reach, and improve public relations to retain its existing students and get new enrolments. A constant need to communicate with students, parents, and teachers is easily possible through this platform.
Let us look at some of the benefits a school can have by featuring on social media:
1) Educational benefit
Social media acts as a trusted source of information, where students and teachers both work collectively, towards each others’ progress. With different communities that can be created in social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, etc, students, teachers, alumni all stay connected in one place, thus helping the students with improved learning, communication, and reading skills.
It offers distance learning opportunities as well, like online courses. Having a social media presence, also allows parents to stay involved with the school, as to what activities are happening, how are the students being benefitted, how is the involvement of the teachers and the school management.
2) Ease in information sharing
In this tech-savvy world, most of us, even students these days, are connected to the internet through mobile phones, laptops, tabs, desktops, etc. for sharing views, opinions, study materials, projects and various useful reading stuff with others. With this, students stay connected with their fellow mates and teachers.
3) Social credibility
The credibility of social media refers to the quality of being trustworthy. The information that is being provided is credible, in terms of message, source, and media.
Social media is a free platform for its end users. Along with communicating and sharing views, it also uses certain techniques to promote events, online courses, research resulting in an enhanced learning experience, with little or no investment.
5) Hassle-free Connectivity
Social media has given way to geographical factors, with various social media websites, you can just put up your question sitting at any place and get an answer to it in a few hours from any corner of the world. This is how strong social media connectivity offers a solution to your query.
Keeping some of these benefits in view, with a lot of schools to choose from and ever-increasing competition between schools, it is all the more essential to pull up your socks and get into the game of social media. Your school’s presence in social media can do wonders for you, with a perfect strategy in place.
But, before heading on with a Social media strategy, you must have these points sorted out.
Who are your competitors?
Know your competitors beforehand. List out what mode of social media they are on and how are they using it. View their accounts on Facebook or Instagram, for example, and see how they have been performing on it.
Know your Parents
It is important to know your parent personas, as they play a crucial role in enrollment decisions. So, take the time to research your current parents and those new parents you want to attract to your school.
Know your USP
Find out what makes you unique, differentiate your brand from others by listing out what makes you better. Showcase your USPs in your content, that will indeed promote your brand.
What does the social media industry offer?
Keep yourself updated with the ever-changing nature of the social media industry, you have to accordingly adapt to it. Know the latest algorithms and best ongoing practices in order to design your strategy.
Create a content inventory
Make a list of articles, blogs, videos, testimonials, images, etc that you already have that can be used throughout the upcoming session. Keep updating your content as and when needed.
When you have this data listed out, you can work on designing a social media strategy that will prove beneficial for your school. Social media strategies can be created for meeting 2 basic objectives:
- Lead generation
A social media strategy is a detailed blueprint that answers questions like what, how, when and why for all the content that is posted on your Brand’s social page. A mere presence in social media will do no good unless there are a proper strategy and plan in place.
Let us look at a few strategies that a school can adopt to get in new enrollments and keep the existing students intact.
1) Set a goal that is measurable
Set goals that can be measured. For example, a school can have the following goals:
- Increasing brand awareness and reputation online
- Increasing the number of inquiries from local parents and students
- Increase awareness about the fundraising campaign, with a cause.
With the help of social media, you can thereby create awareness about your school by engaging current parents or families and by promoting useful content to drive engagement.
You can present a positive image of your school to the current, prospective and former families. With a community like feeling being offered online, you can keep everyone connected with apt information, thus adding more value to your reputation.
You can run social campaigns online wherein you can reconnect with your Alumni community, add and build new relationships within communities.
2) Know your target audience
Have your audience sorted out, here they are your students, parents or families, teachers, alumni, several related communities. You will have to publish content, images or videos accordingly, to keep the interest of your audience intact.
3) Select a social network & social media channel
When you know what are you aiming at and have your target audience in place, you can choose a proper social media channel to market your school.
It is seen that Facebook and Instagram are two main channels where schools usually have their presence. Since millennials today follow both these mediums, it is highly recommended to have your presence in both.
Also looking at your audience, you can choose from blogs, videos, podcasts, etc, content that can build engagement and drive referral traffic to your webpage.
4) Have a set of expectations
It is a natural instinct to have expectations. Expectations are necessary, at both personal and team level, as to who is responsible and how. Some of the expectations can be:
- Frequency of social posts – How many times you will post, reasonable number of hours dedicated to posting.
- Budget for Ad – Have a budget in place for putting up ads on social network sites, to promote your brand.
- Hashtags – List out a few hashtags you can use. Have at least one hashtag that you can use across all posts on social media, you can eventually add hashtags as per your individual campaigns.
- Assign responsibilities – Assign work as per expectations, as in who is responsible for which work and in what way.
5) Create a Landing page
A landing page is a page on your website that is created to attract visitors, convert them into leads. It allows you to capture information related to the visitors in exchange for an offer.
Having a few landing pages will encourage the engagement of the students and parents and people related to the field of education. It will help promote events, gather a lot of information, build enrollments and a lot of other things.
6) Plan your content distribution
Plan when and where you would want to share the content on your social media platform. Have your social media plan aligned with your school admission, academic, event calendar.
Have content that keeps you one step ahead of the competition. You can make use of Facebook and Instagram stories to promote content in a better manner.
7) Measurement and Testing
Having a social media strategy in action just isn’t enough, you need to constantly analyze it to understand how effective it is.
Engage with your audience regularly to know what is working well and what is not. Running a social media audit will help you know where you stand. It will help you build-up affordable and measurable strategies to address new opportunities for further growth.
The business page of Instagram and Facebook offers free insights you can use for monitoring your posts, at least the popular posts.
For example, let us look at an Initiative by the Delhi Government:
Delhi Government launched the ‘Happiness Curriculum’ for students of nursery to class 8 in Government schools, back in 2012. The success of this launch led the Private schools to follow the league and later, the movement caught global attention.
Focus here was to accommodate value education, mental exercises, meditation, and a lot of other things that students need to cope up with, in this ever-growing competitive world.
All thanks to social media and technology, the way the school authorities made an effort and still are, to integrate it into everyday teaching.
So, now we know that marketing on social media will build brand awareness and can be used to attract new customers. When done correctly, it tells the target audience that their brand is active and ensures engagement with its customers. 63% of consumers who look out for brands online are more likely to follow ones with an informative presence on social media.
Also, 71% of consumers in whose case, the response time on the webpage was quicker, ended up making a recommendation for the brand, to others.
Every school must, therefore, plan out a social media strategy and make it’s brand presence felt by featuring on social media channels, thereby reaping out maximum benefits possible.