Social media, as you know, can do many things, but figuring out your strategy is the most important thing. Technology of any sort, is very exciting and overwhelming. Having a strategy can make the process less daunting and bring clarity to your school’s communication policies.
Lorrie showed us the various platforms from which schools can communicate with our consistencies.
When advising clients to about how they can best use social media, I encourage them to think of themselves as a consumer. Look to the companies that you seek out. How do they attract customers? Afterall, their bottom line is very clear: make money & build brand loyalty.
On Twitter, many companies offer incentives to followers. Discounts for ticket fares or a way to ask/answer consumer questions.
On Facebook, companies provide a platform for consumers to share information or offer tips & tricks for their products.
LinkedIn is a great venue for companies to recruit employees. It lets users understand the value of the company and if they are linked to any current employees, see employer feedback and understand the mission of the organization.
Social Media is not a substitute for annual reports, magazines, view books, regular parent communications. They are a means for disseminating information and creating interest all with the purpose of leading visitors to your school’s website, campus and people.
Social media gives users the opportunity to get up close & personal with others. It’s about forming personal connections and getting to know the REAL you. Headmasters blogs, dean of students twitter all in an effort to expose the day to day activities.
Don’t mistake social media for free labor. It takes time and effort to cultivate followers, discussions and loyalty.
Before any technology is used, it’s best to figure out your strategy first. How will you approach it? Who will do it? What do you want to say and to whom?
Social media is about adapting. Who are your followers, fans and friends? Mostly parents? then how are they best served? Alumnae? How can their relationships be sustained? Faculty & Staff? How they can be informed and supported?
These school’s blogs show the many different ways schools can communicate. From admissions to athletics to the head of school, through a website, blog hosting company or beta site, schools have many choices and options.
social media is about sharing and there are lots of third-party platforms, that are free and easy to integrate into your website that enable the user to share with others. Here is an example of VuVox.
Vimeo is a video sharing site that lets user upload videos for free, create their own channel and create widgets that can be embedded into your site.
Issuu.com is a free publishing tool that helps users engage with online pdfs. they can view in customizable formats, forward to a friend, download/print copies and browse other publications.
If you’re going to blog, blog. If you’re going to Twitter, tweet. Make a habit of it. Incorporate into your routine. If you do, so will your users. If you’re not engaging users, it’s not social media. The idea is to get them in the habit of checking your site, following your tweets and commenting on your fan page.
the idea is to get others back to your site. Link to photos, news, blogs, calendars. Engage your users with questions about their experiences “Have a favorite Alumni moment? Please share.” Did someone else say something nice about you? ReTweet it, link to it, share it. Use the information you are already generating. Link back to news articles, enewsletters, magazines sign up. The same keywords you’ve established for your website, should be used for social media. use hashtags (#) and incorporate keywords into your status messages.
Social media is a great tool. It should not take the place of your school’s general communication. It is an outlet that needs to be cultivated. it can’t just be left to marinate on it’s own. Encourage faculty, staff, students and parents to participate. do not create social media in a silo. Have you web/social media manager update marketing teams with trends and feedback. Don’t be shy about social media. there’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are promoting your school and if you don’t promote your social media, what’s the point?
Market to Today's Families Using Social Media
Hour 2: Developing & Implementing your Social Media Strategy
Sr. Project Manager, Sisarina, Inc.
Interim Web & Multimedia Manager, The Madeira School