Handout for Are We Listening


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Handout for the PowerPoint preso, "Are We Listening: Social Media and Independent Schools."

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Handout for Are We Listening

  1. 1. Are We Listening? The Role of Social Media in Independent School Marketing Today NAIS Annual Conference, February 2009 Lorrie Jackson Director of Communications and Marketing Lausanne Collegiate School (Memphis, TN) ljackson@lausanneschool.com I. The Problem a. Consumers today look to each other for the real scoop on a product (beyond spin). Think Amazon, TripAdvisor, Craigslist. b. But, many independent schools continue to market as they have for decades: print ads, thick viewbooks, etc. These push information at readers, usually are designed just for adults/parents and are print-driven. c. But what is the most effective method of marketing? Word of mouth. And the conversation is now online, particularly on social media sites. d. What‟s social media? Sites or online tools that: i. connect users with one another (MySpace, Facebook) ii. share favorite content (del.icio.us, Digg) iii. publish content (YouTube, Flickr) e. The problem? We’re barking up the wrong tree. Our constituents are on social media. We should be too. II. Facebook a. Second most popular social networking site in U.S., most popular in world. b. Consider that the average time spent on Facebook is 19 minutes and that the 30 and up demographic on Facebook (our parents, young alumni, faculty) is growing exponentially. c. It‟s a site our alumni, current and prospective parents and others use daily. Why not get our message to our customers where they already are? d. Facebook 101 i. Profiles – Each user sets up a profile on Facebook (FB) with basic or detailed information then invites others already on FB to be friends with him/her. 1. Start here by setting up a personal account for someone on staff. Take a few weeks/months to get used to the FB culture before moving to a school page or group. 2. Warning: Against FB policy to have a fake profile (by your mascot for example). They will shut you down with no recourse. Marketing with Social Media Page 1
  2. 2. ii. Groups and Pages 1. Both can be used to ring together alumni or others affiliated with your school. But… Groups Pages Like a party where you are the Like your current Web site host. where your personal presence is minimal. Members Fans Only visible to folks with ANYONE can see Facebook profiles More familiar to users Created by FB for businesses Message friends directly Updates to fans For schools with stricter online For schools looking to maximize policies, mission-driven the reach of their marketing limitations, etc. (reconnect with lost alumni) Little way to track usage Insights (like Google Analytics Few bells/whistles Many applications can be added, including Causes (fund- raising) Your profile viewable as a Less visibility of your personal (and other fans‟) profiles member/admin Ads do not point to groups Ads can promote page Members cannot add a variety Members can upload of content videos/photos and add copy to wall/notes. 2. My recommendations: a. Official school page b. Alumni group or page depending on mission/goals c. Other subgroups (band, drama) as groups or pages. III. Lessons Learned a. Be There i. Look for your school on Facebook. There‟s probably an unofficial page or two or… 1. Negative but harmless – watch the group/page. Users get bored and move elsewhere quickly. 2. Negative and harmful (libelous, dangerous to students) – contact Facebook. 3. Neutral or positive – Get connected with group/page admins. Join the groups/pages. Build bridges until one day they are tired of administering the group/page and you can step in. 4. Unofficial but vibrant can be better than official but artificial. ii. Stake a presence asap if no real presence on Facebook or other social media sites. iii. Save time/effort by recycling current, highly relevant content (photos, news, event invitations) both here and on school‟s Web site, e-mail, etc. Marketing with Social Media Page 2
  3. 3. b. Trust Them i. No one has died from a blog comment. ii. Don‟t just give spin. Constituents hunger for the real world. Proctor Academy‟s Chuck‟s Corner gives good, bad, ugly and admission/fund- raising numbers better than ever. iii. If one parent/alumnus complains, others may quickly chime in and prove your point better than you could as “the school”. iv. If lots of parents/alumni complain, they may have a very good point. c. Herd Cats i. Challenge: attract/engage parents/alumni/prospects on Facebook but drive them back to your school‟s site. ii. Why important? 1. Our customers need a place to share in the conversation and content (Facebook) 2. We need to capture meaningful data (donor history, current mailing address) and point customers to more substantive online tools (admission application, online giving form) iii. Step one: From School to Social Media 1. Add badges to your school‟s site. See lausanneschool.com/alumni or the “For Further Information” section below for examples/instructions. 2. Add a way for constituents to share your school‟s Web site content on their own social media pages. See lausanneschool.com (bottom banner) for finalsite‟s new Share This button which makes this a snap! 3. Constantly update your Facebook and other accounts (Twitter and LinkedIn are two other great starting points). Updates are viewable on personal profiles. 4. Let your community know about your Facebook presence (postcards? Announcements in newsletters? Facebook Ads?) 5. Add a pitch for your Facebook presence in your e-mail sig line. 6. Encourage your fans to share the page with others or to add their photos/videos/comments to the page. Viral marketing! iv. Step two: From Social Media to School 1. “In my life as a web content administrator, the key was always „drive traffic to the Web site.‟ That hasn‟t changed with social networking, but…now you are going where your audience already is. Then, when you begin interaction, you can entice them to visit your site for more goodies.” Laura Fawcett, Director of Communications, Fountain Valley School (Co.) 2. Tease fans/members with a little content on Facebook but put most content on your school‟s site. Someone famous came to campus? Add a few pics on Facebook but put most (especially those pics with alumni or students) on your site! Marketing with Social Media Page 3
  4. 4. 3. Look for ways within your school‟s site to open the conversation to constituents. Many school sites have the capability to host blogs, forums, even share content between group members. 4. Use what you have. Other than social media‟s relevance and usage, other sites (Nings) may just be one more step for constituents. Look at ways you can replicate that function in your School‟s site. d. Target Students i. Schools vary in their policies regarding student use of social media sites on/off campus. ii. Facebook policy – 13 and older iii. 75% of the admission decision is made by middle and high school students. iv. What are you saying to this wired and skeptical generation? v. Within your mission/policies, involve students in social media: 1. A Day in the Life – videos/photos taken by students in a given day. 2. Student-to-student groups/pages (within your school site or on “real” social media sites) a. American School of Bombay – Mumbai, India Older students connect with new students (usually transferred from across the world) b. Doris Weber High School – Atlanta, Georgia Admission picnic invite from high schoolers to rising 9th graders in area. 30% increase in attendance. e. Define Vision i. You have a marketing plan. Marketing to the Social Web‟s author Larry Weber argues that organizations need a digital vision, a long-term plan to create/maintain an online presence. ii. Don‟t start what you can‟t finish (so start small). iii. Tailor to your overall marketing goals and school mission. IV. In sum a. Consumers make decisions using not just traditional marketing messages but messages shared and created by their peers. b. Parents, alumni, students, even faculty use social media sites to connect with one another and share/publish content. c. Independent schools can and should provide authentic space and place for these conversations. d. Value-added nature of independent schools – we form meaningful relationships with our constituents in ways our public school peers cannot. e. In an uncertain economy, no better time to let go, listen and learn. Marketing with Social Media Page 4
  5. 5. V. For More Information a. Schools Using Social Media (just a few of the many, many across the world!). Tip: Facebook links are really icky…use the Search feature in Facebook to find these schools i. Kimball Union Academy – find them on Facebook! ii. Proctor Academy – www.proctoracademy.org (look for Chuck‟s Corner) iii. White Mountain School – find them on Facebook! iv. Urban School – www.urbanschool.org (click Alumni page to see badges in action) v. Northfield Mount Hermon School – 2000+ fans on their Facebook page vi. Lausanne Collegiate School – official school page plus alumni page on Facebook. b. Stuff to read. i. “Can You Hear Me Now? School Marketing and the Social Web” (Winter 2009) by Lorrie Jackson in Independent School Magazine (online at nais.org or in print) – more examples and tips from experts! Many, many thanks to those who contributed to this article. ii. Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business (2007), by Larry Weber. iii. The Impact of Facebook on Our Students (teaching/learning, not marketing, perspective) http://www.nais.org/resources/article.cfm?ItemNumber=151505 c. The Next Step Beyond: i. American School of Bombay‟s YouTube Channel! ii. Beaver Country Day‟s Twitter! d. How do I… i. Explain social media to others (or learn about it myself)? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpIOClX1jPE “Social Media in Plain English” – creative pen and paper animation on YouTube, easy-to-understand for all audiences. ii. Create my school’s Facebook presence? http://www.facebook.com/help.php iii. Add a badge to my Facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/promo_guidelines.php Good luck and please contact me as you explore the social media world! Lorrie Jackson ljackson@lausanneschool.com www.twitter.com/ljackson LinkedIn profile – LorrieJackson Marketing with Social Media Page 5