“For the last 50 years, companies used large amounts of money to efficiently interrupt their way into businesses and consumer’s wallets using outbound marketing techniques.The outbound marketing era is over. The next 50 years will be the era of inbound marketing.” Halligan, Shah and Scott, Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs
What’s different today? The places we advertise The world wide web The desire for authenticity The power of referral in an online world The world of social media The need to be in a conversation The importance of creating remarkable content
Some School Marketing Observations We often take a shotgun approach to marketing. We have a plan for improving our school but don’t have a marketing and social media plan for growth. School brand and website looks like it was created by the previous administrator at your school Schools are afraid of jumping into social media outlets
What are the top two ways that parents find out about your school?
Top Two Sourcesn Word-of-Mouth - Consistently ranks as the number one way families hear about your school.n Online- The first place a parent looks when they hear about your school.
Website A Tool … Your website is your most important marketing and communication tool for your school. Prospective parents … will research schools first online and continually go back for more information. First Impression … It is critical for your school to have a first-class website and an online presence!
Key Elements of Website Design Brand—It is important to convey a strong brand for your school—including your logo, colors, and tagline. Photos—Large, professional photos on the home page will draw the visitor to your school. Content—Dynamic content and a compelling message is important to keep users returning to your school’s website.
Social MediaNext, let’s visit social media outlets for your school . . .
Why Schools Should Use Social Media Cost effective Easily accessible Computer via the Internet Mobile devices (i.e. cell phones) Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants Everyone seems to be using social media, so why not tap into this resource? Control You determine amount and types of information disseminated – don’t have to wait for an article to come out
Why Use Social Media? Reaches different audiences Encourages participation, conversation Builds new connections (possible donors?) Provides more ways to tell your story Serves as early warning system Fuels word-of-mouth, viral PR If you don’t, someone else will (referral search)
What should you communicate? Events School Closings Meetings Live scores/updates from athletic contests Weather Emergency information Student honors Staff accomplishments Direct traffic to your website and/or other media outlets Generate donations for special events
Microblogging Enables its users to send and read text-based posts of up to 140 characters known as “tweets”. Link to cell phone You can use Twitter to notify your followers of new blog posts or Facebook updates. To create an account, go to www.twitter.com/signup and fill out the online form. Tweet once per day!
http://www.edsocialmedia.com/2012/01/twitter-hashtags-for-independ by Brendan Schneider #ismarketing –issues related to all things marketing at independent schools including SEO, inbound marketing, etc… #isadmission –issues related to all things specific to the admission process at independent schools. #isfinaid –issues related to all things specific to the financial aid process at independent schools. #isalumni –issues related to all things specific to alumni offices at independent schools. #isfundraising –issues related to all things specific to fund raising and development at independent schools. #isedchat - topics related to independent school teaching, learning, and sharing. #indyschool –general issues related to independent schools not covered by the above hashtags. #isathletics –topics related to all this specific to independent school athletics.
Blog “A website usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video.” Wikipedia “A blog is just a website. But it’s a special kind of site that is created and monitored by a person who is passionate about a subject and wants to tell the world about his or her area of expertise.” David Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR
PiBlogs Typically posted on your school’s website and may contain categories such as Alumni, Parents, Events, etc. Use the Alumni category of your blog to build your online community and interest among your alumni. Feature “Then and Now” articles on prominent alumni. Discuss accomplishments of your current students and successes of your school.- Post video once per week. People want to be a part of a winning team Promote social events among alumni. Inform them of upcoming fundraising campaigns and how you are investing their gifts to improve the school. Then update your Facebook fan page with links to each
WORDPRESS PiWordPress WordPress is the largest self-hosted blogging tool and publishing platform in the world - FREE Features include: Search engine-friendly structure Comment management Spam protection Full user registration system Many website content management solutions have built in blog functionality. Check with your webmaster. To download WordPress, go to www.wordpress.org
PiFlickr Flickr is an online photo-sharing tool owned by Yahoo! with 51 million registered members and 6 billion hosted images. The service is widely used by bloggers to host images that they imbed in blogs and social media. Features include: Enables users to upload, tag and comment on their photos and other users photos. Provides the ability to search photo tags and display the images. To download, go to www.flickr.com/signup, where you will first be prompted to create a Yahoo! account or log into an account that you already have. Invest in Flickr Pro for $25.
Facebook Facebook can be used to connect with alumni, parents and friends of your school. Facebook is the world’s leading social networking site, with more than 750 million active users. Approximately 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day. Your Facebook “Fan” page will serve as the foundation of your alumni’s online community. WordPress, Flickr and YouTube create or store content that is linked to the Facebook page, and Twitter directs traffic to the Facebook page. The goal of the page is to encourage your online community to interact with one another and remain connected and invested in your school.
PiFacebook continued . . . To create a Facebook “Fan” page: Go to www.facebook.com/pages. Select “+ Create Page”. Select Local Business of Place. Choose a category of Education and fill out the fields provided. For your Facebook Page name, spell out the complete name of your school to optimize search engine results. If you are going to have a unique page for alumni, append the school name with “alumni”. You cannot change the name of your Facebook Page later, so make sure that you do it right the first time.
FacebookFacebook is currently the leading social media site worldwide. Began in 2004 and has grown exponentially the last eight years More than 750 million active users 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day Average user has 130 friends Average user is connected to 60 pages, groups and events Average user creates 70 pieces of contact each month More than 100 million active users currently access Facebook through their mobile devices
Edge Rank in Facebook Your Facebook page is ranked just like your website using Edge Rank. Make sure it carries a lot of weight. Videos, photos and links carry the most weight. Text updates have the lowest weight. Upload videos directly to Facebook rather than just uploading to You Tube. Post photos of an album of a gala for instance. Ask people to share, comment and tag themselves in the photos. Links are lightest in terms of weight when looking at FB Edge Rank. With Weight – comments rank highest, then likes then reshares.
Edge Rank in Facebook Time Decay – amount of time that has passed between when you posted and last time someone commented on post. Fresh and frequent content are heavy players as to when your post is seen. How often to post? Studies show 3 times per day. Keep your stories fresh in people’s minds. The shelf life (or half life) of your post is about 3 -5 hours. Post different times of the day – morning, noon, afternoon. Some schedule posts in HootSuite, but Facebook docs those kinds of 3rd party applications – not good practice. Go directly to FB to post. Don’t schedule and go if you want to boost your EdgeRank.
How to Boost your Facebook Ranking? Give clear calls to action. “Happy Birthday to our Founder – Can anyone guess how old he would be if he were around today?” Clearly ask people to re share information. Content Rules suggests using Google Alerts to receive notifications when Google finds your school’s name in a new news story or blog post – then share!
PiYouTube You Tube is the World’s most popular and highly visited online video community, 3 billion user views per day – 2nd biggest search engine. It provides a free service that allows you to easily post, edit and store video on your “YouTube Channel”. You can then link the video to your website, blog or Facebook account. To create a YouTube Channel, go to www.youtube.com/create_account. The username you select will become your YouTube vanity URL, such as www.youtube.com/yourschoolname. It cannot be changed in the future so reserve wisely!
YouTube Share school accomplishments, retreat/trip updates Showcase student work, events, athletics For videos larger than 10 minutes, use Vimeo (also free) You don’t have to spend a lot of money producing a professional video! People don’t expect it today. Content is more important than polish with the younger generation. Link below describes how to feature your school’s video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug1dnlVEz5Y&feature=youtu.be
YouTube Use key words in the description of video To boost views – key words such as boarding schools, financial aid, private school, etc. Make use of tags. You Tube takes tags into account in its ranking. Map location and date stamp your video. Google YouTube key words – shows how often those key words are used in searches! Can also use Google Key Words tool. Do this anytime you post something on You Tube. Don’t forget to link video back to your website. Link FROM your web site as well pointing back to that You Tube page. Attaches search authority and builds momentum around viewership for your content. www.edsocialmedia.com
Best Practices for Schools Keep your dialogue professional Remember your role within the school community Think before you post to the internet (Digital footprint) Inform stakeholders on how you will utilize social media Update regularly (time well spent)
Prepare Parents for Social Media Let parents know in writing that you will be communication via Twitter and Facebook Give them detailed instructions on how to setup Twitter and Facebook accounts
How Do You Track you ROI for MarketingWith Social Media? “Return on investment (ROI) helps tremendously as we share what we’re doing with supervisors and as we evaluate our own time and manpower. After all, social media is one more thing on our plates; it had better be worth something.” http://lorriej.wordpress.com/
ROI – Recruiting Students Recruiting Students:2. What are the referring sites – how did prospective parents find your site? Google Analytics will help3. Ask them – have you visited our Facebook? What did you think? http://lorriej.wordpress.com/
ROI – Retaining Students1. Look at Page Insights – total visits, users by gender, age group, city – page interactions2. Consider total membership (total followers, subscribers, group members) http://lorriej.wordpress.com/
ROI – Retaining Students, cont.Encourage Participation! Create a hashtag for your most popular sports team (#goABCLionsFootball) and ask folks to retweet wins and other messages during the season. Create a cool Facebook profile picture with the auction logo and ask folks to donate their profile picture for a given week/ month to the auction to help promote it. Ask a direct question on Facebook such as, “Name a favorite teacher past or present and how he or she made a difference in your life” http://lorriej.wordpress.com/
ROI – When Raising Money Promote on Facebook, track in your database. Schools are getting new donors, young alumni who have never given, through fund-raising promotions on Facebook. Use Facebook to publicize your Annual Fund, Capital Campaign, and link folks back to online donation forms on your school’s Web site. Make giving online unique. Create unique e-mail addresses ( email@example.com) to track giving from online sources. Use URLs on Facebook, Linkedin, etc. that are unique to these sites: www.abcacademy.org/annualfund. Then track giving rates to these e-mails or URLs and compare to giving rates elsewhere. http://lorriej.wordpress.com/
Social Media How can an online presence make your staff’s jobs easier?
How to make staff’s jobs easier Use a Professional Content Management Company and/or website design Online Applications to streamline admissions process Direct interface with your SMS – eliminate duplicate entry!
Content Management Systems (CMS) Advantages of using content mgt. company such as School Site: Establishes consistency and uniformity in site design Easy for the end user to upload and edit content and photos You don’t have to be a web programmer to make changes to your site Flexibility for making navigational changes to the system Data integration with SMS
Website Integration with your SMS One point of entry for both Parents Web and School Website Online Applications which populate student database Online new family inquiries which populate student database Lunch menus Staff directory information from school database Calendar Announcements Donate Online
Benefits of Data Integration with SMS Paper application process is going away Put forth a professional front with online inquiry and application containing school’s brand Integrate it with your SMS to reduce data entry of applications Market to your prospects immediately! Simplifies completion of the application process for parents, resulting in more submitted applications and higher enrollments. Provides enhanced Admissions process tracking and funnel reporting – including dynamic email lists.
Online Application -Integrated RequestInformation Form Request Information page allows parents that are not ready to submit an application to contact the school. Configurable form allows school to select the information and data to collect, including Student Interests and Current School drawing upon User Defined lists in RenWeb. Submission of form generates a configurable thank you email to parent.
Online Application -Parents ReceiveCompletion Status Feedback Parents receive feedback on the status of completed forms. Green check marks indicate all required fields are completed. Yellow caution signs indicate required fields have not been completed. Left Menu displays for parents where they are in the application process.
Online Donations Donate Online is a tool that allows you to configure a micro-website or add a link to your existing website which allows individuals to donate to your school. Add Home Page details & graphics Create unique web pages that provide campaign details & graphics Tie the campaigns displayed on your website to campaigns & efforts in your donor fundraising software.
What to Watch for in the Near Future Google + - http://www.edsocialmedia.com/2011/08/google-in-schools-som Pinterest Pinterest draws more visitors to company websites than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn combined. Article: Why Schools Should Be Jumping on the Pinterest B Pinterest: What’s in it for You?
Summary Outbound Marketing Techniques – no longer effective Publish your school everywhere starting with website Facebook, Twitter and YouTube Your online presence should be a living breathing “hub” allowing interaction with parents/prospects and the school, not just a “static brochureware website” Make your staff’s jobs easier with a Content Management Service for website and Online Applications and Online Donations with SMS integration. COMPETE in today’s private school market with an online presence – build brand awareness among current families and prospective families.