Director of Advancement
Greenfield School, NC
Many educators and school professionals have apprehension about engaging in social media, but for schools looking to extend their marketing dollars, sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be valuable and FREE marketing tools. Keeping these websites updated can take as few as ten minutes a day, but will go a long way to help build community relationships and keep your parents, students and alumni informed and invested in your school. The beauty of this type of technology platform is that it has the flexibility and adaptability to conform to a school’s needs.
Today’s average private school family is very technologically savvy and is constantly “plugged-in.” Parents and students alike will log on to their Facebook pages several times every day, both to check the status of their friends and to post their own news. Many schools have Facebook pages, but unfortunately these sites are not updated daily or even regularly. The secret to success in using social media is to update or upload at least once a day.
The wonderful thing about Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is you can upload photos and videos, send reminders about sporting events and fundraisers, invite parents to Open Houses, and send invitations to events such as alumni gatherings. I use this social media forum to keep parents involved and tied more closely to the school community and mission. By posting all of the events happening in the school on a very regular basis I am allowing my families to see what is happening on campus. Missed the Christmas concert? Check out the post of pictures and YouTube video of the kids singing. Want to attract new families? Upload a two minute video with a student or faculty member talking about the wonderful programs at the school and ask your current parents to share them. I have found that pictures and videos attract the most interest, looks, likes, and shares, but the important thing is to keep the content new and updated. Allow checking your school’s social media page to become part of your community’s digital routine to get fresh news every day.
One of the most successful schools using Facebook as a free marketing tool is Sweet Briar College; their Facebook page has become an inspiration. In an effort to increase enrollment and inquiries, this all-girls’ college came up with specifically designed themes to give their audience information about the school every week. Their goal was to let people know what a Sweet Briar education entails. To read full articles on Sweet Briar’s success go to:
I like to use LinkedIn as a tool to keep my working alumni and parents updated, and I use Twitter to send quick reminders to families about current and upcoming events. All of these wonderful sites can be easily, quickly and daily updated through a social media manager. These managers allow you to manage multiple profiles and sites, pre-schedule tweets or events, and track your success without having to visit each site individually. The five most popular free social media managers are Seesmic, Digsby, TweetDeck, Socialite, and Hootsuite.
Social media is here to stay, with an estimated 85% to 90% of parents participating on these sites. Using the various social media sites to market our schools is not only free but very effective in keeping the school community engaged and invested in the school.