Does your school need to be on social media?
You didn’t have to think twice to answer that question, right? It’s become a given.
But after a while, social media can start feeling like a burden, another few items too often left uncrossed on that endless to do list. So maybe you don’t post as often. And then your engagement starts to slip. You start wondering if anyone is seeing what you post and if it would even make an impact if they did.
You start to unconsciously undervalue social media. Its negative reputation as a place of self-promotion, snapshots of last night’s dinner and time-draining BuzzFeed articles starts to make it feel silly. The pay-to-play reality that you face as a brand starts to be frustrating.
And all of this just sidetracks you from finding social media’s power as a marketing tool.
Social media is worthy of your time, thought and resources, and it deserves to be an integral part of your marketing strategy. But presence alone does not help build value for your school. You need to be engaging. Tuned in to what your students and prospective students want to hear. You need to share content that matters to them. And you need to do it consistently.
Sounds a little overwhelming, right? It doesn’t have to be.
Many schools have proved social media’s power, like this school who won over a student via a string of tweets. The stats back the anecdotes:
- 55% of college-bound students use Facebook as a way to check out a school. 1
- 66% of students think colleges and universities should have a presence on social media and 45% say a school’s use of social platforms has influenced their decision. 1
When students peruse your social accounts, they are doing more than looking at your latest tweet or post. They’re scrolling through your feed, getting a full view of who your school is: what you post about, how others interact with you and how you respond. This audience group is not simply encountering your posts in their feed by chance. They are taking a deeper look at your school’s social presence exclusively.
When you think of it that way, it becomes easier to see why everything you post matters.
A great social presence isn’t created once. It’s created over and over (and over) again.
Social media is the long game, one where the sum is greater than any of the parts. It means it might be weeks or months of consistently maintaining your presence with content tailored to your audience before you start to see a real impact.
Every marketer has struggled with what to post and how to get it all under control, so if you are feeling uninspired, you aren’t alone. We see clients struggling with this all the time (and yes, we’ve struggled with it ourselves!).
There are many ways to overcome the what-do-I-post and how-the-heck-do-I-find-the-time blues and start showing off your school’s vibrant community, impressive offerings and engaging personality. The key is to start doing things now that set your school up to succeed in the long term.
These are our 5 favorite simple ways to keep up your social presence.
Having a plan is one of the most important things you can do to ensure social media success. Create a social media editorial calendar for the month, and brainstorm with your team to map out every post on each network over the coming month.
By planning ahead, you can factor in important events, holidays, deadlines or other timely items you want to mention on social. You can also strategically spread out the type of content you post, so you don’t let loose a string of self-promotional content all at once, for example.
There will be always be unexpected items that come up during the month, but it becomes so much easier to handle those surprises when you have everything else under control.
Tools such as HootSuite and Buffer allow you to schedule posts to your social networks. That means your day full of back-to-back meetings is no excuse to fall silent. It also means you can plug in the items from your editorial calendar as soon as it’s finalized and get everything scheduled all at once. Game-changer, right?!
It isn’t completely hands off, though. To have a successful social presence you need to do more than rely only on a scheduling tool; you still need to monitor your social networks, reply to comments and engage with others on a daily basis.
Look around you.
What’s going on around campus? If you’ve recently won any awards or received any positive press, share it. Has a student or alum done something interesting or impressive? Share their accomplishment. Is there an event happening on campus? Let your audience know. These things make your school appear more personable (and often make quick, easy updates for you to share).
Keeping all your social accounts updated can be especially difficult if you aren’t in touch with folks outside of the marketing department. Avoid social silence by looking outside your team for content. Ask other departments around campus to send you relevant and interesting articles, news and campus buzz so you won’t be the only one with your ear to the ground.
Share old blog posts and articles from past newsletters—as long as the content is still relevant, it’s worthy of posting. Your audience could have missed it the first time around, or it could serve as a good refresher. If you have old content that is still great but might be outdated, try updating it. Even some of the most social media savvy people reuse their content. It’s not lazy, it’s resourceful.
When a solid strategy is the foundation of everything you do, and a consistent effort is built on top of it, you can start to build a presence that makes a real difference for your school. It doesn’t have to be a daily struggle.
Are you currently struggling to engage your audience? Learn more about how we can help you create and share content your audience will love.
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