Updated: Jan 17
Trevor Waddington, Principal, Truth Tree
Worldwide, the average user spends 2 hours and 25 minutes on social media every day. And 11 new people start using social media every second. Yep, you read that right.
Your prospective families are on social media and with the new year right around the corner, you might be curious where to focus your efforts. We've got you covered! Check out the latest social media marketing (SMM) trends for private school marketers.
Private School Marketing Trends: Social Media
Social media is where disruptive discovery happens. It's where you can retarget and remarket to private school searchers. It's also where your independent school can carve out a niche and reach new audiences ahead of the crowd. And, while traditional marketing is one-way with no interaction, social media allows schools to dialogue with prospects and gives them a unique opportunity to engage with your school.
Wondering which social media platforms you need to reinvest in and which ones are on the horizon? Keep reading to discover the answer!
What TikTok can do for Your Private School
Initially, TikTok seems simple enough. You create video content—preferably short and entertaining content—and then upload it.
However, TikTok offers several ways for you to invite others to participate in the fun. And by doing so, you can transform the average TikTok user into a brand ambassador for your school.
Private School Marketing TikTok Tips and Tricks
TikTok is filled with users creating and participating in various video challenges. Your school can create content involving existing challenges or start a new one. This content, combined with the right hashtag, can help you gain hundreds or even thousands of unique views.
TikTok also offers a "duet" feature where other people can upload videos interacting with the original video. For example, you can upload a video of a faculty or staff is dramatically lip-synching part of a song, and someone else can upload a duet where they are lip-synching along as the backup chorus.
Faculty and staff should be promoting the school (remember everyone at your school is in marketing🤨😉), so when you involve students, parents, and even alumni, school spirit can skyrocket.
Chances are, most of your students and recent grads are already using TikTok. But guess what, so are a lot of your younger parents. Don't be afraid to ask people in the constituent groups above to help you create content. If it's done right, you can gain valuable brand attention with students who are leading their private school search.
The Power of Snapchat
Out of all the social media platforms on this list, Snapchat may be the quirkiest platform for private school marketing. That's because it is not designed to create permanent or long-lasting content. The idea is, you upload photos, text, video, and stories that someone can no longer access after they first click on your content.
Students love this kind of content because it is ephemeral. Much like live broadcasts, Snapchat content creates Fomo because nobody wants to be the only person in their peer group who missed out on something cool!
Snapchat Marketing Methods For Schools
Marketing your school via Snapchat requires a blend of strategies.
The most basic is to take out ads on Snapchat. You can create 10-second vertical videos for users on the platform, and this content can easily promote your school to potential students and their parents.
You can also get creative with a sponsored lens. These lenses are how users send chats where their faces look like dogs or cats, have borders around the lens, and many more. Just imagine a lens where potential students can see themselves in front of a landmark on your campus or even wearing a graduation hat...maybe even with dog ears 😉.
One additional consideration is partnering with a Snapchat influencer. When someone has enough followers, even a brief mention of your school may provide more visibility than the school has seen.
Reignite Your Instagram For School Marketing
Your independent school has an Instagram account. (If not, make one now!). In reality, your school probably has a few official ones and a few you wish didn't exist.
IG has the biggest combined audience of potential students and parents. 67% of American millennials have an Instagram account. Ads and organic posts will be noticed by both students and parents.
Last year, IG introduced a new feature called Instagram Reels. This feature functions much like TikTok, allowing users to upload brief, entertaining videos for their followers to consume.
Getting "Reel" with Instagram
What should your private school's marketing department post to Instagram Reels? Some of the same strategies you use for TikTok.
For example, it's okay to upload things like video tours of the campus and videos that highlight your athletics and extracurriculars. But what students and parents really want to see is the human side of your brand and ethos.