Social media marketing is a critical component for private schools and any school, frankly, where enrollment marketing is the focus.
Worldwide, the average social media 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.
Private school prospective families are on social media, where they are is ever-changing. Using social media to promote schools requires you to stay on top of trends as they happen, because falling off the curve makes it harder and harder to get back on.
So, you might be curious about where to focus your efforts.
We’ve got you covered!
Check out the latest social media marketing (SMM) trends for private school marketers, which should provide valuable insight in your efforts toward digital marketing for independent schools.
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 marketing allows schools to dialogue with prospects and gives them a unique opportunity to engage with your school. This two-way dynamic needs to be kept in mind for any digital marketing for independent schools, as you’re always at the mercy of your potential families’ opinions.
Wondering which social media platforms you need to reinvest in to partake in digital marketing for private schools properly and which ones are on the horizon?
Keep reading to discover the answer!
What TikTok can do for Your Digital Marketing Strategy 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. Using social media to promote schools can be fun and engaging for staff and students alike, especially when using TikTok.
Digital Marketing Strategy for Independent Schools: 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. Any opportunity to get exposure for your brand is something that should be looked into, and TikTok is no different.
Digital marketing for private schools, at its best, reaches out to potential families through every channel they regularly use.
The Power of Snapchat in Digital Marketing Strategy for Schools
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 social media 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 Social Media Marketing Methods For Schools
Digital marketing for your private 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. Each of these methods can be valuable in the right context, so when you create the plan for digital marketing for your independent schools, give each of these paths some thought and see what blend of them works best for you. Influencers can exponentially increase your returns when using social media to promote schools, but it’s important to select the right influencer to do so.
Reignite Your Instagram For Private School Digital 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. This means that short-form video content, as part of your digital marketing for private schools strategy, can be re-used across platforms with similar content types. TikTok videos can be repurposed into Instagram Reels, and vice versa.
Getting “Reel” with Instagram
What should your private school’s social media 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.
While an increasingly overused term, authentic content produced by students and teachers, particularly when done together, emotes the importance of the teacher/student connection.
You can seriously boost your recruitment efforts by putting the school’s personality on full display.
Twitter: Audio is the New Hotness
If you’ve abandoned Twitter as a digital marketing for independent schools tactic, it might be time to reset your password and fire it up. The short-form platform’s biggest user groups are right in line with the ages of most private school parents. Plus, it continues to be very popular in Asia, which is a prime recruiting area for most boarding schools.
Twitter has recently introduced a new audio chatroom feature known as Twitter Spaces that offers a compelling avenue to communicate with future families.
Twitter is making a Bigger “Space” for Schools
The idea of Twitter Spaces may seem old-fashioned. When you get right down to it is the equivalent of a group phone call.
We like Spaces for your social media school marketing tactics because it’s new, unique, and takes Zoom Fatigue out of the equation. Use it to answer questions about the admission process, new programs, interview teachers, and more.
The reason schools may skip Spaces for their digital marketing is the reason we like it: listeners can be anonymous, and anyone can access your Space.
Parents like to do their homework without directly connecting with a school. By allowing them an anonymous deeper look into your school, they can make a more informed decision on whether to apply or not. In the long run, this also saves your admission folks time.
Independent & Boarding School Trends: Moving at Light Speed
Independent schools historically move slowly with the trends. But as the trends come and go faster and faster, schools need to discover, assess, and create a social media platform strategy if the platform meshes with their ethos. Digital marketing strategy for schools is always evolving, as new platforms emerge ever year and new trends emerge every day.
Here at Truth Tree, we always have our eye on the future of digital marketing strategy for schools and what platforms, apps, and trends will keep you relevant and attractive to prospective families.
To see what we can do for your school, reach out today.