Let us start from where it begins.
Which social media platform is the best for schools?
I can’t say there is one best social media for schools in Nigeria, but there is one way to find out the platforms that will be the most productive for you.
It is by finding out the platforms that both the parents and students are most active on. And then creating an account on those platforms to join them.
The idea for going on social media is to connect with your parents, both the current and potential ones, so then, it is only wise for you to have an account in the platforms they have accounts on.
You can find out the platforms they are most active on by carrying out a survey or interviewing them. Ask them what social media platforms they use plus when they are most active on the platforms.
You could also find out what kinds of content they’d love to see.
If I were to give out possible platforms that I think you can join in promoting your school based on the data I have.
I’d say Facebook (because this is the largest of all platforms, and it has almost all category of people having accounts on it), then LinkedIn, and Instagram. (YouTube, depending on your budget….this can be a great platform for engagement ).
Social Media Marketing is for Every business.
Its no secret that many Nigerian businesses are now embracing the use of social media for marketing and a lot of schools haven’t been left behind.
During my research, I came across some schools who were doing well in their social media campaigns, I also came across a couple of them that were quite poor in what they were doing and some many others that had no online presence at all.
If you’re reading this post, then you’re most likely looking for a way to promote your school using social media. And I’ll break down how you can do that effectively throughout this article.
Whether you own the school, or you work there, if you follow what you read in this article, you would see a great increase in your results with social media for marketing your school.
Social Media Marketing for schools in Nigeria.
Almost everybody is on social media, from your students to their parents and to your staff. You may also have some social media handles to your name.
This should tell you that its past the time already for you to take your school online, or for you to be intentional about your school’s online presence.
I assure you that over 95% of the students in your school are on social media. Except, your school is a Nursery and Primary school.
And even if it is, and your students are to young, you’ll agree with me that almost all their parents are already on social media.
That alone should be a reason for you to take it seriously. To help you more, let me highlight a few of the benefits of using social media to promote your school.
Having social media handles, and effective using them will help increase the quality of communication your school has with your parents and also with the students (depending on their age).
It’s well known that for the child to learn adequately, there is a need for parental involvement. Using social media to effectively communicate with parents so as to give them enlightening ways to support student learning is possible. Social media gives you the opportunity of receiving instant feedback from the parents and then you can measure your success.
You can also create a group on these platforms for the parents in your school, and then you share vital information with them, this is another means of communication.
Reaching new audiences
If you’re looking at getting new students enrolled in your school, social media is a very effective way to do that. You could get new students through a referral from satisfied parents, or from parents who although do not have their kids in your school, but see your social media posts and are pleased with what you do online.
The most guaranteed way to get a ton of new student enrolled using social media, is by running a digital marketing campaign on social media to increase enrollment, accompanied with proper targeting. This can get you a huge amount of new sign-ups.
A Stronger Community
A peculiar thing about social media is the community nature it is characterized by. Almost all industry segments have thriving communities for them, and schools are not left out.
With social media, you can create a strong online community of parents, students and teachers.
The main advantage of having a community is the relationships that comes with it.
This relationship is key to your success. A school with a strong community to it will always flourish
A Larger Public profile
One advantage of using social media is the ability for things to trend and go viral.
Having one content shared can increase the viewers of that content by above 500%. You can take advantage of this and always keep your school in the faces of people.
How to Use Social Media Marketing for Schools in Nigeria
In using social media for your school in Nigeria, First things first involves you having handles on the platforms of your choice.
Let’s say, you have decided to create an account on Facebook. Make sure your school’s profile is a Facebook page and not a personal profile. Then fill in every information needed on your Facebook page. Things like:
- About your school
- It’s location.
- Your school logo, and pictures of your students.
- Your contact information, and
- Add your website address. Etc.
When you’ve created the handles or if you already have handles on the various platforms that you want, going forward you’ll need to take the following steps I’ll be highlighting shortly.
But before then, I’ll like to state that having a website for your school is very important if you’ll be successful online. So get a website if you do not have one.
Now, let’s get to the steps to successfully use social media market your school in Nigeria, whether you’re the school owner or you manage the social media accounts for the school.
Create a Periodic Social Media Strategy for your school.
A strategy covers how you’ll be running everything that happens on your social media handle throughout the period you’ve set it to run for.
This means you create a step-step outline of what you want to achieve within a period of time, then you map-out how you’ll achieve it.
Things you need to have on your social media marketing strategy for your school.
I hope you like chess.
One thing about good chess players is their ability to think multiple steps ahead, and then move with a pre-conceived end in mind… This helps them be at alert from counter attacks for their opponent as well as increasing their chances of winning the game.
A god chess player will have already his moves up to 8 steps ahead mapped out in his head before making the first step. Your social media strategy should be something like that.
Know your first move, and follow up moves. Have a move that will cater to negative comments or reviews, don’t be taken unawares.
A good strategy will help you succeed online. Here is a list of things to take note of in your strategy.
“What exactly are you trying to achieve on social media within this period? What do you need to achieve this? How long will it take you to achieve it?”
These are a few of the questions you’ll need to ask yourself. Always make sure your goal setting follow the SMART way of setting goals, and when you’re done with setting the goal. You then map out a plan to achieve them.
Creating a plan.
When you have a goal, the next thing to go brainstorming on is how to get your goals accomplished.
For example, let’s say you have a goal of increasing the number of new students for a new term or semester or to increase the engagement levels of parents with your handle.
The next question should be how right?
First things you’ll have to take note of is:
The parent Personas
What this means is determining the kind of parent groups your school has. Knowing this also helps you choose the social media platform to join.
So you find the demographics of your parent group, their age-group, their motivations, goals, and Challenges, and then you can use this information to craft out content that will suit the parents and also help you achieve your goal.
Not having this is one of the mistakes many businesses including schools using the online space to market themselves make and know your audience will help you to craft out quality content these parents will value and engage with.
Your Parent persona can also include the income range of your parent and many other things.
Having this would help you create a valuable plan. This is because knowing your parents will help you craft out content that’ll help them engage. When they engage, you meet the goals you have set for yourself.
A thought just flashed through my mind. About how you might think “This is Nigeria, that many of this things are not important.”
Who cares about parent personas in Nigeria, who cares about having a strategy for social media in Nigeria?
Not a lot of people do, but then, since many do not care, wouldn’t you caring help you stand out?
Create an editorial/Content calendar
An editorial or content calendar is a document (An excel file or google docs) that shows all the content to be posted within to the social media handles you are active in over a period of time.
This will help to reduce the stress of having to think out content the morning you need to make a post, and it also helps to keep documentation well organized.
You won’t have to go through the whole last minute looking for content to share on your handles.
In a content calendar, you can include the following…
- The day/ date and Time
- The content you’ll be posting
- Which social media platform you’ll be posting it to.
- What hashtags you’ll include in the post.
- What links you’ll include
- Which image or video you will use if any
- What campaign the post will be going under. You might have different campaigns going on simultaneously. Say an awareness campaign for an upcoming event or a campaign to educate parents on a certain thing as regards their kids.
This is quite tricky because you might be wondering what should be the time-stamp for my editorial calendar.
This, however, should depend on you. You could go for weekly, monthly or quarterly. Whatever works for you.
If your school is one that has lots of activities happening in-between that might make it difficult for you to foresee all the activities important to be shared online within that period. You may want to consider a shorter calendar duration. Say a month.
The idea for your calendar is to help make using social media easy; sharing the valuable stuff your parent audience would find as meaningful, as well as making it a well-documented business process.
Your content calendar should be created in such a way that it meets your goals, and follows the plan you have created.
In your plan, you might cover how many posts you need to make per day, If you’ll need to contact any influencer to help increase the reach of any post.
What to Share as content on handles.
I’ll break down what you can share as content into three namely… original, curated and crowdsourced.
This is any content that you or your social media manager produces from scratch. Could be a blog post, photos for your school, or a video of a student or teacher in the classroom.
You can encourage students to write articles which you can publish as blog posts, and share on your social media handles.
Curating content means to share the content created by someone else. This is fast, common and less stressful.
Search out shareable content that your followers, both parents, and students will find helpful (Educative, or entertaining).
Then you can include your caption to encourage comments and engagements before sharing the content.
Be wise enough to refer to where or whoever you got the content from, this will help you stay away from the negative side of the internet.
This involves you getting content ideas and content from your followers (Parents, Students, Teachers).
This can increase your engagement levels by a huge margin because the content comes from your followers, and since they find the content relevant, they’ll gladly engage with it.
You can create content with questions such as pools for students or parents…. Suggestions for how to increase the productivity of the school.
The content you use is as important as how successful your school will be on social media, Check out this article on why content is the most important aspect of any business online.
Repurpose Your Content
To repurpose content is to convert it from one form to another. From text to an image, or to a video. You can use this strategy to boost your engagement and make a content re-usable.
You can convert an article written by your writer (Be it a student) into a video. Either recited or animated, with a voice over. Remember that social media is social, so let your creativity help you come up with different ways to convert one content format to another.
Research other schools.
Analyze what other schools who are successful on social media are doing, try to break it down, so you can model them.
You are not to copy them, rather, you’re to understand their strategy and the see if it fits your own. That way, you’ll know if modelling their’s or a part of it will be good for your school.
Social media analytics.
Learn to measure how far you’ve come to meeting your goals. Measure the important metrics using the social media insights each platform provides for you.
Depending on what you find, be it that you’re not meeting up or that you’re on track, re-strategize to get the results you want.
Incorporate social media strategies into your live events.
This should always be part of your strategy. Whatever the event is about, make putting it on social media a part of the publicity.
This shouldn’t only be for publicizing the event, even on the event day…. Spread the word out on what and what is going down there.
Steps to using social media for your event.
- Pick a short, evergreen hashtag.
- Integrate your hashtag into everything. On all your platforms, website, emails…broadcast it everywhere, weeks before the event and after
- Ask everyone to use it. Teachers, students…
- Take and share quality pictures and videos
Getting your staff on this and encouraging them to engage will boost the success of your event.
Teachers, parents, and students sharing this will increase the reach of your school. Giving you social proof of the quality education you offer.
Create a social media policy for your school.
A social media policy is a document that contains the code of conduct for your employees who make posts on social media, whether on their personal handles or on the handle of the school.
Simply encouraging your staff to join in promoting your school on social media is not enough. Before doing that, it is important that have your own social media policy so that they (your staff) know what boundaries exist to what they can post.
The main purpose for having this policy is so that you can avoid any legal problems or public humiliation from the post of one of your staff, whether the post was made on his/her personal handle or on the school’s page.
Your staff will appreciate a guideline for using social media properly so that they always put the school in the good light.
Also, make sure the person who handles your social media accounts is an expert and know what he/she is doing.
Look for someone who understands what you’re looking to achieve as a school and can think up strategies to help you reach those goals.
Having a Social Media Policy for your school is important, don’t overlook it.
It will help anybody handling your accounts know how to handle them based on your needs and values and also how to handle comments, especially negative comments
Train your staff about social media
Get your staff equipped with adequate knowledge about social media, so they too can assist with the school social media marketing.
This will help them understand how they fit into the whole picture of the school’s social media marketing, what they are expected to and not do.
This will also help them understand the school’s social media policy, communicate with students well as regards trending topics and hashtags, and also in handling their own personal handles properly.
Doing this will help bring all your staff together, and this collective effort will help reach your marketing goals quickly.
If you cannot carry this out yourself, get a social media expert to do this for you.
Social media best practices / Social Media Tips for Schools
Let me make a small list of some of the things you can do that’ll help you succeed faster on social media.
If you’re going to be successful online and on social media, you’ll have to put in efforts into it. Take it as part of your business.
Be active and consistent with your content. Don’t start at all if you cannot go all in. Hire a full-time social media manager or get a freelancer to help you with that.
Don’t be everywhere.
One of the disadvantages of having accounts in almost all social media account is that you will spread yourself too thin and then in your attempt to be everywhere, you’ll be nowhere.
Except you have a large marketing budget, and can comfortably control being on a number of this platforms and handle them properly, pick a few and be aggressive with them.
Share Students / School’s Progress
Incorporate into your social media strategies your students’ activities, school events, and achievements. Parents like to know that their kids are up to things worth it. However, I’ll advise not including the names of students in your content.
Have a social media marketing budget.
I have seen employers who want to see good results on social media but want the result without their them financially investing to get it.
Spoiler alert here, these social media platforms are also businesses, and if you’ll be very successful on them, you’ll have to put in some investments, else your progress will be slow. The snail-kinda-slow.
Moreover, Facebook specifically makes it very difficult for the post of pages to get to the news feed of their followers organically except these pages run Facebook ads or boost their well-performing posts or have a very large and engaging following.
Use very good and quality images and videos. This helps keep you relevant on social media.
Proactively to respond to controversy.
Do not delete, or ignore negative feedback. Address them and offer to get things clarified. Its bad ethics to delete or ignore the feedback.
Add social media posting as part of your contract when enrolling new students.
This is simply offering to the parent or wards of the student that their images or videos might be posted on social media, so they can either give their consent or not.
It won’t be ideal for you to post students picture online without the consent of their parents. For parent’s that do not accept, what you do is left to you.
You can decide to make them exceptions for the child or not accept them at all.
You can also take this opportunity to ask these parents who are enrolling their kids to follow you on your handles as a way to keep in touch.
- Don’t be Too Promotional.Finally, don’t be the school always screaming about how good you are, how the environment is the most suited for a student to learn. People get bored of always seeing stuff like that.Emphasis on always. Scream of your awesomeness when you can but prioritize sharing relevant stuff, and developing a strong relationship with your followers. you’ll see greater results with this kind of indirect selling. (or indirect screaming.)
At this point, You should be now well equipped to take your school to the next level on social media. Remember social media isn’t just for the laughs, use it properly and you’ll reap good results from it.
Drop a comment if you have any questions, and I’ll answer them as soon as I can.
Alexander Ubaka is the Founder and CEO of Topsocialbrand.com, A digital media company aimed at helping small businesses get succeed online. With a goal of getting these businesses better targeted leads, increased brand awareness, and a maximal use of every available digital for the growth of the business.
Connect with Alexander on LinkedIn