Planning for Social Media Marketing Campaigns & Using LinkedIn
If you’ve been following my blog over the past couple of months, you’ll know that I’ve been involved in helping schools with their social media marketing. I was invited in May to speak about social media at the 2012 AMDIS Conference – the annual conference of The Association for Marketing and Development in Independent Schools.
More information here:
I’ve since received a number of different enquiries about social media marketing for schools, in terms of how to use the various different social media platforms. Many of you commented that you found my 20 Ideas for Social Media Activities really useful.
Schools often don’t have time to read detailed social media strategy and technology advice, and instead prefer practical tips for quick wins. For this reason, I’ve put together a two-part blog, listing 20 Social Media Marketing Tips and Ideas for Schools, across some of the major social media marketing channels: LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
The first part of this blog covers tips and ideas on social media marketing planning for schools, and also some tips and ideas on how schools can use LinkedIn.
I hope you find this list useful – please do share your comments at the end!
Social Media Marketing Planning
Without getting too bogged down in detail that you don’t have time for, some basic planning before you embark on a social media campaign for your school will help you to streamline your activities and avoid wasted time or costly PR mistakes later on.
(1) Create a Social Media Policy for your School
Before you begin encouraging staff to use social media to help promote the school, I strongly advise setting some boundaries on social media use. Staff will also probably appreciate some guidance on how to use social media properly, as many may not be familiar with it. This Tips for Creating an Employee Social Media Policy document by Northern Lights PR is a good starting point.
(2) Set some Basic Social Media Marketing Objectives for your School
If your school already has brand values/a school ethos, and a marketing plan (for profile building and student recruitment), then simply take the key objectives from those documents, and create some Social Media Objectives for your school. Social Media Objectives should compliment and contribute to your school’s general Marketing Objectives, not run separate to them.
(3) Offer Basic Social Media Training for Employees
Following on from point (1), offer basic social media training to your staff. Not only will it equip them with enough knowledge to assist the school in its new social media marketing, it will also help them to understand what students are talking about when classroom conversations turn to ‘Pokes’, Trending Topics and #hashtags!
(4) Set up a School LinkedIn Profile
Schools should view LinkedIn like a company page. You can set your school up on there, with a ‘Company Profile.’ Fill out as many of the boxes as possible, as this is great not only for reader information, but for SEO too.
(5) Suggest that Key Staff Members set up an individual LinkedIn Profile
All the staff and teachers at your school can be on LinkedIn as employees. This will help promote the school and assist them with networking and keeping up to date with education industry news.
(6) Set up a School Business Group on LinkedIn
A great example of this is Grammar School at Leeds, which has started a business networking group for parents, former pupils, and associates in the business community. They host events at the school and utilise LinkedIn to keep conversations going, create a buzz, to keep people informed of what’s coming up next, and to get ideas of what else the “community” would find useful. Suddenly the school becomes a business resource to the business community, which obviously helps with word of mouth marketing, raising the school profile and reinforcing the school brand.
(7) Set up a Parents Group for each Year Group at your School
Ask representatives from your Parent-Teacher Committee or PTA group to set up a Parents Group on LinkedIn for each Year Group at your School. Parents could use the group to discuss everything from help with homework and where to buy school uniform, to university applications and arranging meet-ups or socials. Speak to parents to find out who is already on LinkedIn and ask them to manage the group for you.
My next blog will look at Social Media Marketing for Schools using Facebook and Twitter.
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