Essential social media guidelines for your school

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Social media is a broad topic, and an important cornerstone in marketing. Let’s look at some practical but essential social media guidelines for your school.

But first…
We cannot stress the importance of knowing your audience, planning your strategy and understanding the platform enough. In this post, we will refer to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep it from becoming too general.

Imagery guidelines
Always ask for permission by way of a media release consent form and only use images that you have the license to use. Sorry — most Google images don’t fit that category. For free stock images and videos, try Pixabay, Pexels or make your own branded images on Canva. Check out this great blog from Hootsuite for a current reference guide on image sizes for all platforms. Just remember that specifications change from time to time and you may need to keep an eye on updates. Here are a few platform specific things to keep in mind:

  • Instagram is a visual-centric platform. More images, less copy. Aim to create beautiful, visually pleasing images here.
  • Facebook is a storytelling platform. With this in mind, make sure that your imagery is not ‘salesy’ or disconnected with the copy that accompanies it. Although not as visual as Instagram, it’s vital to choose images that are eye-catching and strengthen your brand.
  • Twitter is more about the copy and conversation, rather than the imagery. However, relevant and engaging imagery can really improve interaction with your tweets.

Copy guidelines
Social media is, well – social. Always speak one-on-one to your audience and make it personable. Should you use hashtags and emojis, or tag people? The options for how your school communicates are endless, and it really depends on your audience and what they respond positively to. A word of warning on the use of emojis and hashtags — make sure you understand the cultural meaning and symbolism of these social media conventions. If you are joining a Twitter conversation about a Q&A episode, then using ‪#QandA‬‬‬‬‬ is perfectly appropriate. However, mistaking the ‘tears of joy’ laughing emoji for tears of sadness could be embarrassing or even detrimental for your brand. To complicate things, some emoji meanings change over time and mean different things in different cultures. Let’s get platform specific:

  • Keep copy to a minimum on Facebook and tell a story.
  • You have 140 characters on Twitter so use them wisely, and don’t be afraid to turn a word into a hashtag. For example: “Year 7 #enrolments now open for 2018”. Be economical with your character use by shortening links using a link shortener like www.bitly.com.
  • It’s okay to be hashtag happy on Instagram if it’s appropriate for your school brand. This is where your brand tone of voice is important. Emojis are also more common to the platform if – you guessed it – it’s appropriate for your school brand.

Bookmark this page for an in-depth guide on the optimal post length for different platforms.

A last word
If you need some inspiration, keep an eye on what other brands are doing, and take a look at your competitors. Social media changes constantly so the key is to use the platforms regularly yourself to stay on top of the changes. Have a plan, and revisit it frequently to stay aligned with your school’s objectives.

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