How to quickly grow your school’s social media followers

You may have heard the phrase repeated over and over in the real estate game, ‘Location! Location! Location!’ – well, for social media we say ‘Content! Content! Content!’ Follow these helpful tips to build your social media presence and quickly grow your school’s social media followers.

1. Set SMART goals
SMART goals are an age old classic and should be determined prior to doing anything else. By setting smart goals you understand where you are, and where you want to be, and then you will hopefully figure out how to get there. SMART goals need to be (of course it’s an acronym) Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. For example; “I want to create and post content to Facebook; at least twice per day to achieve a 100 percent increase in average likes per post, within the next three weeks!” Monitor your goals, measure the outcome, recalibrate and reiterate for the next duration of time. Rinse and repeat.

2. Identify your audience
Fortunately, as a school you are already surrounded by plenty of heavily engaged audience members. Your school community, your students, your teachers, your parents and carers. This is your core audience, and you should know them. Create buyer personas, or audience profiles. Speak to those in your current audience and speak with those who you would like to target, understand them as best you can, profile them. Remember, your audience is not restricted to those already involved at your campus, your potential audience can be students and children, teachers and parents the world over – you are raising the next generation of world leaders, why not aim for a global reach?

3. Identify your voice
After finding out who your audience is, determine how you want to interact with them on social media to build your following. As a school it would depend on which platforms you choose to utilise as a soapbox; Twitter and Instagram often have more relatability to the tone. Make sure when sharing content, that it supports your school’s goals – these could be thought leadership, brand awareness, or even increasing awareness of a new teaching or coaching method. Know where your school stands on topics and issues and highlight those values through your messaging. Don’t forget to stay fresh!

4. Build relationships and interact
Answer questions and respond to feedback. Offer excellent customer service and audience satisfaction. Involve people in doing social good. Remember to have fun. Keep in mind all of the above when interacting with your audience, know your voice and don’t fear negative feedback, rather, fear a lack of interaction!

5. Create an editorial calendar
Make sure to include important dates for your school. This may range from significant assemblies, student achievements, milestones and inter-school sport events. Creating an editorial calendar will allow you to plan content for those dates and ensure that you have content going out. Organise content via themes that you have identified as important to building your relationships with your audience. Know what content resonates with your audience; what gets the most likes, comments, shares and views – find out what content engages your audience. Make sure to follow the Pareto principal for content creation; 80 percent of your content should be helpful – 20 percent should sell your school; follow this rule to quickly grow your school’s social media following.

6. Execute and educate, always help your audience
Once you have identified your SMART goals, build buyer/audience personas to understand the type of content you need to create using your own voice, established connections within your space or ‘Twittersphere’ and engaged in a conversation, and after you have created a calendar… Execute! Go out and do it! Create remarkable content that your audience wants to see, read and hear. Be in front of them when and where they want you to be. To quickly grow your following, provide relevant and helpful content, build trust between you and your audience, answer their questions and inform them as best you can.

7. Make it visual
Take full advantage of the eyeballs looking at screens and give them something visual to look at. Text is fine but with the ability to serve up memes, photos, video, infographics and all sorts of visually gratifying content has never been easier. Content with images and video attracts more viewers to click through to your content offer.

8. Stay active!
Remember to constantly update your content calendar and post frequently. Your audience will expect to see content being delivered at a consistent and frequent rate, and will become disappointed if their expectations are not met. So, do what you do best, and create and post your remarkable content to promote your school’s views and help your audience by providing free thought leadership. Each social media network is different, and there isn’t a magic number of tweets or Facebook posts that will guarantee engaged audience members. It is a matter of trial and error – just stay active, post frequently and consistently. Even letting your audience know when and what you expect to post, acts as a helpful post in itself!

9. Track trending topics
The best place to find news on schools and education in the media, is on social media. Start by creating a stream on Twitter with popular hashtags relevant to education globally and locally. Create a Google alert for specific keywords. Avoid using keyword terms that are too general, as you will quickly be inundated with a stream of unwanted posts and news items. Then create brilliant, helpful and needed content on what is relevant and trending for your school.

When employing these tips, your school’s social media becomes a valuable engagement tool for building your school’s brand, creating awareness, and promoting conversation to convert prospective parents to customers. Be sure to maintain your school’s voice when interacting through social media and always create helpful content.

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