At some point along the way, you or someone on your team decided to buy into a social media strategy. For some time now, you might have been dabbling in the depths of the vast social media world, searching for the best thing to drive traffic to your sites and generate interest within your community. You’ve created and moderated the school’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, consistently uploaded videos to your YouTube channel and even ventured into live streams.
Many of us have tackled the social media realm with a plan, one that we hope continues to generate conversation about our schools and programs. Sure, more people are sharing stories about your school than ever before, but how often should you be publishing? Where are the best places to focus your time? Well, two friends in the social media community have taken the guesswork out of how to create compelling content, and they’ve written Content Rules (@thecontentrules) to show us how to do it. Lucky for us, authors Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman will be headlining an edSocialMedia seminar on May 3 at Babson College, demonstrating the best tips on how to create engaging information that speaks to your school’s constituents.
In Content Rules, Handley and Chapman illustrate the power of compelling content by sharing success stories and humorous case studies from small businesses across the country. Importantly, however, the examples through traditional businesses acknowledge the power that engaging content can have on the social media marketing strategies for schools. One of the most applicable sections for education comes in chapter five, outlaying a generalized publishing schedule that can be tailored to fit any school’s or business’s needs. Some of you might already be tackling your social channels with a strategy in mind, but here are some additional guidelines that Handley and Chapman have proven to be useful:
The book suggests creating a publishing schedule based on the numbers of 1-7-30-4-2-1. In part one, I’ve illustrated the book’s guidelines on how to integrate a publishing strategy into your daily (1) and weekly (7) schedule. In the next few days, I’ll share another similar article on how you can implement compelling content into your monthly (30), quarterly (4), semi-annual (2) and yearly (1) publishing schedules.
1 = Daily
● Tweet updates (and Facebook statuses) that offer something of value to your constituents:Share information about upcoming visit days, sporting events or exhibitions, or simply invite your readers to interact and share information. Social media forums are a great way to gain perspective from all groups at the school, just be sure to post something every single day.
● News items you read elsewhere that are relevant to your core content: Find articles written about your school or constituents in other places and share them with the community. Content Rules suggests using Google Alerts to receive notifications when Google finds your school’s name in a new news story or blog post.
● Responses to blog comments: This included responding to your own blog posts as well as other education or subject-specific blogs. You can also use this as a friendly reminder to respond to tweets and Facebook posts. The idea of social media is to engage, so be sure to facilitate the conversations. Also, if you have the time, this might be a good queue to post comments to other education industry blogs (like edSocialMedia!).
7 = Weekly
● At least one new blog post, two or three if you can manage it: Post blog stories about the events that are happening around school. I like to think of these posts as the daily news stories. What is happening around school that a parent or a prospective parent might be interested in? Did the Lacrosse team just beat the No. 1 school in the conference? Did the choir just win a regional competition? Share the juicy details about how the group was able to accomplish such a feat. Remember, you don’t have to create blog posts everyday: You can always create a backlog of evergreen pieces that can run at any point throughout the year in case you get too busy.
● A short video: Post a video to your blog at least once a week. Was there a compelling guest speaker in Business 101 today? Did the entire student body wear black and gold while singing the school’s fight song for a spirit day? Use these videos to capture an insider’s perspective to what happens at the school on a daily basis. Remember, you can always “reimagine” the content for a larger piece in the future (and vice versa).
● A how-to article: An instructional article is a great way to generate interest about a specific subject or sport at school. How about asking an art student to share an article about how to draw a still life? You can also use this guideline to prompt FAQ articles. Depending on the time of year (think Admissions), you should be able to tailor the FAQs specifically to certain constituents.
● Participate in related forums or groups: Think about all the discussion boards on LinkedIn, Facebook and/or blogs. Does your school do something exceptionally well? Have you taken a group abroad for 15 years and another school is looking to take its first voyage? Share your school’s expertise on these education-specific discussion threads.
● Update of your primary website: Don’t forget to update your school’s central hub of online content! With all your focus on your social media outlets, be sure to keep the main website fresh, too.
Does your school or organization do an exceptional job at creating dynamic content? Share with us the best examples of your dynamic social media content in the comment section below.