Recently on our Facebook page at Salisbury School, we posted a simple text link to our annual fund appeal and the post went viral. If only. We learned the hard way that you can’t do the hard sell on social media. The challenge is to produce social media content that gives the audience what they want and somehow forwards the agenda of, let’s face it, two of the most important constituents a school web marketer has…admissions and development.
Without a strong admissions department, there are no students…without a strong development team there is no money. So where to start?
The key is selling the experience of the school. Not a rote list of events but real people, real stories, real experiences. You want to produce content that hits home with the current students but also hit home with prospective students and alumni. A bland post about a blood drive at school next Wednesday is nice, but you know what is better?… A video of the class president interviewing faculty and other students on why they donate. You’ll be amazed at the kind of engaging content that can be created by just being around campus…at a school meeting, chapel service or in the dining hall…always with a camera and camcorder in hand.
So big deal…you create the above post about the blood drive and you get a few hundred likes and a few “atta boys” in the comments. How can you make this engagement useful? From an admissions perspective, posts like these, showing the various aspects of life on campus, in and of itself forwards the admissions agenda.
Showing your school’s unique campus life is an effective way to give prospective students a flavor of life at your school.
But what about development?…how can you use alumni and parent engagement on your social media channels to aid the development effort? One way is to take every like or comment as an opportunity to reach out and just talk. No hard sell. Just comment back to the person making the comment, thanking them for their comment, inviting them back to an important event or take it off your page and message them to see what’s new and exciting in their life. The fact is most people want to be engaged and taking it to a personal level gives them a sense of being cared for. People who feel cared for are probably better prospects for your development team.
Social media is an engagement tool…not a bulletin board. Make sure to use it as one.
picture courtesy of salisbury school