NCI_iced_teaNo sweet tea? In the South? I should have walked then and there. Instead I stayed and ate and regretted the whole thing. Everything from the fries to the sandwich tasted microwaved. Airport restaurants aren’t supposed to be gourmet but this was off the grid bad. I couldn’t just pay and walk away. I had to do something. I had to warn fellow travelers but how?


My first instinct, being geeky, was to write a poor review on a restaurant review site but could I warn enough people in time? Could I get the review up on enough of the many, many sites in this genre? Too much noise for my message to get through. I give up.


Noise can be a real problem online, for the amateur foodie and for the marketing staff at an independent school. Well-crafted and compelling messages on your school’s Web site and social media presence compete with millions of other messages out there, ranging from the inane to the profound to the disturbing and everything in between. How to be heard?


First, acknowledge that noise exists. Acknowledge that your audience will occasionally be distracted online by messages and sites not of your making. That’s okay. If you do the following, they’ll come back again and again after a temporary detour for hamsters playing piano or exploding soda or who knows what else.


Second, CROSS out noise as best you can with this easy-to-remember acronym:


Cross-promote your online presence
Keep reminding your audience that you’re on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or that your school’s site has a photo/video gallery updated weekly. Let us know where to look and listen through the noise.

Repeat your message
It’s okay to repeat yourself, promise. You’re not likely to become so repetitive as to become noise. More than likely, your audience is only checking a few of your many online presences so make sure your message is where they’re visiting. Tweet about your YouTube video that’s also linked on your Facebook page (thanks to a 3rd party app like

Online when they are
Timing is everything. Are you there when the audience is? Are you tweeting at the best time for your audience? Same thing with Facebook. Page fans will miss your page updates if you post at 1:00 a.m. and all their friends’ updates push yours below the fold, unless all your fans are night owls too!

Site Branding
Again, if your audience only visits a few of your online presences, shouldn’t they each presence reflect your school’s brand? Put your logo on your Facebook page. Use one of the many free online tools or a PowerPoint template to create a custom background on Twitter. Customize your background on your YouTube channel. All of these should reflect the look and feel of your school’s Web site.

Stellar Content
“Full of sound and fury/signifying nothing” wrote Shakespeare. Style means nothing without substance. Make sure your message is worth reading, hearing, viewing, etc. Pay attention to what you’re writing and why you’re writing it. What is your goal and what message does your audience want to hear right now? Not someday. Right now.

Noise happens. What are you doing to cut through it? Oh, and if you’re ever in a certain Southern airport looking for good eats, give me a shout. I might just save your stomach.


Lorrie Jackson

Lorrie Jackson

Client Success Manager at finalsite