Wednesday, June 13, 2018

10 Simple Things You Can Do This Summer to Improve Your District Marketing [2018 Edition]

I have said it once, I will say it again... In school communications, there is no summer break. It is vital you keep spreading the great stories that make your district great. Summer is the time to hustle.

Summer is also a great time to do simple projects to improve your marketing.  It can be hard to get motivated during the lazy months of summer, but it is also the best time to be motivated. Most district are quiet during June and July.

Here are 10 simple things you can do this summer to improve your marketing, communications, and school public relations for your district:


10 Simple Things You Can Do This Summer


1. Spice Up Your YouTube Videos 

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. Millions of videos with billions of views. If any of you have children, you know how much time they spend on the platform. And to capture those eyeballs, you can't simply post your videos and hope for your audience to show up.

There are certain things you can do this summer to boost audience engagement on YouTube:

Create Custom Thumbnails for Your Videos - Larger Font and Creative Pics can make your videos standout while people skim your channel. We are creating thumbnails for all of our past and future videos on our YouTube page.


Add End Screens to Your Videos - Hopefully your district has mastered the art of storytelling and your audience is watching all of your video. A great way to boost engagement is to create an end screen to encourage people to watch more videos or subscribe to your YouTube channel.


Fine Tune Your Video Description - We always have a unique description of our videos in the first two paragraphs of our uploaded descriptions, but for the last couple of weeks we have added more to our description. We are encourage people to view our website, subscribe to our channel, like our social media platforms and much, much more.



2. Update Your Facebook Cover Page at Least Five Times

Is your social media manager on summer break? I hope that is not the case, but their are simple options to let you audience know you are still there. Take an hour this summer to create five original Facebook cover photos to change throughout the summer.

According to Hubspot, optimize your cover photo for the right dimensions: 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall for desktop, 640 pixels wide by 360 pixels tall for mobile. If your uploaded image is smaller than these dimensions, Facebook will stretch it to fit -- making it look blurry



3. Create Four Informational “Back to School” Videos

Some of best videos of the year are the informational "Back to School" videos we create for parents. We listen to our parent's most asked questions and create videos to answer the questions. They are short. They are sweet. And they produce big results.

You don't need anything fancy.  Just bust out your iphone and record a stand-up.



4. Build Your Instagram Presence

Take a day and go through all of the pictures you took during the school year. Choose engaging photos that tell a story. Close-ups are the best.

Now, choose 60 of your best photos from a wide-range of schools and programs. Take those photos and post one per day during the summer. Add a filter and make sure to write a funny description with plenty of hashtags that relate to the image. Here are some extra tips for Instagram posting:

How to Boost Engagement on Instagram with an Easy Hashtag Hack
How to Increase Your Instagram Followers Using Seven Simple Techniques


 5. Create at Least One Facebook Ad

If you are not already creating Facebook ads... please start now. For Return on Investment, they are the best bang for your buck. If you are scared, just Google Facebook Ads and thousands of tips and tricks will pop-up. If you need additional help, watch my presentation here:

How to Boost District Enrollment Using Facebook Ads


6. Contact Five Principals About a Story

Summer might be a slow when it comes to stories, but it does not have to. Before your principals go on vacation, ask them about interesting things their staff and students are doing this summer. One year when we did this, we found out one of our teachers worked at the Dallas Zoo taking care of animals. It was a great story.

Your teachers and students are doing interesting things this summer. Become a reporter and seek these stories. The best contacts to have are your principals. hey know their staff and students.



7. Schedule a Snapchat Geo Filter for the First Day of School

Some of you might be scared of Snapchat, Instagram and Snapchat are the big players with your students. It's probably a good idea to learn about the platforms if you are not already on them. The good news is that there is a way to play with Snapchat without having an active account.

Introducing Snapchat Geo Filters. You might have seen your students and children play with filters on their own accounts. They are basically layers that you can put over a picture they have taken. Although Snapchat puts limits on what you can create (logos always get flagged for us) it's a great way to interact and engage your students on the platform.

 Create Your Own Snapchat Geofilters and Lenses



8. Install Google Analytics on Your Website

I have mentioned this a million times on this blog, but it needs repeating... USE GOOGLE ANALYTICS!!! In the world of digital marketing, the great advantage is being able to easily track and analyze analytics from your district and school websites. It is very easy to install and operate.

I would also encourage you to browse their Dashboard Gallery where you can fine many professional dashboard that gives you great insight into your web data.



9. Rank Your Top 10 Posts on Facebook from Last Year

Don't let the critics fool you... the best social media platform for public education to engage parents is still Facebook. With 2 Billion active users it is a gold mine to interact with 25 to 55 year olds.

As long as people take trips, have kids, go to T-Ball games and go to class reunions, Facebook will be very popular. It is the best hub to interact with friends and family, which means people will gravitate to it. Take advantage of the platform. See what is working on your page.

Rank your top 10 posts from the 2017 - 2018 school and figure out what resonated with your audience. Was it a catchy headline? Was it an awesome picture or video? Was it a theme or topic? Use that knowledge and create more of that for next year.



10. Just Say Hi Sometimes

Not ever post on your social media has to have a marketing motive. It's okay just to say "Hello" or "Good morning" Have a conversation. Build connections with your audience.

Conclusion 

 

Summer is here. Don't let it pass you by.  Turn your lazy summer into a crazy marketing summer.

Use these 10 simple marketing tips to get things moving in the right direction for your district next school year. Summer is the best time of the year to get ahead of your competition.

I would love for you to share this article and subscribe to my newsletter. A revamped newsletter is heading your way in the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

How to Increase Your Instagram Followers Using Seven Simple Techniques

Do you want to add more meaningful followers to your Instagram account?

Wondering the best way to add followers that are not spam accounts?

In this article, you’ll discover How to Increase Your Instagram Followers Using Seven Simple Techniques.



Why Instagram is Important for Your District?


Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms of all time. Thirty-Two percent of all internet users are using Instagram daily basis. According to the OmniCore Agency, Instagram has over 800 million monthly users with 95 million photos uploaded per day.

Instagram’s user demographics skew very young. Seventeen percent of teens say Instagram is the most important social media site they use. This is awesome for a district looking for ways to interact with their students and young parents in their district.

This is why it is critical for a district to embrace Instagram and start concentrating on building their audience on the platform.

Simple Tips for Building Your Audience


Building your audience on Instagram is important, but you need to make sure it is the right audience. Follower numbers do not matter if they are not the right audience.

Here are seven simple tips to build a meaningful audience you want engaging with your posts.

1. Instagram Takeover by a Student Group


Let's face it, most students don't trust a social media account run by central administration. We are everything wrong with social media in their eyes. The only way we are going to gain their trust at first is if we give them the keys to the kingdom. Let them takeover over our social media.


We allowed a drill team from one of our high schools takeover our Instagram account during the day before the big homecoming football game, and we increased our followers by 500 people in 24 hours.

During the day, the girls posted behind the scenes photos and videos as they prepared for homecoming. Their posts were authentic. Their posts were real, and so were our new followers.


2. Interacting with School and Program Hashtags


Hashtags are the lifeblood of Instagram. The pound symbol has a lot of power on the platform. To be discovered, you need to use and interact with hashtags all the time. The secret to doing that correctly is all about "social listening."

Be aware of the hashtags that are driving your audiences content. Spy on Instagram accounts of clubs, schools, student groups, athletic teams and other organizations in your district. What hashtags are they using? In what circumstances are they using them?


Become an expert of what is trending in your district and your city, and then use those hashtags in your own posts. But that is just the first step. To take it to the next level, click on the hashtag and interact using comments or likes on other posts that are using the hashtags.


A like can be a powerful thing. When you like someones post or write a positive comment on their post, they are more likely to do the same with you. And better yet, they are more likley to follow your account.

3. Tagging Users in Your Pictures


Did you know that you can tag up to 20 people or Instagram accounts to a picture you post? When you share a picture with an organization or school that has an Instagram account tag them. This will show the person you tag that they are included in your post.

People love to be recognized... especially on social media. Being seen is the ultimate goal for most people on the Instagram platform. make it happen for them. Make someone famous. They are more likely to follow you if you scratch their back and give them some cred.

Be careful that you only tag people that are in the photo. People can report you on Instagram if you tag just for tagging. It's like a form of spam.

4. Comment on District Related Content


Social media is made to be social. The more interaction you have with users, the more interaction they are going to have with your account. Make sure to comment on school accounts and organizations daily. Let them know that you are watching and that you care.

Just like tagging, the more you comment on other accounts, the more they are going to follow you and comment on your accounts. Make a habit to spend at least thirty minutes each day interacting with you social media platforms. You will see an uptick in followers and impressions on your posts.

5. Add Your Instagram Feed to Your Website


The first battle to getting more followers is letting them know your account exists. More and more trendy websites are putting an Instagram feed at the bottom of their websites. This allows visitors to interact with your account and see many of your recent posts. If they like what they see, they are probably going to click on the pic and give you a follow.

Forever 21 does an awesome job promoting their clothing line with their Instagram feed (See Below). You can do the same with your district. Adding this feature to your website could give a boost to engagement with your students that are more likely to be on Instagram.


Just like Forever 21 uses it to sell more clothes. You can use your feed to sell your awesome programs that differentiate your district.


6. Tagging Your Location on Your Posts


You can tag your current location on all of your posts. When you tap the "Add Location" button a list of suggestions is generated. You can scroll down to select the best match for where the pic was taken.


For a local business or school district, location is a big selling point. Instagram allows users to search pictures by location. Many people use this search function to find local people and cool pics in their city. Wouldn't it be great to be at the top of that list when someone searches for your school district or city where your schools are located? Use this search function to your benefit.


7. Use Instagram Stories to Post Video Content


Instagram stories was released in late 2016 to capitalize on the growing popularity of video and to battle SnapChat. With Instagram Stories, you can post a series of videos or pictures that tell you story. It's a great addition to your regular posts. There is a whole user group that just interacts with stories.


To get started you will need to tap the camera icon on the top of the screen or tap your avatar picture in the bottom right corner. You can then take a picture or shoot a video by holding down the white button. You can shoot up to 15 seconds for each story.

You can add all the filters and special effects to the video you want. There is also an option to place stickers on your video or write messages on your video with a pen tool. When done editing, you can share your story with individuals or you can share your story to the public. 

Sharing to the public is a great option. Public posts will be visible to followers at the top of their screen. Video can be much more engaging than a picture. Use the Story option to your advantage. It's a great way to gain followers.

Conclusion

Instagram is one of the fastest growing social media platforms of all time. It is vital your district create an account to interact with your younger demographics. Building your followers starts with great content. By adding the above tips will also help in boosting your following.

Do you have any questions about Instagram or increasing your followers on Instagram? Leave your questions in the comment section below.

Friday, January 12, 2018

My Thoughts on the Zuckerberg Letter


The text in black is taken and yellow comes from a letter Mark Zuckerberg posted on Facebook. In 2018, he wants to "FIX" Facebook. In his mind, this means a shift from passive, public content to family and friend content and posts.


Here are my thoughts on his letter and the future of Facebook for schools and school districts. My Thoughts are in red:

One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent.

We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That's why we've always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.

Although he does not specifically say this here, expect your reach and engagement on your district and school pages to drop. The key statement I see in this paragraph is that Facebook is putting friends and family at the core of the user experience.

Even though we consider our schools to be a big family, Facebook does not see it that way. Our fans and followers will see less of our content and more posts from friends and family.

But recently we've gotten feedback from our community that public content -- posts from businesses, brands and media -- is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.

In the short term, this does not seem like a wise business decision. At the time of this writing, Facebook’s stock price is down four points. However, in the long run they are trying to make Facebook a better place. In the long run, they see increased value to their shareholders.

This does mean that organic growth for companies and school districts is going to plummet in the next couple of months. The new strategy for school districts will be a shift to a “Pay to Play” model on Facebook. This will be hard for many districts including smaller school districts that rely on social media to get their messages to their community.

Influencers in your school community will become very important. These influencers will come from your schools in the form of teachers, administrators and staff. Parent influencers will become more important than ever. Find parents that will share your content, but most importantly, have these influencers comment and start positive conversations about your content on Facebook.

It's easy to understand how we got here. Video and other public content have exploded on Facebook in the past couple of years. Since there's more public content than posts from your friends and family, the balance of what's in News Feed has shifted away from the most important thing Facebook can do -- help us connect with each other.

Connections on Facebook are based on positive conversation. It will be critical to encourage comments and conversation on your posts. Engaging content will be more likely to spark conversation. It might be time to do a Facebook audit. Which content have you posted in the last year that was highly shareable and created a conversation?

And when Facebook speaks on “Public Content” they mean us. Expect our content on Facebook to not be seen by many of our fans. Organic reach is going to die for companies and community pages. This might also be a good time to evaluate which of your content will benefit from boosting or Facebook advertising.

We feel a responsibility to make sure our services aren’t just fun to use, but also good for people's well-being. So we've studied this trend carefully by looking at the academic research and doing our own research with leading experts at universities.

The research shows that when we use social media to connect with people we care about, it can be good for our well-being. We can feel more connected and less lonely, and that correlates with long term measures of happiness and health. On the other hand, passively reading articles or watching videos -- even if they're entertaining or informative -- may not be as good.

Viral is not going to cut it any more. You must spark conversation. Your content needs to come from your users. Sharing will become important. The content can’t come from us anymore. It must be shared and spread through friendships.

Based on this, we're making a major change to how we build Facebook. I'm changing the goal I give our product teams from focusing on helping you find relevant content to helping you have more meaningful social interactions.

Businesses are out. Content from your family and friends is in.

We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you'll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

We must encourage influencers to share and even create our content. Which means we will need to give them the tools and strategies to do this.

Ambassador groups will become very important. And it will be critical to shift your strategy to social sharing and User Generated Content.

As we roll this out, you'll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard -- it should encourage meaningful interactions between people.

This is scary for us. Our content is out. Expect to see organic content diminish in our fan’s timelines.

For example, there are many tight-knit communities around TV shows and sports teams. We've seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues. But too often today, watching video, reading news or getting a page update is just a passive experience.

How do we make our content not passive? The “Page” label might have already killed us. User Generated Content will become very important.

Now, I want to be clear: by making these changes, I expect the time people spend on Facebook and some measures of engagement will go down. But I also expect the time you do spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And if we do the right thing, I believe that will be good for our community and our business over the long term too.

How do we make our content valuable in the eyes of Facebook and in the eyes of our fans?

At its best, Facebook has always been about personal connections. By focusing on bringing people closer together -- whether it's with family and friends, or around important moments in the world -- we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.

How do we become more personal? It’s a great conversation to have at NSPRA 2018.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Quick Tips for a Successful Facebook Live Broadcast - Thought(fit) Ep. 2

Do you use Facebook Live to drive audience engagement???

Wondering how you can improve your engagement using Facebook Live and streaming video?


In this video, you'll learn about six tips that will improve your audience engagement using Facebook Live and Streaming Video. 

Click Below to Watch the First Episode of Thought(fit):



Thought Fit is a new show I created to get exercise while talking about School Marketing.

I hope you enjoy.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section about future episodes you would like to see.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Why Chasing Vanity Metrics Are Bad for School District Marketing

Why Vanity Metrics are Bad for MKTG

Episode One of Thought Fit - A School Marketing Video Series


Does your school district use social media to market? 

Is your biggest goal for your social media accounts is to attract new followers?

That could be a bad idea. Never chase vanity metrics.

Click Below to Watch the First Episode of Thought(fit):



For a school or school district, vanity metrics on social media could be the wrong goal to pursue. Your social media goal should be all about engagement from the RIGHT audience.

The right audience is the audience who lives in your district boundaries and who will attend your schools. Additional followers are okay, but not necessarily the best audience to drive engagement and enroll in your schools. 

Thought Fit is a new show I created to get exercise while talking about School Marketing.

I hope you enjoy.

Leave your thoughts in the comment section about future episodes you would like to see.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

11 Quick Tips to Improve Your School Marketing for 2018

Can you believe it is already 2018?

Have you given thought about your school marketing strategy for the new year?

Today’s episode of the Social Media Schoolhouse Podcast, the last of 2017, focuses on 11 Quick Tips to Improve Your School Marketing for 2018. The tips include everything from Facebook Ads to Instagram Hashtags.


By the end of the episode, I hope your district will use these 11 quick tips to have a successful launch to 2018. Enjoy the show.



11 Quick Tips to Improve Your School Marketing for 2018

  1. Change Your Facebook Cover Photo - 0:46
  2. Install Google Analytics on Your Website - 1:17
  3. Create YouTube Custom Thumbnails - 2:33
  4. Plan Facebook Live Events - 3:18
  5. List Important Instagram Hashtags - 4:46
  6. Create Audience Personas - 5:37
  7. Install the Facebook Pixel on Your Website - 6:28
  8. Create Custom Audiences in Facebook - 7:23
  9. Switch to a Business Profile on Instagram - 8:45
  10. Participate in K12PRCHAT on Twitter - 9:37
  11. Visit Me at NSPRA 2018 - 10:13
What are your thoughts on trends for School Marketing? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Have an awesome 2018!!!

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In: 

How to Boost Engagement on Instagram with an Easy Hashtag Hack

6 Facebook Live Tips to Drive Engagement

How to Boost District Enrollment Using Facebook Ads


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

7 School Marketing Trends to Think About for 2018 [Podcast]

Have you thought about your school marketing strategy for 2018? 

Do you know where your district is going to invest your communications budget this year?

Today’s episode of the Social Media Schoolhouse Podcast focuses school marketing trend’s I see coming down the pipeline for 2018. I will discuss my thoughts on where I think marketing is heading and what trends school districts should start exploring.


By the end of this episode I hope districts will at least start an internal conversation with their district leadership about the future of marketing and where investment dollars should be allocated in the future.



Social Media Schoolhouse Podcast:

  • Microinfluencers (0:53)
  • Streaming Video (1:56)
  • User-Generated Content (3:27)
  • Schools as a Brand (4:41)
  • Voice Search (5:58)
  • Chatbots (7:47)
  • Content Distribution Strategy (9:01)
What are your thoughts on trends for School Marketing? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.