Once you have nailed down a Social Media strategy, you are on your way to ensuring that your private school has an online presence that attracts and builds trust in prospective parents and also continues to nurture and provide value to current families and supporters.
However, your strategy won’t be effective until you’ve made the commitment to appoint a Social Media content manager.
You know the analogy about having too many cooks in the kitchen, right? None of them are clear on responsibilities, opinions are everywhere, and the end product is a flop.
Many schools have a similar problem. A few administrators have access to the account as well as a couple of coaches, a teacher and the school secretary. Posts are random and no one is quite sure who is doing what. A social media failure.
Is it best to have an individual manage Social Media or to do it as a team?
Since utilizing a Social Media strategy is a critical part of your marketing plan, the best practice is for one person to own it. Every component of your social strategy should be used effectively in order to help you achieve your marketing goals. This means your strategy must be intentional, planned and executed. It can’t be a hit or miss approach. Leaving any part of your marketing strategy in the hands of a well-intentioned parent or teacher is a recipe for failure.
I’d like to suggest several skills that a qualified candidate for your school’s Social Media manager (or Director of Marketing if Social Media management will be one of their roles) should have in order to successfully carry out their responsibilities.
10 Important Skills & Responsibilities For a School Social Media Manager
1) Up to Speed With Trends
A school Social Media manager should be self-motivated to learn and adapt to ever-changing trends on a variety of Social Media platforms.
2) Writing Skills
When it comes to writing Social Media posts, managers must have the ability to write short, concise, often persuasive copy.
Most Social Media platforms are largely visual. Therefore, photography, videography, and basic graphic design skills are useful.
Social Media managers will work with others on the administrative staff to thoughtfully coordinate efforts to retain current families and plan campaigns to target prospects.
At a private school, there will often be several campaigns running between the development, enrollment, and marketing offices, not to mention communicating about school wide events such as athletics and the arts. A Social Media manager must be able to plan ahead and maintain the publishing calendar so that all areas of the school are promoted.
As with any type of marketing, it’s important for the Social Media manager to regularly analyze what’s working and what’s not, and to pivot as needed.
7) Customer Service Oriented
At the end of the day, a school’s Social Media posts must be empathetic. The Social Media manager should care for the audience and look for ways to provide solutions to them.
Here are some basic responsibilities for a private school Social Media manager:
8) Get Parental Consent
Once the Social Media manager is in place, an important first order of business is to ensure consent from parents to use images of their child on the internet. Most private schools either do this as part of the student application or in the onboarding process for newly enrolled students. Once a parent has given consent, they have the option to opt out by notifying the school in writing. The Social Media manager should have a list of all students that have restrictions so that they can exclude them from posts.
Also establish a convention when identifying students at the school. Will you use their full names, first name only, or only identify them by grade level or type of activity such as “fourth graders” or “girl’s soccer team”?
9) Maintain Brand Standards and Voice of the School
Keep the school branding and messaging consistent across all Social Media channels. One of the main efforts of Social Media efforts should be to drive traffic back to the school website. This can be done by including links to appropriate site or landing pages.
Use the same terms when referring to various aspects of the school. For example, do you use the term Drama Department or Theater Department? Will you identify teachers using their first and last name or title and last name?
The bottom line with a school’s brand should be focused on why the school exists. Social Media channels are perfect for demonstrating and educating your current parents, supporters and the general public about why your school belongs in your community and what would be missing if it weren’t there.
10) Take pictures and video
Most social platforms are highly visual so it makes sense that the Social Media manager have permission to take pictures and video during the school day. Millennial parents especially will appreciate seeing their children engaged in learning at school in real time. The social manager should also gather pictures and video at after school activities and special school events that may be held outside regular school hours.
Pictures caught on a cell phone are usually sufficient however it’s also important to provide marketing staff with a quality camera that produces high quality images and video.
Finally, the Social Media manager will develop a publishing calendar. Stay tuned for a future blog post that will walk you through how to establish and maintain a calendar for your school’s social channels.