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5 Tips for Creating a Social Media Publishing Calendar for Private Schools

Posted by Sue Carback on Jan 9, 2018 3:05:00 PM

Once you have formed a Social Media strategy for your private school and identified who will manage the efforts, it’s time to create a publishing calendar and start posting.

There is the potential to have many moving parts here, so we suggest that you ease your way into Social Media publishing. Consider choosing one platform (your best bet is Facebook), take a few weeks or months to get your legs under you, then start publishing on other platforms as well.

1. Getting Started on Social Media

First, decide which channels you will start with. Audit the current status by logging into the school’s social accounts and make sure that the images, links and contact information are up to date. Decide how frequently and what time of day you will publish content for each channel. There is no use creating channels that will lie dormant for months at a time.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of five main social platforms your school might consider using:

facebook f.pngFacebook

  • Use Facebook to connect and build relationships with current parents and prospects
  • Post images, video, blog content or share helpful content from other sources
  • Facebook Live gives viewers a “behind the scene” type of experience
  • Use Facebook Ads to build brand awareness and generate leads

twitter bird.gifTwitter

  • Use Twitter to connect and build relationships with current parents and prospects
  • Post images, video, blog content or share helpful content from other sources
  • Use Twitter to post updates and scores from the school’s athletic teams

linkedinLinkedin

  • Use Linkedin to connect and build relationships with current parents, alumni and prospects
  • Post images, video and blog content or share helpful content from other sources
  • Highlight accomplishments of your school’s alumni and faculty
  • Create awareness of job opportunities at your school

instagramInstagram

  • Use Instagram to share media such as images, video and live video to showcase your school’s culture
  • Use Instagram for brand awareness, lead generation, and audience engagement
  • Use Facebook Power Editor to run Facebook ads with Instagram ads
  • Appeal to millennial parents who are frequent users of Instagram
  • Build community by using hashtags, asking for followers and leaving comments on other’s posts
  • Engage your audience by hosting a contest, challenge or poll

youtubeYouTube

  • Use YouTube to share video that entertains, showcases your school’s culture or teaches viewers a skill
  • Use YouTube for brand awareness, lead generation, and audience engagement
  • Use smartphones to create short videos that are spontaneous and organic
  • Post professionally edited videos that promote your school’s programs
  • Highlight your school’s athletic, fine arts, music and academic programs
  • Share videos from community service work and missions trips

2. Deciding What to Post

Once you have decided where to focus your attention, decide on the type of content you want to publish for each channel. Here are some overarching goals and objectives to help you clarify the purpose of your posts:

Build Community

Avoid alienating some families by only posting pictures of athletic events or only kindergarteners. Mix it up and show all types of students, classrooms, and events. Show an accurate reflection of your school’s environment.

Tell Stories

Highlight faculty and staff members, tout accomplishments and accolades of students, and feature alumni. Let the community get to know the types of students, teachers and families that comprise your school.

Show the Future

Give parents a vision of what the next year will be like for their child. Whether you’re highlighting a robotics unit in fifth grade, the 8th grade trip to a nearby city, or a prestigious scholarship won by a soon-to-be graduate, you are showing current parents and prospects possibilities for their own children.

Themes

Consider themes for each day of the week for a certain channel. This works well with Facebook and Instagram. For example, on Mondays post something that is education-related, Tuesdays highlight an alumni, on Wednesdays post something related to parenting, on Thursdays focus on something inspirational or spiritual, while Fridays are for fun or humor.

Overlap content sharing

Don’t be shy about overlapping content on your school’s social channels. If your school produces a blog, post it on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. If you have a great video from the holiday music performance, post it on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. An image of students working in the science lab along with a description could be posted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

social-media-table-talk3. Planning it All Out

Creating a Social Media master calendar will force you to strategize and think through all aspects of your efforts. When you sit down to plan, have a regular calendar that includes holidays, academic calendar, athletic and arts calendars, preschool calendar, development, and school events calendars in front of you.

Merge your plan onto a Google calendar or within your social media management tool. Some posts can be planned out a year in advance however you should swing back and update every 4 weeks or so to make sure you are including events that pop up as the school year progresses.

be intentional about planning your social media posts through the quarter4. Scheduling Social Media Posts

It’s best to think about your audience and when they are online and using social platforms. If you aren’t sure, conduct a survey to help you understand your persona’s online habits. Chances are that parents are checking social media platforms constantly throughout the day but you should investigate and identify any exceptions.

Will your posts been seen first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, when parents are sitting in the carline waiting for dismissal or in the evening?

Some platforms allow you to schedule posts far in advance (like Facebook) but others are very “in the moment” (like Instagram). If your school uses Hubspot or a platform like Hootsuite or Sprout Social, you can schedule posts to publish at a particular date and time. Most of these platforms also provide analysis of your posts so that you can see who is engaging with them and if your ads are effective.

5. Monitor and Engage

If you are just using social media platforms to invite prospects to your Open House or to announce basketball game scores, you’re not using it properly. Social media is meant to be (ahem) social. That means you should allow conversations, ask questions, offer and request recommendations, and ask your audience for their stories. You have a wonderful opportunity to build community.

Negative comments will probably appear so think ahead of how you will address them. You can directly yet politely address the comment head on, bury it with positive remarks from other friends of the school, or simply delete it.

You also may be sinking a decent amount of time and energy into reaching your social goals. Be willing to test ideas and pivot as needed. If you wait for perfection, most likely your efforts will never get off the ground.

What are some social medias tips, advice, wins or fails that you’ve experienced at your private school?

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Topics: Social Media Marketing