Let’s face it… Ninety-five percent of your parents don’t care about your school district. They care about where their kids go to school.
On average, children spend about 35 hours inside their schools per week. It is their second home. It is their second family. Because of this, parents are more likely to care about school communication and marketing than the district.
In this article I will discuss FIVE ways to engage your parents using school marketing.
To tell you the truth, the same can be said about your teachers and staff. During my first five years of teaching I did not know a communication department existed. I was concerned with my school, my students and my co-workers.
Teachers spend much more than 35 hours a week at their schools. They want the world to know the great things happening at their campuses. That is why we as school communicators should focus more time on marketing our schools rather than our district.
Five Ways to Boost Your School Marketing
1. Train Your Teachers About Engagement on Social Media
I feel most parents care more about their child’s school than the district as a whole. Teachers, administration and staff must tell classroom stories to their parents. They need to make the parents feel that they made the best decision when it comes to the education of their child.
And what better way to tell the stories inside the class room than having your teachers be the storytellers. They are the trusted source of information from parents. Most parents have never shaken the hand of a district administrator or school board members. They trust their child’s teacher.
It’s hard to travel to schools everyday in our positions. Why not utilize your best resources?
2. Utilize Video on Your Campuses
Eighty percent of internet traffic in 2019 will be from the consumption of video. In this YouTube and Netflix generation, parents expect video coming from their campuses. And with almost every teacher having a smartphone, capturing video has become very easy.
Your teachers and principals have the tools. Let them use it. Having teachers film lessons and projects is a great way for parents to stay connected with their child’s education.
The most common response I get when my child comes home form school and I ask them what they did in school… “NOTHING” What if parents have the ability to refrain the question? What if they were able to pull their phone out of their pocket and ask their child what they were doing in this video?
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3. Use Local Influencers to Tell Your Stories
Parents are the most important resource you can have when it comes to influencers. You don’t need celebrities like Kendall Jenner to promote your schools. You need parents that other parents listen to.
The best way to find these parents is to do some social listening. Look at the content that you post on social media. Which parents always share your content? Which parents get the most likes, comments and shares from the content they post? Those are your influencers.
Send them stories and tag them when you share stories. The more engagement you can generate will work in your favor to spread the great things happening at your schools.
Half of you have not been in the classroom for past 15 years. But don’t worry; it’s probably not your fault. It’s those crazy Millennials, right?
Millenials and Gen Z don’t trust advertising. In fact, the only people they do trust are the people they know. Friends are crucial. That is why your students should also be influencers you seek out. They probably have more followers on Instagram than you.
Instagram takeovers are a great way for students to become involved in the process. Our district has seen great success. Another crucial thing you need to do is survey your students. What content do they want to see? Where do they want to see it?
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4. Don’t Forget About Your Website
The most common things for parents to do before school starts is to drive by their child’s school and visit the school’s website. Notice how I said school… not district website.
It is crucial for your school websites to be up to date every day and for them to be highly engaging.
Your first step is to make sure they are mobile friendly. Most people are now surfing the web on their smartphones. If your website is not mobile responsive you are in trouble.
The next step is you better be telling stories on your school sites. Accolades, classroom activities, awards, behind the scene pics and videos, and classroom stories for each grade level.
Update it daily. Don’t be text heavy. Post pics and videos everyday.
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5. Email is Not Dead… Use It
By defining your niche audiences and building an email list around those personas, you can improve the performance of your email marketing.
Each campus is going to be unique. They are going to have students and parents that are different form the school down the street. Find out what content they want, and send it their way through niche email newsletters.
Pictures and video are a must. We use MailChimp. It works great to incorporate stories, pics and videos.
And remember… be consistent. Send your email out each week at the same time. You parents will be expecting it, and they will engage.
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Don’t forget. parents care about their child’s school. Spend more time on school marketing than district marketing.
Leave a comment and give me your two-cents on this topic…