Many schools’ social media platforms look like they’ve made the initial effort but have been long since abandoned. In turn, they focus mainly on building their website since it is a major point of contact with parents, students, teachers, and staff. But while that may be true, we cannot deny that we live in the age of social media—and Facebook is arguably the mother of all platforms.
When used correctly, Facebook can be a massive help for your specific goals. Whether you run a private school and want to improve enrollment or a public school looking to better connect with the community, you must optimize your school’s Facebook channel.
Facebook and other social media platforms are becoming more and more dominant forces that can and need to be utilized for the benefit of school marketing. Let us share some advice about how to enhance your school’s Facebook page and make it work toward meeting your goals.
Why Do Schools Need Facebook Activity?
We have to answer this before we get to work. After all, that’s why many school Facebook pages are left there, gathering digital dust. They don’t believe that having a Facebook account will add much value to their operation.
They are mistaken, and here are four reasons why:
Facebook Helps You Spread the News
Although many schools now rely on their websites to spread news, Facebook opens up an entirely new world of possibilities. Schools can rapidly and efficiently communicate with kids and parents since Facebook updates in real-time. This might contain up-to-date information about planned events, ongoing occurrences at the school, or recent announcements.
With Facebook, You Can Get Immediate Feedback
In addition to spreading news, students and parents may comment on Facebook posts, giving schools valuable input that allows them to fine-tune programs and activities as required. That’s a great benefit because you can actually test an idea out among your community before putting a lot of resources into it. It’ll save you from some cries of outrage too.
Multimedia on Facebook is the Way to Build a Brand
Facebook isn’t just for sharing articles; it can also be helpful for sending multimedia to the school community. For instance, images and videos from recent activities can be posted on the Facebook account to allow parents who were unable to attend the party to see their child in action.
Creating that close connection, showing people what your school is about, and sharing highs and lows will make you into a distinguished brand—something people can identify with.
Improve Learning with Your Facebook page
Use your Facebook page and any other social media platform as an interactive teaching tool to enrich learning beyond the school. Teachers can utilize these technological tools to upload instructional videos, homework, and other classroom material. Videos of previous meetings and presentations can also be uploaded to provide parents with up-to-date information on current events and important announcements the school makes.
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How to Take Your School Facebook Page To the Next Level
Now that we’ve briefly touched on the benefits of using Facebook for your school, let’s talk about the real thing. You probably have one or several (big mistake, you’ll see why) Facebook accounts for your school. However, you want to get the best out of it. There are 23 (yes, many) tips to do that.
1. Do Your Homework
Before starting to post content on your school’s social media network, do some research among your present and prospective parents and students. What are their primary social media channels, and how much do they use them? The best methods to discover are through surveys, parent conferences, and looking up your school on popular social media sites.
Most schools have many parents who use Facebook to express thoughts, ask questions, and connect with others with similar interests. This opens up new possibilities for your school. Likewise, this demographic will use such platforms to voice their frustrations and complaints. This is a possible hazard that your team must properly address to avoid a less-than-positive (or even terrible) online brand.
2. Understand the Facebook Algorithm
Facebook prefers user-generated content over business interaction, so users will see more stuff from other families or students than from your school.
Your ability to interact with people on your school’s Facebook page account will determine how powerful your Facebook presence is. Facebook algorithm prefers active interactions, such as comments and shares, over passive interactions such as impressions. If you’re promoting this level of engagement, that’s fantastic! If not, it’s time to revise your content approach.
Algorithms, in some ways, function like humans. When we go to see a movie and have to plan ahead, we consider when we’re free, where to grab something to eat, the ticket price, and so on. In a matter of seconds, Facebook and other social media algorithms use a similar decision-making method, collecting data and sorting through it before selecting what to show to users.
In other words, for Facebook to decide that your material is “worth” exposing to other users, people need to interact with it. Similar to this, if Facebook notices that a user interacts with your material regularly, you will turn up more in their news feed in the future.
3. Keep a Regular Posting Schedule
Every social media platform recommends updating content frequently for your audience. When in comes to Facebook, you should post regular updates for your audience at least once a day.
However, posting seven times per week without a plan for increasing engagement will not make you popular on Facebook. You must also consider the optimal timing to post on Facebook. You’ll get inconsistent results if you just search for the “optimal” times to post on each platform. In the end, you should experiment with various times of the day to find out when you attract your Facebook friends best.
An indicator called Insights can be a great help in measuring the effectiveness of your Facebook posts. There you can find real data about your school account’s success overall, as well as info regarding your audience groups, post views, engagement, and more.
4. Post When Your Audience is on Facebook
As you can see above, there’s no golden hour for all schools to post something on their Facebook accounts. It’s only logical because your post will only get maximum engagement when your users log in to Facebook.
You may hesitate here because many well-known sources have come up with their general estimate for “the best time to post on Facebook.” However, remember that when it comes to promoting your website and social media platforms, the best data is your own.
Luckily, Facebook spoon feeds you this piece of data at the Insight dashboard. Just visit the dashboard, and click on Posts in the column menu on the left. You’ll see in great detail when users are active on Facebook. It’ll also show the average weekly time. By going over it every day, you can see how it measures against the weekly average.
If you scroll down a little to “All Posts Published,” you can see the exact time the post was published, along with its engagement and reach, which can help you find some patterns.
There are a few other online analytics tools available, such as Google Analytics, that show useful data like traffic levels per hour. Examine the highs and lows of your traffic, then schedule posts to gain maximum engagement.
5. Positive Facebook Reviews Will Do Wonders
Particularly for millennial parents, Facebook reviews are an integral part of choosing their future school. Your school’s Facebook group has a reviews feature, and you should encourage active parents to post reviews! Your Facebook friends will act as endorsements and help establish your brand.
Based on how Facebook has identified the reviews made for your school, you’ll see a rating on your account. If you see the number of reviews growing on Facebook, you can be sure that more people are reading them. As a result, people can help boost your brand by leaving a comment, which can boost your organic reach.
6. Use Facebook Groups Instead of Pages
Groups are a good approach to organically reaching users that might not see your content in their news feed because of the algorithm. Groups include features that allow users to communicate and interact with each other and collect essential information from the group.
Group members may view videos together! They may see the video and respond to it much like a live stream. You can identify particular posts as announcements that could be crucial for your users to see.
7. Don’t Forget the Three Facebook Groups
The three Facebook groups listed below are ones you might want to create at your school.
- Family Groups: It’s crucial to maintain contact with your new family once they’ve been accepted before the start of the school year. You may improve your real-time communication with them and help them interact with one another by creating a Facebook Group only for them. Many top schools have created Family Groups on their Facebook accounts to stay in touch with parents. In addition to encouraging new students to introduce themselves, they utilize the group to offer important information that new families should be aware of before the beginning of the term.
- Sports & Arts Groups: If you do not set a clear policy on who may set up social media accounts, there will be many pages in the name of your school. You surely have come across many pages made by well-meaning sports teams, unions, or educational institutions. Nevertheless, a school can only have a single Facebook public page. Encourage other bodies affiliated with your school to start a Facebook group. You may communicate freely with a particular class or grade, a club, or other groups by joining groups.
- Alumni Groups: Although some schools could decide to create a public page for their alumni, we believe that groups are the most effective approach. This lets alumni join the school group and then receive personalized content.
8. Always Incorporate Visual Content
If you think your engagement is low, it’s possible that your content lacks quality images and videos. Since more than half of users choose visual content above other types of information, Facebook usually puts video content at high priority in the news feed.
Utilizing Facebook Live is one easy method to add visual material to your plan. This kind of video is excellent for schools since it can be used to record events like athletic contests, open houses, fundraisers, graduations, etc., for people who can’t be present in person.
9. Understand What Your Audience Wants to See
Social media networks provide useful information such as the people who are watching your material, their location, the devices they are using, the content they are most interested in, and the times of day when they are most active. If you’re not making use of this information to your benefit, you’re doing it wrong.
Study these two key indicators when curating your content:
Demographics: Take a look at who interacts with you on social media platforms, in this case, Facebook. Your plan can be more personalized if you take note of how each demographic (students, parents, teachers, staff, etc.) uses Facebook. Some schools here use expert website service providers to consider how each group uses Facebook.
Content: This is simple but overlooked: the quality of the content has a significant impact on whether or not a post gains engagement. Consider this when scheduling and planning posts. Take note when you see that some posts routinely generate higher engagement while some, on the other hand, receive no engagement.
10. Engage With Your Audience
One of the biggest social media errors schools make is forgetting to reply to comments placed on their Facebook accounts. Facebook, in particular, rewards posts with high engagement (comments, likes, and shares). A lack of response from you will simply reduce your chances of boosting engagement.
Every day, spend 15 to 20 minutes responding to comments on your Facebook account. Even if you only “like” a comment, you’re demonstrating to your audience that you are alive and present—that their interactions matter.
Thank your Facebook friends for their nice comments, and keep those comments because you may need them in your school’s marketing materials. You should also answer neutral questions truthfully. If your team does not have enough information, make sure they reach out to get the information.
If you receive harsh comments, you must handle the situation right away. If it’s a legitimate complaint about your school, you should respond to the individual’s comment and then meet with them in person as soon as feasible. If you realize your Facebook post was insensitive, make sure you delete it from the account.
11. Don’t Make the Content All About You
Nobody likes a brand that solely talks about itself and constantly asks others to take action, see posts, comment, share, and like. Yes, it is OK to occasionally ask for something. However, if all you do is ask and never make an attempt to give back anything of value, people will become irritated and upset.
All good connections, even those formed on social media, are two-way streets. Two effective rules can help you maintain the proper balance between give and take. They are essentially guidelines for how you should structure your posts.
The 4-1-1 Rule
According to this rule, for every six posts that you put up on Facebook, four of them should be unique, valuable, amusing, or educating posts, one should be a repost, and the last one should be a promotional post. As the name suggests, reposts are the posts you share from other users or from your past activity.
The 70-20-10 Rule
Typically, at least 70% of your material should be instructive and entertaining. This includes student accomplishments, images of in-class teaching, trivia questions, and anything else that prompts students and parents to comment and share.
You may set aside as little as 10% of your timetable for promotional postings (such as admissions-focused posts) and as much as 20% for sharing material from other sources. By adhering to the 70-20-10 guideline, you can create a schedule that will significantly boost your views and engagement levels.
12. Promote Your Facebook Page on the Website
Just like your Facebook or Instagram accounts, your website is a vital contact point between you and parents, students, staff, or teachers. If you don’t already have a strategy to integrate your school website and Facebook platform, it’s better to get a reliable web service provider to do that.
By incorporating social media into your website, you may boost the probability that people will see your content, particularly if you have a web page (parent or student portals) that you know gets a lot of views.
13. Use Facebook Ads for the Best Posts
Consider promoting your best-performing posts if you have money allocated for Facebook ads. The content of your finest posts has been shown to engage your readers. This qualifies them for a boost. The posts would continue to seek and engage additional users with properly targeted ads.
Plus, you won’t need a lot of cash for this. All you need is the right Facebook marketing strategy tailored to your specific demographic that can dramatically improve your results. It’s much better to use a team of social media marketing experts to handle this because it’s not just about spending money and buying ad space. There are intricate variables that can turn an ad into a zero or a hero.
14. Do Some Competitive Facebook Analysis
The social media space is always evolving. What works now might not work in the future. It might be useful to study what has been successful for other school Facebook accounts to learn from them.
The Pages to Watch feature on Facebook allows you to quickly compare the effectiveness of your Facebook account and postings with other schools. You can also quickly view each school’s top postings by clicking on their page title.
Find the Facebook Page Insights, click on the Overview tab, and scroll all the way down to find the Page to Watch feature.
However, if you really want to do a serious competitor analysis, the process is far more complicated. You have to identify the main competitors that share a similar audience with your school, define fundamental metrics, evaluate them, and gain valuable insights.
In many cases, schools don’t go down that route themselves and hire a skilled team to help them gain the upper hand.
15. Have a Single School Facebook Account
Is your school using several Facebook, Instagram, or other social media accounts to push content to the alumni, prospective parents, or current students? You may be committing your deadliest mistake right now!
First, having several Facebook accounts means that you need to produce two, three, or five times as much content. Second, it means that you’re in a self-competition where you’re splitting the incoming traffic.
Instead of splitting your social media traffic, consider using Facebook groups. Facebook’s algorithms are shifting to prioritize “human connections,” which naturally favors material shared in group news feeds. Groups are usually better than pages since you’ll get notifications when there’s a new post on the group.
16. Keep Your Facebook Community Safe
You must always make sure that your students’ and personnel’s privacy is safe. This entails establishing school procedures regarding student identification and urging parents not to tag images of their children with their actual names or use harsh language. Your staff must be familiar with the rules of interacting with students on social media, and all posts must be routinely monitored.
One way to compromise your audience’s safety and privacy is by handing your Facebook account to an amateur. Be sure to use someone who truly knows what they’re doing or even an expert team that already knows the red flags and solutions to prevent accidents. The last thing you want is your school name to be associated with risk and danger.
17. Keep an Eye on Facebook Mentions
For your school to respond to questions and detect any possible sources of discontent, social media platforms must be monitored constantly. The simplest way to do that is by logging on to your Facebook account and looking for mentions.
There are also other ways and tools to monitor your Facebook presence, but they may be beyond your expertise or budget. Many schools use website service providers that have the infrastructure to handle this.
18. Change the Cover Photo Regularly
Let’s discuss the cover photo. It’s a great way to be always on top of people’s awareness because we live in a busy world, and if you don’t do something to refresh your image, you’ll drown in the noise.
Choose a welcoming horizontal view. While you’re doing it, include your school’s emblem on the cover or profile image, and don’t forget to give credit to the photographer. Every time you change the image, it appears in the news feeds of all of your users. That’s a simple way to share something lovely and welcoming with your Facebook users.
19. Use Both Forms of Description
You most likely have filled out a short description, but what about the long one? Your school must use both forms. Remember that this information affects your school’s image on Facebook and how it looks in the search results.
Click on settings to see if the “About” section is complete already. If it’s not, write what makes your school unique and why they need to follow your Facebook account. Then, put your website’s homepage URL right at the end. You can shorten the link if it’s long. There are many online tools for that.
For long descriptions, click on Page Info and incorporate main keywords related to your school. For instance, if you run a high school in New York, then add phrases such as “New York High School.” Also, concisely expand on your unique advantages.
20. Resize Pictures Based on the Section
We know that not everyone has creative talent, but it is crucial to learn how to prepare images for social media. With all the effort you put into running these platforms, you don’t want to look terrible by not making a picture the proper size. It just takes a series of easy steps.
Uploading images from your camera and smartphone is definitely OK. But, put in the extra effort to make it look fantastic if you have significant pictures that need to be showcased, like the group cover photo.
As of right now, Facebook’s recommended dimensions for the group photo cover are 1920 x 1005 pixels. A big part of your Facebook photos may be the ones already on your school website. Be sure to check their dimensions and change them to fit the section.
21. Describe the Links
Don’t forget the purpose of your link-sharing. When sharing content, give a brief, succinct explanation, and explain why you’re sharing. Your visitors need to know what the link is for and why they should click on it. There is no need to repeat the link’s title or description because they will have seen them.
A prime example is your long descriptions where Facebook users have to click on the “See More” to read the description. So, briefly explain what the article is about when putting the URL.
22. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
One of the biggest mistakes schools make is that they have a ton of great, fresh, engaging content in the beginning. So, what do they do? They start uploading lots of pics and videos and posting articles every day.
Everything goes great for a while until they find that it’s difficult to continue making so many posts with that level of quality. Now, they have two choices: they either have to sacrifice the quality and make post after post (we all know where that will lead) or they have to post less often. (It’s so much easier to post only once or twice a week, but with excellent quality.)
Remember: it doesn’t matter if you post once or four times a day; what matters is keeping a regular posting schedule.
23. Hand Over Your Facebook to an Expert
Before we talk about the last point, there’s something that we should highlight: consistency. These tips can help dramatically improve your school’s Facebook performance, but you need to implement them, see which ones suit your institution the best, and keep improving in that direction.
We have probably saved the most important and practical point for the last—choosing someone to take care of your Facebook account.
If this final point seems challenging for your teachers who may not be able to take on the responsibility because of their lack of expertise and time constraints, consider hiring a professional website service provider. Many schools have chosen to invest their limited time, energy, and budget on running the school and leaving the website and social media management to a reliable provider.
A website service provider already has the experience, expertise, and infrastructure to handle the demands of the job at a much lower cost than the school can. Luckily, that’s precisely what we do here at School Webmasters.
You can easily get a quote right now or just contact us (call 888.750.4556 and speak with Jim) and let us point you in the right direction.
Katie Brooks, Social Media Manager, School Webmasters, LLC.