How to Create a Simple, Effective School Social Media Strategy

How Sociable is your School?

Being sociable–“to seek or enjoy companionship; marked by friendliness or pleasant social relations”–is now critical to school marketing and communications, and it goes far beyond simply having social media accounts.

True effective sociability requires a balance between social presence and social strategy. The goal is to have both in-the-moment, authentic interactions with your followers and community, and offer up planned content that helps you reach your marketing goals.

Social presence is often the easier of the two to master. It’s not difficult to create your platforms, respond to inquiries, and post photos of current events. The more difficult aspect is the creation of your underlying social media strategy.

Why? Thinking about developing a “strategy” can feel really overwhelming. There are so many tactics you can use, so many “best practices” shared by social media gurus, so many changes being made to each platform every day.

Social strategy, however, can be really simple. Start with a straightforward plan to build a strong content foundation and then add to it as you gain confidence in its effectiveness.

If you’re struggling to find social media content at the last minute, or constantly asking yourself, “What should we post today?”, or wondering if your shares are making your school stand out or are simply adding to online noise, it’s time to get that strategy set.

Here’s how to create a really simple social media strategy for your school: one that will help tell your school’s story and keep your content fresh without the last-minute scramble.

#1: Create Categories

With so much content available to share, where do you start? How do you begin to organize it all?

Like all school marketing and communications, it comes back to your school story–so if you don’t have that story figured out yet, you need to start there. By developing a strong positioning and defining your school’s differentiators, you are creating the foundation for all social media content–like pillars holding up a roof.

Once those elements are defined, use the school’s differentiators to create broad social media content categories. For example, if the school is all about CREATIVITY, GLOBAL CONNECTIONS and COMMUNITY, use those as your content categories.

Having defined content categories makes it easier to find and create content that is relevant to the school’s marketing and audience’s interests.

#2: Curate Content

Content curation is “the process of gathering information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.”

Begin to look for news stories, blog posts, podcasts, magazine articles and other resources created by third-party publishers (i.e., not your school) that you can share to support your brand story.

Look for content that is “evergreen”—or content that remains relevant over time. Keep a file filled with potential items to share, as well as a list of websites that can act as sources for future content curation.

#3: Mix Curation with Creation

Once you know the school’s differentiators/pillars, you can begin to create blog content to demonstrate your expertise in those areas.

Creating original content on the school's website is a great way to position the school as a trusted expert in your core topic areas. Consider developing a separate blog editorial calendar so that you are both curating external articles and sharing your own original articles on the school's social media channels.

Another option: look for already-existing content to repurpose. Perhaps you have articles from an old newsletter, videos from class projects, podcasts created by teachers or students, or publications or parent communications that remain relevant.

Take these pieces, update them as necessary, and reshare on social media to support the school's story.

#4: Stick to a Schedule

Once you know what type of content you’ll be sharing, and where you’ll find that content, create a simple schedule to stay organized. Don’t make it complicated. Consistency is more important that complexity.

Here’s an example of a simple sharing schedule, using the content categories we mentioned above:

Day of Week

Type of Content

Description

Monday

CREATIVITY Content

Curated articles from other publishers

Tuesday

Original Blog/Article

Content created by the school that supports its brand story

Wednesday

GLOBAL Content

Curated articles from other publishers

Thursday

School News

Current happenings at the school - self-promotional items

Friday

COMMUNITY Content

Curated articles from other publishers

Saturday

“Best Of” Content

Popular posts or articles, reshared

Sunday

Conversation Prompt

Ask a question, take a poll, start conversations!

 

A schedule like the one above requires little content creation, yet it keeps the school's main themes front and center with its audience all week long.

 

What’s even better: all of this content can be scheduled in advance using a social media scheduling tool like SmarterQueue. This takes away much of the daily social media management burden.

#5: Mix It Up

While it’s nice to “set and forget” your social content, being truly sociable requires some additional work.

Once you have your social media content scheduled, make sure you layer in-the-moment sharing on top of your evergreen content. Share everyday happenings, updates, news, and photos to keep your pages fresh. Don’t try to be too polished here: authenticity is best.

By sharing both planned and impromptu content on the school's social media platforms, you’ll create a great mix of both personal content and “expert” content, bringing the school’s personality and expertise to life. And that’s what being sociable is really about.

Need more school social media support? Learn all about social media strategy at Cursive Content Marketing, or tweet us at @emilycretella / @blackbaudK12.

About the Author

Emily Cretella

Emily Cretella is a marketing strategist and copywriter who helps her clients create and share stories that make audiences take action. As owner of Cursive Content Marketing, Emily provides consulting, copywriting services and workshops to independent schools and higher education. Read her stories at cursivecontent.com.

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