Three Ways to Use Facebook to Inspire Word of Mouth at Your School

Facebook is a great social media site that should be part of your WOMbound marketing strategy.

In some recent parent surveys I have conducted at schools, Facebook is the number one social media site that parents access. Recent survey results have shown that between 70% to 80% of parents utilize Facebook.

Because of this, your goal is to produce content on Facebook that is both engaging and easily shared.

The following are three ways that schools are using Facebook to inspire word of mouth:

LCS Facebook Post1. Capture the Moment – Every day in your school there are educational moments that need to be captured and shared on Facebook. In some cases these can be planned, however the best story to tell is the one that you have captured in the moment.

Last year on Election Day, a group of middle school students at Lakeland Christian School decided to gather around the flagpole to pray for the election. This was a student-driven event. The Middle School Principal took a picture of these students praying on his smartphone and sent it to the marketing director, Sandy Johnson. She posted the picture with a short caption describing this student-led event. This was not a planned marketing post but rather, a simple way to capture the moment and share the student experience at LCS.

What happened next was unplanned and unexpected. In only a few hours, the post was liked over 2,800 times, shared 176 times, and commented on by 139 people. Wow! That’s the power of capturing the right moment and sharing it on Facebook.

It is very difficult to plan a post that will go viral. However, the more photos you capture in the moment and share on Facebook, the most opportunities you will have to see this result at your school.

KSA Call-to-Action Page2.  Ask Parents to Share Specific Posts – Last week I had a conversation with the Rabbi David Paskin, head of Kehillah Schecter School in Norwood, MA. After my call, I reviewed his school’s website and found a “Call to Action” page in the admissions section. At first, I thought that this was a standard inquiry form. However, I found a page inviting parents to share posts about the school on Facebook and Twitter. Check out this page on their website.

What I really liked about this concept is that clear directions were given to parents on how to post that included a list of suggested status updates to post. These prewritten posts make it easy for the parent to copy and paste a post from this page onto their Facebook page. They even provided instructions about tagging their school in the post so that it would be shared on the school’s Facebook page.

Last year I wrote about this idea in a blog post after I registered to attend the Word of Mouth Marketing Crash Course. After I registered, they sent me an email with posts to share about the conference. By doing this, I was able to share word of mouth about the conference easily on my Facebook page.

By asking your parents to do this on Facebook, this strategy will help your parents share word of mouth online.

Canterbury Summer Vacation3.  Summer Vacation Photos Showcasing Your School – Last summer Heather Lambie, Director of Marketing, at The Canterbury School of Florida, encouraged parents to take and post pictures of their summer vacation trips wearing a Canterbury shirt or holding a logo item.

It was great to see the results of this effort on the Canterbury Facebook page. With family pictures from all over the world, including the Colosseum in Rome to a service trip in a third world country to a typical national park vacation photo to a photo underwater while snorkeling, Canterbury was seen around the world and captured on Facebook. You can check out their posts on the Canterbury Facebook page by scrolling back to posts dated around August 9, 2012.

These photos helped to do several things. First, it reinforced the sense of pride in the school by seeing Canterbury logo wear all over the world. Secondly, it gave parents and students a reason to get involved on Facebook during the summer months. Finally, it helped to connect parents and students to the school while they were away on vacation.

These three Facebook strategies should be implemented in your WOMbound marketing effort at your school.

How are you using Facebook to inspire word of mouth and to get parents talking about your school?

2 Responses to Three Ways to Use Facebook to Inspire Word of Mouth at Your School

  1. Peter says:

    Facebook posts are time-consuming.
    Prospective parents reading them, and that read translating into a decision to rationalize spending .75 million dollars on private school, are different things. What is the data on face book (as the only and primary source) translating into inquiries? Does the data suggest that the time spent creating posts is worth it for an office with limited personnel who could be focusing on word of mouth that occurs in person? I know you speak to this yourself, but it is worth being transparent abut face book’s actual inquiry potential for offices with limited staffing.

    • Peter–Thanks for sharing. I am looking forward to meeting you at the AISAP Summer Institute. You definitely bring up some great points about Facebook. It can be time-consuming especially for a limited staff. However, I have found that this is the primary social media site that parents utilize. In light of that, it is a good place to tell the story of your school. The best way to track its success is to assess the web traffic to your site from Facebook posts as well as to ask prospective parents when they select your school. Facebook may not be the best direct source of inquiries although you can’t overlook its power to connect to your current parents and their friends. I do agree that face-to-face word of mouth is how parents find out about a school. Therefore, we must invest our time and resources here. Facebook is a took to help get stories out among your parent and fan base that can be used in these face-to-face conversations to spread word of mouth. I think this is a great topic for some future blog posts! Let me know if you want to talk in more details about this…

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